Building Confidence

Volume 13 Issue 3
ISSN 1923-7162

Welcome to Dave's Shop Talk's Home Improvement Newsletter of questions from our members on their construction projects, a Tip of the Month and a home remodeling article, both from our website at

What's New

Be sure to check out our ebooks! We have finished 6 of the 10 eBooks in our Building Confidence series and are being told how helpful they are to do it yourselfers! Let your friends know about them!

Tip of the Month

When installing a landing in a set of stairs, set the landing height at one of the riser heights, so that the risers above the landing are the same as those below the landing. Ref: Construction Newsletter June 2005.

And a Bonus Tip:

Don't mix bleach with ammonia or household cleaners that contain ammonia such as Mr. Clean, Fantastic, Windex, etc. Read the label first if unsure. Ref: Construction Newsletter December 2005.

Ask Dave!

Dave, I have a total rise of 55.25 inches. I input 7 5/8 inch rise and 10.5 in run into the calculator. Why do the results say my rise is now 6 27/32? I need a 7 5/8 rise and 10.5 in runs. With 55.25 in total rise. Please help! Thanks a lot Bobby

Hi Bobby,

The calculator is correct. For a total rise of 55.25" the rise is calculated as 8 rises at 6 29/32 = almost 7". The next set of rises would be 7 at 7.89" which is out of the envelope of the building code - which is maximum rise of 7.875, unless you live in New York which is max of 8.25.

Your number of rises must equal a whole number, you can't have 7 and a half rises. So doing the math, just divide 55.25 into a whole number - 6 or 7 or 8 to find out what a good rise is. So 6 rises = 9.21, too high; 7 rises = 7.89, still to high; 8 = 6.91, which is good; 9 = 6.14, which is also good for seniors or public buildings. This shows you are very limited to the number of rises you can have in a set of stairs.

This is a bit confusing. For extra info checkout my articles on building stairs:

Hope this helps,


Hello Dave, I have a crain supersaw 210 of which I use to cut out the flooring in trailer houses that have been flooded. My saw is starting to burn out, this saw has been discontinued and I cannot find repair parts. 1) Do you know of anywhere I can get a replacement motor. 2) What saw would you recommend replacing this with for cutting out flooring? Thanks, Marshal

Hi Marshal,

We have a business in my town that will rewind motors and replace brushes for almost any motor worth having this done. Here is the crain website:

Too bad, but they don't last forever. That website may have another model that will do the trick for you.


Hi Dave, If you were going to tackle laying tile inside and flagstone outside, where would you go for reliable info on how best to do it. Not cheapest, fastest or easiest - just the good old traditional, time honored way. I have already tiled a laundry room / half bath and do have a tile saw - so I'm not completely clueless. but I could use a refresher from a reputable source if you know of one. Thanks, Trace

Hi Trace,

How about right here! Checkout my article:


Dave, Thanks for the detailed info for installing a tile floor. Not there yet...still prepping things. I'm wondering what to do about this support / pivot point for a folding door. After thin set, backer board, mortar and tile that thing is going to be buried. I'm afraid it won't mate up to the door properly. If I remove it now I'll have to re-install it into stone tile - not a prospect I'm looking forward to. Not sure I can even get it out in one piece. and if it's designed to attach to a wood sub floor - what's needed to attach it to tile? Any thoughts? Thanks, Trace

Hi Trace,

That bracket is screwed to the wall. So remove it and place it in position on top of the tile. No need to screw into the tile, just screw into the wall. You'll see when you take it off. If it is too rusty, etc. this is a common item and can be bought separately at most hardware stores.

Trace, I was going to mention that you may have to trim the bottom of the door off. There is an adjustment on the bottom of the door, which fits into that bracket, which may be adjusted up into the door to give you enough clearance, instead of trimming the door. Check that out first before cutting the door bottom off. You want to trim less than 1/2" due to a 3/4" strip of wood inside the door, which needs to be replaced if cutting off 3/4" or more.


Hi Dave, Re: Tile floor install First the folding door bracket. As you instructed, removal was from the wall. Wallpaper covered that when I wrote you but it was a simple matter to take out once revealed. I've removed the old tile, put down thin set and Wonder board over most of the bathroom floor but now I'm stuck. After removing the toilet, I find I can't budge the closet flange. 1. Both closet flange bolts broke as I tried to unscrew old nuts. The partial bolts remain in place. 2. Three of the four wood screws came up OK, but one remains (at 7 O'clock on picture) with a corroded head that won't take a screwdriver. I replaced a toilet about a year ago, same house, same age toilet but different model. I don't recall any issues. If I had to guess I'd say I replaced the closet flange too but I don't really recall. I'm concerned that if I force things I might damage the pipe. What would Dave do? Meantime, I'll check a couple of books on plumbing I have and search the web. Thanks, Trace

Hi Trace,

The closet flange is probably an ABS flange that is glued directly into the 3" ABS pipe under the floor. Usually, you just replace the wax seal on top of the flange. The closet bolts are usually tee head bolts the turn 90 degrees into the flange and to remove turn 90 degrees and they can be lifted out of the flange.


Hi again Trace,

Photo of a floor flange for a toilet.

I didn't notice your photo. The floor flange is oriented 90 degrees out. Usually the tee bolts go into those slots at the 6 and 12 o'clock positions. Now you will have to use the old style screws (leg bolts).


Feature Article of the Month

(taken from our website:

Jigs 6: Circular Saw Guide

In the good ole days before the time of fancy power miter and cut off saws, when framing a house, we would use nothing but our trusty old circular saw—Skilsaw, we called them—for cutting and ripping our lumber. We used plywood, so I'm not that old. This was also the time before pre-cut studs came onto the market. In order to cut our studs quickly and accurately, we would make ourselves a jig or circular saw guide.

Basically it would consist of a 2x10 floor joist with 2x4's nailed along one side as a circular saw fence and a short 2x4 block opposite on the right hand end. Spanning the 2x4 and block was a piece of 3/8" or 1/2" plywood with a strip nailed to the left side of it to act as a guide for the circular saw base plate. We wedged the circular saw blade guard up, not a healthy thing to do, but safe as long as the circular saw was left on the circular saw guide. About a foot or so to the left of the circular saw guide we notched the circular saw guide fence about a foot in length to enable us to grab the stock and move it easily. This circular saw guide was designed to cut to length 2" stock (1 1/2") and under. We mainly used the circular saw guide for cutting the... Read more at Jigs 6: Circular Saw Guide.

Almost the End

Hope you enjoy the Newsletter this month.

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(Ask Dave) (About Dave)

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Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.


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