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Renovation 4th Edition: Completely Revised and Updated Hardcover – October 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"a masterpiece" "-- Library Journal""Hands down, the best home renovation book...written in a down-to-earth conversational style that's comprehensive, practical and easy to understand." "--This Old House" "Simply the best book we've seen on the subject." "--Toronto Star" "The most comprehensive single volume on home renovation ever." "--Popular Science"

About the Author

Michael Litchfield, a founding editor of "Fine Homebuilding" magazine, has been renovating homes or writing about them for almost 40 years. He was one of the first technical journalists to go to job sites to gather information from tradespeople. Litchfield's recent title, "In-laws, Outlaws and Granny Flats" was named one of the "10 Best Design Books for 2011."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; 4th ed. edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600854923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600854927
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In the course of writing 14 books on home renovation and launching Fine Homebuilding magazine, I have visited hundreds of job sites across North America. On every site, I've learned something useful and met builders who, though busy, were willing to explain what they were doing, answer my questions, and allow me to photograph them at work.

If you are renovating a house, you will find this first-hand, field-tested information very helpful. It is specific, often ingenious and as complete as I could make it. My most ambitious book--Renovation 4th Edition--is 624 pages long, covers remodeling from planning to finish surfaces and its 1,000 photos were gleaned from 40,000 taken over the years. It's also very readable.

Armed with the wisdom of hundreds of seasoned builders, you can tackle your next renovation project with confidence. As the old saying goes, "Many hands make work light."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd Kahn on December 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a book I wished I'd had when I started building, but it is also one that's extraordinarily useful to more experienced builders. Mike Litchfield was the original editor of Fine Homebuilding; in 1982 he published the first version of Renovation, and it's been updated periodically, this being the latest and 4th edition. Popular Science called it "The most comprehensive single volume on renovation ever" -- totally true.
What differentiates this book from others of its ilk is that the author has gathered all this information in the field, interviewing carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and contractors, finding out what's important, what works, what's new. These guys love to talk about what they do well, and in this sense, the book is one of collective wisdom. It's at the same time highly useful to professionals, but also one that's invaluable for homeowners and people of the fixer-upper persuasion.
The chapter "Planning Your Renovation" is completely new, reflecting the current interest in smaller projects, spending wisely, and energy efficiency. The chapter on wiring covers code changes, and tells you things like how to fish wire, install wireless switches, or replace old incandescent ceiling lights with energy-efficient LEDs.
There's a section on installing IKEA cabinets, tips and instructions on energy retrofits, working with paperless drywall (in wet areas), soundproofing, cutting into a concrete floor, working with PEX plumbing tubing, and installing engineered flooring. I found myself flipping through the book at random, and learning a lot.

Lloyd Kahn, Editor-in Chief, Shelter Publications
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Venus Miller on October 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As the general manager of a green building company, I buy a few building books each year for the company library. The books that the crew likes most tend to get pretty dog-eared and if they are really useful, they disappear altogether. I bought two copies of Renovation 3 last year to replace missing copies, so I am happy to see there is now a 4th Edition. It seems fatter and a lot of the photos are new and the electrical and windows chapters are a lot longer. I hope the crew likes it. But not too much
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sawyer on March 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As someone who's always lived in older houses, I would never be without this book. It is the first place I go when I'm considering a remodeling project. As a one-volume reference, RENOVATION is amazingly complete. The overview of the entire process, combined with step-by-step instructions for specific parts of the project, help in planning everything from design and choosing materials to timing the work schedule. The coherence of the approach offers a "big-picture" view without skimping on the details. And it's obvious that this information came from people who actually know what they're talking about, namely real pros working on real renovations. There's no cutaway when it gets to the hard parts.

The Fourth edition is much heftier than its predecessors, adding new photos and illustrations, expanding the coverage, and updating the solid advice in the previous editions. Everywhere there is an eye toward the latest construction techniques and materials, including green solutions. One thing this book does particularly well is to focus on information that's essential but not necessarily obvious. An example is the sidebar on ordering concrete, which explains not just how to specify the amount needed but even how to time the deliveries. This is exactly the sort of practical, real-world advice needed to get the job done right.

I'm rehabbing a 1980s-era house in Maine, and I find I can do most renovations projects just based on the information in this book, without the need for single-volume specific references on plumbing, etc. Each section on a system, structure, or set of techniques is thorough and comprehensive. However, I also find Litchfield's book WIRING COMPLETE invaluable and highly recommend it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jo Jo on February 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a DIY enthusiast when it comes to home remodeling. There are constantly remodeling projects going on around my fixer upper. I've remodeled 3 properties in the last 10 years. At some point in that 10 year past I bought the 3rd Edition of this title. Just saw there was a 4th Edition and I couldn't wait for it to be delivered to my door. It's my home remodeling manual for when I need to understand the details of the job I'm working on. This book is well illustrated and very descriptive. I turn to it over and over for guidance. The full color photos are so helpful along with the text being well written and easy for someone of any skill level to follow. If you are remodeling or considering a buying a house I'd definitely add this title to your home improvement library. I find it invaluable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By I. Travel on January 14, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent guide, saves a ton of time when you have a question about the right way to do something.

Before getting this book I spent 2 days researching the "right" way to do some electrical work, comparing notes from different websites, reading forum posts about the pros and cons of different approaches. I meticulously derived the best approach and did the electrical work myself.

After I got the book I flipped to the electrical section to compare it's recommendation to what I had found from my extensive research. The book cut through all the BS and clearly explained the right way to do it, it would have taken me 5 minutes to find the answer if I had Renovation 4th Edition instead of 2 days reading every recommendation on the internet.

Highly recommended.
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