How I saved 1000's on remodeling and home maintenance and you can to!
Photo by: Sean F
From Glblguy: This is a guest post by my dad who has been doing carpentry, home repairs and maintenance as a hobby since he was a teenager. My dad is a retired manager from IBM Corporation where he worked for 30 years. I have learned a lot from him and as a result have saved a lot of money working on my house, with some help form him of course. I hope you will too!
This article is part of my ongoing Money Saving Monday Tips Series.
As a teenager in high school, I worked for my dad doing construction during the summer months. My dad was a great self-taught craftsman and he expected me to be the same. As the days grew hotter and hotter those summers I had no idea the importance of what I was being taught by my dad and how important it would be to me later in life. I chose to work in corporate industry and retired from IBM after 30 years of service. Now, you must be asking: what has this got to do with saving money? Well, it’s got a lot to do with saving money!
You can save yourself a significant amount of money by doing your own work remodeling and repairing your own home. You might be thinking, “I can’t do that!”, but you can and I’ll show you how to get started! Once you grasp how much you can really save you won’t hesitate to “do it yourself”. In today’s society when something breaks or needs repair, our first thought is to pick up the phone and call a contractor to come take care of the problem. The same is true with remodeling your home.
I could give you possibly hundreds of examples of how I saved money by doing things myself. In order to get your attention though, I’ll show you a couple of examples of how I saved thousands of dollars just in the last few months. Yes, these are true examples:
- The water pressure valve on my water line feeding the house went bad and would not hold pressure. (don’t worry if you don’t know what this is, that’s ok) I called a plumber and asked for an estimate. He stated $550.00. I said thank you very much and headed over to Lowe’s and picked up a replacement valve for $40.00. I replaced it in about 45 minutes. Savings: $510.00
- Recently someone shot a hole through my vinyl siding with a BB gun; I called a contractor to get an estimate for a fix (this is a difficult problem because if you replace the bad siding with a new piece it will not match). His estimate was $350.00 min. and he added another $100.00 to do the repair. After I recovered from hyperventilating I said no thank you. All he was going to do was remove the bad piece and swap it with a good piece from the back of the house. Needless to say I did it myself. I purchased a vinyl siding removal tool for $7.00 and corrected the problem. Savings: $443.00
- In the area of remodeling, I wanted to install heavy crown molding, chair rail molding and picture frame molding in our house. I had six rooms I wanted to do this in. Not all rooms required the same amount of molding. I discussed this with my builder and he wanted $300.00 per room to perform this trim work. This would have cost me $1800.00 for materials and labor. I purchased the material for $60.00 per room and did the work myself at a cost of $360.00. Savings: $1440.00.
These are some real life examples. These were extreme; however, the information provided is true. Not all contractor estimates are going to be this high but I can say they will be much higher than what you can do the job. Here are some relatively easy to do items that you can do:
- Leaky faucets
- Leaky commode stools (top tank or bottom stool leaks)
- Minor electrical items
- Trim work
- Wall paper
- Minor heating and air conditioning issues
- Lighting fixtures
- Minor plumbing problems
Every reader of this article will have a different skill level. For those of you that are already doing these kinds of things then congratulations. For those that don’t have any training or confidence in this area don’t worry. Here are two basic ideas on how to get started:
Purchase a Home Repair/Improvement Book
Both Home Depot and Lowe’s offer general home improvement and repair books. Home Depot offers Home Improvement 1-2-3 and Lowe’s offers Lowe’s Complete Home Improvement & Repair. Both of these books are excellent and will cover most of the things you need to do around the house. There are books that also cover specific areas such as plumbing, trimming, etc. These books will guide you step by step on how to do most projects around the house. They will also identify the specific tools you need to do the job. If you take your time and follow the instructions I will assure you that you can perform most home repairs and do many remodeling tasks. The money you save doing this work yourself will easily pay for any tools required and you will still save money on each job. The tools can be reused for many years on future projects.
Leverage the Internet
You can also use the Internet to find many home improvements sites that will also be a part of your education in doing this work. Remember, no one will take the time and do the job like you. Here are just a few sites I use:
Leverage the knowledge of the stores sales people
The Home Improvement Stores representatives are very helpful and will also guide you through each project. They even have training sessions on specific projects and they are free to attend.
Some of you may decide not to do this and that’s ok. For those that enjoy this kind of work there are many rewards; saving money, self-gratification, and knowing the job was done right.
Well, I’m all grown up now and I have much respect and admiration for my dad and all that he taught me. I know you can do this work, save a “lot” of money over the years and enjoy what you are doing. It’s not hard. If you are disciplined and take the money you saved and investment it, you will be amazed how much money you can accumulate in your lifetime. Good luck and have fun!
From Glblguy: Do you do your own repairs and improvements? What websites and/or books do you recommend? My Dad and I would love to read your home improvement repairs stories good or bad, so share by adding a comment below! Oh yeah…Thanks Dad, great job!