Skip to main content
FREE STANDARD SHIPPING on orders of $49 or more.
Whether you're a seasoned pro or have never picked up a hammer, here's a valuable reference guide to building a safe, affordable, energy-efficient home -- brought to you by the world's leading authority on community home building, Habitat for Humanity International.

You may be interested in building a home of your own. Or volunteering to help others build theirs. Either way, veteran carpenter Larry Haun takes you through every step in the process -- from site evaluation, design, permits, and preparation to the actual construction of a basic, structurally-sound home.

By providing inside advice, expert tips, and step-by-step techniques, Haun simplifies the complex in a user-friendly manual that guides you from beginning to end.

With over 40 years of hands-on building experience, the author has teamed up with The Taunton Press and Habitat for Humanity to deliver the perfect book for anyone who wants to build a simple, energy-smart home -- without spending a lot of money.

About the Author
Larry Haun worked as a carpenter in southern California for four decades and builds houses for Habitat for Humanity on the Oregon coast. He is the author of The Very Efficient Carpenter and Homebuilding Basics: Carpentry, both published by The Taunton Press. These days he teaches Spanish, does yoga, and tries to keep warm.
Additional Information
Cover 191
Publication Year 2008
Photos 370 photographs and
Drawings 70 drawings
Other Formats 70975
Isbn 978-1-60085-728-7
Author Larry Haun
Pages 288
Format eBook (PDF)

Getting Started
Site, Design, Permits, and Preparation
Step 1 - Obtain a Site
Step 2 - Prepare the Site
Step 3 - Design the House
Step 4 - Secure the Building Permits
Step 5 - Get Organized to Build

Building Basics
Getting Acquainted with Tools and the Parts of a House
Tool-Buying Tips
Essential Hand Tools
Tool Carriers
Power Tools
The Parts of a House

Firm, Flat, Level, and Square
Foundations and Floors
Know the Foundation Fundamentals
Step 1 - Form and Pour the Footings
Step 2 - Build the Foundation Walls
Step 3 - Backfill around the Foundation
Step 4 - Attach the Sills
Step 5 - Build Midspan Support for Joists
Step 6 - Install the Joists
Step 7 - Install Extra Joists and Blocking
Step 8 - Install the Floor Sheathing

Going Up
Walls Create Space
Step 1 - Lay Out the Walls
Step 2 - Plate the Walls
Step 3 - Count and Cut the Headers, Rough Sills, Cripples, and Trimmers
Step 4 - Mark the Plates
Step 5 - Build the Walls
Step 6 - Raise the Walls
Step 7 - Plumb and Line the Walls
Step 8 - Install and Plumb Door and Window Trimmers
Step 9 - Sheathe the Walls

A Roof Overhead
Roof Trusses
Step 1 - Prepare for Truss Arrival and Installation
Step 2 - Install the Gable Truss
Step 3 - Install the Remaining Trusses
Step 4 - Secure the Trusses to the Interior Walls
Step 5 - Add Drywall Backing
Step 6 - Install the Barge Rafters and the Fascia Boards
Step 7 - Sheathe the Roof
Step 8 - Seal the Roof with Felt Paper
Step 9 - Shingle the Roof

Closing In
Windows, Doors, Siding, and Exterior Trim
Vinyl Siding
Step 1 - Install the Remaining Sheathing and the Rough Exterior Trim
Step 2 - Install the Housewrap and Flash Openings
Step 3 - Set the Windows and Doors
Step 4 - Complete Ventilation and Electrical Work
Step 5 - Install the Starter Strips and the Trim for Vinyl Siding
Step 6 - Install the Siding Panels
Step 7 - Finish the Soffits
Step 8 - Cover Exterior Trim with Aluminum Cladding

Building an Outdoor Room
Basic Design for Porches, Decks, and Landings
Design Ideas for Decks and Porches
Step 1 - Complete the Essential Roof Framing
Step 2 - Install the Ledger
Step 3 - Install the Foundation and Floor Framing
Step 4 - Frame the Stairs
Step 5 - Install the Decking and Stair Treads
Step 6 - Install the Railings

Comfort Inside
Sealing, Insulating, and Ventilating a House
Sweaters, Windbreakers, and Rain Gear
Step 1 - Seal Penetrations in the Walls, Ceilings, and Floors
Step 2 - Insulate the Walls, Ceilings, and Floors
Step 3 - Install Vapor Barriers (if Necessary)
Step 4 - Provide Adequate Ventilation

The Walls Within
Drywall and Painting
Step 1 - Get Ready to Install Drywall
Step 2 - Install the Ceiling Panels
Step 3 - Install the Wall Panels
Step 4 - Install the Corner Bead
Step 5 - Mud, Tape, and Finish the Drywall
Step 6 - Paint the Ceilings and Walls
Step 7 - Prepare and Paint the Interior Trim
Step 8 - Paint the Exterior Siding and Trim

Making a House Beautiful and Useful
Interior Trim, Cabinets, Countertops, and Closets
Step 1 - Install Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring
Step 2 - Install the Interior Doors
Step 3 - Install the Window and Door Casings
Step 4 - Install the Cabinets
Step 5 - Install the Countertops
Step 6 - Install the Baseboard and Chair Rail
Step 7 - Trim Out the Closets

Final Details
From Locks to Smoke Detectors to Landscaping
Step 1 - Install the Hardware and Fixtures
Step 2 - Select and Install the Finish Flooring
Step 3 - Get to Know Electrical and Mechanical Systems
Step 4 - Prepare for the Worst
Step 5 - Landscaping

Intro Not everyone is a master carpenter. Fortunately for most of us, it's possible to learn. And that's the inspiration for How to Build a House. It is designed to teach various building techniques to people with a wide range of backgrounds, skills, and interests. My hope is that in the following pages you'll find the 'tools' you need to complete your next project competently, safely, and efficiently, whether it's your personal project or as a volunteer.

As chief executive officer of the nonprofit house-building ministry Habitat for Humanity, I've seen countless volunteers bring to Habitat building projects around the world an eagerness to learn new construction skills. Some may be seasoned pros, with many building experiences under their belts. Some may be first-timers who have never picked up a hammer, trowel, or tape measure. What all share, however, is the commitment to learn, the passion to serve, and the drive to make a difference.

That kind of spirit has enabled Habitat for Humanity throughout the United States and across the globe to build more than 225,000 modest, affordable homes-- hand in hand with volunteers and low-income families who needed a better place to live. That means more than 1 million people are living today in Habitat for Humanity homes -- which they've helped build and then bought on terms they could afford. Habitat for Humanity, as you may know, is not a give-away program, but rather a 'hand up' that lets families in need become part of their own decent housing solution.

Given the immense need in our world for decent shelter, we need all the support we can get. If you've never experienced the meaning and excitement of a Habitat build, I invite you to join us. You can learn more by visiting us online at or calling (800) HABITAT. Either way, please know that you're helping us help others simply by purchasing this book. That's because a portion of the proceeds from each book sale supports the important, life-changing work we are doing with so many hard-working families in so many parts of the world.

So thank you for buying, thank you for building ... and good luck with your project!

Jonathan T. M. Reckford
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity: How to Build a House, Revised and Updated (eBook)

  • by Larry Haun
  • eBook (PDF)
  • Product Code: TP-FHB62077740
Availability: In Stock
Today's Price: $25.19
List Price: $34.99
Save 28%