Step-by-step installation advice for just about any residential construction, remodeling, or repair task you're likely to face. Written in clear, everyday English with illustrations and diagrams that show how to build or install each part of the job. There's even a manhour table for each item covered so you'll know how long they should take.
Includes a CD-ROM in PDF format with all the material in the book, search features, and the ability to printout or e-mail instructions. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or above.
Write Your Own Review
Acoustical Tile, 9
Acoustical materials, 9
Acoustical characteristics, 11
Installing acoustical ceiling tiles, 12
Installing a suspended ceiling, 15
Acoustical ratings, 21
Classes of adhesives, 25
Types and purposes of adhesives, 26
Choosing the right adhesive, 27
See Heating and Air Conditioning, 379
Asbestos abatement, 32
Asphalt Paving, 35
Asphalt pavement, 35
Designing asphalt pavement, 38
Asphalt repair, 40
Bathroom Fixtures, 43
Showers and tubs, 43
Sinks and lavatories, 45
Water closets, 47
See also Plumbing,, 471
Brick Masonry, 51
Making brick, 51
Types of brick, 54
Building with brick, 56
Brick mortar, 58
Laying brick, 67
Mortarless brick, 72
Cutting brick, 73
Brick repair, 74
Cleaning brick masonry, 76
Painting brick, 86
Site-built cabinet components, 91
Box cabinets, 93
Standard cabinet measurements, 94
Planning and ordering cabinets, 95
Cabinet layout, 98
Cabinet installation, 99
Types of carpet, 107
Styles of carpet, 109
Carpet values, 110
Carpet padding, 112
Carpet labels, 113
Carpet installation, 113
Installation methods, 114
Carpet repair, 118
Carpet cleaning and maintenance, 119
See also Flooring,, 359
Ceramic Tile, 125
Mortars and mastics, 127
Tile backerboard, 130
Ceramic tile installation, 132
Tile repair, 138
See Fireplaces and Chimneys,, 291
The ingredients in concrete, 141
The mix design, 144
Curing concrete, 145
Planning a foundation, 147
Foundation design, 148
Forming the foundation, 152
Ordering the concrete, 160
Site access for equipment, 163
Placing the concrete, 165
Concrete damage control, 173
Protecting concrete pours, 174
Moisture protection for
finished concrete, 178
Cutting, coring and drilling concrete, 181
Testing and inspecting concrete, 183
Concrete Block, 189
Size and grades of block, 189
Estimating concrete block, 190
Mortar for concrete block, 191
Laying concrete block, 191
Concrete block reinforcement, 194
Cutting concrete block, 196
Waterproofing concrete block, 196
Cleaning masonry, 197
Concrete Reinforcement, 201
Steel bars, 201
Welded wire fabric, 205
Fiber mesh, 206
Countertop materials, 209
Countertop design, 211
Cutting plastic laminates, 214
Installing a plastic laminate surface, 216
Repairing plastic laminate, 220
See also Ceramic Tile,, 125
See Porches and Decks,, 485
Door unit components, 223
Door hardware, 227
Installing prehung doors, 230
Installing individual door components, 231
Fire rating, 243
Sound insulation, 244
Estimating drywall, 245
Moving and storing drywall, 245
Measuring, marking and cutting drywall, 246
Drywall fasteners, 248
Hanging drywall, 249
Finishing joints and fasteners, 252
Drywall surface finishes, 257
Avoiding drywall problems, 261
Common drywall repairs, 262
Electrical Installation, 269
Measuring electricity, 269
Power plant generator to
service entrance, 272
Service entrance, 273
Electrical branch circuits, 275
Rough wiring, 278
Installing the outlet receptacles
and switches, 279
Wiring the service panel, 283
Low-voltage wiring, 285
Lighting types, 286
See Trim,, 673
Money sources, 289
Loan costs, 290
Fireplaces and Chimneys, 291
Fireplace and chimney components, 291
Fireplace kits, 295
Floor Framing, 299
Sill plates, 322
Floor joists, 328
See also Framing Materials and Planning, 363
Consider the subfloor, 359
Installing suspended flooring, 360
Covering existing flooring, 362
See also Carpet, 107; Ceramic Tile, 125;
Resilient Flooring, 503;Wood Flooring, 759
See Concrete, 141; Concrete Block, 189;
Floor Framing, 299
Framing Materials and Planning, 363
New framing materials, 363
Grading and classification of
framing materials, 364
Engineered wood products, 367
Framing estimating, 372
See also Floor Framing, 299;
Roof Framing, 513; Wall Framing, 709
Glass Block, 375
Laying glass block, 375
Heating and Air Conditioning, 379
Selecting a system, 379
Heating system types, 380
Air conditioning with
a central air system, 389
See also Insulation, 395;Ventilation, 701
The movement of heat, 395
Insulation ratings, 396
Estimating insulation, 398
Types of insulation, 399
Installing insulation, 404
See also Acoustics, 21; Heating and
Air Conditioning, 379; Radon and
Other Pollutants, 499;Ventilation, 701
Workers’ compensation insurance, 423
General liability insurance, 424
Builder’s risk insurance, 424
Umbrella policies, 424
Property insurance, 424
Vehicle insurance, 425
See Cabinetry, 91
See Electrical Installation, 269
See Brick Masonry, 51; Ceramic Tile, 125;
Concrete Block, 189; Glass Block, 375;
Stone Masonry, 655
See Trim, 673
Coating systems, 427
Surface preparation, 432
Mixing and thinning the paint, 441
Applying the paint, 441
Spray painting, 444
Care and cleanup of equipment, 448
Paneling types, 459
See Asphalt Paving, 35; Concrete, 141
New plaster application, 465
Plaster repairs, 467
Covering plaster with drywall, 468
Water supply lines, 471
Installing water supply lines, 474
Drain, waste and vent systems, 476
Outside plumbing, 478
Septic systems, 481
Porches and Decks, 485
Building a deck, 485
Building a porch, 495
Radon and Other Pollutants, 499
Eliminating common pollutants, 499
Resilient Flooring, 503
Types of vinyl, 504
The subfloor, 504
Installing sheet flooring, 505
Installing resilient floor tiles, 508
Repairing resilient flooring, 510
See also Flooring, 359
Roof Framing, 513
Roof system design and engineering, 514
Rafter framing, 516
Types of rafters, 519
Rafter framing layout, 538
Erecting the rafters, 541
Framing the valley for an
intersecting roof, 545
Roof trusses, 549
Finishing the roof, 554
Roof Framing (continued)
Installing roof sheathing, 559
See also Framing Materials and Planning, 363
Roofing systems, 561
Estimating roofing materials, 563
Roofing tools, 563
Roofing safety, 564
Asphalt roofing, 564
Installation of roll roofing, 568
Asphalt shingles, 578
Wood shakes and shingles, 587
Roofing systems summary table, 599
See Plumbing, 471
Surface preparation, 611
Wood shingles, 614
Lap siding, 625
Vertical siding, 633
Vinyl siding, 637
Using vinyl siding on
historic restorations, 650
Aluminum siding, 651
See Windows and Skylights, 747
Stone Masonry, 655
Stone used in construction, 655
Estimating stone quantities, 658
Stone mortar, 658
Laying stone, 658
Building a stone wall, 659
Cutting stone masonry, 661
Cleaning stone masonry, 663
Materials and mixes, 665
Applying stucco, 668
Synthetic stucco, 669
See Acoustical Tile, 9
Interior trim, 673
Exterior trim, 685
The soffit, 691
Crawl spaces, 705
See also Heating and Air Conditioning, 379;
Radon and Other Pollutants, 499
Wall Framing, 709
Framing styles, 709
Wall framing components, 711
Wall framing procedure, 715
Wall Framing (continued)
Corner posts and partition posts, 724
Rake walls, 729
Floating walls, 732
Backing and blocking, 732
Drilling and notching, 736
See also Framing Materials and Planning, 363
See Brick Masonry, 51; Concrete Block, 189;
Stone Masonry, 655
Estimating wallcoverings, 737
Preparing the wall, 739
Hanging the paper, 740
Windows and Skylights, 747
Skylights and skywindows, 752
Wood Flooring, 759
Moisture problems, 759
Types and grades of flooring, 762
Installing wood flooring, 764
Finishing and refinishing wood flooring, 771
Repairing wood floors, 778
See also Flooring, 359
See Paneling, 459
How to Use the Encyclopedia CD, 785
Acoustical material is designed to meet a variety of standard federal ratings. Manufacturers generally rate the Sound Transmission Class (STC) and the Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of their products. (See Acoustics.) While increasing the thickness of the material will often increase the NRC or STC, the most important factors in these ratings are the surface finish and composition of the material. Acoustical products are also rated for their fire resistance, surface burning and light-reflection characteristics.
Acoustical material is made primarily from mineral, fiberglass, vinyl or wood. Presently, a new generation of acoustical material, called Orion, is being introduced to replace fiberglass. In the past, asbestos cement was common because it’s noncombustible and resistant to high moisture conditions. However, it’s rarely used anymore because of the concern for asbestos-related health problems. (See Asbestos.) Cellulose fiber, the oldest and cheapest acoustical material, is also seldom used anymore. It’s not fire rated, and it doesn’t hold up well when subjected to moisture.
Mineral fiber is by far the most common acoustical material. It’s made from mineral wool — blast-furnace slag that’s been reheated and blown into wool or spun into filaments. The process produces a highly durable, fire-rated material. Then the surface is either fissured or perforated to absorb sound. Where appearance is important, the material has fissures (voids) in the surface. It’s perforated (with regular holes) more often in industrial settings where maximum performance is more important than appearance. As a general rule of thumb, the rougher the texture, the better the material will absorb sound. When you paint mineral fiber material, it’s extremely important to use a nonbridging paint. Otherwise, the paint may close the pores, destroying the material’s acoustical qualities.
Because there are so many kinds of mineral fiber acoustical materials, they fall within a wide NRC range, from the 0.40s to the 0.80s. The STC range generally falls between 35 and 49.
Glass fiber, or fiberglass, is made up of tiny glass rods less than 1/20 the diameter of a human hair. These rods are pressed together, creating tiny voids between the fibers. These voids absorb the sound. Glass fiber tends to fall into a high NRC range, but it has a low STC. Abacking such as foil can be used to improve the STC. A further disadvantage of glass fiber is that it doesn’t come in a fire-rated form, more because it can’t meet the weight standards (1 pound per square foot) than because the material is combustible. Fiberglass is more expensive than mineral fiber. Also, there’s growing concern that fiberglass may be a health hazard, so its use is decreasing.
Vinyl-covered gypsum is occasionally used in food processing areas or garages because it’s easy to clean. The smooth surface of the vinyl keeps it from absorbing sound, so the product has a low or unrated NRC. But the STC range is very good.
Wood fiber, or fiberboard, is a lightweight backing that comes in 4 × 8-foot sheets, 1/2 inch thick. Fiberboard is often used instead of gypsum board if acoustic performance is a consideration. Fiberboard with an acoustical coating has a good NRC rating. You can’t use it for ceilings in commercial applications, but you can use it for walls.
Orion is a unique acoustical material. The material, an oatmeal-like substance, is dumped into 8-foot wide pans and shaken and shifted until it settles into flat sheets. Rollers squeeze out the excess water. The material is kiln dried for 8 to 10 hours and then cut to size. Orion is presently more expensive than other common acoustical materials, but its high NRC (up to 1.00) makes it an attractive option.
Fire resistance measures how well a structure keeps fire from spreading from one part of a building to another, while maintaining structural integrity. In the past, material was classed A, B, C, or D. Currently, material is either Class A (nonfire-rated), or fire rated into 1, 2, or 3 hour classes. Fire-rated material has ceramic in it to slow its burning. Class A material may be used only in residential construction.
Fire-resistance ratings are frequently misunderstood by architects and builders alike. They often assume that by using 1-hour panels, they have a 1-hour ceiling. But classifications are established for an entire system and not just one component in the design. For instance, while 3-hour material will be slower-burning than 1-hour material, it will still burn through in less than 3 hours. The larger design of which it’s a part, however, will theoretically keep a fire from spreading for 3 hours. The fire-resistance capabilities of a system are tested according to Underwriters Laboratories’ specifications. If, during a fire test, a panel stays in its grid from 60-119 minutes, it’s considered 1-hour rated. From 120-179 minutes, it’s 2 hour. And from 180-223 minutes, it’s considered 3 hour.
Surface Burning Characteristics
Surface burning characteristics are measured by observing how quickly flames spread and how much smoke develops. These factors are then expressed in a single number. The number is relative to how red oak burns (100) and inorganic reinforced cement board burns (0). Acoustical material commonly falls into the 0-25 range.
Material is classified into light reflection (LR) grades, with 1.0 reflecting the most light. A grade of LR 1 means 75 to 100 percent of the light is reflected back; LR 2 is 70 to 74 percent reflection; LR 3 is 65 to 69 percent; LR 4 is 60 to 64 percent. Under 60 percent is ungraded. The vast majority of acoustical material falls into the first two grades, with LR 1 being the most common.
In addition to these federal ratings, you have to consider other characteristics for acoustical material. You’ll weigh the ease of installation and maintenance, resistance to moisture, insulating properties, and cost as well.
Installing Acoustical Ceiling Tiles
There are two common ways to install acoustical ceiling tiles: directly to a smooth backing or attached to furring strips (Figure 1), or suspended in a metal grid (Figure 2). For either method, schedule ahead so the materials are delivered at least 24 hours before installation. Store them in the location they’ll be used. That way, any shrinking or swelling due to temperature or humidity will happen before you install it.
Although it’s not particularly difficult to hang a suspended ceiling, you can hire a drywall sub if you don’t want to do it yourself.
Your finished ceiling will look better if the border tiles are the same width and none of them are less than half a tile wide. For instance, if you’re using 12-inch tiles, you wouldn’t want to have a row of full tiles on one end and a row of 4-inch tiles on the opposite end. For better balance, plan a row of 8-inch tiles on each end (12" + 4" ÷ 2 = 8"). To make sure this happens, you’ll need to do a little simple preplanning. First measure the length and width of the room. Then snap a chalk line the length, width, and both diagonals of the room to find the center point. Finally, use Figure 3 to position the ceiling tile.
Cut the tile, face up, with a utility knife and a straightedge. Or score the face with a utility knife, and then follow with a handsaw or power saw with the face side still up.
Installing Ceiling Tiles
Ceiling tiles come in a variety of sizes. The 12- × 12-inch square tiles are the most common, but 12- × 24-inch tiles are also frequently used. Figure 4 shows a tongue-and-groove ceiling tile.
If the ceiling is level and in good shape, you can glue the tiles directly to the surface. But first allow new concrete to cure at least six months and new plaster to cure at least a month. Don’t glue tile directly to concrete unless you’ve insulated and vented properly and placed a vapor barrier to avoid temperature and humidity differences. (See Insulation.) Prime the surface of new concrete, and clean all dust from the surfaces where you’ll apply adhesive.
If the ceiling is in poor shape, install 1 × 3 furring strips 12 inches on center at right angles to the ceiling joists. Work from the center of the room out, shimming the furring strips wherever needed to make a level surface.
Furring Strip Method
- Snap a chalk line for each border. Make sure the chalk line is parallel to the center line, not the wall. Cut corner tile to size, cutting off the two tongue sides. Cut the tongue side off of all border tiles for the first horizontal and vertical rows, adjusting for any unevenness in the walls. See Figure 5.
- Place the first tile in the corner, flange side out. Nail the flush sides of the tile at the corner and walls. Continue with the border tiles, nailing the side against the wall and stapling the flanges to the furring strips. Putty the nail holes when the tiles are all in place.
- Build out from the corner, slipping the tongue into the border tiles’ grooves. Staple the flanges to the furring strips. For 12 × 12-inch tiles, use three staples to a side. Use five staples to a side for 12 × 24-inch tiles. Work across the room diagonally. See Figure 6.
Tools and Materials
Solid Backing Method
- Follow steps just described for layout, cutting, and placement of tile.
- Brush a light coat of glue on the back of the tile. Dab a walnutsize ball of glue on each corner about 2 inches in. (For 12 x 24- inch tiles, place eight balls of glue.) Press the tile firmly in place, sliding it into the adjacent tongue and groove, or kerf. Then clean up the adhesive with mineral spirits.
- If the wall is solid drywall in good condition, you can staple the tiles directly to it in the pattern described.
Estimating Acoustical Ceiling Tiles
Estimate how many tiles you’ll need by calculating the square footage of the ceiling (length times width). For 12- × 12-inch tiles, the square footage is the same as the number of tiles you need. If you’re using 12- × 24-inch tiles, divide the square footage by 2.
A two-person crew installing 12- × 12-inch tongue-and-groove ceiling tile with staples should be able to install about 58 tiles an hour. This will, of course, vary with the layout of the room. You can set more tiles per hour in a large open room, and substantially fewer per hour in small or cut-up rooms. If you use furring strips, a carpenter and a laborer should be able to install around 40 square feet of 1 × 2s at 12 inches on center per hour.
Repairing Ceiling Tiles
- Use a utility knife to cut out damaged tile, scraping out stubborn pieces and adhesive with a putty knife. Clean out the grooves.
- Cut a new tile to fit, removing its tongues and flanges. Glue or nail it in place.
Installing a Suspended Ceiling
When a ceiling needs to be lowered or you need easy access to wiring, ductwork and pipes, a suspended ceiling is a better choice than ceiling tile. The most common sizes used in suspended ceilings are 24 × 24 inches and 24 x 48 inches. The tiles are laid in a metal grid that’s suspended from the ceiling. Allow at least 2 to 3 inches between the ceiling or joists and the new ceiling. It will be difficult to maneuver tiles into place if there’s less space than that. Look at Figure 7
Don’t hang light fixtures or other ceiling apparatus from the metal grid unless you’re sure the system can support their weight. It’s better to suspend the fixtures directly from the ceiling.
By far the most difficult part of hanging a suspended ceiling is getting it level. If the ceiling isn’t perfectly flat, the tiles will rock or tip or appear out of line. Professional ceiling installers use laser levels to do the job right. For someone who only does an occasional ceiling, sighting in with a transit will work. If you don’t have a transit, check repeatedly with your level and tape measure while hanging the wall angles and the main tees. See Figure 8. For small areas, you can get by with leveling with a builder’s level (Figure 9).
Estimate the number of panels by finding the square footage of the ceiling, then dividing by 4 (for 2- × 2-foot panels) or 8 (for 2- × 4- foot panels). Or sketch the ceiling on paper and count the number of panels.
- Snap a chalk line around the room at the height where the new ceiling should go. Fasten the wall angle at this line. Cut your pieces carefully to make sure every end is fastened to a stud. Use nails, screws, or staples to attach the pieces to the studs. Use concrete nails to attach pieces to masonry. Miter outside corners; butt inside ones.
- Snap a chalk line on the ceiling or ceiling joist to mark the center main tee. Hammer in 6d nails above the wall angles on both sides of the room where cross tees go. Tightly stretch the string across the room and tie it to the nails.
- Cut suspension wires for the main tees. Attach screw eyes or hooks and nails to the ceiling joists at the chalk line every 4 feet where the cross tees will run. Slots in the main tee for the cross tees must line up with the cross strings.
- Insert suspension wires through the screw eyes, twisting excess wire around itself. Insert the other end through the main tee and secure the loose wire by twisting it around itself. Make sure the tee is level. If the length of the room is more than 12 feet, splice two main tees together with a splice plate. Wire both sides of the splice. See Figure 10.
- When main tees are in place, connect in the cross tees (Figure 11). Check again to make sure the entire system is level. Set in the panels by angling them up through the space, straightening the panel, and laying it in place.
Materials and Equipment
Attaching Wall Angle to Drywall
When backing isn’t convenient, here’s a slick way to attach the wall angle to drywall. But remember that it’s only as strong as the drywall and the staple. You can’t use this technique structurally, but it will work to attach a wall angle to support acoustic tile.Use a heavy gauge fence staple and follow these steps:
Estimating a Suspended Ceiling
Estimate how many tiles you’ll need by calculating the square footage of the ceiling (length times width). If you’re using 12 × 24-inch tiles, divide the square footage by 2.
A two-person crew can usually install about 100 square feet of standard 2 × 4-foot grid with wires per hour. Be sure to allow additional time for cut-up or small rooms.
Placing the ceiling tile in the grid is a simple drop-in process except for borders, corners, lighting, columns and other nuisances. For a simple drop-in ceiling using an average price nonrated tile, the two person crew should be able to install around 250 square feet, or 32 tiles per hour. Tile prices vary depending on cut, style, texture and fire rating.
For information on related topics, see:
Acoustics, page 21
Asbestos, page 31
Insulation, page 395
Step-by-step installation instructions for just about any residential construction, remodeling or repair task you're likely to face. Written in clear, everyday language, this practical reference covers most major installations, alphabetically, from Acoustic Tile to Wood Flooring. Includes hundreds of diagrams and illustrations that show how to build, install, or remodel each part of the job, as well as handy materials, equipment, and tools lists to help you plan your projects.
- Acoustic tile, Acoustics, Adhesives, Asbestos, Asphalt paving
- Bathroom fixtures, Brick masonry
- Cabinetry, Carpet, Ceramic tile, Concrete, Concrete block, Concrete reinforcing, Countertops
- Doors, Drywall
- Electrical installation
- Financing, Fireplaces & chimneys, Floor framing, Flooring, Framing materials & planning
- Glass block
- Heating & air conditioning
- Insulation, Insurance
- Painting, Paneling, Paving, Plaster, Plumbing, Porches & decks
- Radon & other pollutants, Resilient flooring, Roof framing, Roofing
- Siding, Stone masonry, Stucco
- Wall framing, Wallpaper, Windows & skylights, Wood flooring
Provides useful tips and tricks-of-the-trade that experienced builders and
remodelers have learned over time, as well as timesaving tools and templates you
can make yourself. There's also a manhours table for each work item covered so
you know how long a job should normally take. With these, you can estimate and
bid with confidence, monitor your crews and schedule your workload.
Filled with charts and tables to give you instant answers to your questions on such topics as what adhesive to use on what type of work, what cleaning methods work for which stains on masonry, the correct cement and grout for each type of tile, what insulation to use where, the correct drywall choices and fastening requirements, what paint works where, selecting and troubleshooting wood flooring, shingle coverage, roof systems, and many more.
Free CD-ROM: Inside the back cover is a CD with all the material in the book, including the figures and tables, with search features that will take you instantly to the topic you need. Print the instructions for any job, capture the illustrations to include on a bid you're submitting, or cut and paste into an e-mail to describe the installation process to your crew.
The Authors: Stephen and Janelle Diller both grew up in construction families. Stephen is a fourth generation contractor, and Janelle is a communication and project manager for a large hi-tech firm. Together, they have grown their small remodeling company into a thriving construction company, specializing in light commercial projects. As they watched other construction companies come and go, they realized they had a depth of knowledge in their trade that others lacked. Their background and experience in construction, along with Janelle's writing and teaching skills, led to the creation of this encyclopedia. It's a compilation of years of notes, detailed instructions, drawings and diagrams used to train others in their field. Now it's available in book form to share with their fellow builders and those just starting out in the trades, as well as those outside the construction industry who want to know about how it all goes together.