Sorry about that I pressed the wrong button!!! Anyway back to the subject at hand the shout about the lack of support for W3C standards normally arises after all the work is done but you forgot to cross browse in build stage, well the need to understand how to put a complete web page together is very important. The understanding of how box model implementation and the likes all affect page layout can not be understated, the use of conditional statements and hacks+filters and the rest can go some of the way to providing the answers you need but a ground up understanding is a much better way of going. I myself when first learning this read a few well selected titles by authors you know are experts. Jeffrey Zeldman, Eric Meyer, jo lowery and the like are well worth a read, however the way I found my way around the troublesome subject of cross browser compatibility was by developing a real understanding on the subject of nested div's, and control of elements, understanding how they play against each other. I would recommend that you take it back to basics and learn to control simple box layout with no margins, padding, and borders, cross browse these to make sure they look the same, then start with the messing about, change things see how they are affected in different browsers.
The post recommending Amazon is spot on have a look, and invest, from Wiley bibles to titles by wrox and the authors mentioned all have a place for different people.