The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling Info

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216 Ratings






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Reviews for The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling:


March 3, 1999

Excellent reference volume on homebuilding
This book is a useful reference in some areas for its target readership, which is 'small builders and do-it-yourselfers', though it seems to me to go too far at times and not far enough at others. The span tables for joists and trusses for live loads and dead loads and several different species of wood strike me as overkill, when any carpenter or lumber salesman or building inspector worthy of the name can tell you a safe span. The same goes for plywood and other related sheathing. There's no need to complicate matters with all the arcane ratings and designations put out by the lumber associations. In a nutshell, plywood is either CDX (rough and resistant to weather) or sanded (smooth and expensive) and comes in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, and 3/4 inch thicknesses.
The section on framing is quite good, with clear illustrations and interesting discussion. The section on plumbing is excellent, covering all aspects in just enough detail; the same goes for the wiring, an area where all too many people fear to venture, though most electrical problems are simple and safe to solve with minimal precautions.
I do dispute Wing's chapter on insulation. He argues for sealing up a house tight as a drum in order to keep every possible BTU inside and hence save on energy bills. I don't think a highly sealed house is a healthy environment, never mind about the many extra hours it would add to a project to seal all the places he suggests. And I was a little puzzled to read that the 'best-performing caulks are, unfortunately, not commonly available'. The choice of caulks, in my experience, is huge, and I've found most of them to perform very well. In fact, I am amazed sometime at the variety and capability of the caulks on the market. I only wish such abundance and competitive pricing existed in other markets such as that of home videos and all-cotton boxer shorts. Puzzling, too, is his inclusion of 'sawdust' in a table of insulation materials. I have seen spaces between studs filled up with sawdust to insulate, but that was on an old cabin in the hills built in the twenties. Does anyone really still use sawdust for insulation?
Finally, I don't think any guide to building materials is complete without a discussion of where to buy things, for this is part and parcel of the do-it-yourselfer experience. A person working with a restricted budget (and who among us is not) will pay between 25% and 400% more for most items at an independent lumberyard or hardware store than at one of the big box retailers such as Home Depot or Builders Square. Thus, it behooves that person to familiarize himself or herself with the standard items in such stores and to design building projects accordingly. Similarly, The Visual Handbook could be improved by further standardization along these lines: excise all mention of sawdust insulation, quadruple-glazed windows, and Polynesian duo pitch trusses. These improvements could well render the Visual Handbook indispensable and suitable for use not only in construction zones but in high schools and colleges as well.

December 1, 2013

Essential reading for new home builders or upgrading the efficiency in your home
This book is essential reading for anyone considering building a new home, or upgrading the efficiency of an existing one. Charlie covers everything you could possibly want to know about energy efficiency as it relates to residential houses and everything in them from lighting to appliances. Superlatives escape me in trying to describe how wonderfully written and illustrated this book is. He uses language that is clear, simple, direct and pragmatic in perfect harmony with exquisite graphics and crystal-clear charts. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I have been on a personal mission to live as sustainably as practical since 2001 and have done a great many of the things that Charlie suggests in his book so I can speak to their efficacy. Everything he covers is discussed in such clear detail and looked at from so many angles - he literally thought of everything you could possibly encounter in your home that relates to energy conservation.

If everyone took at least a few steps based on reading this book, we would leave the world a much better place. Hopefully many people will choose to read this book before starting on a new home and will end up creating a model of sustainable design and energy conservation. The book is a bargain at any price considering the huge amount of money you can save based on the advice within.

March 13, 2018

Compendium of data and figures on residential construction
It's an impressive compilation of information across a wide range of subjects in the field of residential construction, and so very useful to have all this info in one place. However, there isn't a lot of explanation or commentary, mostly it's a collection of data tables and technical figures. Further, despite all that info, not everything is here, although I can't be too hard on the author, as he covers an awful lot of ground. Still, I was hoping to see some details as well as expert comparisons of certain wall and roof construction techniques used in cold climates to improve insulation, but these structures were not covered at all. I still like the book though and will get value from it.

December 4, 2018

hhmmmm, how to describe it??
don't buy if you are looking for a guide to help you understand, maintain, and/or remodel your house. this book is a mix of things i never knew i needed to know-- how to find the direction your house faces by drawing a grid, the effects of wind psi on glazing, span tables for stressed skin plywood (?), cornice terminology. it would be good for someone who works in construction to brush up on their vocabulary skills, but not so good for the average homeowner. there is some good info on choosing materials, just not how to actually do much.

April 13, 2018

This book has a great level of detail
This book has a great level of detail. Covers a ton of material with just enough detail. Best I have seen so far.

September 28, 2010

Old edition sent
It would have been nice to have known that this was an older edition and not the latest.

January 17, 2019

Hands down the best book out there!!!
This book is outstanding! It’s everything you need to know without everything you don’t need to know, consolidated, organized, and in a visual format that is easily understandable. I researched and previewed for the right book on this topic. Ultimately, I ordered 3 books. I tossed the other two - this is “the book”!! I never write reviews so the fact that I took the time to write a review for this speaks for itself. Fantastic - my hat is off to the author!

February 3, 2019

Kindle Version Missing Illustrations / Diagrams
Short review: Absolutely terrible layout on kindle & missing diagrams.

Long review:

I am not sure if this is the author's fault, but the kindle version of this book is stressful! The layout of the digital version is very confusing - The text would say something like: "In the illustration below, etc etc" and there is no illustration! I skipped few pages to double check and nope, no illustration that explains "Entering A Public Way"

I have read several Kindle books and they usually have a note under an illustration, picture, photo, table that says what is it about - this book doesn't. You are looking at a diagram and you are not sure if the diagram is representing the paragraph before or after it.

January 24, 2019

Amazing book - concise, all-inclusive, and brilliantly organized.
Book is amazing, concise and all-inclusive. The illustrations are top-notch, and it answers so many of the questions we were dealing with as we plan our retirement home.

January 13, 2015

Two Stars
wasted my money. too technical

Jun 06, 2009

This is my favorite reference book for remodeling projects. It is kind of hard to describe the book because it's really unique. In short, it's a collection of loads of miscellaneous information needed to complete any aspect of a remodeling project.

Need to know the typical dimensions of counters, sinks, bedrooms, stairs, wheelchairs, or humans? What about the average wind direction in your area at a particular time of year and how/what to plant to create the most effective windbreak? Maximum This is my favorite reference book for remodeling projects. It is kind of hard to describe the book because it's really unique. In short, it's a collection of loads of miscellaneous information needed to complete any aspect of a remodeling project.

Need to know the typical dimensions of counters, sinks, bedrooms, stairs, wheelchairs, or humans? What about the average wind direction in your area at a particular time of year and how/what to plant to create the most effective windbreak? Maximum spans for various types and dimensions of lumber? Typical appliance wattages? Would you like to know the color temperature of a coated metal halide bulb? The names and dimensions of 40 types of cinder blocks? It's all in there and more. I highly recommend this book to anyone working on a house. It's not the only source of information you need, but it's one you will consistently use throughout your project. ...more

September 26, 2019

Every detail covered
If you're building a home, every detail is covered for your reference in the construction process. Great diagrams, drawings, charts for your planning and reference. Recommend reading the entire book first before you pound your first nail and lay your first batch of concrete. This will give you and excellent overview of modern home construction techniques that will be appropriate for your area. Talk with local contractors and other home owners for their personal input.

May 16, 2018

Great illustrations and simple instructions for just about everything you could ever need to do on your house!
Amazing book! I can't even believe everything this book covers. If you're going to be doing work on your home, especially if you're doing the work yourself, this will be invaluable. The whole thing is really well illustrated and makes major tasks seem very doable.

October 23, 2019

contains info useable in any area of north America
If you are willing to take the time to read this book can give even professionals good information --it goes into almost all phases of building a home and can save you time and money--I am college educated and been a home builder for over 40 years but it's still worth having --all home builders seem to think they are the best but getting a second opinion is useful

June 27, 2018

Incorrect Kindle book
Trying to buy the Kindle version of The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling but it takes me to The Visual Handbook of Energy Conservation instead. Would appreciate if you can update/get this fixed and notify once available.

December 4, 2013

not correct book
Returned as it was the wrong book as it seemed to be missing pages and index badly printed and very bad quality

April 8, 2017

Not great
Not that great

May 17, 2017

There is a lot of good info in this book. I wish it gave more detail but I understand why it doesn't. At 632 pages already, such a book would be unwieldy.

January 7, 2019

Not bad
I have seen better

June 29, 2018

Three Stars
As advertised.

January 27, 2018

Amazing reference book, but little over my needs.
If I were a DIYer, I'd be blowing away by this book! Tons of references on materials to help me with my work. I probably didn't understand the intent of the book... so not blaming the author! Very interesting diagrams to increase my overall knowledge while talking to my architect or watching my building complete my upgrade.

June 4, 2015

Three Stars
Lots of information, but very technical.

January 16, 2015

Three Stars

February 24, 2019

Well illustrated review
Bought this book to replace on that became lost. Very good review of design and construction concepts.

September 27, 2018

Great book
I like the illustrations

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