May 2012

Ultimate Guide to House Framing

A book by John D. Wagner

For the most part, this blog has dealt with books that cover the latter stages of building a home. The books have largely dealt with what happens after the house has been erected, the things done to make it livable. What about the things that come before?  The serious, basic part of home-building includes one fundamental area in which every DIY handyperson should be an expert: framing. This is the science of building the skeleton of a home. If a homeowner wants to do major renovations this is definitely an area in which they will want to be educated; Ultimate Guide to House Framing by John D. Wagner provides just such an education.

Concrete Countertops: Design, Form, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath

A book by Fu-Tung Cheng

Granite countertops are a nice-looking addition to a home, but they are also very expensive. What if there was a another material that could be molded into a refined, elegant form to fit any decor? You may have deduced from the title of this post that there is such a material, and that it is both readily available and considerably less expensive than granite.

Fu-Tung Cheng’s book, Concrete Countertops: Design, Form, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath, provides readers with the knowledge necessary to use concrete to make countertops for their bathrooms and kitchens. The words “concrete countertops” may conjure up the image of a sink surrounded by a sidewalk, but for an idea of what a concrete countertop may look like, you may want to look at the refined beauty of the terrazzo tile. These are made with finished concrete in a process similar to that used for concrete countertops. Terrazzo tiles consist of concrete that has been sanded and buffed to the point where it shines.

How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home

A beginner's guide to home repair and improvement

To get started as a knowledgeable do-it-yourselfer, you will need a basic grounding in what makes your home run. If you have no experience in construction or fixing things yourself, you will need to start somewhere. You will need a book that provides basic information on all the parts of a home that you may need to fix. Where do you find that information? Most books that you will find online assume that you already know what you are doing. For the very inexperienced beginner, there is How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home.

Convert Your Home to Solar Energy

The cost of energy fluctuates wildly, and as a result, it is only natural for a homeowner to seek out alternatives that are more affordable in the long run. Alternative energy sources are also of interest to homeowners who are concerned about pollution of the environment resulting from the use of fossil fuels.

There are few sources of energy more freely available or that meet the definition of “renewable” more than the sun. The technology used in harvesting sunlight has come a long way in recent years, both in terms of efficiency and affordability.

The benefits that may be seen from switching your home’s energy needs to a solar system are what Joseph R. Provey and Everett M. Barber show in their book, Convert Your Home to Solar Energy. The benefits and options available with the installation of such appliances as a solar water heater or a solar-powered heating and air conditioning are explored.