Budgeting, building, fooding and other tips for those of us with champagne taste on a beer budget

Budgeting, building, fooding and other tips for those of us with champagne taste on a beer budget

Avoiding the Suck – of a remodel

Avoiding the Suck – of a remodel

For most, when we look at damaged linoleum or broken tile in our home, we can agree that it sucks. Then, when we think of replacing it with our own sweat (maybe some blood), we think that it will suck more. Here’s some ways to avoid the suck–or at the very least mitigate it.

  1. You’ll save a lot!  That should help right there – we’ve found that materials costs multiplied by anywhere from 3-5x is what contractors tried to charge us.  For a simple bathroom in the Seattle area, that was $30,000-50,000.  Your contractor wants to live on the lake–don’t let ’em with your money.
  2. Know you’re in for some fun and some stress.  It’s tough work, but patience and planning wins out. Even if you screw something up royally — like a stream of water gushing out of our wall on our first bathroom project — you can always pay someone to help you over a certain hurdle and still come out ahead (I love my plumber).
  3. The finished product will likely be better. Nobody will have as much pride in the finished product as you.  In some cases, your work, even on your first or second job, will look better than the pros.  Ours did, which is frankly depressing because we’re “youtube taught” and pros cost way more.
  4. You don’t have to do it all.  I despise, loath, even dread drywall finishing. I tried it, bought the texture hopper and everything–it’s not for me. I love my drywall buddy. If there are tasks you don’t want to do – don’t do ’em. But with each task, there can be ways to save money (we still hung all our own drywall – that’s easy – well, rent the lift when doing a 12-foot high garage ceiling).
  5. Don’t cheap on certain tools. To this day Nichole teases me about growling at my cheapo adjustable wrench while crammed behind a toilet.  Just buy a good crescent wrench. (see our Tools You Need section for more thoughts on when to rent, when to buy nice, and when cheap is good enough).
  6. The wife usually knows best. She picks it, I stick it. Being color blind doesn’t help when you’re staring at 10 shades of white (there’s 1,000s by the way) If it looks like a bloody vicious thing to install – just say yes dear and do your research. If the paint doesn’t look good on the way– no problem, repaint it. (see here for some design ideas and hook-ups in the Seattle area)

Best of luck!