After a couple weeknights of watching Netflix, I get the itch. I start looking around the house and finding ways of improving things, projects, and enhancements. Once I have a general idea of what I want to do, I then try to figure out how to convince my wife that it’s a good idea too. But I won’t get into that process here.
What I learned very quickly is that there is a lot of money to be saved when undergoing a home improvement project yourself. Of course, the drawback is that some projects are very time to consume and require patience and skill. The patience and skill part can be learned.
For the time-consuming part, I know for me if a contractor were to come and do the work, my time would still be consumed because I’d probably be hovering over anyway to make sure they are doing the job right. Some DIY projects I have completed in my home include the following: (1) Wallpapering, (2) Painting, (3) Kitchen Back Splash, (4) Installing custom blinds, and (5) Restoring an old beat up bookshelf to AWESOME condition now used in my garage for storage. I’ll go into a bit more detail on the first two below.
DIY Wallpaper Project
I contacted someone I know who has done a couple of small projects for me in the past. His quote for putting up wallpaper was $250 – labor. Even though I said I’ll think about, I’d pretty much already made up my mind. I was going to do this myself. It’s wallpaper I thought, how hard could it possibly be. I looked at several videos on YouTube and found great tips.
Then I found the magical video, which I knew would guide me to victory! It’s because it was the same brand and type of wallpaper I purchased and the application seemed really easy – Awesome DIY Wallpaper Video . I mean look at how happy she is and how easy she makes it look! So on a Tuesday night, after our son fell asleep, we followed the same instructions. After about 3 hours, we were done – start to finish and the result came out great (click to expand our wallpaper below).
Savings: The wallpaper cost about $225 for three rolls. Since it is pre-pasted and I had general tools like a tape measure, scissors, etc., we didn’t need ANYTHING else. We ended up saving all the labor cost of saving $250 because we did it ourselves and surprised our friends that we were able to pull it off! Plus I gave my eyes a bit of a break by skipping The Blacklist on Netflix that night.
I bought my house almost seven years ago and can you believe my wife and I painted the whole thing all by ourselves. I’m talking painting in
- 4 bedrooms,
- hallways (count as 1 room for my calculation below),
- FULL basement – (count as 3 rooms),
- garage including ceiling (count as 2 rooms),
- living room,
- family room,
- dining room,
- 3 bathrooms and
So the above is a total of 19 rooms. I was at a family member’s home a couple years ago who recently got his foyer and family room painted. He said the labor alone charged by the contractor was $600. His home is smaller than mine, but still, if I extrapolate this I can calculate the following ($600 / 2 rooms = $300 per room).
So for my home, I potentially saved $5,700 ($300 X 19 rooms includes bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, etc.). Ok even if I received a bulk discount, and take a $1,000 off, I can conservatively say I saved $4,700! And this doesn’t even include a couple areas where we did sponging and paint with glitter because we’re kinda fancy like that.
The biggest skill you need to have in order to paint well is PATIENCE. Before I used to tape the edges and corners and that would take a separate evening or session to do. Since then, I learned how to cut in and out by viewing techniques on YouTube (Painting Edges Technique) and more importantly practicing using light water and a brush. This has saved time and money (cost of the fancy blue painter’s tape).
You Can DIY And Save Too!
If you don’t care to read long instructions, just watch the YouTube videos. There are videos for doing everything from hanging a picture to laying down hardwood floors. According to this Handyman pricing guide, the costs range from the low $300s up to the mid $6,000s depending on the project (click to expand below: Handiman Costs).
And I’m sure you can find books and videos on how to do many of these projects yourselves. So roll-up your sleeves this Spring everyone and find something you’ve been putting off for a while, but can gather the courage to complete yourself!
Do you have any DIY projects you’re thinking about or have completed recently?
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