Urban legend has it that you only need to read six books on a subject to be classed as an ‘expert’. So, here are some books I found interesting which will be useful to get you started. Or feel free to drop me a comment and ask a question.
Old House Handbook: A Practical Guide to Care and Repair, by Roger Hunt and Marianne Suhr. Hardback.
Don’t be deceived, this book may be at home on the coffee table, but it packs a lot of really useful information into its 208 pages. Passed and approved by my favorite ‘Institute’, the guys at SPAB, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
The book teaches you to work with your house, not fight it. Repair not restore or renovate. If you are into minimalistic, white flat surfaces and recessed downlights, this book may be a shock for you, as it educates us to live with a buildings character, not destroy it.
Maintenance of Historic Buildings, A practical Handbookby Jurgen Klemisch.A practical, hands-on guide to the maintenance of your older house. Based on many years of experience, this book teaches you the current best practices related to maintenance and is presented using a straightforward logical format.
In two sections the book deals with maintenance for use by owners and how to conduct condition surveys. The book makes extensive use of helpful checklists, work cards detailing routine cleaning, deep cleaning, inspection, servicing and redecoration; and even spreadsheets to help plan your maintenance.
Following the books recommendations would also (over time) build a useful record about your house, which will be helpful when deciding the timing of future repairs and allow you to assess costs accurately.
The Damp House: A Guide to the Causes and Treatment of Dampness. By Jonathan Hetreed. Hardback.
I thought that I would include this book because as the owner of an older property you will soon come to learn that water or damp is the mortal enemy of your house!
Managing the moisture and water, on, in and around your home is vital in the battle to preserve and protect it. From the patio to the ridge, water is trying to get into your house and cause damage! Read Jonathan’s insights and learn how to keep it at bay.
The Victorian House Manual By Haynes
A no nonsense book that even Conservation Officers like and use! This book covers some of the most common problems found in houses built in this era, along with some of the more common misconceptions about some of the repairs commonly touted as being able to “cure all ills”.
As you would expect from Haynes these books have great photos and easy to understand and follow instructions. A hard to beat primer for anyone owning or thinking of buying a Victorian (or Edwardian for that matter) house.
Using Natural Finishes: Lime and Clay Based Plasters, Renders and Paints – A Step-by-step uide By Adam Weismann
Adam Weismann’s book is more specialized than those above and would suit the hard core enthusiast who wants to have a go at repairing their old walls and ceilings themselves.
Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs comments that it is “A splendid book. A real addition to what’s out there and very complementary to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’ new technical manual on Old Building Repairs”.
Oh, if you were looking for my books (thanks!), then click here… Ian’s books…