Building Confidence

Volume 13 Issue 6
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

Instead of stair gauges you could clamp a board between the two marks on the square, just so you can slide it along the stringer without having to accurately line up the rise and run every time.

And a Bonus Tip:

Are you looking for a construction term? Checkout our dictionary.

Ask Dave!

Hello, I have some concerns about the box band on the house of my friend being nailed well to the interior joists, how can I insure that my deck won't pull loose from the box band? Should I lag into the interior joist, just to be really safe? Thanks, I want to make this deck a forever deck, it is 8 feet off the ground. Thanks for your help. Emmett

Hi Emmett,

Your box band is not only nailed into the joists, it should be toe-nailed into the wall plate that it is sitting on. Above the box band there is the wall bottom plates which should be nailed into the box band at the top. So you should have 3 points of attachment: the joists, straight in; the band toe-nailed at the bottom to the wall double plate; and in the band at the top from the wall plate above it. To find the joists may be a bit of a trick, you may hit the nails as well.


Hey Dave I wanted to ask about installing a 6' sliding door where a standard exterior door is now. Outside is a porch with a roof over it. What will I need to do for support when I am preparing the rough opening and will a double 2x10 work for a header?

Hi Robert,

If the roof is hung off the wall above the header, it should support itself, without any snow load, etc, while you replace the header. If the roof's ledger is fastened to the existing header, then you need to support the ledger with posts to the deck and remove the fasteners into the header, before removing it. Try to leave any fasteners into the wall to help support the roof and keep it in position. Install the new header, then re-fasten the ledger to the header and remove the temporary posts. I assume that the roof is more than 6' wide.

A double 2x8 is minimum header for a 6' span. No problem with putting in a 2 - 2x10 header, which is usually used in new construction for all the headers of a house 9' and under.


Dave, I need to form concrete steps from one patio slab to a lower patio slab. The width is 18'. First, can that be poured as one continuous tread for each step. if not, how do I separate the spacing, say three, 6' foot widths without having a huge gap (from the form) between each section? Mark

Hi Mark.

Yes, that is a long tread to pour all at once. I would suggest forming it up, as if it was one pour, but put in bulkheads at the 6' and 12' points. Pour the two outside forms one day. Strip the bulkheads the next day and pour the center section. This process gives the concrete a time to shrink naturally and gives it a construction joint in a desirable spot rather than across the tread just anywhere. Also, round over the joint on both sides with an edging trowel to emphasize it rather than trying to hide it. Make sure the ground is compacted well under the concrete.

If you were pouring a shallow pour, such as a sidewalk, you could put in the construction joint after the pour, during the finishing process, by using the edging trowel every 5' or so. The concrete would naturally crack at these "weak" points. For deeper pours, more than 4", it is better to form bulkheads and stop the pour.


Dave: I have to vent a dryer that is not near an outside wall but do have the ability to vent up into the attic...Any suggestions? Rick

Hi Rick,

Up into the attic is not good enough. The vent should go through the roof. The dryer vent introduces a lot of humidity into the attic which causes condensation, moisture, then rot. It is not that hard to go up through the roof. There are roof jacks made for 3" or 4" ducts. Another thing - the duct has to be insulated to prevent the duct itself causing condensation - hot air passing through a cool moist space. You can buy an insulated flexible duct approved for this from your local building supply store.

I've found dryer vents attached with wire or string to roof vents. This is not acceptable!

Hope this helps,


Thanks Dave, It helps. The dryer is used for only about 12 weeks a year tops, [summer camp] and the attic does have operating skylights which I keep open a bit to let the heat out. But you're right and I should vent through the roof. I looked today and did see that if I add an additional 10 feet of straight pipe I could make it to a gable end .... I hate working on roofs and I hate putting holes through them Rick

Hi Rick,

Going through the gable end is probably the best idea, alright. To be technical, most of these dryers have specs suggesting the maximum length of ducting. They should also include info on the equivalent length for a 90 degree elbow in the duct. If you have more than 1 elbow their equivalent lengths are added to the duct length to be sure that the dryer is strong enough to blow the air out the entire length of the vent.


Feature Article of the Month

(taken from our website:

Plumbing and Ventilation 1: Plumbing Rough-in Dimensions and Instructions


I'll give you the usual heights and dimensions for plumbing fixture drains and supply lines for home improvement rough-in. Follow the directions that come with your new plumbing fixtures. Try to get an idea of the plumbing fixtures you want to install before the house framing stage since some plumbing fixtures will need backing to support them. Some of these jobs may be simple, but for more elaborate and complex plumbing jobs you may need to use a knowledgeable and reliable plumber who has the experience to get the job done accurately.

I'm really partial to the plastic piping that can be used for hot and cold water supply lines, rather than the straight copper pipe with solder joints. Less expensive, too. They use copper or brass crimp on fittings so no soldering is needed.

The plumbing rough-in stage is made easy with... Read more at Plumbing and Ventilation 1: Plumbing Rough-in Dimensions and Instructions.

Almost the End

Hope you enjoy the Newsletter this month.

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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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