Floors should be of well-dried, carefully selected material. The beams are usually two inches thick and ten inches wide; but if one or two inches be added to each of these dimensions the extra cost will add to the strength of the floor and tend to prevent cracks in ceilings and walls due to vibrations. It is better to have the floor double and to put asbestos paper or salamander between the two layers. The paper serves as fire resisting material as well as to deafen the sounds. The under floor should be nailed diagonally. The baseboards should be set upon the under floor if the floors are double, or tongued into the floor plank if the floors are single, to prevent the unsightly cracks that sometimes appear between the floor and baseboard. The sweeping molding should be convex so as to shed rather than retain dust and moisture.
In general, doors and windows should be of a uniform size and height.
The small leaded or colored glass window may have its place in the dining room or library where light is wanted without the view; and the French windows which open like doors may sometimes be desirable, but usually the ordinary sized windows hung on weights will prove more practicable for the admission of light and better adapted to keep out the storm. The writer was impressed with the limitations of casement windows recently, when she found herself in a bedroom on the first floor with two windows, one opening on the front porch of the house, the other one on the drive way. The only possible way of securing air in the bedroom was by opening a door, as it were, to the public. The problem was complicated by the fact that the host had explained that bears frequently wandered about the region after dark.
If sliding doors are used precautions should be taken to insure their moving easily when so desired. Closet doors should never open in, and bedroom doors should be so hung as to screen rather than reveal the bed. Swinging doors with glass in them to provide against servants running into each other, are desirable in pantries.
It is desirable to have the front door a little larger and heavier than other doors, with perhaps glass in the upper half, but if the glass extends below the upper half, it detracts from the sense of privacy desirable in an outside door.
Provision for warmth is made by a generous use of building paper, back plastering, mineral wool and felt. Nothing is so good a non-conductor as a dead air space, so double walls with air space between are of special value in this respect.
FIRE STOPS BETWEEN STUDS.
It seems almost criminal to be careless in the matter of fire stops. Yet this is so often the case in the ordinary house, often far removed from the help of any fire department. Hollow partitions, open staircases and spaces in side walls from cellar to garret make drafts and flues for carrying flames. These spaces should be closed on each floor by plaster, cement, or metal stops. Metal lath for ceiling, asbestos or mineral wool between the floors, ordinary lime mortar are all helpful in making a "slow burning" house.