Great Books for DIY and Home Improvement Projects

You can learn all you need to maintain your house or apartment and do home projects with the many DIY books available.
By Heidi Hunt
March 20, 2008
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Home repair and improvement projects can be fun and faster when you enlist the help of friends and family.
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Knowing how to do simple home improvement projects can save a lot of money and leave you feeling quite satisfied. Have you ever lamented in a moment of fix-it frustration, “Oh, I wish I knew how to fix …” or never started a project because you weren’t sure about the steps? Well, there are a variety of useful, inspiring DIY books available from your local library or bookstore.

Two that stand out are Reader’s Digest’s New Fix-it Yourself Manual, and Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet’s book Dare to Repair: A Do-It-Herself Guide to Fixing (Almost) Anything in the Home.

The Reader’s Digest book promises: “How to repair, clean and maintain anything and everything in and around your home.” And the book delivers through detailed illustrations of how to take apart and reglue a frame chair, repair a faucet, disassemble and clean a toaster, tune up a lawnmower engine, and dozens more simple and complex repair projects. The exploded views throughout the book let you “see” the inner workings of the tools and appliances you are repairing.

Dare to Repair is the ultimate in a simple home maintenance reference. Not just a book for single women, the book tells you what tools you need and walks you through how to change a furnace filter, clean the refrigerator coils, choose a screwdriver and unclog drains — many of the common maintenance tasks we all face, whether we rent an apartment or own our home.

These two books barely scratch the surface of handy how-to/do-it-yourself books. The books mentioned below are full of high-quality color photos and step-by-step instructions to help you through DIY projects, whether you’re a beginner or professional.

Creative Homeowner offers books that will take you through the process of remodeling a kitchen, bathroom, garage or attic; rewiring a house or room; and creating cabinets and shelves. Taunton Press, publishers of Fine Homebuilding  magazine, offers a range of books that cover remodeling a kitchen, installing wood finish and trim work, adding home storage solutions and more.

Have you spent time on Saturday mornings watching Norm do his magic with tools on public television’s This Old House? Norm and his crew have assembled their home remodeling experiences into a number of great DIY books that will help you with home repair, as well as remodeling.

Two well-known DIY companies, Home Depot and Black & Decker, have developed a series of books that can help anyone manage the maze of repairs and honey-do’s that are part and parcel of home ownership.

Every week, on the Do-It-Yourself page of our Web site, you can see new DIY projects and how-to information to inspire and instruct you. In addition, while on this page, click next to the orange hammer icon to view a list of all our Do-it-Yourself–category articles from 37 years of the magazine, such as building an attractive book nook  and painting your house exterior.

The bottom line? Don’t call a professional until you are certain you can’t handle the repair yourself. With good books and a few tools, you can be on your way to finally getting that project done, and finding new DIY adventures.


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