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Old 07-30-2009, 09:54 AM   #16
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How much can a diyer save


Dave, I have to disagree. You do not do a better job than a pro. You may do a better job than some of the pros you hired, and that may have been the deciding factor. The wage (bid) level has a lot to do with it, hopefully along with that goes the skill level.

The roofing courses in your pics between the skylights, with the 5" sag, shows that. The improperly flashed windows of your siding pics, the windows nearby at different elevations. The average DIY'er wouldn't see anything wrong, but a pro will.
To build one addition or build them for 10 or 35 years, day in and day out, the skill level just is not the same. I am not trying to offend you, I hope I don't. Just proving my point. The pros in your area may not quite have it together, at least the ones you've contacted. It's great that you can DIY!

I agree with Aggie in that there are different calibers of pros, just as there are different calibers of DIY'ers. Money has a lot to do with it. It's too bad we all don't have a number stamped on our forehead of our skill level, but a lot of pros would starve.

Xorion, I think your numbers are way off. Also the fact that a DIY can do as good a job or better than a pro, with just more time. Unless you are comparing a sloppy, fast pro to a miticulous slow DIY'er, and then they don't know what to look for (lack of experience), or the time saving steps involved.

In the short time I've been on this site (4 months), I've only seen one picture group of siding, removing aluminum and install hardi, that looked professionally done. All the rest, I can see at a glance DIY things that just jump of the screen at me. I don't even look at the project showcases anymore, as I could make a lot of enemies fast. I do occasionally make a safety comment when I see an accident just waiting to happen. Be safe, G

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Old 07-30-2009, 12:20 PM   #17
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The Pros around here use Tyvek around the windows...nothing else
No flashing above the windows, nothing on the sides after Tyvek
There isn't any 5" sag between my skylights
I've seen much worse mistakes on the houses around here built by Pro's
I generally fix items I find wrong
Since the 2 garage windows are being covered by a solar heating system I didn't bother fixing it
I (usually) don't fully flash a window until I'm ready to side

The problem is that many people pay a "Pro" to do something & then are extremely dissatisfied with the results
This leads to more & more DIY & less work for the Pro's
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:01 PM   #18
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For car work, even if the job took me 5x what the shop would take, I paid myself at least 25 tax-free $ per hr. Some car jobs took me 13 hrs, lying on my back in the driveway.
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:37 PM   #19
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In the end, the amount of savings comes down to what you know, how much you are willing to do, and how much time you have to devote.

You may not know everything going into a project, but that is why you do your research, and you go to forums like this to get advice, and ask questions. At the end of the day, when you finish the project, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you tackled a job, and you learned something and had fun doing it. It is way to easy to become a "contractor" and do work for other people. A lot of "contractors" are just DIY'ers with a van doing work for other people. They are there do go in, do work, collect money and go away. They are not going to put in that extra time to make sure all the tile lines are straight, or to keep working to get that mitered corner perfect.

I've seen "professionals" renovate my parents kitchen and bathroom. Both jobs ended up with problems where you would think a DIY'er did the job. In bathroom, they notched the door casing because they decided to put up all the tile, before they bought the casing. The kitchen is not wired with the required individual circuits, shelves are 1/4" thick, not enough outlets, and has about 30" between refrigerator, and corner of sink base to get to the back door.
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:46 PM   #20
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If you are a mechanic you can save 50%.

If you are not a mechanic, you can easily lose money AND get a crappy job.

Know your limitations.

Start by getting estimates. Sometimes I an surprised at how inexpensive it is to have the work done. Other times I realize I can do it myself.

I have done every kind of construction over the past 40 years and have learned what I can and can't do. On my last big rehab, the only thing I subbed was a new roof and the tape/texture.

One thing I have done in the past was to shop around and buy materials then go to jobsites to find guys willing to do side work. This works well for things like concrete and masonary work as these guys get paid piecework anyway.

PS. Never do your own electrical work except changing/installing a fixture/fan or two.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:27 PM   #21
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If you have more time than money then you save money at the expense of personal time and vise versa. There's also the die-hard DIYer that would rather spend 10x more time working on something and even getting aggravated in the project but the end it's all worth it because result is something to be proud of.
In any case, if you don't have the patience to do it right then it will cost you your time and money and then more money to hire someone to undo/redo your screw-ups. A quality and seasoned pro has been through every scenario and knows how to work with out of plumb, level, or square to make whatever is being worked on look like it’s always been there.
I take the opportunity to go to all the open-houses in my neighborhood so that I can get ideas of different styles that I can incorporate into my home. I can usually tell if the homeowner DIYed something.
The bottom line is if it’s going to look homeowner half-a$$ed then leave it to the pros because it will end up costing you when you try to sell.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:31 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
PS. Never do your own electrical work except changing/installing a fixture/fan or two.
I'd have to disagree with this, unless you are joking? Clown smiley
Just protecting your turf
But I would say to research 1st, verify codes, and if you are removing an outlet/switch/device take pictures 1st & DOCUMENT where ALL the wires are connected
Or hire 220/221 after to straighten your mess out
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:37 PM   #23
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As an engineer/whistleblower/hardware store clerk I have met people [and customers] who, the longer they worked on something the more the thing didn't work.

Nothing they did was constructive except maybe their first step.

The problem seemed to be their judgement in what to do next when things didn't work out, and things hardly ever work out as expected.
What was surprising is that their particular faulty judgements made things worse at an exponential rate.

These guys were butchers, in the bad sense of the word.

If you experience 'negative progress' at an increasing rate, quit and hire someone.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-30-2009 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:06 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
For car work, even if the job took me 5x what the shop would take, I paid myself at least 25 tax-free $ per hr. Some car jobs took me 13 hrs, lying on my back in the driveway.
At a flat rate of 100.00 per hour and it took you 5x longer, you're only making 20.00 per. Not enough for the wear and tear on my bones.
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Giant View Post

You may not know everything going into a project, but that is why you do your research, and you go to forums like this to get advice, and ask questions. At the end of the day, when you finish the project, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you tackled a job, and you learned something and had fun doing it. It is way to easy to become a "contractor" and do work for other people. A lot of "contractors" are just DIY'ers with a van doing work for other people. They are there do go in, do work, collect money and go away. They are not going to put in that extra time to make sure all the tile lines are straight, or to keep working to get that mitered corner perfect.

You can't be serious..........

Research never equals experience. If it is so easy, everyone would be a contractor.
Yes, there are plenty of hacks out there, especially now with the unemployment high.
Believe it or not though, there are some contractors out there who like to use the best materials and be proud of their work.

We go strictly by referrals. No advertising, and never ran out of work. That has to say something. I am sooooohappy when a homeowner allows us the funds and time to do a project with the best materials and very good knowledge.
Although I never claim to be a jack of all trades.
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:51 PM   #26
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MJW, there are the good contractors out there who use the best, and pay attention to details. Lots of those guys also rely on mostly referrals to get business because they put out good quality, and they know they if relying on referrals they are less likely to run into people who just wanna beat them out to do work really cheap, but people get clients who want a quality job at a fair price. But at the same time, when the inexperienced/newbie DIY'ers are looking to do a project, they are going to search online for companies and go based off of prices because their goal is to save as much as possible. And it's those contractors, who rely on internet marketing that are usually the lesser quality contractors, but also the ones people find because everybody relies on internet.

That's why its best to know your limits, and if decide to hire a contractor, research them, and request to physically visit some of their projects and talk to the owner. With forums like these, its very easy to go to a project showcase, print the photos and put them in a binder to present to client as projects you completed.
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:54 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by 47_47 View Post
At a flat rate of 100.00 per hour and it took you 5x longer, you're only making 20.00 per. Not enough for the wear and tear on my bones.
You're right.
It's possible that I view DIY as a challenge, to see if I can (still) do it.

BTW, just changing the oil over the last 40 years has become gradually more difficult, so slowly I didn't notice.
But since I'm working out it has become easier.

I guess I'm not in it for the money. For me it's a test/challenge, testing what I have or have lost or never had or what I can have again.
"Know your limitations" = "know thyself"? I think Dirty Harry, or Socrates, said that.

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Old 07-30-2009, 06:03 PM   #28
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I do not wish to interfere with the on-going discussion, however last year my wife and I wanted to repair the squirrel damage to our soffits. The siding above the bricks was in bad shape also. Contractors quoted $18K to $20K for the repair. We spent every free weekend doing it ourselves for about $7K. This included renting scaffolding from HD. We could have bought the scaffolding outright in the end! (Where would we store it?) We are happy with our work. But and this is a big BUT It took us a loong time working weekends with family concerns and weather interefering.
We are now working on the kitchen. The cabinet doors we had remade. Still need painting. The drawers? This will be a problem since the cabinet shop went out of business. We are paying for things as we go --- no debt. Last weekend family birthday, this weekend family birthday (my parents). Next weekend -- family reunion. And the beat goes on!
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:00 PM   #29
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I beg to differ
I build better & more carefully then a lot of the Pro'sI've seen
I put the $$ I save into better materials, more insulation larger beams then needed
The houses that are built by Pro's around here are put together to make a profit
They use house wrap & house wrap only around the windows
I do a much better job then they do
It's my house, I want it better

The electrician that I hired did a pathetic job & the Inspector was not happy
I had to fix the problems & the Pro didn't receive final payment (he went on vacation without finishing the work)
In addition the Inspector - who covers several Towns - will be giving his work a very thorough Inspection
I generally agree with your contention that a homeowner (who is at least a bit handy) will do a better job than a contractor. a) Because he doesn't have Dollar figures in front of him. 2) He (or she, to be PC) knows their property better. I take exception, however, to your making a general statement because the electrician that you hired did a botch-up job. The first thing when hiring an outside contractor, as we all know, is Reputation. It's quite possible that he's not even licensed or accredited by any recognized organization. The licensing requirements in any Jurisdiction are so strict as to experience and personal character of any candidate, that the rogues won't slip through. (Hopefully.) Also, a professional DIY'er like you could let the contractor know, indirectly that they can't put one over on you.! (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:09 AM   #30
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From my own little experiences....
Its my house, i plan on living here for a long time, the home owner cares a little more about the house then the contractor does.
When hiring out, get alot of bids and talk with alot of people in the trades.

Some times its hard to get a "Pro" to do small jobs and when your left with the bottom of the barrel to choose from, i deffinitly think DIYer who is good with their hands can do a better job on the project then hiring out. Kind of like what another poster here said, "comparing a sloppy, fast pro to a miticulous slow DIY'er". When your choices are limited, or that the "top-end-pro" over bid the jobs because they have bigger and better things to do, a home owner who can spend the time on the project will probly get it done much better then hiring out.

It deffinitly helps to know people in different trades to get tips from and also to check up on you to make sure your not too far off track.

Myself...
Im saving around 6,000 to insulate and side my house. Im enjoying the process, learning alot along with making mistakes which a preson in the trade would not have made... can i live with that, yes.

After i got the new roof sheathed i needed it shingle fast and done "right". I hired out and it cost 2,200 - if i figued it correctly, it was 900 in material. Could have saved 1,300 - but also never shingle a roof before i did not want to take the risk and needed it done.

Taking a guess, probly saved around 3,500-4,500 doing the plumbing myself; again learned alot and the worst part of it is i got a bath during the "water test" inspection.

Saved around 5-6,000 on the electrical. In the proccess now, finding out its hard to plan and layout lights - and theres alot of little tricks which a real electrion knows which make the job go easyer and faster. This has been the toughest part so far even knowing two people in the trade to help me out with tech-support.

Saved around 5-6,000 on the framing.

If the consequence of a mistake with the project will cause any harm to someone else, side stepping a Building Permit is not wise at all. An inspector can be a pain, but they also and more importantly can save you and others. Myself, i plan on building a shed some time next year (after the addition is done) along with finishing my basement. Both of those project will require permits, am i getting them permits, nope. Before i finish the basement im gonna install a wood-burning stove, am i gonna get a permit, yes.

It seams like the best option for a home owner who wants to do the work them self and never has, do as much research as you can, then get bids on the job and ask alot of question to the contractors and then make the desision if you want to takle it yourself.

Just my two cents

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