I though it would be helpful for my readers if I created an old house resources page full of the things I use the most while restoring and researching old homes. This page is mostly books and tools, some are products that I’ve created and others are things I use almost every day and find invaluable.
I’ll continually be adding things to this page so it is a good idea to bookmark it and come back often.
Each of these resources comprehensively covers the subjects you need most when living in an old house. So for those of you who want more…more can be found right here!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
My Most Recommended Books
Reading great books is the quickest way to get better at anything. Learn from those who have gone before you and you’ll get a massive head start. These are the best books I’ve read concerning old houses.
Living in the Past – This is my full-length book about the why and how-to of old home repair. I have read dozens of books about restoring old homes and there were two things that I always felt were missing. First, the “Why.” Why were things built the way they were and why did they change? Secondly, I wanted a book that walks you thru the most common repairs needed for a historic house on a level that makes sense to a DIYer and not just a structural engineer. This book is the answer to both of those!
Working Windows – This a fantastic book that covers all the ins and outs of repairing and restoring historic wood windows. Terry Meany has decades of experience and discusses everything from weatherstripping to reglazing. You’ll learn a lot from this book and I keep it on my bookshelf as a reference when I run into something new. Chances are it’s talked about in this book.
The Craftsman’s Guide: Restoring Steel Windows – Midcentury modern houses are pretty popular right now and I couldn’t find a single book about how to restore the old steel casement windows on all of them. So, I wrote one! This guide is filed with step-by-step instructions and tons of pictures to teach you everything you need to know about restoring steel windows. I outline best practices for lasting repairs, discuss materials, and warn of potential issues to avoid. This is THE guide for restoring historic steel windows.
The Craftsman’s Guide: Building Restoration Plan – I get asked all the time where people should start renovating. A lot of folks think it’s the foundation, but if you read this guide you’d now better! This is a step-by-step plan for your project, complete with a printable checklist for your refrigerator. A successful renovation is all in the planning, and proper planning saves you time and money!
Free Online Guides
- What Style is My Old House - So many people buy an old house and then wonder, “What kind of house did I just buy?” Is it a Bungalow, a Victorian, a Tudor, etc.?? There are so many styles and so many differences in the items that belong to each style. Would you renovate a Craftsman Bungalow with super ornate ginger breading? Hardly! So, why not use this handy guide to the most common architectural styles of historic homes in America. You’ll find all the info you need to renovate your old home the right way!
- How To: Restore Old Windows - Historic windows are one of the most talked about topics when it comes to old homes. Should you save them? If so how do you fix them? How can you make them efficient? Well, the answers are here. Everything you need to know about old windows is right here. From their history to their design to the inner most workings and how to bring them back to life on your own home. Learn all the materials and skills you’ll need to bring your old windows back to life.
- Historic Paint Colors - I get so many questions about painting an old house it’s crazy! From techniques to design it’s all covered in this resource page just for my readers. I’ve listed the tools and techniques right here to deal with proper paint removal and prep. You’ll learn how to deal with oil-based and latex paints. And I cover the most valuable info of all…how to pick a color scheme and make a solid plan for a historically appropriate paint job. I’ve even included links to all the major paint manufacturers who carry historic paint palettes.
- Historic Home Tips - Owning an old home comes with some unique challenges. In this series of posts I try to give you answers to some of the most important things you need to know. Some will be answers to questions you have been searching for and others will be things you may never have thought about. Either way it’s information you should know.