A few months ago I checked out gardening books to settle on those that are best for my local area. Now it’s time to buy a home maintenance book to help solve those simple problems without having to call Dad, search the internet for a reliable solution, or call a handyman. I borrowed five potential books from the library. Here are my reviews for all of them.
Home Maintenance for Dummies
Just about everyone I know owns at least one Dummies book. They really are well-written and informative, despite the title. This book is no different. It’s quite comprehensive and includes both pretty big fixes that you can DIY as well as tips for annual maintenance and inspections that will help you avoid costly repair bills. It includes EVERYTHING in your home, from the foundation to the roof and everything in between. However, I do wish it had more step-by-step instructions and illustrations. It’s very text-heavy.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Simple Home Repair
This competitor to the Dummies series is equally well-written. It has more illustrations and step-by-step instructions, but it’s not quite as comprehensive. It also covers from foundation to ceiling, but I couldn’t find some small to medium fix-it issues that I found in the Dummies guide. For example, I have a draft in my French door sidelights. The Dummies guide told me how to fix door drafts, but the Idiots guide doesn’t. On the other hand, the Idiot’s guide shows how to fix a bent track of a sliding door, but the Dummies guide doesn’t even mention it.
The Reader’s Digest Do-It-Yourself Guide to Preventing Costly Home Repairs
Like the title implies, this book is geared towards saving you money. It tells you just how much you can expect to save by making simple home repairs or maintenance. It was published last year, so the figures are still fairly accurate. You could walk through your house with this book and check everything listed using the Care and Maintenance tips. It also provides quick fixes, but most of the items are relatively minor. There aren’t any mid-size or large jobs in this book. For example, it simply recommends installing weather-stripping, but doesn’t offer details.
Knack Home Repair and Maintenance
This book is organized into projects, like repairing a chipped finish or installing a pet door. It has very detailed pictures and instructions for most of the projects you might attempt around your house, including in your yard. Most projects get a two-page spread with 3-4 pictures and tips. The weather-stripping section is the most detailed of all the books.
The First-Time Homeowner’s Survival Guide
This book covers some repairs, but it’s mostly geared toward helping new homeowners figure out how things work. It provides advice for planning renovations, hiring contractors, paying taxes, and buying insurance. In some ways, it feels written for flippers rather than long-term owners.
If I were only buying one book, I’d personally get the Dummies guide, but the Idiot’s guide and Knack book are strong runners-up. I’d recommend checking all three out of your library and choosing the one that’s best for your home and needs. I like the Reader’s Digest book, but I want something more detailed and more hands-on for my home repair manual.