I own a home that was built in the late 1800's, and I have started updating the bathroom and the kitchen. As contractors, do you have any thoughts on how I might be able to plan and execute all of my home improvement projects on my own? I would like to try and save money by doing most the work by myself. Any help you can give me would be great!
Laura G. ~ Brigham, UT
Laura, tackling a home remodeling project yourself can be a challenging adventure, but the rewards of successfully completing a DIY home improvement are many. Of course, one reason why many homeowners choose to remodel their homes themselves is the possibility of saving money on the project's overall labor cost. Here are a few other ways that you can save money when remodeling your house:
1. Even if you are not capable of doing the actual work yourself, you can still save money by taking on the tasks of a general contractor, such as hiring the needed subs, ordering materials, and keeping the permits and paperwork in order. Some general contractors charge up to 15% of a project's total cost for these types of services (and they never even pick up a hammer).
2. Keep an eye out for low-cost building materials at salvage yards, online classifieds, and warehouse auctions. There are literally tons of recycled and re-purposed building materials, such as windows, cabinetry, light fixtures, and doors, that are ready for a new life in your remodeled home.
3. Know when to hire the pros. Your kitchen and bathroom remodel will undoubtedly include installing some new bathroom fixtures and ensuring that the old electrical system is up to code, but keep in mind that unforeseen DIY plumbing and electrical mistakes can be costly (and dangerous). Sometimes you can actually save time and money when you choose to hire an experienced contractor who can guarantee that a job is done right.
You can also check out the archives of how-to articles at oldhouseweb.com and the list of remodeling ideas at reliableremodeler.com! Good luck...