Rating DIY Projects: What's Worth It and What's Not

Rating DIY Projects: What's Worth It and What's Not

Trent Johnson
Nov 3, 2009

After renovating most of my own home, there are certainly some things I'd recommend doing myself, and somethings that are better left to the pros. The renovator of a 1920's bungalow in L.A. recently gave an interview about some of the lessons learned from his own DIY experience...

Alan Hopkins (see photos of his 1920's bungalow at the L.A. Times) recently finished his home, transforming it into something spectacular.

He replaced the exterior siding with beautiful redwood, added new insulation, installed new windows, refaced a garden wall, and renovated the kitchen. Now that it's all done, The Los Angeles Times asked Hopkins to score each project on a 1-to-10 scale of difficulty and estimate the money saved by DIY.

The siding (photo): Hopkins went to a local lumber supplier for better quality stock, visiting the store every Saturday morning to claim the best wood after it had been delivered. Armed with recommendations from the hardware store (using proper nails (zinc oxide, to prevent corrosion) and drilling a pilot hole before nailing), Hopkins "practiced" on his garage and then moved onto the house.

Money Saved (in labor): $10,000
Difficulty: 7 or 8.

Windows and insulation (photo): Hopkins hired someone to install the first two windows and after watching, he tackled the rest himself.

Difficulty: 3

Refacing a Garden Wall (photo): Using interlocking stone and a rented saw, they applied a new stone surface.

Money Saved: $3,000
Difficulty: 1 or 2

Kitchen Cabinets (photo): Hopkins thought using IKEA cabinets was supposed to be easy but hanging them was more difficult than they thought. They had pros install the counter top and back splash.

Money Saved: $1,000 - $1,500
Difficulty: More difficult than was worth it.

Bathroom (photo): They left the marble installation to the pros since it was such a costly material. Everything else, came from online retailers saving them a good amount of money.

(Image via Flickr member Cross Duck licensed under Creative Commons)

Via the Los Angeles Times.

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