Helpful Resources

Some helpful sites for information and ideas.

Links to construction-related information sources, manufacturer’s sites, and industry associations.

LEED LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a third-party certification program that ensures a building project is environmentally responsible, profitable, and a healthy place to work.
Build It Green Build It Green is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote healthy, energy- and resource-efficient building practices in California. They offer trusted green building training, tools, technical expertise, and partnership opportunities for professionals and homeowners.
Greening Oakland Homes Greening Oakland Homes is an all volunteer, not for profit organization whose mission is to address global warming and our environment at a local level.

Established in 2009, our goal is to bring together Oakland homeowners with contractors, suppliers and service providers, at neighborhood fairs and even online. We think the time has come to get more practical – and rely on the credibility and recommendations of your neighbors.

EPA Green Building Site The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) is a great resource for more information on green building.
Stopwaste An organization to reduce waste in Alameda County. Information about recycling, green building, and eco-friendly landscaping.


Berkeley Parents Network Thousands of pages of recommendations and advice contributed by members of the Berkeley Parents Network, a parent-to-parent email network for the community. Many busy parents take the time to give their suggestions, wisdom, and experience, archived for all who need it. Please help yourself and use it in the spirit of sharing!
Home Improvement Forum A networking group started by a Berkeley homeowner created to give locals a place to ask and share advice about home improvement projects. Topics include discussion of local resources, recommendations for contractors, building permits, and anything else you can imagine having to do with home improvement.
Cal Alumni Partners A directory of local businesses preferred by the Cal Alumni Association.


California Contractors State License Board The California Contractors State License Board has a comprehensive web site that covers topics from hiring a contractor to legal ramifications. This is worth a visit before you begin a project.
Builder Online The Information Source for the Home Building Industry. Whether you’re a home builder looking for news or business advice, or an architect researching house design ideas, Builder Online has what you need.
Building Online
The only true search engine exclusively devoted to the building and home improvement industry. Access to over 200,000 building industry websites. Supporting building industry professionals with Industry News, New and Interesting Sites, Product News, Trade Shows, and Podcasts.
eplans Online source for home plans on the web. Constantly updated with new plans and resources to help you achieve your dreams, this site is the most comprehensive, easy-to-use source for home plans on the Web.
Design Basics Design Basics Inc. designs and markets plans for single-family homes. The nation’s largest home plan design service to the building industry, offering a variety of home plans as well as associated products and services.
Mold Resources Provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.
Seismic Design Review This link will take you to Simplified Engineering I and II which contain load tables, information for understanding truss layout, design, and configuration, seismic training, and more.
Tools of the Trade Find generator, power tool, hand tool, safety equipment reviews, and more. Dozens of tools tested and rated. New tool recommendations.
Journal of Light Construction
Practical construction information for home builders and remodelers about building materials, products, and business management.
Random Lengths More than 60 years of service reporting prices, analyzing markets and examining issues affecting the industry. The most widely circulated and respected information source for softwood lumber and panels.
Workbench Magazine In every issue of Workbench magazine: 1) accurate, detailed plans you can use to build projects that improve the value of your home 2) expert tips and techniques to guide you through the building process, and 3) in-depth information on the best tools and products to use to complete the job.


Simpson Strong-Tie Designs, engineers, and manufactures structural connectors, anchors, and other products for new construction and remodeling.
Sure Drive USA Distributes a wide variety of construction fasteners, wood working fasteners, specialty tools and deck fastening systems.
GRK Fasteners Established in 1990 to provide patented, quality screws and fasteners for various construction and carpentry applications. All of GRK’s products are unique, featuring at least one patent.
Azek Trimboards The leading brand of cellular pvc offering an unequalled combination of uniformity, durability, workability, and beauty. Available in standard trimboards, beadboard, cornerboard, sheet sizes, and new precision crafted millwork. Ideal for everything from trim to fascia to detailed mouldings, with the look, feel and sound of clear, premium lumber. Available in traditional smooth finish or a reversible rustic, frontier texture.
Tyvek DuPont™ Tyvek® acts like a windbreaker and wrapped over the sheathing and under the exterior siding—cut out around windows and doors and taped securely at the seams—resists air infiltration and water intrusion and makes for a more comfortable, energy-efficient home or building.
Penofin Stain A penetrating oil finish that protects wood better by taking the vital ingredients deep into the wood fibers. Most wood stain products on the market simply coat the surface, trapping moisture beneath the high-solid coating. Delivers the highest rated sun-blockers of any wood stain and contains the best available alkyd resins, more of the finest mildewcides, and their unique penetrating, naturally harvested, Rosewood Oil from Brazil.
Superdeck Stain Professional grade coatings and restoration products for wood and concrete.
Cabot Stain Manufactures the industry’s broadest line of quality interior and exterior wood stains and surface preparation products for both residential and commercial applications. Made using only the finest-grade oils and pigments.
Basilite One of the largest suppliers of concrete masonry products in the Western United States.
Quikrete Serving the concrete, masonry and stucco construction and repair industries by providing reliable, cost effective commercial grade products. Products and projects are supported by their industry- leading technical center, located in Atlanta, GA.
Bosch Power Tools Bosch provides a complete line of corded and cordless power tools and accessories engineered to survive any jobsite and allow professionals to take control of their work.
Milwaukee Power Tools Heavy-duty power tools and accessories that professional users need and demand. Quality is shaped through the design of superior products, components and processes, and is extended through the use of high grade materials and supplies.
Makita Power Tools Makita is one of the world’s largest power tool manufacturers with seven manufacturing facilities globally and a selection of over 350 superior, innovative tools.
Big Foot Saws Originally designed for cutting 2 plates in one cut, for example, 2 2×4’s or 2 2×6’s. Will also cut any 4x material in one pass – will cut your 4x headers, 2x sandwich headers, exposed beams for decks, porches, 4×4 fence post, shape plate and 7 sheets + of 1/2″ plywood with one pass. Saves time and money every time you use it.
Senco Tools Leader in air-powered fastening solutions for use in residential home construction markets;  framing, interior finish and trim carpentry, drywall installation, exterior residential decks, roofing, siding and fencing.
Stabila Tools Stabila levels represent the perfect balance of accuracy and durability, technology and craftsmanship. For over a century, quality tradesmen have trusted Stabila to be accurate 100% of the time.


American Wood Council America’s web site dedicated to bringing you credible up to date information on engineered and traditional wood products. Includes span charts, technical info, construction publications with CAD designs, and more.
American Wood-Preservers Association The American Wood-Preservers’ Association (AWPA) is a non-profit organization which is responsible for promulgating voluntary wood preservation standards.
APA Engineered Wood Association APA – The Engineered Wood Association, a non-profit trade association with 70 years of experience, is the authoritative source for information on engineered wood products and their related construction applications.
International Wood Products Association The International Wood Products Association is the only association in the United States committed to the promotion and enhancement of trade in the imported hardwood and softwood products industry. IWPA provides valuable policy guidance on legislation, regulations, and issues to enhance the sustainability and commercial value of international trade in wood products.
National Association of Home Builders This site is designed for those interested in home building and the industry – it contains resources for both members and consumers.
National Hardwood Lumber Association NHLA is a trade association of companies that produce, sell and use North American hardwood lumber, or provide equipment, supplies or services to the hardwood industry.
Structural Board Association (OSB) For over 25 years, the Structural Board Association (SBA) has been representing Oriented Strand Board (OSB) manufacturers worldwide, providing a variety of research and support services.
Wood Truss Council of
WTCA desires to promote the safe, economic, and structurally sound use of structural building components, thereby increasing their market penetration.