Old House Handbook

Old House Handbook
A Practical Guide To Care And Repair
Roger Hunt and Marianne Suhr
In association with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

Available from SPAB at £25.00  £17.00 + postage & packaging
To buy  a copy visit our on-line shop

“Anyone who works on old buildings or who lives in one must buy and then use this book.  It is immensely practical, properly and helpfully illustrated and is in fitting up-to-date summary of SPAB scholarship and current thinking.  This brilliant volume is the manual we’ve been waiting for.”
Kevin McCloud, Grand Designs
Old House Handbook cover

Whether you want simply to maintain an old building or are taking on a wreck in need of major work, there is no shortage of information available; the problem is that much of the advice is outdated, overly invasive or simply lacks detail. Here, for the first time, is an authoritative guide on how to look after your old house – be it an early timber framed cottage or an Edwardian terrace.

Old House Handbook offers highly practical ‘nuts and bolts’ guidance based on experience. Taking their lead from the conservation philosophy of the SPAB (which has approved this book), the authors’ approach is one of respect, restraint and repair rather than ‘restoration’ which can so easily and permanently destroy the rich historical legacy of old buildings. Importantly the emphasis is on helping you get it right first time round, rather than having to live with the consequences of expensive and potentially irreversible ‘mistakes’.

From the foundations to the roof, from the need for modern services to the maintenance of traditional paintwork and finishes, from windows and doors to breathability and damp in walls and floors, Old House Handbook provides deeply informed no-nonsense advice. It is essential reading on maintenance and repair for all those with an old house.      

1. Look before you leap
2. Getting the work done
3. Breathability and damp
4. Walls
5. Structural movement 
6. Roofs
7. Timber and carpentry
8. Solid floors 
9. Chimneys, flues and fireplaces
Roger Hunt and Marianne Suhr10. Windows, doors and joinery 
11. Plasters, renders and roughcast  
12. Paints and finishes   
13. Building services     
14. Living for today and tomorrow    

ROGER HUNT studied stage management at drama school and has worked in film, television and photography. A major turning point in his life was attending a weekend homeowners’ course run by the SPAB. Loving history and having been intrigued by building techniques and materials since childhood, he then started writing about old buildings and their construction. He contributes to a wide range of magazines on old and new buildings, history and, more recently, sustainability issues. He is the author of Rural Britain: Then & Now, Villages of England and Hidden Depths: an archaeological exploration of Surrey’s past.

MARIANNE SUHR, MRICS, SPAB Lethaby Scholar, is a Chartered Building Surveyor
specialising in the repair of historic buildings. After completing a scholarship with the SPAB she worked for seven years in architectural practice, then concentrated on hands-on repair projects including three very different old houses. She was a co-presenter of three series of BBC2’s Restoration and has also fronted the Discovery series, Project Restoration. She works part-time for the SPAB, running workshops around the country, teaching builders, home-owners and architects how to repair old buildings properly.