Hiring out renovations vs. DIY

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
What is your tipping point between DIY a project or hiring the pros to get it done?

For me, I don't like to touch electricity or heavy plumbing work, but I did fix both a leaky toilet and our kitchen sink this year.

Since I've installed flooring most of my life, I will reno the floors of my house by myself. My brother owns a flooring business so I get materials sometimes free.
I also will do painting though I hate it. We recently painted out cabinets and man that was a chore!

I am currently kicking around the idea of a patio. A few years back I installed one for my moms house along with a retaining wall around the property, but that was ten years ago and I had time.

The patio I am considering now could be done by the pro for $6000, I could source the materials for about $1200 and pay a friend to help me on weekends. Probably $600 for him over 4 days? and also my time away from my family and other duties.

What about you guys?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
DIY for almost everything. Home, auto, machines, I'm pretty freaking handy, but have had some excellent teachers along the way.

My father is a gearhead and taught me all about machines. I can work on just about anything with moving parts. Just last month I rebuilt my wife's washer. For less than $100, it's basically a brand new 20 year old washer. Gotta put a transmission in my car soon. I've got it, just not looking forward to it. I hate working on cars, but do it because I can.

My stepfather owned a construction company. There isnt much I cant do in a house either. Plumbing, electrical, carpentry, finish work, painting, etc. I enjoy this more than working on cars.

I build stuff too. Mostly with wood. I plan on building a snare drum one day with trees I must clear from the property. I've built drums before, just never the shell.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
DIY for almost everything. Home, auto, machines, I'm pretty freaking handy, but have had some excellent teachers along the way.

My father is a gearhead and taught me all about machines. I can work on just about anything with moving parts. Just last month I rebuilt my wife's washer. For less than $100, it's basically a brand new 20 year old washer. Gotta put a transmission in my car soon. I've got it, just not looking forward to it. I hate working on cars, but do it because I can.

My stepfather owned a construction company. There isnt much I cant do in a house either. Plumbing, electrical, carpentry, finish work, painting, etc. I enjoy this more than working on cars.

I build stuff too. Mostly with wood. I plan on building a snare drum one day with trees I must clear from the property. I've built drums before, just never the shell.

I refurbished my dads drums and I have been thinking about doing it again with some other kits I see on craigslist. Never built one but I like to tinker with them. Just need to find the time between FT work and a year old lol.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I refurbished my dads drums and I have been thinking about doing it again with some other kits I see on craigslist. Never built one but I like to tinker with them. Just need to find the time between FT work and a year old lol.
Good luck, I know how busy a 1 year old can keep you. Enjoy it though, 1 turns into 21 before you know it.

I live in the woods so am constantly clearing new growth out of the yard. There are about 50 I need to clear that are about 3" in diameter. They should make good staves if I let them cure long enough. That's the plan anyhow.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
My experience with DIY is it can be a learning process so by the time you finish you've got it-but sadly all the mistakes you made on the way show. So you could help your neighbor do a flawless job. Heck I've redone the whole thing after such a fiasco. It's easy only after you know how LOL But I like the idea of salvaging things for new use or jerry rigging things to suit you needs. I've learned a lot about things I had no clue by such DIY efforts.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
For me, it's hiring out -- always. Why? The work is backed by warranty. If I do something wrong, I hold sole liability. I'd rather be able to pass the blame to someone else. Unless you really know what you're doing, the DIY approach can be a lot costlier in the end. I prefer to cut through the chase and enlist an expert.
 
For me, I don't like to touch electricity or heavy plumbing work, but I did fix both a leaky toilet and our kitchen sink this year.

The patio I am considering now could be done by the pro for $6000, I could source the materials for about $1200 and pay a friend to help me on weekends. Probably $600 for him over 4 days? and also my time away from my family and other duties.
that's pretty much how I feel about it too. I've replaced a toilet and sink, but nothing major. I have definitely watched enough videos where I think I could handle a bit harder plumbing stuff, but I'd rather not mess around with that stuff. same goes for electricity- I've never messed with that.

I am currently in the process of ripping up the old squeaky floors in my house. I am tightening up the subfloor, adding a thin layer of plywood, and then will use some random width red oak boards I bought from a local mill for a rustic look. I plan on salvaging the old floors and using them to replace the laminate in my kitchen.

if I were you I'd do that work myself. I am certainly not made of money and try to save as much as I can when I can. I got a few quotes to add a small half bath on my first floor and they ranged from $12k-$25k. I couldn't believe it. for a 40sqft room? my dad reached out to a family friend who does this stuff for a living and he said he'd help spend a weekend doing it for some beer and pizza (I'd definitely throw him some cash as well).
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
that's pretty much how I feel about it too. I've replaced a toilet and sink, but nothing major. I have definitely watched enough videos where I think I could handle a bit harder plumbing stuff, but I'd rather not mess around with that stuff. same goes for electricity- I've never messed with that.

I am currently in the process of ripping up the old squeaky floors in my house. I am tightening up the subfloor, adding a thin layer of plywood, and then will use some random width red oak boards I bought from a local mill for a rustic look. I plan on salvaging the old floors and using them to replace the laminate in my kitchen.

if I were you I'd do that work myself. I am certainly not made of money and try to save as much as I can when I can. I got a few quotes to add a small half bath on my first floor and they ranged from $12k-$25k. I couldn't believe it. for a 40sqft room? my dad reached out to a family friend who does this stuff for a living and he said he'd help spend a weekend doing it for some beer and pizza (I'd definitely throw him some cash as well).

I know I can do the work. Its just like a floor, only outside. And for about 300 SF it would probably take two long weekends. I would probably rent a compactor and a wet saw to cut the stone, but other than that I think me and a buddy can hump it out.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Closet shelves , wainscoting, interior painting I'm there.
Electrical for me is verboten since I'm not qualified and insurance probably wouldn't compensate my home loss if I burned it down.
(Uncle Larry may have thoughts on that)
Roofing and tree work are also for the Professionals to handle in my world-gravity is merciless.
 
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NouveauCliche

Senior Member
What is your tipping point between DIY a project or hiring the pros to get it done?

For me, I don't like to touch electricity or heavy plumbing work, but I did fix both a leaky toilet and our kitchen sink this year.

Since I've installed flooring most of my life, I will reno the floors of my house by myself. My brother owns a flooring business so I get materials sometimes free.
I also will do painting though I hate it. We recently painted out cabinets and man that was a chore!

I am currently kicking around the idea of a patio. A few years back I installed one for my moms house along with a retaining wall around the property, but that was ten years ago and I had time.

The patio I am considering now could be done by the pro for $6000, I could source the materials for about $1200 and pay a friend to help me on weekends. Probably $600 for him over 4 days? and also my time away from my family and other duties.

What about you guys?

I have a very realistic view on what I can and can't do...and what I want to and don't want to do haha.

In the past 12 months or so we've gotten new sod, a new refrigerated air system, new flooring, new cabinets and a new fence.

I've done NONE of that because:

1. I don't know how
2. I don't care to learn
3. Professionals can do it fast and do it well and warranty their work.
4. My time is better used elsewhere - drums, business, etc....there's just too much going on to be a contractor on top of everything else haha.

No regrets. I'm just NOT a DIY guy and I know this about me haha.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Be careful if you decide to do something the requires a permit and/or a certified technician to do it. It used to be that a lot of things that required a permit and/or a certified technician could be approved retroactively if the work was done properly and the applicable fees (and fines) were paid. However, things have changed in some jurisdictions, and retroactive approval is no longer available in some cases, so, even if the work is done properly, it will have to be redone from scratch. I'm not sure where this applies specifically (it'll probably vary from one jurisdiction to another), but it's something to keep in mind.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Be careful if you decide to do something the requires a permit and/or a certified technician to do it. It used to be that a lot of things that required a permit and/or a certified technician could be approved retroactively if the work was done properly and the applicable fees (and fines) were paid. However, things have changed in some jurisdictions, and retroactive approval is no longer available in some cases, so, even if the work is done properly, it will have to be redone from scratch. I'm not sure where this applies specifically (it'll probably vary from one jurisdiction to another), but it's something to keep in mind.
On top of this, one should be wary of shady "Pros" too. Anyone who isnt at the very least insured stay away from. If they hurt themselves on your property it's your problem.

Some Pros also know you dont know and use that to their advantage. You know how you take your car in to get a sensor replaced, and they tell you the transmission needs a new part too? Construction folks do that also. Do your homework before hiring a contractor.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
On top of this, one should be wary of shady "Pros" too. Anyone who isnt at the very least insured stay away from. If they hurt themselves on your property it's your problem.

Some Pros also know you dont know and use that to their advantage. You know how you take your car in to get a sensor replaced, and they tell you the transmission needs a new part too? Construction folks do that also. Do your homework before hiring a contractor.

I know that much. I used to be a flooring installer, I've met my share of shady individuals and know how to spot them.

The car analogy people run into at like jiffy lube, you go in for an oil change and they show you (someone elses old air filter covered in pine needles) and they say its yours and they replace it for x.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
For those of you who would hire the pros, how do you feel about taking a small loan out to get the work done if you don't have the funds readily available?

Or would you hold off until the cash is there?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Good luck, I know how busy a 1 year old can keep you. Enjoy it though, 1 turns into 21 before you know it.

I live in the woods so am constantly clearing new growth out of the yard. There are about 50 I need to clear that are about 3" in diameter. They should make good staves if I let them cure long enough. That's the plan anyhow.
Split them first. It will dry quicker.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
For those of you who would hire the pros, how do you feel about taking a small loan out to get the work done if you don't have the funds readily available?

Or would you hold off until the cash is there?
I just put a fence project on a credit card haha - so no I don't wait. A lot of that is timing though - for instance I had this project planned on time wise this summer - but I had some unexpected car issues, so the $$ I had saved went mostly to that instead of the fence...however, there was all kinds of other factors that needed the fence done - so boom. Credit card fence project.

Good times.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Now I'm retired I like DIY when I can-electricity I'm cautious after being zapped to many times to count. I replaced most of my fence but gates must be for hell-cause they sure are hell. Washers and driers I've worked on but now all are so electronic with all these boards and what not it's like a computer (though I've done some soldering on them with bad circuits in my pool panel. I've replaced the guts and wax seals on toilets, But electrical stuff I just worry I'll make some lame mistake and burn my house down LOL.
 
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