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Collins Complete DIY Manual will show you how to perform dozens of home improvement projects and repairs, from painting and decorating, to freezing a section of pipe for maintenance. Collins illustrates each topic with many colorful diagrams and photographs. Although this book is geared more toward homeowners than apartment dwellers, it’s an excellent reference for everyone.

Even with this being a “complete” reference, the material never feels rushed or abandoned. In some sections, this manual will teach you all you need to know to complete a particular repair or project. Other times, it offers a concise but solid introduction that makes it easier to locate more detailed information online or at the library.

Here’s the table of contents from the previous (2006) edition:

  • Planning Ahead
  • Decorating
  • Repairs and Improvements
  • Home Security
  • Infestation, Rot, and Damp
  • Insulation and Ventilation
  • Electricity
  • Plumbing
  • Heating
  • Working Outdoors
  • Tools and Supplies (unfortunately this chapter is too short)
  • Reference and Index

The book is hardcover, about 550 pages, 9″x12″ desk reference sized, and it has a very durable binding.

A huge word of warning – this book is published in the UK, so it doesn’t discuss US rules and regulations, and I don’t expect that they revise the editions sold in the US. Regardless, any DIYer will find this an excellent starting point and reference.

You can get the new edition for less than $40 shipped from most larger bookstores. For a better price, check amazon.co.uk for price drops, or search the web for barnesandnoble.com coupon codes.

Complete DIY Manual [Collins]
Complete DIY Manual [Barnes & Noble]
Via Amazon (0007252609) [What’s This?]


3 Responses to Collins Complete DIY Manual

  1. Alex says:

    How does this book stack up versus the book Renovation?


    Seems to cover the same material to a point, and is written by folks in the US.

  2. To be honest, I’m not quite sure. Looking at their table of contents and browsing a few sample pages of the book through Amazon, it seems that there would be quite a bit of overlap between the two books. I really cannot recommend one book over the other since I have no familiarity with “Renovation.”

    The reason I purchased Collins for myself a year ago was because it was the most elaborate and well written one out of the half a dozen or so books that I was considering.

    However, Renovation is a bit cheaper, and looks pretty good at a glance. In fact, it’s already on my wishlist. There is no such thing as too much information, and it wouldn’t be terrible to own both books even if there is considerable overlap. Worst case scenario, the least liked book can always be offered up to friends of family.


    I still recommend Collins for learning technique and methods, but yes, perhaps Renovation might be better since it might be more relevant in terms of electrical, piping, and other building codes.

  3. aaron says:

    Also, if anyone’s familiar with it, how does it compare to the Reader’s Digest?

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