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Do-it-yourself Housebuilding Paperback – 13 Jul 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling (13 July 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806904240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806904245
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 20.5 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,499,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is very comprehensive and with excellent descriptions in detail about every single step in DIY housebuilding from start to finish. Unfortunately it only concentrates on the traditional North-American wooden houses. I live in a very earthquake active area, and in this part of the world you have to build in reinforced concrete. However, you definitely learn a lot from reading the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 26 reviews
65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
FULL of details, but clarity often gets lost in them 22 Mar. 2003
By Henry Perkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is about BUILDING a conventional stick-built American house. There's scant attention to design issues. This also isn't the book if you want to construct anything other than a standard stick-built house (no domes, concrete houses, log cabins, & c.), or to incorporate elements like solar heating or super-insulated shells. George Nash assumes that you'll follow the road most travelled.
Given that limitation, the book is just CHOCK FULL of construction details. Just as an example, the chapter on framing a roof goes on for more than 60 pages. IF you can follow it, there's a lot of meat inside. But if you're like me, even with a fair amount of carpentry experience you'll find yourself getting lost on more than one occasion.
There's no list of definitions (lexicon), and carpentry in particular has its own vocabularly. On top of that, Nash freely interchanges synonyms (such as "jack" and "trimmer" -- two terms for the same type of framing stud) in the text. Plus the index refers only to words in the text, and omits those in the MANY illustrations entirely. The end result is that I frequently had to do some time-consuming page flipping to track down a term that had escaped my memory.
The illustrations bear particular attention because of their ability to confound. The (black and white) photographs are described by Nash as "my collection of old negatives, prints, and snapshots". Many of them have poor contrast, so they don't clearly delineate the features that are supposed to be of interest. The line drawings are professional product, with strict attention to proportional representation, but nonetheless frequently do a poor job of illustrating what the text is talking about. This is the case for three reasons: (1) they were created independent of the text, and stitched together by an editor, NOT the author OR illustrator; (2) their strict proportional representation means that important but small details can get lost; and (3) each one was reduced in size (by an editor) to squeeze more onto each page and reduce the total book length. The end result is that the text and illustrations do NOT make a unified or even particularly complementary whole.
If you know what you're trying to accomplish, and have the time to slog through the details, this book will tell you most of what you need to build your own stick-built house.
For less detail, but a FAR superior starting point for creating your own house, buy "The Real Goods INDEPENDENT BUILDER: Designing & Building A House Your Own Way" by Sam Clark. Read Clark's book cover-to-cover, then keep it open to the same subject area as you read "Do-It-Yourself HOUSEBUILDING"; anytime the Nash book confuses you, you can step back and get a clear overview from Clark's excellent work before you dig back into the details of the Nash book. (Even Clark's index is superior. Clark's book is about 500 pages with generouse whitespace; Nash's book is about 700 dense pages. Yet Nash's index is only 3/4 as long as Clark's.)
Overall, George Nash has pumped his tome full of almost all the construction details a do-it-yourself housebuilder could hope to find in one place. But this is NOT a book for beginners.
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Very, very good reference work 14 Nov. 1998
By T. Gabriel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ten years ago, when I worked as a carpenter, I used the then current edition of this book as a reference for details of jobs I worked on. It is a book that anyone with even a passing thought of building their own addition or doing their own remodelling job needs. The completeness of this book in every edition I have seen, is such that anyone reading it could build a complete house from start to finish, cover to cover.
A very, very good book.
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Everything in one book 23 Sept. 2000
By Spud - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If this book's not complete, the seven hundred pages come pretty close to it. It has chapters on everything, starting with selecting a site and house plan and ending with landscaping. There are plenty of drawings, charts and photographs to illustrate the topics. For example there are almost three pages of drawings of various types of electrical boxes and their installation. The dialog is clear and easy to understand. You can learn why you need to do something, not just how to do it.
The chapter about stairs describes rise and run and how to figure out how to build and place stairs. Again there are lots of diagrams showing things like how to measure angles on stringers accurately and how to get the tread level.
Each chapter covers various types of building practices and materials and isn't limited to any particular style. For instance the roofing chapter covers asphalt shingles, wood shingles and shakes, concrete and clay tiles, and even what I was interested in - tin.
Not only are there pictures of how to do things correctly, but there are occasional shots of owner-builder mistakes. It helps to know what not to do as well as what to do.
If it's not covered in this book, there's a bibliography in the back with a section for each chapter.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
the one and only 25 Feb. 2000
By CORY DENT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
when we decided to try and takle this home building adventure, we started with selecting several how to books for help. the only one that seems to be in plain english, and a real step by step process is this book. this is the only book we are using out of the 8 we purchased.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Great reading for the owner-builder. 2 Sept. 1998
By Robert L. Cochran - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must-have and must-study if you want to build your own home. As the earlier reviews indicate, you can build your home with just this book. I think the illustrations are confusing and/or poorly done in places, excellent in others. Some of the illustrations crowd too much line art with too little text onto a page. Sometimes it would be better to see different representations of the same object. Detail photos keyed to illustrations would be helpful too.
Also, be cautious about doing your own electrical and/or plumbing work. Electrical mistakes can burn your home down. The author stresses you must study your local codes backwards and forwards, and that is especially true with electrical wiring.
This is a darn good book. If you want to swing a hammer and put up your own house, read this book along with a copy of your local building code.
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