My husband and I enjoy a good DIY project. We are currently and slowly working on updating our third house during our 12-year marriage. We are commonly asked why we would DIY instead of hiring a skilled worker.
Hiring a skilled worker is not always more expensive than doing a project yourself, but typically it is. For example, my husband has installed 3,000 square feet worth of hardwood floors between our last two homes. Out of curiosity for our third home, I had obtained a quote for install. For local installers, we were quoted that install of hardwood floors would be approximately $2.5 a square foot. Installing the floors ourselves in both homes has saved us approximately $7500. Installing the floors ourselves in our new home will save us more than $4,000 more.
The more we complete DIY projects, the pickier we become about the quality of work. Because we know we do not want to re-do work down the road, we tend to go over and above when completing tasks. Skilled workers often produce quality work, but we have found it is difficult to hold someone else to our own high standards. It is also difficult to swallow the cost of paying for labor if we fear it will not be the quality we desire.
We Enjoy It
Alright, I’ll admit, not every project is enjoyable. Finishing drywall for one is the worst. All projects have some aspect that is not enjoyable. We do however enjoy working together in a space and discussing all the possibilities to make the space our own. We hate the mess of construction, but we love the end product. Most of all, we love being able to step back process a project that we tackled ourselves.
Just this past weekend, my mom asked me, “If you are spending so much on tools, can’t you hire someone to do the job for the price of the tools?” We do spend a considerable amount of money on tools. To save on tool expense, we do buy many large expensive tools second hand, and my husband is glad to take tools from family members that are otherwise collecting dust. While we do spend a lot on tools, we are careful to only purchase tools that will provide us purpose down the road. Most tools will pay for themselves if used for more than one project. Some home improvement stores have tool rental shops for rarely used tools to prevent the purchase of tools that will be never be used again.
Having tools and having skills allows us to custom build and improve our home to our liking. Custom projects can be expensive, but with a little time and patience, we just pay for the supplies. In addition, learning to DIY has helped us with home purchases. All three of our homes needed work but were priced just out of home flipper’s price range. For us, the home was low enough for us to DIY some updates without losing money on the home at resale.