Monday, October 28, 2013

Book review: "Lou Manfredini's House Smarts"

"House Smarts" will not suit everyone, but it was just what I needed.

My wife and I were planning a major home remodeling and we had scores of questions about different elements of home construction. I'm not Mr. Fix-It by a long shot, so I felt I needed to gain fundamental knowledge so I could converse with some intelligence with architects and contractors. "House Smarts" fit the bill.

Lou Manfredini takes a holistic approach in this book, giving you a feel for how all the parts of your house plumbing, electrical, structural and so forth work together. It's sort of a "homes for dummies" sort of book, but with a warmer tone, like an older brother giving sage advice.

While with many home maintenance books you pick out particular parts to solve particular problems, I found this book worked well just reading straight through, front to back.

The author gives sound and easily understandable advice on everything from how a wall is built to how your furnace works to why water could be the most dangerous thing in your house. By the end, I knew a "joist" from a "rafter" and had a better understanding of flooring, air conditioning and other elements. The only part that's a little weak is his advice on decorating.

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