Home improvement

"Bob Vila’s Complete Guide To Remodeling Your Home: Everything You Need To Know About Home Renovation From The #1 Home Improvement Expert." Bob Vila and Hugh Howard, Avon Books, 1999, 335 pages.


One of the most important decisions facing a property owner is the renovation of old structures and buildings. Perhaps no decision is more important than the one of home remodeling. There is a wealth of information available on remodeling everything from a single room to an entire house. Adding to this body of literature is the newest book from author and television personality Bob Vila. Vila and co-author Hugh Howard have written "Bob Vila’s Complete Guide To Remodeling Your Home," a fresh look at the home renovation process. Vila takes the reader through the remodeling process step bystep, including the difficult decision to do-it-yourself or work with a contractor. The layout of the book presents a unique approach to tackling a home improvement project. It is divided into three general categories with three specific chapters in each category.

In Part One, "Looking At Your House," Vila explains how to examine your house to determine what work should be performed. He also has an informative chapter on a problem that is sometimes baffling to the novice renovator: how to determine the architectural style of your home and the impact of that style on the renovation project. A concluding chapter helps the reader better understand the "design-speak" of architects and designers.


In Part Two, "Making Plans," Vila discusses the design process and the best methods for carefully planning your project. Especially important is the idea of "working to put your dream on paper," developing a plan that you can use in your discussions with contractors and builders. This plan allows the homeowner to work out the details of the project, including estimated costs, materials needed, and other budgets and expenses.

In Part Three, "Making Changes," Vila describes the actual work involved in the remodeling process. "Building The Box" addresses such concerns as permits, excavation, foundation, and framing. Other projects in this section include advice on wiring, plumbing, and insulation. A concluding chapter on "Finishing The Job" offers guidance on the final stages of the remodeling process: mechanical installations and finishing the surfaces.




This book is beautifully illustrated throughout and includes many color and black and white photographs. Line drawings accompany the text to support the different topics of discussion and make the projects easier to visualize. There is an easy to use index and a glossary, which is especially helpful for the beginner who does not understand all of the terminology of the remodeling process. This can come in handy when discussing a renovation project with a contractor or architect.

Bob Vila is originally known as the host of the PBS series "This Old House." Since that time he has written numerous books on home building and renovation and currently produces the television series "Bob Vila’s Home Again." Vila has a writing style that is direct and to the point. In reading his books or watching him on television it is obvious that he is passionate about the renovation process. Part of this passion lies in his desire to help people through a difficult process and ensure that the job is done properly. His direct approach is exactly what the reader needs when considering a remodeling project.

This book is recommended for anyone who is considering home remodeling as a do-it-yourself project or through the services of a contractor.

For more information, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call 732-8878.


[Richard Sumrall, Lincoln Public Library District]


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