Between home improvement projects, the true do-it-yourselfer loves nothing more than curling up with a good book on how to make their homes even better. Here are some great gift ideas that are sure to please the readers on your holiday list this year — or maybe hints you’d like to drop for yourself:

“The Complete Photo Guide to Home Improvement” (Black & Decker, Creative Publishing, suggested retail $34.95): This is a very well-presented book that is also very easy to understand. It includes step-by-step instructions for some 250 projects and is very well illustrated with 1,700 color photos and illustrations. The book covers basic carpentry, plumbing and wiring, along with a wealth of ideas for specific rooms of the house.

“Finish Carpenter’s Manual” (Jim Tolpin, Craftsman Book Company, suggested retail $22.50): Although geared for the professional finish carpenter, this book has a wealth of information for anyone interested in acquiring or improving their skills. It is filled with great tips and techniques for everything from choosing tools and materials to trimming outdoors, windows, fireplaces, walls, ceilings and even finish flooring.

“The Fence Bible” (Jeff Beneke, Workman Publishing Company, suggested retail $34.95 hardcover, $24.95 paperback): As the book says, “A fence is more than a barrier,” and the author proves his point by giving readers one of the most comprehensive fence design and construction books available anywhere. The book covers virtually every conceivable style and material used in fence building, and does it with easy to understand, step-by-step illustrated instructions.

“Renovation: A Complete Guide,” 3rd Edition (Michael W. Litchfield, Taunton Press, suggested retail $39.95): Love those old homes? Here is an absolute masterpiece of a book on how to restore them, from basement to roof and everything between. Almost 600 pages in length with some 1,000 illustrations, “Renovation” will help you acquire the tools, techniques and the confidence to tackle just about anything your older house can throw at you.

“Popular Mechanics Weatherproofing & Insulation” (Albert Jackson and David Day, Hearst Books, $9.95): With the cold weather here and energy prices climbing, it makes sense to make your home as warm, weather-tight, and energy efficient as possible, and this is a great little book to help you do just that. With hundreds of color photos, illustrations and diagrams, you’ll see how to insulate an attic, seal heat-robbing gaps, install proper ventilation, and much more.

“Design Ideas for Flooring” (Joseph Provey and Roy Barnhart, Creative Homeowner Press, suggested retail $17.95): What covers the floors of our homes plays a large and important role in how the house looks and feels. There are an overwhelming number of choices in flooring today, and “Design Ideas for Flooring” will help you sort them out. With 450 color photographs to get your imagination going, the book offers a very comprehensive guide to materials, style and products to sort virtually any taste.

“Residential Framing” (William P. Spence, Sterling Publishing Company, suggested retail $21.95): Proper framing is the basis for any well-constructed home, and here’s a comprehensive book that covers just about all you need to know. You’ll find sections on today’s building materials and framing tools, safety requirements and every aspect of how a home is framed. Also included is a section on post and beam framing, as well as how to install windows, doors and siding.

“Do It Yourself Home Improvement: Step by Step Guide to Home Improvement” (Julian Cassell, Peter Parham, and Theresa Coleman, DK Publishing, suggested retail $35.00): This book could easily become your favorite “go-to” guide for home improvement projects of every size and type. It’s jam-packed with detailed step-by-step visual instructions in a very easy to understand style, with a total of over 3,500 images! This is a great book for guiding you or your favorite do-it-yourselfer through virtually every small fix-it job or major construction project that’s likely to come up.

“Weekend Bathroom Makeovers from DIY Network’s Bathroom Renovations” (Amy Matthews and Bridget Biscotti Bradley, Sterling Publishing Company, suggested retail $17.95): This is a fun and non-intimidating book for anyone who wants to put a fresh face on their bathroom without undertaking a major remodeling. Adapted from the hit TV series, there’s a wealth of practical information as well as 10 before, during and after projects to get your imagination working in high gear.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at

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