on 14 June 2011
I bought my first copy of this book/manual over 15 years ago and decided to update it to the newest version and was not disappointed. This manual covers everything that the p/t or serious DIY person needs to know. I have found it especially useful in areas such as wallpapering, electrics, damp/condensation and plumbing. It has saved me thousands of pounds over the years. The book itself has not changed much - in fact it uses some of the original pictures still but the layout is updated as are some of the building regulations and it includes more energy efficient sections and information about energy-efficiency labelling as well as a section on solar heating! It has many useful tips and even a section on tools and what they are for and how to use them correctly. The section on electricity, for example, explains how to measure electricity (Amps x Volts = Watts) which is useful when doing re-wiring or adding to a circuit so that you do not overload it! It even tells you about the "zones" in a bathroom where only certain electrical appliances and cables can be installed - a great way to be prepared for any builders doing any work and making sure that they are being compliant. I cannot over-emphasise how good this book is and would highly recommend it.
The first thing I'd like to make clear is that I own an earlier edition of this fantastic book; due to it's phenomenal success it has had several editions, mine is 2001 version.
I have chosen to offer a review of this edition because firstly I have had access to this most recent edition and can confirm that there are very few differences of note, a few changes in building/electrical regulations and some aesthetic improvements; and secondly there is more chance of my review being of some use to a prospecive buyer if it is alongside this most recent version.
I will start my review by making a few things clear.
Firstly this book has encouraged me to learn more about, and taught me more about, DIY than anything or anyone in my life.
Secondly, even though I have many books with a great deal being used regularly, no book I own (or have owned) has ever had as much use or suffered as much abuse as this one.
Thirdly, this book has saved me so much money that it has paid for itself literally dozens if not hundreds of times over.
Finally.......... I absolutely love this book!
Lets start with the basics, it's a big book; 552 pages, hardback, heavy and solidly bound (as it will probably need to be!).
The book is basically broken down into the key areas of construction and DIY, for example plumbing, electrics, carpentary, decorating etc; and the key areas of the home, such as living spaces, bathrooms, kitchens, gardens etc.
The book guides the user from the foundation stage up and literally offers the fundamental techniques to build a house from the planning stage (obviously some additional advice and help may be required!).
The book is full of photos and excellently produced illustrations that make the jobs so much easier to understand.
One difference between my earlier edition and this revised, updated and most recent volume is that most (if not all ) of the photographs have been replaced, many new illustrations added, and the books layout and navigation system modernised and improved.
As previously mentioned my edition was published in 2001, and that is more or less when I purchased it; even though I am fully aware of this books level of content, I have purchase additional books on various DIY subjects since. That is because this book ultimately offers an overview, albeit an extremely detailed one, so it is likely that more speialised reading material may be required for some of the more 'complicated' tasks. I have no doubt that at some point in the future I will upgrade my trusty old copy, but it's got a few more years left in it yet I hope!
I could go on describing the various elements in more detail and offering further praise for it's brilliance, but I think I've made my point.
This is a superb book that presents amazing value for money (even at it's RRP of £25.00), it is almost required reading for anyone with more than just a passing interest in DIY. It will ultimately educate, encourage and motivate, inspire and potentially save a great deal of money, and even your life (remember, DIY can be dangerous!).
on 10 August 2013
My backgrond is technical (I'm an engineer) but I have a limited amount of DIY experience. Faced with the prospect of maintaining a house, I wanted to learn more about DIY.
I was a little hesitant about buying a DIY book as I thought I'd just find everything I need online. True, there are many good discussion boards on DIY topics. However, I find that a comprehensive manual is an excellent starting point. Unless you know exactly what you're looking for, searching the web is difficult. And if you don't know very much about the subject, it's hard to assess the quality of online advice.
So I went ahead and bought the Collins guide. When it arrived, I was surprised at the heft of the book. It's larger and heavier than I expected. Printing quality is very good and it's printed in colour throughout. It's filled with a mixture of drawn illustrations and photographs, and both are of excellent quality.
The book is clearly laid out and structured, with plenty of subheadings helpfully printed on page margins. It's very easy to find what you are looking for. The instructions are generally very easy to follow. Compared to, say, a Haynes car service manual, the high quality printing makes it easy to tell exactly what you are looking at.
That said, I would probably not use this as my only source of information. An all-in-one guide is great as a good starting point. However, I tend to cross-check any advise against other sources. This is how I like to use the book: find out the basics about a topic; then, as you know the basics and the vocabulary, go online to confirm the advise and find other opinions. Used like this, it's a fantastic starting point for any DIY project, both as a complete guide for novices and as a reference work for experienced DIYers.