The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling 4th Edition

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If you've ever had a question about different types of material that may be installed in homes or the dimensions required by Code in most installations - you'll find the answers quickly and easily in this 678 page illustrated encyclopedia.

There are charts, dimensions, and illustrations on design, site and climate, masonry, foundations, wood, framing, sheathing, siding, roofing, windows and doors, plumbing, wiring, the thermal envelope, floors, walls and ceilings, storage, heating, cooling, passive solar, lighting, sound, fasteners, decks, sustainable building, measuring and finance.

Weight 3.8600
ISBN 978-1-63186-879-5
Page Count 678
Author Charlie Wing
Publisher Taunton Press
Dimensions 8-1/2 x 11

If you've ever had a question about different types of material that may be installed in homes or the dimensions required by Code in most installations - you'll find the answers quickly and easily in this 678 page illustrated encyclopedia.

This enlarged, updated, and expanded fourth edition of the classic reference on home systems and materials includes the latest Code information, full-color drawings, and an entire chapter on passive solar. The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling is an established standard reference for builders, contractors, and architects. The 1,600 full-color drawings provide a clear look at every aspect of home construction and systems, enabling the reader to visualize exactly how to tackle any building project or problem. All the information is presented in straightforward language anyone can understand.

There are charts, dimensions, and illustrations on design, site and climate, masonry, foundations, wood, framing, sheathing, siding, roofing, windows and doors, plumbing, wiring, the thermal envelope, floors, walls and ceilings, storage, heating, cooling, passive solar, lighting, sound, fasteners, decks, sustainable building, measuring and finance.

This is probably one of the most complete references to home construction in existence today.

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You're reviewing: The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling 4th Edition

1. Design, 1
Human Dimensions
Window, Closet, and Passage Dimensions
Kitchen Design Guidelines
Bath Design Guidelines
Stair Design
Meet the Code

2. Site and Climate, 35
Plot Plans
Soil Properties
Site Orientation
Determining Elevations
Climate Data
Plant Hardiness

3. Masonry, 53
CMU Wall Construction
CM Sizes
Concrete Pavers
Brick Sizes
Brick Wall Positions and Patterns
Brick Masonry Cavity Walls
Brick Veneer/Steel Stud Walls
Brick Veneer/Wood Stud Walls
Brick Wall Heights
Estimating Brick and Morter
Brick Pavement
Stone Veneer Construction
Meet the Code

4. Foundations, 77
Foundation Design
Full Basement
Crawl Spaces
Slabs on Grade
Moisture Control
Termite Control
Radon Control
Meet the Code

5. Wood, 105
The Nature of Wood
Defects and Grading
Properties of North American Species
Moisture and Shrinkage
Standard Lumber Sizes
Pressure- Treated Wood

6. Framing, 119
Building Loads
Span Tables jut U.S. Species
Span Tables for Canadian Species
Wood Trusses
Plank Floors and Roofs
Glulam Beams
Panel and Lumber Beams (Box Beams)
Steel Beams
Timber Framing
Balloon Framing
Platform Framing
Advanced (OVE) Framing
Meet the Code

7. Sheathing, 199
APA Sheathing Panels
APA Subflooring
APA Underlayment
APA Sturd-1-Floor
APA Glued Floor
APA Wall Sheathing
APA Roof Sheathing
Wall Bracing

8. Siding, 219
Hardboard Lap
Cedar Shingles
Horizontal Wood
Vertical Wood
Meet the Code

9. Roofing, 255
Roofing Terms
Roofing Materials
EPDM (Rubber Membrane)
Roll Roofing,
Double Coverage Roll Roofing
Asphalt Shingles
Cedar Shingles
Cedar Shakes
Metal Panel
Sanding Seam
Meet the Code

10. Windows and Doors, 287
About Windows
Window Installation
Window Energy Performance
Site-Built Windows
About Doors
Door Installation
Bulkhead Doors
Meet the Code

11. Plumbing 317
Water Wells and Pumps
Supply Piping
Supply Pipe Sizing
Copper Supply Fittings
PVC Supply Fittings
Polyethylene Supply Fittings
PEX Supply Fittings
Drain, Waste, Vent (DMV) System
Sizing Drainpipe
Running Drainpipe
Plastic DWV Fittings
Roughing-ln Dimensions
Water Treatment
Meet the Code

12. Wiring, 351
Electrical Circuit
Service Drops
Required Circuits
Kitchen Circuits
Bathroom Circuits
Load Calculations
Wire and Cable
Electrical Boxes
Running Cable
Running Conduit
Wiring Switches, Receptacles, and Lights
Meet the Code

13. Insulation and R-Value, 399
Insulation and R-Value
Heat Transfer and R-Value
R-Values of Insulation Products
R-Values of Surface and Air-Spaces
R-Values of Building Materials
Calculating Effective R-Values
Effective R-Values of Typical Constructions

14. Best Practice Insulating, 427
Where to Insulate: The Thermal Envelope
Insulating Attics and Cathedral Ceilings
Insulating Walls
Insulating Slab Foundations
Insulating Crawl Spaces
Insulating Full Basements
Retrofitting Full Basements

15. Air-Sealing Existing Buildings, 469
Air-Sealing Existing Buildings
A Field Guide to Air Leaks
Attic Air Leaks
Basement Air Leaks
Interior Air Leaks
Exterior Air Leaks

16. Floors, Walls, and Ceilings, 483
Resilient Flooring
Ceramic Tile
Tile Setting Materials
Standard Tile Sizes
Tile Patterns
Hardwood Flooring
Gypsum Wallboard
Wood Paneling
Suspended Ceilings
Exterior Finishes
Interior Paints
Diagnosing Paint Failures
Wood Moldings
Built-Up Wood Moldings

17. Storage, 513
Bath Cabinetry
Kitchen Cabinets
Finding Storage
Adding a Closet
Organizing Closets

18. Heating 525
Building Hear Loads
Heating Climate Data
Heat Sources
Distribution Svstems
Fuels and Efficiencies
Standard Fireplaces
Rumford Fireplaces
Wood Stove Installation
Stovepipe Installation
Metal Prefabricated Chimneys
Meet the Code

19. Cooling, 553
Cooling and Comfort
Attic Radiant Barriers
Solar Radiation Charts
Window Shading Strategies
Evaporative Cooling
Air Conditioning

20. Passive Solar, 577
Passive Solar Possibilities
Determining Solar Access
Solar Path Charts
Glazing Orientation and Tilt
Summer Shading
Heat Storage
A Passive Solar Design Procedure
Thermal Mass Patterns

21. Lighting, 593
Light and Seeing
Light Sources
Lamp Shapes and Base
Residential Lighting Guidelines
Meet the Code

22. Sound, 607
Quality of Sound
Noise-Reduction Coefficients
Absorption and Reverberation
Transmission of Sound
STCs of Walls
STCs and IICs of Floor-Ceilings

23. Fasteners, 615
Nailing Schedule for Light Construction
Estimating Nail Requirement
Holding Power of Common Nails
Wood Screws
Holding Power of Wood Screws
Screws and Bolts
Metal framing Connectors

24. Decks and Railings, 637
Layout and Foundation
Level Changes
Decking Patterns
Rails and Guards
Design Examples

25. Measuring and Finance, 649
Home Mortgage Types
Interest on Loans
Geometric Figures
Unit Conversions Factors

Abbreviations, 658
Glossary, 660
Sources, 668
Index, 673


Twenty years ago I proposed to Rodale Press a "visual handbook for small builders and do-it-yourselfers." In my opinion, I told them, such a book could sell 50,000 copies and might, with periodic revision and addition, enjoy an indefinitely long life.

"Let's just see how the first edition sells," was their dubious but predictable reply. (They later confided that they expected the book to sell only 5,000 to 10,000 copies.)

It turned out my gut instinct was right. In fact, I was so right I was almost wrong! The first edition sold not 50,000 but 200,000 copies and, at age seven, was showing little sign of slowing.

Eight years later Reader's Digest purchased the book and issued a second edition with an additional 100 pages containing:

  • span tables for U.S. and Canadian lumber
  • checklists of building, code requirements
  • a catalog of metal framing, aids.
  • design standards for access.
  • three times as many framing details

The Reader's Digest edition sold an additional 100,000 copies. In reading the Amazon reviews, discovered that, in addition to small builders and do-it-yourselfers, people who were finding the book useful included home inspectors, energy auditors, codes officials, and vocational instructors.

Ten years later I am thrilled that Taunton Press�arguably the foremost publisher of building books�has agreed to publish a third edition, this time in large format and full color. In addition to bringing the previous content up to date, the 56-percent-larger third edition adds information on:

  • sustainable ("green") building.

  • storage options.

  • the International Residential Code

But let me go back and tell you why I felt compelled to create the handbook in the first place.

"Building a house requires thousands of decisions based on a million bits of information." This was the opening line of my lectures to thousands of potential owner/builders attending my three-week courses at Shelter Institute and, later, Cornerstones.

Teaching that course, and a precursor "physics of the house" seminar at Bowdoin College, taught me how to convey technical building information to people who are not professional builders. I put that training to work in five previous books, which covered every aspect of building, from retrofitting insulation to a drafty old house in House Warming, to siting, planning, and constructing a house from the ground up in Breaking New Ground.

But still, something was missing. I'd written all had to say about designing and constructing a house, but I hadn't thoroughly covered the topic of what to construct a house of. What's more, it didn't seem to me that anyone else had, either. There was, and is, a plethora of technical literature for architects and structural engineers, but there was no thorough guide for people without formal technical training. The fact is, the majority of people who actually lay their hands on building materials, tradesmen, owner/builders, and do-it-vourselfers are not trained architects or engineers. These people needed a book just as thorough as the ones the architects use but that also offered explanations, formulas, and charts that would make the information accessible. The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, I believed, would be that book.

Naturally, in my previous books, I discussed materials in the context of how to install them, as have most other how-to writers. But the Visual Handbook focuses on the materials themselves. Its purpose is to enable one to decide how much of which material of what size should he used for any given house on any given site. Some how-to-install information is included because the way materials are used is often relevant in deciding which materials to use. However, the how-to is incidental to the what-to, instead of the other way around. For example, the chapter on siding discusses the pros and cons of each type of siding, from clapboards to vinyl, so you can make an informed decision about which is best for your particular site and climate. But it also illustrates construction details, to help you decide which will work best on your particular house.

I could see right away that this had to he a highly visual book. Nowhere is The saving, "A picture (or drawing, in this case) is worth a thousand words," more true. Further, there is no way words could describe, for example, every standard molding profile. It is possible, however, to show for each the full-scale cross-section.

Three things have made it possible for me to create this visual handbook. The first is software for illustrating (Adobe Illustrator) and desktop publishing (Quark and InDesign) that enabled me to create illustrations without training and camera-ready pages without being a printer. The second is that I am an information pack rat, a looter of lists, a burgler of booklets, a swiper of spec sheets. The third is the willingness of manufacturers and trade associations to let me adapt their diverse materials to a uniform format.

In the accretion of building information I am insatiable. No builder, no hardware clerk, no sawyer in the backwoods, not even architects are spared my quest. I raid their files, their bookshelves, and their minds. Over the years I have accumulated the best of what they found useful in the actual building of houses: tables, lists, government pamphlets, manufacturers literature, building-trade association publications, even instructions from a package of asphalt shingles. And now there is the Internet and Google! Now I can sit at my computer and search for and download information that used to require road trips and photocopies.

The result is a hook that should be useful to anyone who puts his or her hands on building materials or hires others who do so. If you hire a builder, you won't he limited to his preferences but will be able to take a more active role in deciding what materials to use. If you are an owner/builder, this book should complement the how-to books containing step-by-step instructions. And if you are a tradesman, I hope that you will keep a copy behind the seat of your truck for case reference.

By the way, the opening line of my owner/builder course proved to be a bit off the mark. According to the computer, The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling now contains 59.7 million bytes of information.

Charlie Wing
Bath, Maine

The 4th edition of a best seller, The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling is the most complete and detailed guide available for home building and renovation projects.

  • Home Design

  • Site and Climate

  • Masonry

  • Foundations

  • Wood

  • Framing

  • Sheathing

  • Siding

  • Roofing

  • Windows and Doors

  • Plumbing

  • Wiring

  • Thermal Envelope

  • Storage Solutions

  • Floors, Walls, Ceilings

  • Heating

  • Cooling

  • Passive Solar Heating

  • Lighting

  • Sound

  • Fasteners

  • Decks

  • Sustainable Building

  • Measuring and Finance

CHARLIE WING has written 17 books on home construction, remodeling, and repair. A PhD graduate of MIT, he was co-founder of the Shelter Institute and Cornerstones owner-builder school, technical editor of Smart Homeowner, creator and host of the PBS series Housewarming with Charlie Wing, and he has appeared on more than 400 radio and television shows, including the Discovery Channel and NBC's Today Show.