The following is a guest post by fellow blogger My Money Design.
As a homeowner you know that the price of any home repair or project, no matter how small, can be outrageous! As a result, some of us opt to brave these tasks ourselves. But even though the journey may start out because we’re being “cheap”, we learn a little something about ourselves along the way. Here’s my story about a recent home improvement project…
My Wife Wanted Hardwood Floors:
For some time now my wife has wanted hardwood floors in our house. She really likes the look of them and, to be honest, I do to. Our carpet was starting to look warn (as two kids, a dog, and a cat will do to it) and maybe if there’s going to be a change now would be the best time.
So about a year ago we started getting serious about this project. We began by visiting a local, well-known flooring store in our area. At first, it seemed affordable: $6 per square foot, $10 per square foot, etc. We only really needed about 260 sqft (2 rooms) and did not budget to spend a ton.
But then the big question came up: Do you need installation? This is a question I cringed to hear because I knew that I had no idea how to do this myself. Unfortunately, I am not much of a handyman.
So we asked the service rep to put together an estimate for the whole project including installation. And what number did he come back with? Just over $6,000!!! Yeah right!
As you can guess, we left in frustration and began reconsidering. The floors would look nice, but that was a lot of money to spend for the amount of area we planned to cover. We tried again and started shopping around, but things didn’t seem to get much better. No matter what other stores we looked at, the price of the overall project seemed to nearly double when you factored in installation. It seemed there was really only one alternative.
First of all, I am WAY TOO CHEAP to pay that much money for anything I can’t live inside or drive.
So I had to muster up some manhood and do what any red-blooded American would do:
- Get on YouTube and figure out how you install hardwood floors myself.
Okay, you may laugh. But in all seriousness, YouTube has taught me a great deal about how to fix up things around the house over the years: How to install a tile backsplash in my kitchen, how to fix all the running toilets in my house, how to make a pond-less-waterfall in my backyard, how to change the cabin air filter in my car, and on and on.
So Did I Do the Job Myself?
Of course I did! All it took was ordering all the material and just getting to work. Like many other home projects, I just figured it out as I went along. I started laying down boards, making cuts, and hammering nails where they belonged. Once I got into a rhythm, the rest of the family even decided to help. All and all, the project was much easier than I had originally anticipated.
Overall, the project only cost about $1,500 in materials and took about 3 days to complete. That’s an incredible savings compared to the first couple of prices I received!
Here is the before and after:
What Did I Get Out of All This?
Although I saved a ton of cash by doing this project myself, there was plenty of other value I got out of this project:
- The satisfaction of accomplishment. Nothing feels better than to look at a beautiful job well-done and know that you are responsible for having done it.
- Keeping myself active and healthy. You never know true labor until you work on a project like this and wake up the next day feeling like a train hit you! Every once in a while it’s good to exert yourself and remember what hard work really is.
- Being able to make repairs or fix things. When I’m the one putting things together, it makes it a lot easier for me to ever fix it if it ever breaks.
- Forcing myself to buy the right tools. Fortunately for this project I already had most of the tools I needed. But that’s only because other projects I’ve done in the past have forced me to buy a miter saw, table saw, wet saw, jig saw, etc. And once I buy these tools once, I’m ready for the next time.
- The confidence I create to take on other projects I thought would be too difficult. What’s next? Tiled floors? Finishing the basement? Installing lights in the garden? Once you finish one home project, you realize that a lot of what you learned prepares you for the next one. Basically the more you learn, the easier it becomes!
So what projects have you been up to lately? Do you dread work around the house or do you take it on head first? What do you get out of working on them? Please feel free to share!