Hiring out renovations vs. DIY

beatdat

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 mentioned permits and certifications upthread, but I didn't mention liens. Although not common, having a lien placed against your property is a real possibility, and a real hassle that can tie up things for awhile - never mind the legal costs involved. Without getting into it, I would advise, for that reason, to avoid taking out a loan for renovations. Simply put, if you can't afford the renovations, how are you going to afford the costs to vacate a lien if things go south?


But...

A 20x20 patio, front yard garden cobble stone edging, Bush transplanting. And a 200x90x200ft fence..
...since you mentioned that, just put it on your credit card, if you have the room, and do it yourself.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Hahaha. I was only kidding. Between all the card I just feverishly paid off these last few months (and still owe 7k in cc debt) I wouldn't want to lose all the work I did in paying them off.

I had a few landscapers look at my property recently, both came at about 6600 for the patio after I reduced it to 300sf ILO 400sf. And the 45ft of cobble stone edging. The privacy fence is going to be about 15k, I have 14000sf lot that is surrounded by neighbors on all sides with dilapidated fences there now. I'd like a nice 6ft vinyl privacy fence encapsulating my entire property.

Anyway, back to reality... I could do the patio begrudgingly and save about 3000, but tbh, I think continuing to knock out the rest of my debt is the bigger reward. Once those cc are paid in full and I go to a strict cash only system, maybe then I can revisit the patio next year.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
A 20x20 patio, front yard garden cobble stone edging, Bush transplanting. And a 200x90x200ft fence..
My issue with laying stone is that any plate compactor that is suitably sized for the job is going to be way too heavy for me to safely move alone. You want ~7k/lbs of compaction, and you really can't find that in a sub-500lb unit. That's about 200lbs more than I'm willing to chase down a ramp when the dolly runs away. Contractors have the benefit of the mini-excavator to do the lifting for them.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
My issue with laying stone is that any plate compactor that is suitably sized for the job is going to be way too heavy for me to safely move alone. You want ~7k/lbs of compaction, and you really can't find that in a sub-500lb unit. That's about 200lbs more than I'm willing to chase down a ramp when the dolly runs away. Contractors have the benefit of the mini-excavator to do the lifting for them.
I hadn't realized they were that heavy... I see videos of people operating them and didn't think it was that bad. I wouldn't know how to get it to my house unless they deliver it.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I hadn't realized they were that heavy... I see videos of people operating them and didn't think it was that bad.
Big-box stores sell/rent lighter ~300lb ones. The lighter ones simply do not have the compaction/oomph to be truly useful, and you end up with issues 5 years down the road.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Big-box stores sell/rent lighter ~300lb ones. The lighter ones simply do not have the compaction/oomph to be truly useful, and you end up with issues 5 years down the road.
So my question is this. As much as I could conqueror this on my own, is it advised to have the pros do it? We do intent to sell this property in about 7 years to get out of the city.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
So my question is this. As much as I could conqueror this on my own, is it advised to have the pros do it? We do intent to sell this property in about 7 years to get out of the city.
If thats the case, I'd leave it alone. Unless it's a necessary repair, like a leaky roof, why do you want to dump and pay off (plus interest on) like $20,000 in a house you dont plan on staying in? Just my opinion.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
So my question is this. As much as I could conqueror this on my own, is it advised to have the pros do it? We do intent to sell this property in about 7 years to get out of the city.
Either get the pros, or when you go to rent a compactor, ask for "the big one".... 500lbs, 20" plate, 7k compaction... and get 4 friends over when you pull it off your utility trailer. They're just as easy to operate as the smaller ones once they're in place.

The small 200lb 14" plate ones are good for adding a bag of cold-patch to a pot hole in your driveway. Think of them as a mechanical hand-tamper.
 
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bearblastbeats

Senior Member
If thats the case, I'd leave it alone. Unless it's a necessary repair, like a leaky roof, why do you want to dump and pay off (plus interest on) like $20,000 in a house you dont plan on staying in? Just my opinion.
Well, I think a nice patio to enjoy for the time being would be a nice feature and eventually a nice fence brings up the appeal to buyers and probably get a decent ROI?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Well, I think a nice patio to enjoy for the time being would be a nice feature and eventually a nice fence brings up the appeal to buyers and probably get a decent ROI?
Oh I get it. I just dont really invest in things I dont plan on keeping. It's not in my best interests to do so. I will maintain it, but that's about it.

You could also consider a slab patio. Not sure the cost of concrete vs block, but it's another option. Or a deck. A deck can be built by one person, is easy, and right now I believe wood is still more cost effective than stone/concrete. It has been going up since this crap started though, at least where i live.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Oh I get it. I just dont really invest in things I dont plan on keeping. It's not in my best interests to do so. I will maintain it, but that's about it.

You could also consider a slab patio. Not sure the cost of concrete vs block, but it's another option. Or a deck. A deck can be built by one person, is easy, and right now I believe wood is still more cost effective than stone/concrete. It has been going up since this crap started though, at least where i live.
I did consider wood, but then that requires more maintenance down the road. The patio is expensive up front but is pretty low maintenance for the first decade if done well. I toyed the idea of a concrete slab. I'll look at the costs for that.
 

wraub

Well-known member
I've built furniture, shelves and custom radiator boxes from scratch, modded furniture into different furniture, cut into walls to install French doors, laid tile, installed carpet and linoleum, hung drywall, modded guitars, planted bushes and changed brakes, and I usually enjoy the work.

But, I did recently hire a landscaping crew to make my back yard functional again, as work-related yard neglect had nearly caused the space to be declared as "uninhabitable wasteland", so, necessary.
Chest high weeds and spaces impassable to dogs-no bueno.
They were quick and efficient and worth the price. ;)
 

specgrade

Senior Member
I don't do air conditioning. Everything else is fair game. I was a maintenance man for a 60,000 sq ft building in a past life. I really need to get my hvac cert. No time. I enjoy solving problems and working with my hands.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I do my own except for major plumbing. I don't like 2 AM dripping or running water sounds. I do toilet tank repairs etc, but like to let the pro's have their share as well.
 

DrumPhil

Junior Member
I'm handy enough to do a lot of simple maintenance tasks (most recent was to remove and re-install a leaking toilet) or small home projects. The biggest decision for me is what is the risk if something goes wrong. We need to replace our shower enclosure. I want to make sure it drains properly and doesn't leak, so we've been saving up money to pay a professional to do it. We also want to build a deck. It's not very high or complicated, so we will probably draw it up, get a permit, and build it ourselves. If it's a tiny bit off, it won't matter much.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
The front bathroom toilet is wobbly and doesn't do a good job flushing, do we buy a new one based on the same size?
Then call a carpenter for the floor part or do I need a plumber or both?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The front bathroom toilet is wobbly and doesn't do a good job flushing, do we buy a new one based on the same size?
Then call a carpenter for the floor part or do I need a plumber or both?
Toilet technology has not changed much in like 90 years or so. The guts are fairly universal, with a few different choices. You can get a kit based on tank height, and flush style. They are really easy to change.

The bottom has a flange and wax ring. The pipe comes through the floor. The flange sits on the floor around the pipe. The wax ring sits on the flange and is the seal between the flange and toilet. The bolt on either side of the base of the toilet holds it to the flange. Unscrew those, the water line (turn it off first), and lift up.

You can try tightening the bolts to fix the wobble, but if the floor has settled you will need to shim the toilet.
 

planoranger

Junior Member
You can try tightening the bolts to fix the wobble, but if the floor has settled you will need to shim the toilet.
Also... if your toilet is sitting on tile, check to see if the tile is cracked. That may be causing the wobble. If that's the case, replacing tile is actually pretty simple (if you have any tiles left over from when the bathroom was built). Don't laugh...our house was built in 1984, we bought it in 2004 and we found some tile left over. If the tile is cracked, and you don't have any tile, then shimming is in order. In any event it's certainly cheaper than having someone come in to take care of your slab or subfloor, depending on your house construction.

If I can offer a suggestion on toilets. Depending on your age and/or how long you plan on staying in you house, get one of the taller toilets, rather than one of the standard seat height. They are way more comfortable. I hope you understand...that's pretty much as far as I'm going to take this conversation.:D
 
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