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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy This Book
June 2000
I have been using Mr. Wing's book for about 9 months for remodeling my house. It is an absolutely indispensable source of information about remodeling or rebuilding. You will easily get your money back from the saved time that this book will provide. It also will provide you with guidelines to check against what the contractor(s) you hire tell you...
Published on June 22, 2000 by Ric

versus
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but it is starting falling apart already
This book is filled with a lot of useful information. Anyone who wants to know anything about building in a clear, easy to understand way should get this book. The diagrams are very nicely draw and are good sizes so it is easy to read. I really like it. For content, I give this book 5 stars. But for the way it is made, I give it 2 stars! I have looked through this book...
Published on October 1, 2012 by T. Scott


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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy This Book, June 22, 2000
June 2000
I have been using Mr. Wing's book for about 9 months for remodeling my house. It is an absolutely indispensable source of information about remodeling or rebuilding. You will easily get your money back from the saved time that this book will provide. It also will provide you with guidelines to check against what the contractor(s) you hire tell you they are going to do. Unfortunately, many contractors are not worth spit and many are dishonest. This book will help you to avoid them.
It is not a perfect book. The section on plumbing, while quite good, is minimal for the remodeler. E.g., Do-It-Yourselfers need more information on how to replace 50 year old(i.e., Cast Iron or Concrete) DWV plumbing and the MAJOR pitfalls of Galvanized piping and items like Drum Traps. It also does not have explanations or formulas for calculating flow rates and pressure for water supply lines. It should. One cannot install an irrigation system or even the house water supply without knowing that info in advance.
The electrical section is missing the worksheets for calculating the house loads, proper techniques for rewiring an old house, i.e., where should all those runs go and how to properly install the wire so that nobody can 'accidentally' pull them loose, and could use more diagrams of wiring techinques for lights and switches. The short section on circuit theory is a joke, I think. Mr. Wing must have felt obligated to put Ohms law in the book. If you don't understand circuit theory and the basics of electrical wiring, do NOT use this book to do your wiring - hire a contractor or go to school for a year or two and learn about them.
Mr. Wing tends toward 'hiring a contractor' to get those jobs done. As an engineer, I appreciate the wisdom of the advice, but that does not help the person that is going to do it but has never done it before. In short, you are going to need other references that provide more detail. In other words, the title of the "Only" Guide... is false. It should be the "Best" or "Greatest".
The book is really more of a reference guide and not a "how to" book. It may be all the experienced do-it-yourselfer ever needs, but not the novice. I'm a novice at many of the remodeling tasks but have many years of training and education as an engineer, so this book really helps me a lot. I'm pretty sure that anyone in the remodeling business would find this book to be complete, even though their professional opinions might differ from Mr. Wing's advice in certain sections.
I have to agree that the span tables are overkill for just about anyone because LOCAL codes overrule any data that is in the 50 pages! of Span tables and Truss information. Mr. Wing must have had a good source for Span information.
I should also mention that this book sat on my shelf for many months, unused, while I gathered basic information on remodeling. Once that info was absorbed and I needed more, I opened the book. It has not been closed since then - I can't close it because it has too many notes in it.
It is a great book. Not the "only" book you'll need, but if you don't get it you are going to kick yourself later.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference volume on homebuilding, March 3, 1999
This book is a useful reference in some areas for its target readership, which is 'small builders and do-it-yourselfers', though it seems to me to go too far at times and not far enough at others. The span tables for joists and trusses for live loads and dead loads and several different species of wood strike me as overkill, when any carpenter or lumber salesman or building inspector worthy of the name can tell you a safe span. The same goes for plywood and other related sheathing. There's no need to complicate matters with all the arcane ratings and designations put out by the lumber associations. In a nutshell, plywood is either CDX (rough and resistant to weather) or sanded (smooth and expensive) and comes in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, and 3/4 inch thicknesses.
The section on framing is quite good, with clear illustrations and interesting discussion. The section on plumbing is excellent, covering all aspects in just enough detail; the same goes for the wiring, an area where all too many people fear to venture, though most electrical problems are simple and safe to solve with minimal precautions.
I do dispute Wing's chapter on insulation. He argues for sealing up a house tight as a drum in order to keep every possible BTU inside and hence save on energy bills. I don't think a highly sealed house is a healthy environment, never mind about the many extra hours it would add to a project to seal all the places he suggests. And I was a little puzzled to read that the 'best-performing caulks are, unfortunately, not commonly available'. The choice of caulks, in my experience, is huge, and I've found most of them to perform very well. In fact, I am amazed sometime at the variety and capability of the caulks on the market. I only wish such abundance and competitive pricing existed in other markets such as that of home videos and all-cotton boxer shorts. Puzzling, too, is his inclusion of 'sawdust' in a table of insulation materials. I have seen spaces between studs filled up with sawdust to insulate, but that was on an old cabin in the hills built in the twenties. Does anyone really still use sawdust for insulation?
Finally, I don't think any guide to building materials is complete without a discussion of where to buy things, for this is part and parcel of the do-it-yourselfer experience. A person working with a restricted budget (and who among us is not) will pay between 25% and 400% more for most items at an independent lumberyard or hardware store than at one of the big box retailers such as Home Depot or Builders Square. Thus, it behooves that person to familiarize himself or herself with the standard items in such stores and to design building projects accordingly. Similarly, The Visual Handbook could be improved by further standardization along these lines: excise all mention of sawdust insulation, quadruple-glazed windows, and Polynesian duo pitch trusses. These improvements could well render the Visual Handbook indispensable and suitable for use not only in construction zones but in high schools and colleges as well.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Home building must Have, October 14, 2010
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This review is from: The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
I have dozens of books on home building and this one is the best. It covers the topics in a very straight forward manner with great illustrations. His sections on the thermal envelope, heating , cooling , lighting, and sound are great. These are areas that the average builder does not cover well at all. Anyone building a house should read this book. A home is the largest investment a person makes and reading this book gives you the basic knowledge to see that it is going well. I am an engineer and I used this book while I was the general contractor on my own house.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but it is starting falling apart already, October 1, 2012
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This review is from: The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
This book is filled with a lot of useful information. Anyone who wants to know anything about building in a clear, easy to understand way should get this book. The diagrams are very nicely draw and are good sizes so it is easy to read. I really like it. For content, I give this book 5 stars. But for the way it is made, I give it 2 stars! I have looked through this book every day for the past 2-3 months. The pages are beginning to come loose out of the binding. The cover is too soft, and gets damaged too quickly. It is very disappointing. If this book was a hardcover, I would have no problems with it. I don't think I am handling it roughly either, just turning the pages over and over again. That is what you are supposed to do right? So why is it falling apart? I imagine in a year or two it will be in pieces.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good info on material choices when building your home, June 15, 1998
By A Customer
If you are contemplating building your own home, or if you're having a custom home built, this book can give you basic information on the choices available to you in choosing materials, styles of construction, etc.; and, can supply you with the basic knowledge needed to know if your contractor is being honest with you about the need for some things involved with the construction which the average layman might question - e.g. - why do I need radon protection?, or why is plastic sheeting really necessary under my basement slab? If you are building your own house (like I am) there are tables to guide you in choosing things like glue-lam beam sizes or the pros and cons of various types of kitchen counter tops, or what height should a bathroom lavatory be if your mother in law might move in two years from now and she's in a wheel chair. All in all, a very informative book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make Sure You Order the Newest Edition!! 2009 not 1990!!, September 18, 2011
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This is a great reference as you can tell just by previewing it through the desciption page. My only complaint is that I did not realize I was buying a 21 year old book on building and remodeling! Obviously that's my fault, but only now do I see what I did wrong -- Even though I was looking at the newest edition, when I made my selection for which seller and price to choose, I ended up ordering the 1990 edition by mistake. Lesson learned: Be extra careful to read the publish date even when you are choosing a seller via the item description that shows the edition you want. Still, the information in this book is invaluable and well worth the price. [As long as you get the new one]

Try this:
The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition

To help you understand the purpose of this book; It's not going to walk you through the actual building or renovation process from a physical labor standpoint, rather it will explain the properties of the many building materials, methods, and measurements you will need to know to do almost any residential project. There is a TON of information in this book, and you will certainly learn a lot by reading it. It covers aspects from climate zones and average wind directions to tables describing the charecteristics of everything from wood species and caulks to sources of water vapor and sound transmission classes of walls. It tells you all the detailed stuff you might want/need to know, but can't find out simply by asking the guy at the home improvement store. This is a great source of information that would be a perfect guide during a building/remodeling project once you are already familiar with basic carpentry and have at least some relevant experience. It would also be a good purchase if you just want to better understand the ins and outs of what goes into building and remodeling a home.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything You Will Ever Need!, November 8, 2011
This review is from: The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
I'm a general contractor that often needs to quickly see how things are built in every phase of home building over the past 100 years. This book has been indispensable. If you are looking for a how to guide, this probably isn't it, however if you are looking span tables and great diagrams of how different beams are connected to posts as well as hundreds of other items, this is it! Buy it today, it's only twenty bucks!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No nonsense reference book for DIY, May 7, 2012
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This review is from: The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
I had the 98 version and i just bought this one. it really goes between engineers books and for dummies books. I would just call it the bible of construction reference and have a nice day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Wing does an excellent job illustrating precisely how the entire process works, August 9, 2014
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This review is from: The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
I am a licensed residential builder specializing in remodeling, so I have quite a bit of knowledge of building practices. With that being said, Charlie Wing does an excellent job illustrating precisely how the entire process works. This book is an indispensable tool when showing an employee how to do something, as a picture is easily worth 1000 words. Every individual building trade will benefit from seeing how the house ultimately assembles as a whole, not just each individual trade.

This book, and "The Visual Handbook of Energy Conservation", also by Charlie Wing, are both excellent and well worth the cost.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TOOL NOT TO FIND YOURSELF WITHOUT!, September 3, 1998
By 
Joel Oatten (JOatten@aol.com (Fort Collins, Colorado, United States) - See all my reviews
From the do-it-yourselfer to the professional finish carpenter, all the way into the spectrum of those just starting out with home projects, this book is indespensible! The no nonsense, clear intentions of Charlie Wing in creating a manual for the purpose of aiding in the crucial field of home improvement and construction is a blessing from cover to cover. I work as a construction estimator in Colorado and we have tons of books, pamphlets and manuals, but, Charlies book is the only one you'll find in our offices, shop and vehicles in constant use, always open, coffee stained and constantly quoted. Hats off to attention to detail, from design to walk-thru this is it!
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The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition
The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition by Charles Wing (Paperback - December 8, 2009)
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