11 Books On Building A House | All You Need To Know

Owning a house is a dream that all of us have as we settle into our lives. But, building a house is a daunting task. 

So, before embarking on this humongous journey of building your own little home, you need to have a clear understanding of basic building architecture and designs. Once you are aware of different architectural designs, you will have a much better knowledge of the basics of house building.

Based on your research, you can gather the right raw materials and equipment that are needed to build a house from scratch. Thus, it is natural that you will need to invest a lot of time in researching and finding the right architecture books

And, we’re here to help you with finding the best self-building books that can help you build a house. So, without further ado, let us get on with it!

Best Self-Help Books On Building Houses

Choosing the right self-build books that can help you build your own house will require hours of research. You need to find the right book that is easy to comprehend and informational.

The right book will help you to develop a clear and detailed architectural design for your dream house. Moreover, you’ll also have a better idea about the necessary techniques for constructing a house. It can act like a manual and guide you through the entire building process. 

So, we’ll be discussing some of the best self-build books on building a house to help you narrow down your research. 

1. “The Very Efficient Carpenter” By Larry Haun

This book by Larry Haun is regarded very highly among residential carpenters. It was first published on October 1, 1998, by Taunton Press. It provides a step-by-step guideline for all the techniques that you’ll need to frame a basic house. You’ll learn about laying down sills, cutting the rafters, assembling and raising walls, building various types of stairs, and many other activities.

Furthermore, you’ll also learn about the necessary tools, plans, codes, permits, lumber, and materials that are required for building a house. With his four decades of experience as a professional carpenter, Haun has successfully created a detailed guideline to build a house in this book. It is also an easy-to-read and comprehensive book. 

Author(s): Larry Haun | Content Coverage: Carpentry Techniques | Skill Level: Intermediate | Illustrations: Yes | Reference Information: No | Sustainable Design: No | No. of Pages: 224

2. “How To Build Your Dream Home Without Getting Nailed!: Save Your Time, Money, Sanity And Relationships” By The Chubby Builder

As we mentioned earlier, building your own house can be an overwhelming task. It is natural to get confused about the right house plans, home designs, building knowledge, budget, and so on. You can also struggle to find the right builders and contractors who can offer the necessary professional help.

In this context, this book by The Chubby Builder can be a true lifesaver. It will guide you to build your dream house in a budget-friendly manner. It will also help you to find the right contractors without getting cheated. 

The book also offers a basic understanding of different home-building methods and techniques. The Chubby Builder has incorporated his knowledge and professional expertise as a licensed home-builder in this book. 

Author(s): The Chubby Builder | Content Coverage: General Home Building | Skill Level: Beginner | Illustrations: No | Reference Information: No | Sustainable Design: No | No. of Pages: 256

3. “The Complete Visual Guide To Building A House” By John Carroll

Taunton Press is known for publishing high-quality home-building books, and this book from the renowned publisher is no different. It is written by John Carroll, who has been a frequent contributor to Fine Homebuilding Magazine and is an active remodeling contractor. The book also comes with detailed illustrations from the former art director of Fine Homebuilding Magazine, Chuck Lockhart. 

This book will help you to build a house from the foundation to the finishing touches. It will guide you in building the basic structure such as foundations, floors, ceilings, walls, raftered and trussed roofs, and so on. It will also help you in installing doors and windows to make your house habitable. 

Moreover, you’ll learn about the finishing touches, like wall and floor coverings, installing trim and cabinets, hanging interior doors, and even building stairs. The illustrations in the book will also offer a detailed step-by-step visual guide on how to build a house successfully. 

Author(s): John Carroll | Content Coverage: Comprehensive House Construction Guide | Skill Level: Advanced | Illustrations: Yes | Reference Information: Yes | Sustainable Design: No | No. of Pages: 528

4. “What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You: The Essential Guide To Building And Renovating” By Amy Johnston

This book comes from professional renovator and home designer Amy Johnston and discusses the reality of residential home building. Johnston has beautifully discussed the strategies and information that can help you turn your idea and vision of a dream home into a reality. 

The book highlights different home designing methods that are within budget and can be carried out on time. It also covers various design options, budgets, and cost estimates, along with proper instructions to select and supervise contractors and architects. So, the book will guide you through the entire planning and building process. 

It also discusses all the pitfalls you might face and how to avoid them during residential construction. Furthermore, Johnston has included some professional tips that contractors usually don’t tell you, which can help successfully execute your home design. 

Author(s): Amy Johnston | Content Coverage: Renovation and Building Insights | Skill Level: Intermediate | Illustrations: No | Reference Information: Yes | Sustainable Design: No | No. of Pages: 208

5. “The Complete Guide To Contracting Your Home: A Step-By-Step Method For Managing Home Construction” By Kent Lester

Dealing with your contractors and architects can be an overwhelming task, and you’ll require proper knowledge about the financial and legal details associated with home building. This book by Kent Lester can help you to guide your residential construction to a solid start. 

It offers all the legal and financial details regarding home construction in a simple and comprehensive language that is easy for you to understand. So, you can intelligently communicate with builders along with responsibly contracting your own home. It will also guide you to select and deal with suppliers, labor, and subcontractors. 

Moreover, it will walk you through every phase of residential construction, such as foundations, framing, roofing, plumbing, flooring, painting, and so on. You’ll also learn about building codes and inspection so you can manage and supervise the builders with authority and confidence. Hence, it can be a great book to guide you in building your own home. 

Author(s): Kent Lester, Dave McGuerty | Content Coverage: Home Construction Management | Skill Level: Intermediate | Illustrations: No | Reference Information: No | Sustainable Design: No | No. of Pages: 368

6. “The Visual Handbook Of Building And Remodeling” By Charlie Wing

While planning your dream home, you can struggle to understand all the technical information regarding residential construction. This book by Charlie Wing not only translates technical information into layman’s terms but also comes with full-color detailed illustrations and clear diagrams to guide you through the entire process of home construction.

The book is designed for professional builders, contractors, architects, and do-it-yourself homeowners. It will provide you with a detailed guide to every aspect of building and remodeling. Additionally, the full-color drawings will greatly help you to visualize exactly what you want. The book comes with over 1600 such drawings covering every aspect of home building and remodeling. 

Moreover, the book is written in clear and straightforward language that makes it very comprehensive and reader-friendly. You can get a better knowledge of the technicalities related to home designing and construction. You’ll also learn about the various materials and systems that are involved in the process. 

Author(s): Charlie Wing | Content Coverage: Visual Reference for Construction Projects | Skill Level: Intermediate | Illustrations: Yes | Reference Information: Yes | Sustainable Design: No | No. of Pages: 688

7. “The Big Book On Small Home Plans” By Design America Inc.

When it comes to settling in with your family, it is natural for you to dream of a small and cozy home that can offer some much-needed privacy and family time. This book by Design America Inc. comes with more than 360 plans for building a variety of small homes that are near about 1200 square feet. 

It also comes with construction blueprints that are easy to follow, along with material lists for each project. So, whether you’re planning to build a cabin in the countryside or a small cottage by the lake, this book is your ultimate best friend. The DIY guidelines included in it will help you to build your own home without paying chunks of money to private contractors and builders. 

It also includes professional advice on maximizing the living space in your small house with proper decorations, organization, and storage solutions. Thus, it can help you turn your vision of a small and cozy family home into a reality. 

Author(s): Design America Inc. | Content Coverage: Small Home Design | Skill Level: Beginner | Illustrations: Yes | Reference Information: Yes | Sustainable Design: No | No. of Pages: 288

8. “Essential Sustainable Home Design: A Complete Guide To Goals, Options, And The Design Process” By Chris Magwood

With the rising concerns regarding environmental pollution, sustainable building architecture has become a raging trend. But, if you are thinking about building an environment-friendly house, you’re gonna need all the professional help that you can get. This book by Chris Magwood will guide you through all the principles and concepts associated with sustainable architecture. 

The idea of green architecture is relatively new, and until now, there hasn’t been any systematic guide to walk you through the process of building a sustainable home. This book will guide you through the key scientific concepts to help you build an architect designed home that celebrates sustainability. 

Furthermore, it covers the basic ideas regarding building logistics, sustainable material sourcing, and other protocols that’ll help in the proper materialization of your ideas. It will also guide you through creating the most practical pathway to build your dream home. Hence, the book can ensure that your vision for building a sustainable home comes to fruition. 

Author(s): Chris Magwood | Content Coverage: Sustainable Home Design Principles | Skill Level: Intermediate | Illustrations: Yes | Reference Information: Yes | Sustainable Design: Yes | No. of Pages: 463

9. “The New Net Zero: Leading-Edge Design and Construction Of Homes And Buildings For A Renewable Energy Future” By Bill Maclay

When we talk about sustainable and green buildings, energy efficiency becomes a pivotal aspect. The book by sustainable architect Bill Maclay creates an innovative path for designers and builders to explore the concept of net-zero energy in residential construction. 

In a country where traditional buildings consume 40% of the total fossil fuel energy, you can turn over a new leaf by creating a home that supports net-zero energy structures. This book will help you achieve the goal of a net-zero future with its integrated design practices that are not only sustainable but also affordable. 

The book guides you to build a sustainable home that puts renewable energy at its front and center. Moreover, it also offers state-of-the-art information regarding air considerations, water, and vapor barriers, residential net-zero standards, heating and insulation options, and much more. Even as a nonprofessional, you can use this book to seek strategies on suitable net-zero options for your building. 

Author(s): Bill Maclay | Content Coverage: Renewable Energy and Efficient Building | Skill Level: Advanced | Illustrations: Yes | Reference Information: Yes | Sustainable Design: Yes | No. of Pages: N/A

10.“The Complete Guide To Building Your Own Home And Saving Thousands On Your New House” By Corie Richter 

As we all know, building a new house from scratch can be a costly affair. But, not if you decide to build your own home instead of spending thousands of bucks on hiring any general contractor or architect. The book by freelance writer and architecture enthusiast Corle Richter offers detailed guidelines that’ll help you with each phase of the house construction process.

You will learn about building materials and foundations, floors, framing walls, windows, decks, garage doors, and other aspects of the house. The book also covers the most common pitfalls that you might encounter while building your own house, including site selection, sidewalks, stairs, heating and cooling, electrical capacity, and domestic wiring. 

In addition to all this, it details money-saving options, along with professional tips to monitor and supervise the quality of materials and workmanship. Hence, it will allow you to fine-tune the home design and achieve your dream.   

Author(s): Corie Richter | Content Coverage: Home Building and Cost-Saving Strategies | Skill Level: Intermediate | Illustrations: No | Reference Information: No | Sustainable Design: No | No. of Pages: 288

11.“Foundations & Concrete Work” By Editors Of Fine Homebuilding 

This book features the designs and articles of seasoned builders from all across the country that the editors of Fine Homebuilding magazine have carefully curated. So, if you’re planning to build a house that features architectural wonders, this is your book. 

It has more than 375 on-the-job photos and drawings of different home designs that can help you visualize your idea of a dream home. It also comes with 272 pages full of professional advice and tips from some of the best-known building experts in the world. 

Author(s): Editors Of Fine Homebuilding | Content Coverage: Concrete and Foundation Construction | Skill Level: Intermediate | Illustrations: No | Reference Information: Yes | Sustainable Design: No | No. of Pages: 272

Best Books on Building a House Comparison Table

Product Author(s) Content Coverage Skill Level Illustrations Reference Information Sustainable Design No. of Pages
The Very Efficient Carpenter Larry Haun Carpentry Techniques Intermediate Yes No No 224
How To Build Your Dream Home Without Getting Nailed The Chubby Builder General Home Building Beginner No No No 256
The Complete Visual Guide To Building A House John Carroll Comprehensive House Construction Guide Advanced Yes Yes No 528
What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You Amy Johnston Renovation and Building Insights Intermediate No Yes No 208
The Complete Guide To Contracting Your Home Kent Lester, Dave McGuerty Home Construction Management Intermediate No No No 368
The Visual Handbook Of Building And Remodeling Charlie Wing Visual Reference for Construction Projects Intermediate Yes Yes No 688
The Big Book On Small Home Plans Design America Inc. Small Home Design Beginner Yes Yes No 288
Essential Sustainable Home Design Chris Magwood Sustainable Home Design Principles Intermediate Yes Yes Yes 463
The New Net Zero Bill Maclay Renewable Energy and Efficient Building Advanced Yes Yes Yes N/A
The Complete Guide To Building Your Own Home Corie Richter Home Building and Cost-Saving Strategies Intermediate No No No 288
Foundations & Concrete Work Editors Of Fine Homebuilding Concrete and Foundation Construction Intermediate No Yes No 272


After going through the article, we hope you’re feeling a little more comfortable about starting the journey of building your dream home. Based on your individual taste and style, you can choose any architecture book.

We understand choosing the right book that you can link with your individual style and preference can be a bit overwhelming. So, we’ll pick our top favorite self-build books on house building to make it a little easier for you. 

If you’re into sustainable home designs and styles, the books by Chris Magwood or Bill Maclay can really help you to build an environment-friendly home that celebrates energy efficiency. But, if you’re planning to build a small, cozy home that follows the styles of a cottage or cabin, the book by Design America Inc. will be more suitable. 

And, on that note, we’ll be signing off. Take care! 

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