Whether you’re looking for a complete guide to repairs and fix-its in your home or for a cozy read to reassure you of the struggles inherent in home DIY, this list is for you. We here at Parts Warehouse have compiled our eleven favorite books about DIY and home repair.
Together these books offer insight into whole process of home repair: beginning with the idea and initiative to improve our surroundings, leading into the grit of getting down to business improving it, and culminating in the inevitable frustration and ultimate triumph of a job well done.
Beginning with #11, here are our favorite DIY and home improvement books:
- Popular Mechanics Complete Home How-To, Albert Jackson and David Day
Popular Mechanics brings one of the essential guides to home improvement. Whether you’re looking to fix a leaking sink or grout your tile, this handy resource has it all. The full color illustrations and handy key-colored chapters make navigation easy. This is an essential resource for all do-it-yourselfers.
- The Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual, Editors of Family Handyman
Similar to Popular Mechanics, The Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual offers a comprehensive guide to DIY home improvement. In addition to its guide and other resources, this manual offers ideas and projects that will make any house a cleaner, more organized home.
- All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House, David Giffels
Unlike the first two selections in this list, All the Way Home is David Giffels’ memoir set in Akron, Ohio. Giffels gives readers an inside look at his home renovation project. Replete with great humor and all the frustrations a DIYer can encounter, this book is a must-read for anyone planning on renovating a home.
- Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, Mark Frauenfelder
Editor-in-Chief of MAKE magazine, Mark Frauenfelder knows a thing or two about the world of DIY. He takes readers on a journey through a series of projects all of which inspire and stir the creative aspects of offbeat DIY projects.
- The Craftsman, Richard Sennett
Much more academic than the previous entries, Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman is a stirring validation of those who work with their hands. It follows the history of craftsmanship from ancient Rome and explores mankind’s evolving role with the things we make and how those things make us.
How Your House Works is a short guide filled to the brim with diagrams and illustrations that explain how the things in a house work. If you’re left scratching your head at other home how-to guides, then this handy manual should make things clear. Giving readers a deeper understanding of the mechanics of household items, this book is a wonderful guide to home repair.
More general than previous guides in this list, Country Wisdom and Know-How is a rustic manual to reliable advice about keeping house and home. Reading like a Farmer’s Almanac for self-sustained living, this book is a fun and rewarding take on DIYers who prefer the country life.
An Ivy League furniture maker, Peter Korn delves into the meaning and rewards of the creative crafts that can only come from working with your hands. Not a how-to book in the typical sense of the word, this book will nonetheless make you a better craftsman and better equipped to tackle creative DIY projects.
- How to Build and Furnish a Log Cabin: The Easy, Natural Way Using Only Hand Tools and the Woods around You, W. Ben Hunt
Similar to Country Wisdom and Know-How, this classic handbook is a comprehensive guide to building and furnishing a pioneer’s log cabin. Originally published during the Great Depression, W. Ben Hunt’s guide has stood the test of time. A true classic.
- A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder, Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan, the author of Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, recounts the process of planning and building a small building in rural Connecticut. Self-described as an un-handyman, Pollan’s story retells the history of architecture and home building in a gripping and enjoyable read. This book comes highly recommended.
- Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, Matthew B. Crawford
At the number one spot on our list, Shop Class as Soulcraft is a beautifully wrought and endlessly compelling work on the necessary and rewarding nature of working with one’s hands. Crawford follows the manual labor and blue collar trades and comes away with an immense appreciation for the often unnoticed work happening all around us. Both an invocation for self-reliance and a plea to appreciate and reward hard work, Shop Class as Soulcraft captures the mood and spirit of those fortunate enough to work with their hands.
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below or on our website at PartsWarehouse.com!