questionshow much diy do you actually dy?


I draw the line at electrical work! Scares the bejeezus out of me!


@blgauthier: I agree. DH will work on electrical stuff a good bit, changing out switches or installing new lights. He'll even install additional outlets. He draws the line at installing circuit breakers. Good thing, too. Last summer he hired someone to install some new circuit breakers in our outside box and the guy started an electrical fire! The fire department showed up but wouldn't touch it until the power company shut down electricity in our neighborhood. Fortunately we had no serious damage and no one was really hurt. The spare house key that was hidden in that area is now a lump of metal, though.


I good DIY-selfer knows where to draw the line. Electric I'll do - it's easy - plumbing I hate, even though I can do it. Other aspects, there is NOTHING you could ever do that you can't find detailed instructions in the internet. I had to rebuild some stairs into my walkout basement last year. Actually was pretty easy once you know the measurements and have a couple of brass knobs for your carpenter's square.

Be careful and keep your head down.


When a DIY renovation starts to affect the marriage, it's time to call a professional. (I know you didn't say that yours was, but that's my bottom line for "when to call a professional" having seen many couples enter therapy during/after a renovation: renovation is a stressor on a family whether it's DIY or hired out.) Having a professional sort out a particular issue, like fixing the hurricane damage or the wiring, doesn't mean that the whole job needs to be contracted out, but sometimes a small break or giving a partner an "out" on a particular job can make a huge difference.


I have never hired anyone to do any of the work I've done in the past. I did a complete remodel of our old house -- Plumbing, roofing, new decks, landscaping, flooring, new trim throughout, new windows, new doors throughout, new electrical (including breaker box work -- it's easy if you know what you're doing), painting, new kitchen (and I even built the cabinets myself) and framing/drywall work.

I spent $15,000 updating our old house over a period of about 3 years. I figure I saved another $20,000 or more doing the work myself. If you have the time and the know-how, all you need is a little incentive and you're good to go.

It's not for everyone. I know people that limit their DIY to changing a lighbulb.

I always tell everyone that asks what all it intells to do a project yourself to plan to spend 50% more than you estimate (money and time) so you can fix the things that were done wrong before.

Do it right or don't do it at all.


@neuropsychosocial: LOL! I certainly agree. One of our family truisms is that any marriage that can survive hanging a windowpane wallpaper, especially while one spouse is pregnant, is a marriage that will last forever. I speak from personal experience.

@mtm2: DH will do most electrical and plumbing work. He is self-taught which, I assume, is how most DIY folks learned. Certainly his own dad was not "handy." So far we have also replaced the old flooring ourselves, too. I now know how to install ceramic tile, hardwood and carpet. Of course, we used to own a small flooring store so he already knew how to do this, even though he wasn't an installer. We did hire people to install the new countertops last year (he can do formica, but not granite), and to replace the roof (waaaay too much work in the hot sun!). Tomorrow we'll start laying tile in the bonus room. I'm tired already.


I don't mind any electrical or most anything else. But I HATE plumbing/ I can't stop the drips!

The trouble is now that I'm older and more experienced,and retired with more time, I'm too decrepit to do much. Growing old isn't for wimps.

At least when I wake up in the morning and something hurts I know I'm alive.


Because practically anything one needs to know can be found on the Internet, it just comes down to a time-cost trade off. You could do any and all of the work at potentially less cost, but is it worth the time it takes you to learn how to do it correctly and your untrained hands to do it well? I love learning, and I love working with my hands, but some things are not worth the hassle to me. Sometimes I'd rather exchange x-hours of work at my job to have another task done for me.


@rickster64: I forgot about the drips! DH does some minor plumbing work, but one of the toilets runs off and on despite his best efforts. Actually, I can be sitting here, alone in the house, when the toilet will start running, sounding almost like it's flushing. The first few times I thought I had a burglar with a bladder problem. Scary! DH had tried everything he can think of but no solution lasts long. Maybe it's time to call in a plumber, after all.


@pquijal: Good point. I had a co-worker who made herself one, and only one, dress. It turned out great, but she pulled out her calculator, multiplied her hourly rate of pay by the amount of time it took her to finish the dress, and decided that she could buy her clothes cheaper than she could make them. I pointed out that she sewed the dress on her own time, but it was such a convenient excuse to stop sewing that it didn't matter to her. My take-away point from that is that DIY that does not actually save you money isn't worthwhile unless you ENJOY doing the work.


I grew up in an ancient decrepit mansion (400 or so years old) that my Dad ( and us children) renovated over period of about 25 years. I did wet work ( plastering ), brick work, tiling, electrical - you name it. Except plumbing.

After I left home, I bought 6 houses in 5 years - all needing major renovations. DW turned into 'psychotic nutjob' and after that split I swore I'd never work on a house again.

Now though - some 15 years later, I'm back doing an extension. Electrical, framing, plasterboard. I still draw the line at plumbing. Electricity doesn't make stains or drip down walls... or flood the basement. :P

I recently updated all the lights and sockets in the house for z-wave, along with the security system - which we can now control from our Ithings. It's a beautiful thing to be able to turn off the downstairs lights, or turn up the temperature from... in bed :)


@slickwilly: Wow! An expert! Maybe you're the one we need to hire!


Actually, quite a bit, or at least, I hope to over the next however many years.
I've spent the last 15-20 years or so helping my dad with projects in our home growing up.
I married and bought a house within the last 6 months.
The house was in pretty good condition when we bought it -- just paint, patching a few holes here and there, and I refinished the bedroom floors (hardwood).

As others have mentioned, there's tons of free material on the Internet (including YouTube videos), or just pick up an electrical or plumbing book, or whatever you need.

A few weeks ago, we started our first "real project" -- moving the laundry.
This entailed cutting the gas supply line and re-routing to the newly framed laundry room, running a new electrical circuit over, extending water pipes and drain lines from existing bathroom right next to this room.
Pretty good size project, and I'm very thankful that my dad had the time to help me with this project!
I sweated my first copper lines -- SUCCESS!


A decent amount. I can do most things myself. Next up is a larger wort chiller for my brewing system.


I've done many DIY projects. I've plumbed two entire new houses (from the ground up) and completely wired one of them (with permits, inspections, by the book). These days I still like doing most smaller jobs myself, but call the pros for the ones I don't like doing - roofing, sheetrock and concrete for example.


Like many here, I do a good bit myself. In my current house I've done painting, ceramic tiling, installed a new island vent hood (mechanical and venting, not electrical), landscaping, drywall, and a tool shed. In prior houses I've done wood flooring, deck+gazebo, more tiling, backsplash, countertops, interior french doors...

re: electrical vs. plumbing: I don't mind plumbing at all, it's easy until you get to waste lines, I don't mess with waste lines. Yes, electric is easy, but make a mistake and you could set your house on fire, and insurance claims are a nightmare if you didn't use a licensed contractor.

re: leaky toilet: I'm not sure what all was tried, but just put in a new toilet. no plumber required. It's a mechanical device.

j5 j5

I do it all... plumbing, electrical, paint, sheetrock, wiring (like cat6/home theater), etc... My wife loans me out to her girlfriends all the time. (That sentence sounds more awesome than it really is)

When my daughter was 9 I had her replace our garbage disposal. She did 98% of the work (I did the heavy lifting parts) It has been leak free and functional for 4 years.

@belyndag: The secret to plumbing is don't overtighten. overtighten=leaks


Just an update: So far on our latest DIY we've ripped up the old carpet and pad, pulled out the baseboards, repaired the hurricane damage we found by replacing parts of the outside walls and insulation, and have installed the new ceramic tile floors in just over half of the room. The entire room is over 600 square feet (I think it's larger than the entire first apartment we had as newlyweds!). The adhesive should be set by tomorrow so we can walk on it and install the rest of it. Then we have to grout it. Urgh. Lots of cuts to the tiles, I'm afraid, and we can't find any more of this particular tile anywhere so we are being as careful as possible not to waste any of it.

We are also in the process of refinancing the house so today, with the mess in the bonus room and all of the carp moved out of that room and jamming every other room and hallway, the appraiser showed up. Urgh! Ah, well. At least we had an excuse for the mess!