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Anyone looking to build their own home as an owner builder needs to be well informed BEFORE building. Here are 19 awesome books available in print and Kindle editions for aspiring home owner builders.
So many people want to build a home of their own without paying a premium to hire a builder. If you feel up to the challenge of acting as your own general contractor or even building the house yourself with your own hands (like we did) you need to be as informed as possible.
It took the two of us nearly eight years of dreaming, two years of intense planning, and two years of actual building to complete our home from scratch.
Most of these books are available in print and Kindle editions. While e-readers can be great for keeping a library small and portable, nothing compares to having actual books. Paper books are great to keep with you at the building site, especially if you don’t have an internet connection.
However, if you want to hoard books and don’t want to tote around a small library to your building site, a Kindle can be great. To each their own!
Here are some of our FAVORITE building reference books for home owner-builders.
19 20 Essential Books for the Home Owner Builder
UPDATE: The Owner-Builder Home Planner
The article used to just contain 19, but since then we’ve added a super important 20th to the roster. The Owner-Builder Home Planner is a comprehensive guide to planning out your home, from design and permitting to finances and organizing your build. It’s designed to help you save tens of thousands of dollars on the construction of your home, not to mention days worth of build time and infinite amounts of your sanity.
It comes with a free 7-day email course to help you make the most of your planner. Every home is different, so it’s designed to help you design and build the house that’s right for you and your family.
If you’re serious about building your own home, this is the book that will walk you through the process from start to finish. Many of the other books in this post will make a great supplement, especially with specific things like code compliance.
Great “General” Books:
These are books that cover the process more generally, help you to plan, and provide crucial insight into the process of building. Builders from all different types of construction can benefit from these books. Whether you’re building with a natural technique like we did or something more conventional, building yourself or hiring it out, there’s a load of information here for you.
Favorites for DIYers:
We built the majority of our home with our own hands, and having some great reference materials around was crucial. These are some of our favorite books for DIYers who feel confident in tackling some of the vital tasks.
This book is getting harder to find and you may only be able to get it used, but it was hands down our favorite for ease of use and ability to quick reference.
Like the wiring book, a very easy to understand quick-reference book, which is exactly what you want on the job site.
We picked these up at one of our local big box stores figuring they’d at least be decent, but we were surprised by how helpful they really were. So much info and easy to follow! These guides became some of our most referenced during the building process. They have others on a wide range of subjects but these three are a great place to start. If you want to go into other facets of building you can find more of their guides here.
Books to Help You Build Green
Even if you aren’t a cordwood builder like us there are plenty of opportunities to design a greener home. Here are some of our favorite books for inspiration.
We were gifted with a LOT of home plan books in our planning years. The plan we ultimately ended up going with was a bit of a combination of plans we found in books with plans we found on Pinterest.
It was good for us to have these print references to make notes on and use throughout the planning phase. Even if you don’t end up using a stock plan for your build, these books are a great way to jumpstart your layout planning.
Looking for more insight as an owner builder? We built our own house from scratch and want to show you how to do it too. Check out these posts for more inspiration: