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Old 07-31-2009, 06:34 AM   #31
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How much can a diyer save


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Originally Posted by iMisspell View Post
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.
I really this statement! It gets said so many times and 99% of the time, it is untrue.

In fact, your mortgage company owns the house ultimately, and your insurance company hopefully cares about the property as well.

I'm sure we have all seen before where people...."this is my house and I know better"........destroy their property, either trying to fix something, alter something, or doing nothing for maintenance at all.

That excuse just doesn't hold water.

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Old 07-31-2009, 07:59 AM   #32
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"Know your limitations" = "know thyself"? I think Dirty Harry, or Socrates, said that.
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing. Murphy's law.
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:00 AM   #33
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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!
I'm just jumping into new drawer faces and doors myself. Did you have them made local, or did you use one of the internet mill work companies?
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:18 AM   #34
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i'm that guy that never hires anyone to do anything.... it never even crosses my mind! a problem comes up and if i don't already know how to do it, i just think to myself, "self, looks like you have something new to learn today" i find out what i need to know and just do the job. i don't do crappy work, all my jobs, be they elec., plumbing, carpentry, or anything that needs to be done is always beyond code and quality work. i figure i've saved at LEAST 80% doing everything myself building this place. .....but not everyone is like me, Thank God!

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Old 07-31-2009, 11:52 AM   #35
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MJW -

You may plan to live a long time, but that is not what happens.

If you die, your heirs will have to deal with the house and if there are problems that get caught by a home inspector during the closing process, so the buyer has great reasons to request corrections, a credit or walk away. Refusal to permit a home inspection is a definite red flag to a buyer.

If you find you want to move to a different area, you will have to sell and be in the same situation as your heirs.

It may be good enough for you, but others may not agree it is good enough for them.

Dick
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:45 PM   #36
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I think you either posted to the wrong person or you misinterpreted what I said.
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Old 07-31-2009, 03:45 PM   #37
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MJW -

You may plan to live a long time, but that is not what happens.

If you die, your heirs will have to deal with the house and if there are problems that get caught by a home inspector during the closing process, so the buyer has great reasons to request corrections, a credit or walk away. Refusal to permit a home inspection is a definite red flag to a buyer.

If you find you want to move to a different area, you will have to sell and be in the same situation as your heirs.

It may be good enough for you, but others may not agree it is good enough for them.

Dick
First off, 90% of beginning DIY'ers are younger than 90 Years. So the concern of longevity is 90% moot. Secondly. If a person passes on before the DIY work is complete, there is no loss. Because a competent, professional Home Inspector will be able to give a true assessment on the value of the work performed. Seems this poster is missing the point of this site (Sorry) Where the DIY'er has some concept of performing the work and is accompanied by true professionals who are offering their best advice cheerfully. (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 07-31-2009, 11:37 PM   #38
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well, from my rather uninformed perspective, a semi-skilled DIY'er (like myself) can save a lot of money.... only if:
1) the raw materials are cheap (so if they screw up on one plank of X, they grab another)
2) the project is simple and small
3)the project does not involve structural items, water proofing, electrical, plumbing, or HVAC

Sure, there are some skilled DIY'er who can handle more... but for many people, these rules are reasonably prudent.

As for the argument on who does better work, cares more, knows more... I'll only contribute my favorite saying (attributed to me, not someone famous) that I use all of the time at work while discussing those with really shotty work and big egos:

(Person X) knows so little that s/he doesn't even know what s/he doesn't know.

I may not know much about electrical, plumbing, windows, siding, roofing... but I mercifully know that I know virtually nothing. For that, I'm grateful.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:40 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by diy'er on LI View Post
well, from my rather uninformed perspective, a semi-skilled DIY'er (like myself) can save a lot of money.... only if:
1) the raw materials are cheap (so if they screw up on one plank of X, they grab another)
2) the project is simple and small
3)the project does not involve structural items, water proofing, electrical, plumbing, or HVAC

Sure, there are some skilled DIY'er who can handle more... but for many people, these rules are reasonably prudent.

As for the argument on who does better work, cares more, knows more... I'll only contribute my favorite saying (attributed to me, not someone famous) that I use all of the time at work while discussing those with really shotty work and big egos:

(Person X) knows so little that s/he doesn't even know what s/he doesn't know.

I may not know much about electrical, plumbing, windows, siding, roofing... but I mercifully know that I know virtually nothing. For that, I'm grateful.
You've practically reduced DIY to putting on switch covers and faucet handles. And maybe replacing the cover on your central A/C unit! (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive
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Old 08-02-2009, 07:58 PM   #40
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You've practically reduced DIY to putting on switch covers and faucet handles. And maybe replacing the cover on your central A/C unit! (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive

nah.... far from it.

I wouldn't install a new driveway, but I would put in a walkway.... I wouldn't build a staircase from scratch, but I did just redo my side stoop (concrete / flagstone) I wouldn't install a new patio, but I have repointed a brick patio. And I do virtually all landscaping... except extreme things like cutting down my old oak (RIP!) that had about a 4 ft trunk diameter. My parameters also include painting and tilework. I just would avoid committing myself to redo an entire home's worth of tile. I just think it's prudent for a person like me with no electrical experience (beyond installing ceiling lights) to leave rewiring and new outlet installation to a pro.

It's logical. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Most DIY'ers have day jobs...
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:34 PM   #41
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nah.... far from it.

I wouldn't install a new driveway, but I would put in a walkway.... I wouldn't build a staircase from scratch, but I did just redo my side stoop (concrete / flagstone) I wouldn't install a new patio, but I have repointed a brick patio. And I do virtually all landscaping... except extreme things like cutting down my old oak (RIP!) that had about a 4 ft trunk diameter. My parameters also include painting and tilework. I just would avoid committing myself to redo an entire home's worth of tile. I just think it's prudent for a person like me with no electrical experience (beyond installing ceiling lights) to leave rewiring and new outlet installation to a pro.

It's logical. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Most DIY'ers have day jobs...
Way to go... The trick is knowing when to turn a project (or part of it) over to a Professional! (No matter what)don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:25 AM   #42
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90% of home improvement is not rocket science, despite what the some contractors would have you believe. Almost anyone handy or capable of learning and following directions can do an average to above average job improving their homes, it will just take you a lot longer, and probably cost more than you thought since you won't have all the hand tools etc that a professional already has.

A licensed professional should always be able to do the task faster and better than you, and he will be bonded and insured in case he or his company made any mistakes... but you get what you pay for.

Additionally, sometimes what you can afford <> what you want. In those cases, it probably IS better to do it yourself than have some underpriced, under the table hack come in, take your money, and do a half-hearted, haphazard job.

And, frankly, sometimes what seems as a glaring issue to a professional - say 1/8 gap in the miters of your door casing - is a non-issue to you. Is that worth paying $100s of dollars more for? Maybe not for you.

I got into carpentry because I paid some pros to install my new floors for $8k. When I finally found out this didn't include baseboard replacement - they tossed my old ones - I asked how much to install new ones if I buy the material? I was shocked when the guy told me $500 for maybe three hours worth of work. At that point I thought, screw it, how hard can cutting some MDF base be?

I bought a miter box, some finish nails, and caulk and three days later I was done. Yeah my miters weren't perfect, yeah my caulking job looked a bit sloppy at some points, and yeah it took me hours to resolve simple problems that a professional would have laughed at, but I saved myself $400, ended up with some great new tools, and none of the other home owners had any idea I had done it myself.

Just go to home depot and get the relevant book, watch some videos on DIY network, ask lots of questions from professionals, and go out and keep making mistakes until you get it done. Once you get the first few projects under your belt, the next become easier.

If you have the time to suffer through the learning process, you can save mucho dinero - especially for non-structural, cosmetic things. But if you don't have the time, please PLEASE don't get an unlicensed contractor. You WILL regret that in the long run.
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:07 AM   #43
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Generally, you would save approximately 50 % (ballpark average).

Type of work and scope of project is going to affect that. So the overall range is about 30% to 80% - (80% example - like painting, since that is primarily labor)

Bare in mind, that Contractors, especially Licensed General Contractors, also have necessary overhead costs, such as: Liability insurance, Workman's Comp, Cell Phones, Tool Maintenance, Truck Maintenance, licensing, education, accountanting, fuel, as well, as other costs that are factored into all their work (We don't decide this, the local state/town gvts & regulations do). Home Owners don't have all those expenses to account for, if they try and do the work themselves.

Insurance Costs Example: (So Home Owner's realize); We are not talking a few dollars here, our Liability and Worker Comp Insurance premiums alone were over $30K for 2009 - ouch. (And before anyone mentions it; no that is with no Workers Comp claims - no injuries and no charges).
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:40 AM   #44
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We have an EMR less than .9, no claims, and all of our insurance last year (general liability, professional liability, inland marine) was $30k also. Workman's comp not included, which was probably another $9k. Health insurance for the guys was $60k. Rent on the shop was $39k. We spent $14k on vehicles and maintenance. $15k on tool upkeep and replacement. Fuel is $2k a month. It all adds up.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:20 PM   #45
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Aggie67 Sorry, I have not turned the puter on this weekend. We used a local company for the cabinet doors. Like I said they went out of business before we could have them remake our drawers. Don't know at this point what we will do about the drawers! It cost us +/- $700.00 for the twenty-nine doors with recessed hinges. Still cheaper than new cabinets. We stripped and sanded the cabinets ourselves. Now comes the good part! I have always wanted a good air compressor. My wife tried painting the doors with a brush--- disaster! I now have an upright sears compressor and I do spray paint at work so at this point alls well that ends well! Nothing like new toys.

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