This is an awesome book. I learned so much about how things work around the house, the problems that can arise and what to do to fix them. Every time I open the book I find something interesting to read. The explanations are clear, concise and written in easy-to-understand language that even the most novice do-it-yourself will understand.
The major sections include: tools, equipment, and materials; alterations and repairs; kitchens and bathrooms, decorating and finishing; improving home performance; outdoor alterations and repairs; electrics, plumbing, and heating. Within those sections the more detailed parts cover flooring, home security, communications systems, roofs, landscaping and much, much more. It's all in there.
The book lists a selection of materials, including eco-friendly ones, to use when building or installing new items in the home. It also points out things to consider before starting the project (or during the project) and has lots of side boxes with material lists, tips, and other things you need to know. The problem solver pages feature ways in which to fix problems that can arise in specific areas. These pages have lists of materials needed, photos to show the steps, and tips on what to do. They are well laid out and didn't over complicate things.
My husband is the do-it-yourself guy in our house; I'm just the helper/gopher. I figured I'd get his take on some of the things in the book. I asked him to take a quick peek at a few of the instructions for things he's done before, things he's about to do, and things he hasn't tackled yet. Overall, he really liked the book and spent lots of time flipping through it. As for specific projects, the instructions (including steps, details, information about the materials/project, etc.) were mostly "very good", however a few projects "need a bit more in the way of details/information". Basically it's a good reference book and is really going to come in handy as we continue to work on and improve our house.
The table of context is quite extensive and lists the major sections as well as the projects and topics within each section. Page numbers are supplied for each item. At 21 pages, the index is one of the longest indexes I've ever seen in a book like this. It's awesome. The glossary contains 2 pages of definitions for common terms used in the book. However, for a book this size, I think it's a little weak. I still found it interesting and learned a few new terms. There's also an acknowledgement section that contains a list of resources with websites, which presumably can be used for more information.
Even if you plan on hiring a contractor or other professional to do the work, you can use this book to familiarize yourself with the work so that you can ask intelligent questions and make better decisions. I think it's always good to have a general idea of what the project involves so that you can assure it's done right and can appreciate the work involved. It might even inspire you to try a few of the simpler things yourself to save a bit of money.
Highly recommended. It's an excellent reference book and will no doubt get lots of use in our family.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.
Do It Yourself by Julian Cassel, Peter Parham and Jon Eakes, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2010. ISBN 9781553631194(Hardcover), 544p.