Home Construction

Ask questions here about home construction and building. Whether you are building from the ground up, or remodeling a section of your home, you will find valuable answers here.

2,194 Questions
Home & Garden
Home Construction

What is a wrap around driveway?

A wrap around driveway wraps around the house, leading to the garage behind the house (usually the garage would not be visible from the road).

Literature and Language
Home Construction

What does porch mean?

  1. A covered platform, usually having a separate roof, at an entrance to a building.
  2. An open or enclosed gallery or room attached to the outside of a building; a verandah.

an exterior appendage to a building, forming a covered approach or vestibule to a doorway.

1. A covered platform, usually having a separate roof, at an entrance to a building. 2. An open or enclosed gallery or room attached to the outside of a building; a verandah.

3. Obsolete A portico or covered walk.

Home Construction

Can you build a new house on an old foundation?


Travel & Places
Home Construction

Why do houses in hot places have thick walls?

for mud huts -- the sun heat penetrates thin walls-- thicker walls keep it cooler inside.

Before heat from the outside can work its way to the inside of a thick wall, the temperature drops on the outside and the direction of heat transfer reverses. If the wall is thick enough the interior temperature will remain constant and cool on a hot day without using any energy.

Math and Arithmetic
Units of Measure
Home Construction
How To

How to convert board feet into tons?

A board foot is a unit of volume equivalent to 144 cubic inches. To find tons, you would need to know the density of the particular wood that you are interested in.


Boardfeet is based upon nominal dimensions. For example the nominal dimensions of a 2x4 is 2" x 4". It's actual dimension is closer to 1 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches. So there will be some error in the calculation if you are attempted to determine the weight of dimensional lumber. Southern Pine weights approximately 40 lbs per cubic foot. There are 1728 cubic inches in a cubic foot. There are 2000 lbs in a ton. therefore the weight of one board foot (conservatively because of the nominal dimensions) is:

(40x144)/(1728x2000) tons per board foot.

Sorry , don't have a calculator handy.

Another way to do it is that there are about 12 board feet in a cubic foot. So a board foot would weight 40/12 lbs or 3.33 pounds.

3.33 pounds is 3.33/2000 tons. !! a lot easier!!

(southern yellow pine)


Home & Garden
Home Construction

How many feet high is a three story home?

30 to 36 feet high.

Bridges and Tunnels
Home Construction

How does a slump test check strength?

Slump check does not measure strength. It measures workability. Workability is the ease with which concrete can be placed in position.

Correct as far as it goes! Slump refers to workability however it is also, all telling as to the water content of the mix. The more water, the easier it will work! Problem becomes, too much water will increase the porosity making the concrete weak and susceptible to early degradation because contaminates are able to enter and commence corrosion of embedded steel.

A concrete that is easy to work that has a high water content [ more than .40 ] is known for shrinkage cracking due to rapid evaporation of the high water content. These cracks caused by rapid loss of water decrease compressive strength and invite early corrosion. This type of concrete also experiences, curling and ASR as well as efflorescence in a very short time period.

Strength is a function of correct hydration, slow internal curing and careful design of a mix for the intended service criteria and not a whole lot to do with slump!

Endangered, Vulnerable, and Threatened Species
Home Construction

What houses do they have in the polar region?


Home & Garden
Personal Safety and Security
Human Behavior
Home Construction

Why do people need shelter to survive?


Shelter provides protection. Protection from weather and predators. Without shelter you may freeze in the winter or become dinner for an animal. Shelter may come in many different forms, for example caves, trees or man made structures. It is my opinion that shelter is not needed to survive per-say, it is needed to extend one's survival.

Math and Arithmetic
Home Construction

How many concrete hollow blocks in 1 square meter?

It depends on the size of each block and their orientation.

Home Improvement
Home Construction

Is stone a good or bad thermal insulator?

Stone is most definitely not a good thermal insulator. It changes its temperature quickly with the surrounding environment. In fact, stone is a thermal conductor and will pass heat or cold right to the adjacent materials.

Home Construction

How do garage-door openers know when to stop?

As the drive chain passes through the motor it activates travel switches to stop up or down travel.

Home Construction
Food Chains and Food Webs

Where place in the food chain is the horse?

Between the baked patatoes and the broccoli (with cheese sauce).

Building and Carpentry
Home Construction

What does WIR mean on a floor plan?

Work in Revision. This means that this area of the drawing may change.

Home Construction

What is a Lamia house?

A Lamia house is in the style of the city of Lamia, Greece. The style may be found along the extreme southwest coast of Italy. That's the part of Italy where influences remain from the ancient settlement of the area by Greeks. The house tends to be smaller, but roomy and well organized. It tends to be built of stone.

Home Construction

What is the name of a person who builds houses?

That depends on what you mean. There are a lot of people involved in building a house. Here are some of them:

  • Carpenter
  • Rough framer
  • Architect
  • Contractor
Home Improvement
Home Construction

What would cause the inside wall in a tile shower to become wet if there is no plumbing in this wall?

AnswerIf there is no plumbing in the wall it has to be either a leak from upstairs that's running down the wall or the grout or caulk has gone bad and every time you take a shower you make it worse. Grout is cheap and easy. Try scraping out the old grout between the tiles and then regrout between them to seal them.

If any tiles fall off when you scrape out the old grout, that means the tile cement as well as the grout or caulk has gone bad. In that case you would have to scrape away all the old tile cement as well as the grout or caulk. Let the wall dry out really well for a few days - a week would be better. Then re-fix the tiles with new tile cement and re-grout between the tiles to seal them.

AnswerI the tile is set onto wallboard - including greenboard, the wall will act as a sponge and self destruct. You may end up needed to tear it out and start over. It could be because the tiles were set on regular all purpose drywall without any durarock and moisture repelling drywall and without moisture repelling adhesive-- and so the water seeps through the sand-grout and wets the all purpose drywall causing it to loosen and fall after some time.

Honest Contractors are found when you can talk their language.

If you can speak to them like you know what you're talking about they will be less likely to take advantage of your're intelligence. I myself use a vinyl adhesive which plasticizes and does not absorb water like the sandgrout that many contractors try to get away with using-- I only use sand grout to fill my seems -- not to mount the tile on the wall,-- and I make sure I trowel vertically to ensure that seepage water does not catch and build up on any ridges behind the tile. When you trowel horizontally you create ridges and give seem seepage water a chance to settle on the troweled adhesive ridges which eventually soak through the drywall and loosen its integrity.

Building and Carpentry
Home Construction

What is the right roof pitch for a dormer?

12 pitch ?


Depends on what type of dormer you are talking about. If the dormer has a pitched roof, such as a "gable," it's framed with the same roof pitch as the original roof, so it blends in.

A "shed," dormer on the other hand is usually had on homes with a roof pitch of at least 8 in 12 or steeper. This type of dormer needs a roof pitch shallower than that of the original. A general rule of thumb is to keep a shed dormer at least 4 in 12. (A shallower or steeper pitch will make the dormer look out of place).

Home Construction
How To

How to Open garage door when opener is broken?

Many individual never thought of the work our garage door does - lifting and closing a large door every day, over and over again.. The fact is, your garage door opener really doesn't do much work, because of a physics helper, the spring! Springs are utilized as the door is lowered, and the springs are stretched out (the motor literally pushes the garage door down). When it is time to lift the door, the springs do 95% of the work as they recoil and pull the door back up, leaving the garage door motor to do little more than wind up the loose cable or chain. This is why most garage door openers are rated at only 1/2 to 1 horse power - it doesn't take much power to lift up a garage door that is being pulled up by stretched springs.

Building and Carpentry
The Difference Between
Home Construction

Are there dome homes other than geodesic and monolithic?

Not really, but if you consider the versatility of dome construction you don't really need more.

Monolithic domes can be designed in some very interesting freeform shapes.

And geodesic domes can be customized and personalized so they don't look like "cookie cutter" or prefab homes. Personally, I love the look you get when you cluster several smaller sized domes. This is how I want to design ours when we finally get around to it. I also plan to incorporate a sunroom/screened dome.

There are other types of Dome Homes.

Without getting into great detail: Geodesics are made of sets of triangles (panels) joined together. Monolithic (mono = one, lithic = stone) are formed of one material (often shotcrete or other concrete) placed in some type of dome shaped form.

Monolithic probably covers some ancient mud dome techniques so I will throw them in.

Other types of dome homes include:

Brick, used mostly in ancient times. But I'm sure someone has done one since. I seem to recall a church in Timbuktu that was somewhat recent ('70s?).

Sand bag. Being promoted for 3rd world locations. Layers of sandbags (often long 30'+ ones) with barb wire placed between them to keep them from shifting. The results tend to be quite durable and cool. Doors and windows are made of sandbag arches. A nice bonus for war torn areas: They are pretty much bullet proof.

Wattle, thatch, grass, etc. Africa mostly. From huts to quite large structures.

Log. Saw a picture of one once, not very detailed photo, but a dome it was.

One I haven't heard of, but a cool idea:

Take a surplus (scrap) natural gas or LPG steel "dome" (more of a globe) modify it (cut in half?) cut windows in it, poof, really big house... Finding a spot where you could place a several (hundred?) ton metal house might be a little tricky. Maybe Mr. Gates could use a new garage?

Home Construction

What is the current cost of home construction per square foot in North Carolina?

To find the cost you can contact local companies directly or use a website that I like to use myself, good luck.

Home Construction
Concrete and Cement

Is there a demand for decorating concrete?

Yes, there is. It is not large. Some people and companies want some new piece of concrete decorated. Like a home patio. Look in the Yellow Pages in your city and see who is already out there in the market.

Home Construction

What does 'sister' mean in building?

When you put a new piece of wood against an old piece because you want the strength but cannot take the old piece out. Typically done with joists, rafters, or studs.

Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning
Lawn Care
Home Construction

What is best way to attach house numbers to a large rock?

Paint them on the rock

Home Construction

What is a spite house?

A spite house is a building or home that’s been built or modified specifically to inconvenience or annoy the neighbors.

One notable example is the Skinny House in Boston, Massachusetts. The story goes that two brothers fought over land they inherited from their father. While one of the brothers was away serving in the military, the other built a large home, leaving only a scrap of land left over that (he thought) was far too small to build on. When the second brother returned, he decided to construct a narrow house to spite his brother by blocking the sunlight and ruining his view.


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