Richard M. Scutella
Quite simply the best house building manual on the market today.
This fully illustrated guide will allow you to Plan, Contract and build your very own home.
Over 800 pages long, it covers everything from start to finnish. And i mean everything.
Over twenty years have passed since the editors at McGraw-Hill
received the manuscript for the first edition of this book. Back
then, they measured it up and declared it was more than they had
bargained for—both in words and illustrations. So everyone looked at
it, hoping to find chapters, or parts of chapters, that could be cut. After
a while, it became evident that the book would be more helpful to its
readers as it stood. So nothing was cut and the publisher kindly agreed
to put out a longer and more profusely illustrated version than
In a sense, the same thing happened with the second edition,
which came out in 1991. Except for a few minor changes, little of the
original material was deleted, because almost everything still held
true. At that time, additional information was included in many chapters.
The book became thicker, packed with new material.
The third edition, published in 1999, received a general overhaul,
with numerous chapter upgrades and many new sections. Manufacturers
continued to get better at what they do—designing and making
innovative home products. Outdated information was stricken from
the previous edition, replaced by discussions about better components
and construction techniques that gave homebuilders more options
than ever before.
That leads us to this, the fourth edition. Like the others, this edition
also contains more information than the publisher expected. But we
couldn’t help it. Current conditions demanded a concentrated focus
on energy conservation. Why? Have you fueled up your car, van or
truck lately? If so, remember when paying $1.50 per gallon unleaded
seemed like robbery? Today that would be a bargain. The sad truth is
that fuel costs—including home heating and cooling prices—are likely
to keep rising. They may back down a bit, for a while, but competition
for raw materials and energy is heating up as countries such as China,
India, and others industrialize to supply modern living conditions and
goods to their citizens. To help ease the pain of rising energy prices,
the fourth edition of this book features practical information on construction
details that will save homeowners energy and money. Lots of
energy and money. Realistic, cost-effective ways of including energysaving
components in your new home are discussed in practically
every chapter of this edition.
But saving energy and money are not the only reasons to take charge
of your homebuilding process. We live—now, more so than ever—in an
age of information. We know more about practically everything.
Motion pictures and television, supported by the print media, bring
video and audio segments of war, ethnic atrocities, natural disasters,
and political unrest into our very living rooms. Cable and satellite television
carry 24-hour programming on nearly every imaginable subject.
You want round the clock coverage of the financial markets worldwide?
How about an unending succession of cooking shows? You’d
like health, medicine, and wellness? Or fishing, golf, professional
wrestling, country western music, rock videos? Do you like romance
movies? Science fiction? Home shopping networks? Travel channels?
Court TV? News headlines? History? Cartoons? Science? Weather? You
name it. There are channels that focus on nothing but home and garden.
Watch a side-to-side split-level from planning stage to move-in
condition. The Internet, which has literally come of age since the first
edition of this book, can quickly tap what seems to be an endless supply
of details about any topic. Personal computers, ever more powerful
and accessible, run CD-ROMs containing enormous amounts of information,
which will help you select from various products to consider
for your home. The Internet will also supply information on products
available from numerous manufacturers. In short, there’s an incredible
amount of information out there, which can be had for the asking.
To acquire such a cosmopolitan array of information, we’ve had to
trade off much of the basic knowledge that our fathers and their fathers
and grandfathers had once known. Granted, they had learned such
knowledge not by choice, but by necessity. A few hundred years ago,
for example, people grew their own food, doctored their own sick, and
built their own homes—with their own hands. They took care of all
their basic needs by themselves.