Are you a serious DIYer?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
Cody6136
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Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Cody6136 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:09 pm

I've become more and more interested in doing things myself around the home. Minor appliance repairs, all lawn care, growing vegetables, tree trimming, painting, tiling, carpentry. I enjoy it, and spend most of the weekend around the house, garage, and garden. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm around an 8 for Doing It Myself. I realize that this sounds like the first circle of Hell for some people, but it fits into my frugal outlook and I find it FUN!

I had to call the plumber for a serious issue and was disappointed that I couldn't fix it myself. The repair was straightforward in the end and cost me $125 but I learned something that will make this kind of call unnecessary in the end.

How DIY are you? Does being DIY save you money, or is it enjoyable or both?

renue74
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by renue74 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:42 pm

I'm a fanatical student of DIY. I own 10 rental properties and in the past 3 years gone through two major rehab projects (down to the studs, new electrical, plumbing, etc.)

I actually enjoy it because I see a final physical product and I save some $ doing it myself.

In the past few months, I've plumbed a whole house and am just finishing wiring a house and breaker panel. The stuff is really not hard. I take the time to learn the building codes, pull permits, and get inspections.

If I get stumped, the internet (Youtube), etc. is out there.

I find that I sometimes know more than my subcontractors because they get tunnel vision in the way they do things and don't refer to new options. Plus, a lot of the current contractors are an older generation with limited computer skills.

finfire
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by finfire » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:51 pm

I'm a 3 on the scale.

I mostly don't enjoy working around the house any more. I like electrical stuff and tolerate the mundane every week jobs.

But if it comes down to the serious stuff (roofing, plumbing, fence work etc), I outsource it. I often find that outsourcing is cheaper because it allows me to work regular hours and make more money.

We went through a time where I was working every weekend on stuff around the house. That got old real quick.

alfaspider
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by alfaspider » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:59 pm

I tend to lean that direction. For a lot of things, I find arranging for someone else to do it is more work than just doing it myself (especially after proper tools). For example, it takes me about 30 minutes to do an oil change on my car. It takes 30 minutes in just driving time to go to the dealership and back to get it changed, plus an hour in the waiting room.

On other occasions, I've found the "pros" to be less than helpful. We once had three sets of plumbers (6 plumbers total including their apprentices) come out to find a plumbing leak- none found anything. One proposed to charge us $400 to tear up our back deck to look in what turned out to be the wrong place. Eventually, I went out and bought a stethoscope to listen to the pipes for flowing water, and traced the leak to an unused pipe that had rusted through. It required getting under the house and getting dirty, as well as a bit of time, but I fixed the problem with a $5 pipe cap from Home Depot.

However, there are times when you need to admit defeat and just let someone else do it. A friend of mine decided he wanted to build a house. He had a contractor do the frameout, Siding, HVAC, and Drywall/installation, and then did the entire interior himself including floors, finishing walls, trim, cabinets, etc. While he did an excellent job, and the house was beautiful, exactly to his spec, and much cheaper than if a builder had done it, he still regrets doing it. 3 years of his life doing almost nothing with his free time other than working on the house, as well as a year of living in crummy rental digs before he moved into his mostly unfinished house (with all the hassle that entails).

But even when you outsource, you benefit from knowing HOW to do something so you can ask the right questions and separate the experts from the charlatans.

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topper1296
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by topper1296 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:01 pm

I enjoy doing as much as possible for two reason. 1-it's (usually) a lot cheaper and 2-it gives me a chance to do something completely different from my day job where I sit behind a desk all day.

T4REngineer
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by T4REngineer » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:01 pm

I am easily an 8 (what's the scale rating again? :D )......

About the only thing I have not done myself on the cars or house was spray foam insulation and the reason was cost, not ability - the bulk order materials and a used/lower end spray system was going to be in the range of 7-10k and I found a regional Amish builder to do it for ~3.5k. I did remove all old insulation and some other minor work to make his life easier (and my job cheaper).

I enjoy working with my hands and understanding how things work/are done. I find, based on talking with friends, it takes me less time to research, learn, execute most jobs then it does them to call, quote, schedule etc. contractors. I may not be faster at the actual job then a professional but I expect equal if not better quality because I am not time constrained. Most stop when the job is "good enough". For the most part nothing is wrong with that but are my shingles straighter,my windows tighter, plumbing cleaner/nicely routed and siding with minimal seams than if I had someone else install them, no doubt - would anyone notice/does it make an difference , likely not but I sleep well at night.

Seems like a snowball effect, the more you do the better/more confident you become, the more tools you have etc.

I encourage friends and co-workers to do what they feel confident doing and if they need a hand/tool the garage is always open

Topic Author
Cody6136
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Cody6136 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:09 pm

T4REngineer wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:01 pm
I am easily an 8 (what's the scale rating again? :D )......

About the only thing I have not done myself on the cars or house was spray foam insulation and the reason was cost, not ability - the bulk order materials and a used/lower end spray system was going to be in the range of 7-10k and I found a regional Amish builder to do it for ~3.5k. I did remove all old insulation and some other minor work to make his life easier (and my job cheaper).

I enjoy working with my hands and understanding how things work/are done. I find, based on talking with friends, it takes me less time to research, learn, execute most jobs then it does them to call, quote, schedule etc. contractors. I may not be faster at the actual job then a professional but I expect equal if not better quality because I am not time constrained. Most stop when the job is "good enough". For the most part nothing is wrong with that but are my shingles straighter,my windows tighter, plumbing cleaner/nicely routed and siding with minimal seams than if I had someone else install them, no doubt - would anyone notice/does it make an difference , likely not but I sleep well at night.

Seems like a snowball effect, the more you do the better/more confident you become, the more tools you have etc.

I encourage friends and co-workers to do what they feel confident doing and if they need a hand/tool the garage is always open
The scale is 10 is a DIY master who can tackle and accomplish like a pro!

1 is someone with no tools and no clues.

Quirkz
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Quirkz » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:37 pm

I'm moderately handy with wood and drywall, and tentative but willing with electric. I don't touch anything that can leak - I could probably learn but a mistake is almost guaranteed to cost more than paying someone to do it right in the first place.

Mostly I'll do work around the house because for me it's satisfying and creative, and very different from my desk job. (It doesn't hurt that it impresses the wife.) If there's something that would just be miserable to do (attic insulation, say), I'll hire it out to save myself the unpleasantness.

I'm just finishing up some bathroom work this week. Replaced some carpet (in a bathroom? what were the original owners thinking?) with wood flooring, redid some trim, and cut back a bit of wall to make some more open space. The flooring was particularly fun and really improved the room, so my next project is probably taking carpet out of the bedroom and doing the same thing there.

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Artful Dodger
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Artful Dodger » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:56 pm

Not sure how I would rate myself.

I do some home stuff - replacing toilet workings, minor electrical, lots of little things my wife asks me to do.

I won't do anything roof related, or where I would need to be very high up on a ladder.

I also made a decision a while back to just be more active. I still work, but have a lot of flexibility with my time. I found myself in the morning sitting for two hours watching morning news, then getting breakfast, then cleaning up to leave for the office. Now I limit my sitting to 30 minutes, and do 90 to 120 minutes of gardening, weeding, and other things around the outside of the house. I spent 4 hours yesterday power washing my deck, and plan to re-stain / seal next weekend. We have tons of outdoor plantings, and I enjoy getting out and cleaning, weeding, trimming, splitting plants to add to other areas, repairing walk ways, patios, etc. I really enjoy it, and get a sense of accomplishment. My wife loves to garden, and is great with choosing plants that will beautify our outdoors, and also does a vegetable garden. So, a lot of what I do compliments her activities.

I also am a big audio book listener, so will either be listening to a book while I "work", or something on the XM POTUS channel.

We went to a local Pond O Rama last weekend, and saw several ponds, water features, and other folks back yard landscaping projects. I'm thinking of doing a small pond and waterfall now.

lightheir
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by lightheir » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:07 pm

I honestly think a huge part of it has to do with how much free time you have to tinker with stuff.

I love DIYing stuff, but since have so little time to do it, even near-trivial tasks like replacing easy toilet parts takes hours (wrong part, multiple trips to stores or UPS returns, looking up stuff on the web a million times ,etc.)

If I were unemployed for a long period of time, I'd likely DIY everything. Alas, I currently DIY next to nothing and pay for nearly all repairs, but it's definitely a time, not interest issue.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:21 pm

I don't know if owning a General Contracting Company, and starting out as a "lowly" journeyman finish carpenter, fits as a DIY.'
As a senior with a few health issues, I still enjoy DIY most anything. But, DW says, the groaning and complaining later on is getting "louder". :shock:

DW and I both met over a sheet of plywood. :happy

Love the sound of a nail gun in the morning :happy

Actionably: A "Boglehead Portfolio: is a DIY Portfolio.
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jebmke
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by jebmke » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:29 pm

I do my own taxes. If a stick falls in the yard, I will probably pick it up. I help with pool maintenance (spouse does most of it).
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

smitcat
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by smitcat » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:43 pm

Cody6136 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:09 pm
I've become more and more interested in doing things myself around the home. Minor appliance repairs, all lawn care, growing vegetables, tree trimming, painting, tiling, carpentry. I enjoy it, and spend most of the weekend around the house, garage, and garden. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm around an 8 for Doing It Myself. I realize that this sounds like the first circle of Hell for some people, but it fits into my frugal outlook and I find it FUN!

I had to call the plumber for a serious issue and was disappointed that I couldn't fix it myself. The repair was straightforward in the end and cost me $125 but I learned something that will make this kind of call unnecessary in the end.

How DIY are you? Does being DIY save you money, or is it enjoyable or both?
We are well up on the scale but have learned over the years that sometimes it does not make sense to do it yourself.
The main reason we would DIY is for convenience and to make sure it is done right - savings as well but you are trading time for money where one of them is finite.

MrBobcat
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by MrBobcat » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:54 pm

I was always a DIY out of necessity not out of any real enjoyment (other than saving money). Some DIY things I will never do again, paint the outside of my house (1/2 dozen times over the years is enough) nor will I reroof the garage again, replace a sidewalk/patio and if I never see another popcorn ceiling it will still be too soon.

Don't mind most other household DIY type things and actually like painting inside (oh I won't take down wallpaper ever again either).

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midareff
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by midareff » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:29 pm

I have determined that my role is that of check writer to the repair people.

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F150HD
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by F150HD » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:32 pm

topper1296 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:01 pm
I enjoy doing as much as possible for two reason. 1-it's (usually) a lot cheaper and 2-it gives me a chance to do something completely different from my day job where I sit behind a desk all day.
+1
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:21 pm
Love the sound of a nail gun in the morning :happy
Am not sure if this is 'secret code' for something dirty? or if you actually meant what you typed! lol

___________________

If I have the time and its not a super immediate need, I'll prob try it myself. Take time to learn via internet/Youtube, then align/buy all tools materials, then give it a go.

Also, doing a project saves on labor cost so its almost a 'side hustle' Instead of paying someone $1500 to do job X, if I do it myself I've essentially made $1500.

Though clearly there are times to call a pro.

livesoft
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by livesoft » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:35 pm

I am not a serious DIY-er. I am a reluctant DIY-er. I have done a lot of things myself over my lifetime, so there is usually nothing that intimidates me.
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michaeljc70
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:35 pm

I'd call myself a 7 when it comes to household DIY. I completely remodeled 2 bathrooms and a kitchen. I can do electrical and plumbing. I've removed walls with plumbing and electrical. I've added new outlets and ceiling lights and tiled bathrooms and installed hardwood floors. I installed a new hot water heater. I do some rudimentary carpentry (made some built ins). One thing I was never able to do after practicing several times was repairing drywall and making it look perfect. Sometimes I do hire out boring, repetitive things (painting, tiling).

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Sandtrap
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:06 pm

F150HD wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:32 pm
topper1296 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:01 pm
I enjoy doing as much as possible for two reason. 1-it's (usually) a lot cheaper and 2-it gives me a chance to do something completely different from my day job where I sit behind a desk all day.
+1
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:21 pm
Love the sound of a nail gun in the morning :happy
Am not sure if this is 'secret code' for something dirty? or if you actually meant what you typed! lol

___________________

If I have the time and its not a super immediate need, I'll prob try it myself. Take time to learn via internet/Youtube, then align/buy all tools materials, then give it a go.

Also, doing a project saves on labor cost so its almost a 'side hustle' Instead of paying someone $1500 to do job X, if I do it myself I've essentially made $1500.

Though clearly there are times to call a pro.
I had a degree in finance and worked at a bank doing audits. No fresh air. Indoors all day.

One day, I said, forget it. I can make more money on my own. And, be happier. A few years later I'm on a small construction project, my company, a 2 story addition on a home. And, I'm up on the roof with the guys, "bags" on, and the "framing nail guns are going". We were decking out the roof.

I took a smoke break ('cause I'm the boss) and was lying on the plywood roof looking out over the Pacific Ocean, and feeling the cool Hawaii tradewinds over me. I was in heaven.

Thus, the sounds of (carpentry framing air nailers) "nail guns" in the morning. :D :D

(now, if I had mistyped "male gun" that might have been different)

Mahalo Nui Loa
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Sandtrap
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:11 pm

livesoft wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:35 pm
I am not a serious DIY-er. I am a reluctant DIY-er. I have done a lot of things myself over my lifetime, so there is usually nothing that intimidates me.
It is not in the nature of "Bogleheads" to be intimidated by anything.
You have lead the way :D

j :happy
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Kenkat
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Kenkat » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:12 pm

midareff wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:29 pm
I have determined that my role is that of check writer to the repair people.
An old neighbor used to use what he called “the two book method”: the phone book and the check book.

iamlucky13
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:19 pm

Cody6136 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:09 pm
I had to call the plumber for a serious issue and was disappointed that I couldn't fix it myself. The repair was straightforward in the end and cost me $125 but I learned something that will make this kind of call unnecessary in the end.

How DIY are you? Does being DIY save you money, or is it enjoyable or both?
I wish plumbers were that cheap around here.

I also had a plumbing issue I was recently disappointed I didn't seen able to resolve myself: a serious clog out of reach of a 25' snake.

After calling 5 plumbers, the best "quote" I had ranged from ~$75 to diagnose and hourly after that (understandable, except they refused to tell me what their hourly rate was) up to $1100 to do the "minimum" of hydrojetting from the septic tank upwards. That last one was the only company with availability that day.

In the end, I rented a much longer power snake for about $50, unmounted a toilet for better access, and was completely done about 4 hours after I gave up on hiring a plumber, including two trips to the rental place to pick up and return the tool (where I found out I was in a very small minority of people who take the time to hose off and properly coil the snake when done) and buy a spare wax ring.

It was far from the most difficult DIY project I've done, but it was probably the highest dollar/hour savings. It wasn't even as unpleasant as I expected.

That was actually the third plumbing emergency I've had to deal with in our house (fulfillment of concerns we were aware of when we bought). Aside from the one crazy quote on the clog, each time, cost has been a tertiary consideration to expediency and stubborn pride.

michaeljc70
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:20 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:19 pm
Cody6136 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:09 pm
I had to call the plumber for a serious issue and was disappointed that I couldn't fix it myself. The repair was straightforward in the end and cost me $125 but I learned something that will make this kind of call unnecessary in the end.

How DIY are you? Does being DIY save you money, or is it enjoyable or both?
I wish plumbers were that cheap around here.
Agree. They won't show up here for $125. Doubt they would show up and unclog a toilet for less than $300 here.

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midareff
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by midareff » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:35 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:12 pm
midareff wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:29 pm
I have determined that my role is that of check writer to the repair people.
An old neighbor used to use what he called “the two book method”: the phone book and the check book.
Same deal except now its a cell contact list or the net and a 2% cash back plastic card.

renue74
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by renue74 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:46 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:19 pm
Cody6136 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:09 pm
I had to call the plumber for a serious issue and was disappointed that I couldn't fix it myself. The repair was straightforward in the end and cost me $125 but I learned something that will make this kind of call unnecessary in the end.

How DIY are you? Does being DIY save you money, or is it enjoyable or both?
I wish plumbers were that cheap around here.

I also had a plumbing issue I was recently disappointed I didn't seen able to resolve myself: a serious clog out of reach of a 25' snake.

After calling 5 plumbers, the best "quote" I had ranged from ~$75 to diagnose and hourly after that (understandable, except they refused to tell me what their hourly rate was) up to $1100 to do the "minimum" of hydrojetting from the septic tank upwards. That last one was the only company with availability that day.

In the end, I rented a much longer power snake for about $50, unmounted a toilet for better access, and was completely done about 4 hours after I gave up on hiring a plumber, including two trips to the rental place to pick up and return the tool (where I found out I was in a very small minority of people who take the time to hose off and properly coil the snake when done) and buy a spare wax ring.

It was far from the most difficult DIY project I've done, but it was probably the highest dollar/hour savings. It wasn't even as unpleasant as I expected.

That was actually the third plumbing emergency I've had to deal with in our house (fulfillment of concerns we were aware of when we bought). Aside from the one crazy quote on the clog, each time, cost has been a tertiary consideration to expediency and stubborn pride.
I own several rental properties and deal with clogged pipes about 1x to 2x per year. The last one back in the winter was difficult. I had called 2 different plumbers and they ran a 75' snake and didn't fix it. Then they said they would have to dig the septic line up and it would be $3K to $5K.

A friend told me to call the city. They have a dedicated septic crew that goes out and hydrojets between the man holes of the septic lines.

The came out and did it and cleared my clog. It was the greatest thing ever. The city crew said to always call the city first before calling a plumber.

I still ended up paying $250 for one of the plumbers attempts.

bigdav160
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by bigdav160 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:53 pm

You tell me. I am a professor by day but a non stop DIY all the rest of the time. I've put a large second story on my prior house. Banged every nail, soldered every plumbing joint, pulled wire and even installed the central air myself. In my new house I built a swimming pool.

If I could have sprayed the gunite and troweled the plaster myself I would have. I saved about $30k on that project and finished in 10 weeks.

I recently bought 13 acres of lakefront property that I am clearing and will do it all over again

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Taz
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Taz » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:31 pm

I'll give it a shot after reviewing YouTube videos. Sometimes it's worth it to pay a pro to learn the right way to do it

To quote Dirty Harry, "A man's got to know his limitations."
The destination matters.

Dottie57
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:20 pm

midareff wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:29 pm
I have determined that my role is that of check writer to the repair people.
This is me. I don’t want to kill myself with electricity. I can do very simple toilet part replacement. No repair of appliances or car.

Maybe a 1 or 1.5.

MrJones
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by MrJones » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:35 pm

I'm a very reluctant DIYer. In the perfect world, I'd rather either be a 0, where someone else does a perfect job each time for a very reasonable price; or be a 10, where I'm extremely handy and love fixing things.

alfaspider wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:59 pm
But even when you outsource, you benefit from knowing HOW to do something so you can ask the right questions and separate the experts from the charlatans.

+1. This is the biggest reason I keep dabbling in DIY.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by jabberwockOG » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:54 pm

Over the course of 45 years bought numerous houses and most of them except perhaps the last one were fixers. Being thrifty (and initially pretty destitute) meant learning to diy almost all home maintenance and improvement projects, as well as most car repairs and maintenance. Accumulated a lot of tools over the years.

Now being retired, I really enjoy working on our cars, due to being able to 100% take my time and do the job right with zero rush. Also regularly volunteer with local home building charity - favorite work is basic carpentry and framing - nail guns are a wonderful tool.

I'd say my skill level varies from 6-8 depending on the task. I do avoid work involving getting on a roof, or requiring more than a 8 foot ladders - too easy to fall and get seriously injured as you age

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Sandtrap
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:59 pm

MrJones wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:35 pm
I'm a very reluctant DIYer. In the perfect world, I'd rather either be a 0, where someone else does a perfect job each time for a very reasonable price; or be a 10, where I'm extremely handy and love fixing things.

alfaspider wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:59 pm
But even when you outsource, you benefit from knowing HOW to do something so you can ask the right questions and separate the experts from the charlatans.

+1. This is the biggest reason I keep dabbling in DIY.
OTOH: there's, extremely talented, love fixing things, and able to do it perfectly. :D
j
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Sandtrap
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:06 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:54 pm
Over the course of 45 years bought numerous houses and most of them except perhaps the last one were fixers. Being thrifty (and initially pretty destitute) meant learning to diy almost all home maintenance and improvement projects, as well as most car repairs and maintenance. Accumulated a lot of tools over the years.

Now being retired, I really enjoy working on our cars, due to being able to 100% take my time and do the job right with zero rush. Also regularly volunteer with local home building charity - favorite work is basic carpentry and framing - nail guns are a wonderful tool.

I'd say my skill level varies from 6-8 depending on the task. I do avoid work involving getting on a roof, or requiring more than a 8 foot ladders - too easy to fall and get seriously injured as you age
+1
A learnin' story:
So, earlier in the year, I'm helping a distant neighbor put up a 40 x 40 detached garage. The walls are 15 feet high. Gable end is about 25+ feet up. So I'm up on an extension ladder installing the last of the horizontal lap siding. The wind is blowing cool. View is terrific as the home is on a high hill. Everything's great. Then it hits me. My bags must weigh 15+ lbs. Heavy workboots. Nail gun. Racks. My senior legs are feeling like "Gumby". I'm far from being 30 years old anymore. And, if I fall 25 feet it's going to be really nasty on my bad spine. What the heck am I doing? :shock:
So, that was my last day doing that over there.

Sometimes it's good to get these "reality checks".
j :oops:
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curmudgeon
Posts: 1828
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by curmudgeon » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:23 pm

My default mindset is DIY for anything around the house or car. I've either learned, or can learn, to do most things in those areas, and have accumulated a lot of tools that make the jobs easier. But I'm not dogmatic about it; I hire things out for a variety of reasons if I feel like it.

I'm more likely to do things myself if:

1) There is a strong cost/benefit to doing it myself. Sometimes I'm saving a high cost, sometimes finding a reliable tradesman is more work than doing it myself.

2) Sometimes I just like the feeling of accomplishment (or the workout) involved in doing the job, even if I could hire it out fairly cheaply and easily. Some of the retaining walls I've put in fall into that category.

3) The best way to do a project may not always be obvious at the start of the job. Sometimes in the process of doing a project, I'll realize that I'd really rather tweak it in a different manner. Trying to implement that with a contractor may drive both of you nuts.

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nativenewenglander
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:05 am

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by nativenewenglander » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:31 am

I have done museum quality home restoration as a hobby for 30+ years on early homes. I'm now into the last house, but at 58 I outsource most of the work outside. I am helping the roofer strip the roof, but mainly to speed it along as he works alone. We have a painter working painting the outside at the same time. I'm currently repairing and skim coating the plaster in our living room.

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midareff
Posts: 6276
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:43 am
Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by midareff » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:33 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:20 pm
midareff wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:29 pm
I have determined that my role is that of check writer to the repair people.
This is me. I don’t want to kill myself with electricity. I can do very simple toilet part replacement. No repair of appliances or car.

Maybe a 1 or 1.5.
LOL, did a seat replacement yesterday and have an a/c repair call in.

Every things free
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:28 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Every things free » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:48 am

I stay away from 2 things, concrete and roofing. Everything else I'm up to.

This year I got a contractors license so I can design,install and repair wastewater systems(septic). I also got licensed to test soil for those systems. Those were new things I had no knowledge of.
You know when you are rich. You can buy anything you want but want nothing.

investingdad
Posts: 1627
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by investingdad » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:51 am

I like riding the lawn tractor, I don't enjoy trimming.

I don't mind painting, other than the 2 story foyer I painted our entire house including our finished basement which was bare drywall. Last house, same. I'm pretty good at it.

Drywall repair is fine.

Simple electrical is ok, like replacing a switch.

Unblocking drains is fine.

Car work? Nope.
Hedge trimming? Nope.
Appliance repair? Nope.

vested1
Posts: 1789
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by vested1 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:04 am

My DIY obsession with our home included demo work, knocking out walls, placing sheetrock, tile floors and decorative tiling work, wood and laminate flooring, pouring and finishing cement, interior and exterior painting, limited plumbing (replacing toilets bathtub, showers, fixtures), and electrical work (breaker panel connections new romex and outlets). I also designed and placed all of our expansive landscaping and irrigation. I built all of our fences and wooden decks. I replaced all of our window treatments, installing them myself.

We just sold our house (closed yesterday), which blew away the local comps and sold quickly with the lowest of 5 offers being at full price. The appraiser asked me how much I'd spent on remodeling over 25 years in our home. I estimated 60k, but that number would have easily tripled had I hired contractors to do all of the work.

The biggest issue for me was living with the inevitable mistakes I made when doing something I'd never attempted before. Sometimes those mistakes weren't obvious until it was too late, when tearing out and correcting the issue wasn't always feasible. Sometimes there was no choice about correcting the problem, like when I replaced the roof, converting it from tar and gravel to composition shingles, but unknowingly leaving out a critical aspect of doubling the shingles at the edges of the roof, which resulted in paying a professional to do it all over again 5 years later. Those blemishes that were minor were always the first to catch my eye, but were mostly invisible to others unless I pointed them out, something that irritated my wife to no end.

Now it's time to move across the country, buy a different house, and start a new adventure. I have no doubt that there will be new projects that await me, although my wife keeps telling me I'm too old for all that, and that retirement should be about relaxing. Looking at something and seeing how it can be improved relaxes me, as does all the money we saved by not hiring a cadre of contractors to remodel our house, then selling it in order to realize our dream of owning a lake house with no mortgage.

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Sandtrap
Posts: 8028
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:15 am

vested1 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:04 am
My DIY obsession with our home included demo work, knocking out walls, placing sheetrock, tile floors and decorative tiling work, wood and laminate flooring, pouring and finishing cement, interior and exterior painting, limited plumbing (replacing toilets bathtub, showers, fixtures), and electrical work (breaker panel connections new romex and outlets). I also designed and placed all of our expansive landscaping and irrigation. I built all of our fences and wooden decks. I replaced all of our window treatments, installing them myself.

We just sold our house (closed yesterday), which blew away the local comps and sold quickly with the lowest of 5 offers being at full price. The appraiser asked me how much I'd spent on remodeling over 25 years in our home. I estimated 60k, but that number would have easily tripled had I hired contractors to do all of the work.

The biggest issue for me was living with the inevitable mistakes I made when doing something I'd never attempted before. Sometimes those mistakes weren't obvious until it was too late, when tearing out and correcting the issue wasn't always feasible. Sometimes there was no choice about correcting the problem, like when I replaced the roof, converting it from tar and gravel to composition shingles, but unknowingly leaving out a critical aspect of doubling the shingles at the edges of the roof, which resulted in paying a professional to do it all over again 5 years later. Those blemishes that were minor were always the first to catch my eye, but were mostly invisible to others unless I pointed them out, something that irritated my wife to no end.

Now it's time to move across the country, buy a different house, and start a new adventure. I have no doubt that there will be new projects that await me, although my wife keeps telling me I'm too old for all that, and that retirement should be about relaxing. Looking at something and seeing how it can be improved relaxes me, as does all the money we saved by not hiring a cadre of contractors to remodel our house, then selling it in order to realize our dream of owning a lake house with no mortgage.
:sharebeer
Congratulations on your successes and the fun and gratification as well.
Your wife is wise. . . . take care of your spine. . . you only have one. No spares.

j
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Spirit Rider
Posts: 10991
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:39 pm

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Spirit Rider » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:16 am

I have been a serious DIYer for decades, but I research things thoroughly if I haven't done it before. I like to have a mentor and/or take a course or two from the local technical college. I also have taken specialized courses through distributors.

The most important thing is to have adequate knowledge and safety, Safety, SAFETY. I just finished installing on Friday a 2 ton 15 seer heat pump condensor and air handler with 10KW heat strip. It probably cost me all-in about $2500 dollars vs. the $6500 - $7500 quotes I received. Here's a recommendation, use some of the money you save to buy quality tools to do the job.

I find I do less and less small jobs. I took auto shop in high school and have even done an engine rebuild myself. However, I pretty much only do tire rotations, fluid changes, light bulb and spark plug replacements, and brakes myself. I pay someone else to do all front end work and major repairs.

I really DIY more for enjoyment and getting the job done right than cost savings. Very often contractors are focused on doing the job in as little time as possible and cutting corners. Besides, being retired, I have more time on hand.

My next project is to put up a wall and door in my goddaughter's basement to finish out a family/play room. Although I think I'll wait a month or two for that. I'm supposed to be retired after all.

P.S. I have been up on my steep roof with a 12:12 pitch, never again!

Glockenspiel
Posts: 895
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:28 am

I've done the following:
-wired and installed electrical fixtures and pulled new wire to wire other fixtures
-installed ceiling fans
-plumbed in a new sink
-replaced a toilet
-installed a custom tile backsplash
-re-stained a deck
-painted all my trim, doors, and casing
-built a paver patio (still looks amazing 8 years later)
-built rock retaining walls
-created and planted landscaping beds
-built a couple pieces of furniture
-drywall taping, mudding, and finishing (never again!)

Not sure what level that puts me at (1-10), but I'm thinking around a 6. I haven't done HVAC, major electrical, major plumbing, or major auto work. Mostly because I have less time than money (2 small kids).
Last edited by Glockenspiel on Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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simplesimon
Posts: 3332
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:53 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by simplesimon » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:36 am

This is a timely thread for us as we just bought our first house.

It's 50 years old and had been decently maintained. I initially thought I'd outsource everything as I'm not particularly handy.

My FIL is a serious DIYer (at least an 8 on the scale) and gifted me a bunch of tools that I don't know how to use but I got the Handyman's "100 things every homeowner must know" book off Amazon and feel slightly better about tackling some small projects. I'm using our inspection report as my first to-do list. Those Progressive insurance commercials where the new millenial homeowner is becoming his parents ring true to me now. "Mm...that's some good mulch."

How do you prioritize what to do first?

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lthenderson
Posts: 4164
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:00 am

I have always bought the worst house in a nice neighborhood and then spend the next five or six years fixing it up (while living in it) before moving on. Not sure if this makes me a DIY person. I used to do it all, evening electrical and plumbing but our state passed legislation a few years ago requiring a state license to do the work. Applying for the license isn't strictly knowledge based and you are required to work as an apprentice for several years which makes it impossible for most DIY people to apply. Fortunately, the new law is fuzzy on whether a license is needed if when remodeling an existing house and so I make my interpretation and run with it.

I am currently hiring an addition added to our house since the addition will replace our kitchen and my DW doesn't want to go for a year or more without a proper kitchen. So the compromise was to hire out the addition and installation of a functioning kitchen and I will do all the myriad of detail work required to finish things like flooring, trim, paint, installing light fixtures, appliances, etc. It also gets me past the hurdle of doing the electrical and plumbing in the new addition since my state requires a license for work in additions.

mountainsoft
Posts: 69
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Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by mountainsoft » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:13 am

I probably come close to a 10 on your DIY scale. My wife and I built our own house back in 2004, doing all the foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing, tiling, sheetrock, insulation, cabinetry, and finish work ourselves. We also built our own garage in 2001, a few sheds, remodeled my in-laws house and remodeled my mom's house. We do all our own car work (except tires and alignments), appliance repairs, and numerous woodworking and outdoor projects. See my personal web site at www.watsondiy.com to see videos of some of the projects we've done.

Glockenspiel
Posts: 895
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:14 am

simplesimon wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:36 am

How do you prioritize what to do first?
I'd prioritize like this:
1. Items that are a safety hazard
2. Items that are a neighborhood eyesore
3. Items that will improve your day-to-day life and make things easier
4. Cosmetic items that improve the rooms you spend the most time in (living room, bathrooms, kitchen)
5. Cosmetic items in rooms you don't spend much time in.

At some point, you weigh the cost versus the benefit. I look at what things can be done that will make me happy and I can easily afford. Then the other items that are more expensive, make a plan to save for it.

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tadamsmar
Posts: 8413
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by tadamsmar » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:17 am

renue74 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:42 pm
I take the time to learn the building codes, pull permits, and get inspections.
Someone had a contract to sell there home in Florida in 2008. It was a contract with a relatively long duration before closing. During the contract, the housing market and the price of this home crashed. The buyer sent in an inspector and the inspector identified some unpermitted work, so the buyer was able to get out of the contract and leave the seller holding the bag.

I know of a case in LA where a disgruntled buyer who had their offer rejected informed the city of code violations.

I wonder how many DIYers take the time to figure out when they are required and get them when required?

In my state, it appears that a permit is required to install a ceiling fan:

https://www.ncrec.gov/Pdfs/bicar/Permits.pdf

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sunny_socal
Posts: 2004
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by sunny_socal » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:26 am

I do everything you listed OP.

Some projects:
- Water heater install. I wouldn't do this again, but old heater started leaking in the evening so just went to HD and put in the new one.
- Ceramic tile
- Hardwood floors, whole house. I wouldn't do this again, it's labor intensive.
- Drywall. I would leave the mud to a pro.
- Complete irrigation & landscape. Not worth it to do IMO, just shop around.
- Plumbing fixes (eg. water leak inside wall)
- Auto maintenance (oil, filters, brake jobs)
- Interior & exterior paint
- Spray for bugs

Topic Author
Cody6136
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:54 am

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Cody6136 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:27 am

bigdav160 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:53 pm
You tell me. I am a professor by day but a non stop DIY all the rest of the time. I've put a large second story on my prior house. Banged every nail, soldered every plumbing joint, pulled wire and even installed the central air myself. In my new house I built a swimming pool.

If I could have sprayed the gunite and troweled the plaster myself I would have. I saved about $30k on that project and finished in 10 weeks.

I recently bought 13 acres of lakefront property that I am clearing and will do it all over again
MASTER

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Cody6136
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:54 am

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Cody6136 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:28 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:26 am
I do everything you listed OP.

Some projects:
- Water heater install. I wouldn't do this again, but old heater started leaking in the evening so just went to HD and put in the new one.
- Ceramic tile
- Hardwood floors, whole house. I wouldn't do this again, it's labor intensive.
- Drywall. I would leave the mud to a pro.
- Complete irrigation & landscape. Not worth it to do IMO, just shop around.
- Plumbing fixes (eg. water leak inside wall)
- Auto maintenance (oil, filters, brake jobs)
- Interior & exterior paint
- Spray for bugs
MASTER

Topic Author
Cody6136
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:54 am

Re: Are you a serious DIYer?

Post by Cody6136 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:29 am

mountainsoft wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:13 am
I probably come close to a 10 on your DIY scale. My wife and I built our own house back in 2004, doing all the foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing, tiling, sheetrock, insulation, cabinetry, and finish work ourselves. We also built our own garage in 2001, a few sheds, remodeled my in-laws house and remodeled my mom's house. We do all our own car work (except tires and alignments), appliance repairs, and numerous woodworking and outdoor projects. See my personal web site at www.watsondiy.com to see videos of some of the projects we've done.
MASTER-PLUS

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