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The Sunday Telegraph Guide to Looking After Your Property: Everything You Need to Know About Maintaining Your Home Paperback – 10 May 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (10 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333907884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333907887
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,229,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"By far the best guide I've read - I now feel armed with enough knowledge to deal with tradesmen and sort the diamonds from the cowboys." (Amazon)

"The best wedding present anyone could get! This is no ordinary DIY book. Jeff Howell really knows what he is talking about, and the book is full of inside information from the building industry that I just haven't seen anywhere else." (Amazon)

"This should be compulsory reading for all home owners faced with the often difficult task of dealing with tradesmen." (Amazon) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Fully revised and updated guide to buying and maintaining your home by hugely respected author --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was recommended this book as a " family bible" by a relative and I have to agree with their diagnosis. It operates like a trouble-shooter or FAQ but one that is pleasant to read and dip into even when irrelevant (what IS causing those damp patches in the fifteenth-century farmhouse? who the heck owns one of those?!?). What is refreshing is his skeptical attitude towards the building trade and mortgage/surveying industry and his shocking opinions regarding rising damp: it doesn't exist! He tries to approach things from a scientific aspect and for the most part succeeds - building evidence will always struggle with being chiefly anecdotal. I wish I'd read it before I went housebuying but I'm glad I read it before committing myself to grand repairs.
There are criticisms of this book, however. Because, as I said it operates, like a FAQ, it can be repetitive: "use lime mortar, use lime mortar, use lime mortar"; but this assists in it being used as a reference text rather than read straight through. Additionally, there are few diagrams (new edition may be different) and the solutions given are cursory in detail so you will require other texts to fill in the gaps and help you along if you are as fresh to DIY as me.
The only problem I really have is the book is that I feel he tends to be a little too apprehensive about modern materials. But that's a minor (and inexpert) quibble in an outstanding book.
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Format: Paperback
Who was it who said: "A person lacking knowledge of soffit boards is but living their life in the shadows." ?
Possibly me. Mr Howell's books have this effect on even the most casual and ignorant reader. I began reading this book on a crowded Central Line Tube at Oxford Circus, by the time I had reached Holborn I was aware that my fellow passengers were straining to read it over my shoulder. Conversation broke out, opinions flowed, soon we were fast friends. Combining a knowledge of his subject with a dry wit and a passion for uncovering the myths, lies and ignorance that permeate UK house maintenance Jeff Howell's latest book consolidates a deserved reputation for straight talking informed by experience and a pan European knowledge base. Written in the form of readers' questions, followed by Mr Howell's answers, makes this an easy book in which to dip casually or pick a subject. I now know why our cistern is constantly dripping and how to fix it. A first for a spanner-phobic such as myself.
I am reliably told by people of all sexual persuasions that possession of practical skills, a willingness to get out of bed and use them, combined with a pair of rugged overalls renders a man (and some women) deeply, physically attractive. In reading this book I feel I have made a start. This guide has the power to get your radiators balanced and render you irresistible to passing strangers. I was exchanging phone numbers by Shepherds Bush. Buy it, read it and wait for the effect.
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Format: Paperback
I wrote the following in 2005, when I was in the middle of house maintenance, of an 1873 house. I was impressed by its general rationality - principles, not recipes.

Very good book; well written. The author has a degree in nuclear engineering and can handle technical ideas. The format is readers' letters -- they could be you -- introduced with Howell's commentaries. The revised version is overdesigned for my taste - many colours, larger format, thinner. It's indexed. The earlier drawings reappear, but smaller. There are some photos.

He emphatically continues his pro-lime mortar & anti-condenser boiler & dislike of PVC-U campaigns -- house owners should know about these things! Good on assessing beam strengths, removing walls, and other structural matters -- he also refers to and recommends organisations. Good material in passing on wood -- e.g. getting your own floorboards cut and drawbacks of chipboard. Individual chapters on soundproofing, hazards [e.g. asbestos], conservatories, self-build etc. Some interesting points are left undecided or unmentioned; is it easy to move radiators? Are lightning conductors needed? What about wallpaper?

He slags off surveyors & trade organisations & legal weaknesses in a satisfying way.

For me, an annoyance is the removal of the entire section on cellars, perhaps because some accountant noticed that not many people have them. However, many old houses do. Howell is pro-drained membranes [he mentioned Triton & Newlath] as opposed to concrete floor on plastic, which often traps water. The only reason I heard of Howell is a chance chat with a man in B&Q who reads the Sunday Telegraph. It's exasperating to think people may wreck their cellars because this is now omitted.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Full of interesting and useful stuff that every householder should have.

The sections on house insulation are invaluable and are a warning to everyone that things are not what they seem - even government insulation schemes may make your house colder or damper than it was before.

On the building front there are so many traps for the unwary, and this book may well help you to avoid a few.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book was published cheaply in 2007 on poor quality paper. Since then Jeff Howell has advised extensively on every area of home maintenance, especially on new technologies, and I had hoped that this book would include all the results of his research and experience. It didn't and I was disappointed.

The Seller gave me first class service, promptly sending me a postage-paid return address label and crediting my account immediately.
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