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Habitat for Humanity How to Build a House Revised & Updated(Habitat for Humanity) Paperback – September 9, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The world-famous volunteer organization Habitat for Humanity now offers its best nuts-and-bolts expertise in an easy-to-follow home construction handbook. Whether the reader contemplates building his or her own house or plans on volunteering to build for others, Habitat for Humanity: How to Build a House delivers on the promise of its title. Step-by-step instructions by author and veteran crew supervisor Larry Haun are provided in plain, simple English, with lots of encouragement and no condescension to beginners. Practically every page contains an extra "helping hand" tip on materials, tools, building codes, or safety precautions. In hundreds of color photographs and black-and-white line drawings, the book follows the construction of a single house--from choosing its location to the final step of installing its exterior door locks. Reassuring personal stories from Habitat volunteers are scattered throughout, along with confidence-inspiring promises from the author such as "building a simple house is not a mystery."

Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat, has written a foreword to this book, and a percentage of the book's proceeds will be donated to the organization to help build more homes. Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976, has built more than 100,000 affordable houses throughout the world. --Judy Fireman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Habitat for Humanity (HFH) has a great reputation for helping poor people build affordable housing; over the last 25 years, it has built over 100,000 homes worldwide (it is the 15th-largest home builder in the country). The beauty of their system is that the home isn't a giveaway; homeowners must work on their home and the homes of others and must pay for their house themselves. HFH simply offers them the necessary assistance. Haun, a carpenter and Habitat volunteer, shows how to build a solid house from the ground up. As might be expected, the methods used by HFH result in a decent, affordable, no-frills home-there are no mini-mansions here. The highly readable text covers a HFH project in Charlotte, NC, from start to finish, including site acquisition and preparation, tools needed, foundations, framing, roofing, windows, interior finishing, household systems, and landscaping. The detailed instructions are enhanced by clear illustrations and photos. This is an excellent guide to home construction with the added bonus that it offers recognition to a great organization. Recommended for all public libraries.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; Revised, Updated ed. edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561589675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561589678
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 106 people found the following review helpful By misterbeets on September 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Not a complete how-to, as doesn't cover excavation, concrete, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical, to say nothing of real estate agents, bankers, builders, or subcontractors, but otherwise very detailed procedures on how to build a simple home yourself (with a few Habitat for Humanity helpers of course). The author describes things he has personally done hundreds of times, so the writing is very clear. But many project photos, and the vast archive of Fine Homebuilding magazine pictures, are used to augment the written procedures, which removes any possible confusion.
On the downside, the houses look like mobile homes, and the building science is a little questionable in places, like using a drywall panel resting on the ceiling joists as an attic access, or suggesting insulation as protection against drafts coming through the framing. Nothing drastic though.
Overall, step-by-step instruction for framing, including windows and doors, asphalt roofing, vinyl siding, drywall, simple decks, interior trim, basic cabinets and painting. Perfect for the complete novice.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By G. Cole on June 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have a basic knowlege of framing and what goes into building a house, but I was very concerned about getting the steps right and I wanted to make sure I knew how things went together. After reading this book I feel I am ready to get started. It takes you step by step through the building process. Everything was very easy to follow and the pictures and drawings were great. After reading it you will know if you have the ability to do this on your own. If you are confused or scared about framing a house after reading this, you really shouldn't try it on your own.
DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK if you want to learn about plumbing or electrical, or if you are building a really complex custom home. This doesn't even really cover two story homes, and barely covers basements. What I found it very useful for is foundations and framing. It is the best one I have seen so far on these subjects. The book goes beyond framing and covers subjects like roofing and sheetrock also. A ton of great info for a small price.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Charles Worton on February 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is easily the best book I've read on this subject. Written by a carpenter with many decades of practical home building experience to share, and profusely illustrated with hundreds of high resolution color photographs, the book is an absolute goldmine of practical information. What I particularly enjoyed was the clarification of carpenters terms - I had always thought that a keel was part of a boat; I now know that the term is also used to refer to a carpenters crayon. The same clarification takes place in hundreds of areas throughout the book, and never in a condescending manner. Cripples, studs, shims, faceplates, heels... all are explained, clearly and intelligently. Also included are innumerable time saving tips, examples of small jigs and tools you can build for yourself that will save you time and effort, and instructions on how to do simple things like check a foundation for squareness, or use a water level properly.
The book is also a wonderful ambassador for Habitat for Humanity. What better way to develop your homebuilding skills, than to volunteer your time helping someone to realize their dreams? They get a home; you get an education; everyone wins.
About the only things I would add to this book would be a couple of pages of sample blueprints to better illustrate the Habitat for Humanity concept of small, sensible homes. (Habitat for Humanity apparently has a wide variety of plans available, but they are not in this book.) I would also have liked a chapter on landscaping; but to be fair, landscaping really does fall beyond the scope of the book.
The general philosophy of the book is to build a sensible home, rather than an ostentateous one; to make it warm, comfortable and functional, rather than glitzy and faddy.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gypsy on March 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have bought and reviewed many books on building your own home. This is so far my favorite! It doesn't go into plumbing, wiring or even evacuation of the land, but what it does cover is clear and concise and I gained a ton of understanding reading this book. I basically knew nothing when I began and have never done any building...this book is a must have addition to your library if you are considering building your own home, not only that it is well illustrated, fun and easy to read.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "airstreamtrader" on January 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
I liked this book and feel I could build a small house after reading it. The information is perfect for someone interested in Habitat for Humanity: you'll instantly be an asset to any building project. The side vignettes give nice background on Habitat's mission and the experiences of volunteer workers. I was also drawn to the common sense building approach throughout: we simplify our lives and save lots of money by building "decent, affordable" homes.
Each page is packed with photos and sidebars. This makes for visual interest, but more diagrams or sketches would have been useful as well. The essential book, which covers the building techniques of this book plus others (such as plumbing, heating, and electrical) remains Nash's Do-It-Yourself Housebuilding.
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