Twice as much time, Three times more money

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Dunbar Plumbing, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. When a DIY'r does a project, most times.

    Top 10 mistakes of DIYers
    Monday June 18, 6:00 am ET
    Pat Curry

    The first thing any savvy do-it-yourselfer should take into account when considering a new project is that it will probably take twice as much time and three times as much money as you thought.

    Either way, there's a good reason why it's true: DIYers make mistakes.
    Lots of them.

    But you can learn a lot from mistakes. For example, whatever it was that my husband did to make all the outlets in the kitchen blow at the same time -- don't do that again. The bad news is that mistakes always wind up making your home-improvement project more expensive and more time-consuming than you want it to be.
    With that as a given, we asked home-improvement experts around the country for the most common mistakes they see. Here's their consensus:
    Top 10 mistakes by DIY-ers

    1. Not taking out the required permits.
    2. Starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies.
    3. Inadequate preparation of the job site.
    4. Skimping on materials.
    5. Using the wrong paint.
    6. Improper preparation of walls for painting.
    7. Unsafe job conditions.
    8. Inaccuracy.
    9. Working beyond your limits.
    10. Failure to get a clue.

    1. Not taking out the required permits. Considered a bother at best by many DIYers, permits actually serve a greater purpose than just raising money for the government. "People in permitting offices aren't evil," says Lou Manfredini, the official Ace Hardware "Helpful Hardware Man."
    "They're there to make sure the job is done right and you don't hurt yourself." Plus, for some jobs, such as putting in a wood stove, you need proof of the permit or your insurance carrier won't cover it. Not sure if your job requires a permit? The rule of thumb is that you need one for anything larger than painting and wallpapering. It doesn't hurt to call the building department and ask.
    2. Starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies. Nothing slows down a job more than not having all the materials you need. Manfredini says the reason the pros can do what they do is that they buy quality tools. "There's always a bargain bin," he says. "It's not a wise investment. You lose time and money."
    3. Inadequate preparation of the job site. If you do a small addition, suppliers will be delivering materials. You don't want them out of order or exposed to the weather while you are working, says Ed Del Grande, host of the DIY Network's "Warehouse Warrior" show. Beware: They could be stolen if they're not properly stored. (If you have a septic tank, make sure you know where it is. If a supplier delivering materials in a heavy truck drives over it, you could be looking at a cracked tank. Yuck.)
    4. Skimping on materials. Barbara Kavovit, owner of Barbara K Enterprises in New York, says she often sees DIYers use 1/4-inch drywall for building walls instead of the minimum 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch if you want a good sound barrier. The same rule applies to plywood for subfloors. Go with 3/4-inch. It creates a much stronger floor, especially if you're installing wood floors over them.

    5. Using the wrong paint. One of the biggest DIY projects around, painting can make a place look great. Manfredini says flat paint should only be used for ceilings because it's usually not as washable as paints with an eggshell or satin finish. On outdoor decks, "sun and rain tear the heck out of the wood," he says. Clear sealers don't block the UV rays, and they peel. Use a linseed-oil-based stain; it drives the pigment into the wood and preserves it.
    6. Improper preparation of walls for painting. A good, quality paint job is 90-percent preparation, Manfredini says. Clean the walls, sand them and patch any holes before you paint. A coat of primer or stain blocker is advisable if you're trying to cover over oil-based paint, stains or peeling paint, or if you're painting a lighter color over a darker color.
    7. Unsafe job conditions. Nothing diminishes your return on investment like a trip to the emergency room. Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall or wood, wear hard hats when you're working under other people on scaffolding, and open some windows when you're painting or staining, or stripping old finishes off of floors or walls, Del Grande says. And don't wear loose, hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Wear gloves when carrying wood, metal and rock, or when hammering, and wear a nail or tool pouch to prevent damage to your floors and more important, the feet of people and pets.
    8. Inaccuracy. Successful DIYers live by this rule: Measure twice, cut once. It's so important for things like building walls, hanging drywall or cutting baseboards, counter tops or pipe. If you're going to err, err on the side of too long. You can always make something shorter; you can't make it longer. Spackle can cover only up to a 1/8-inch seam.
    9. Working beyond your limits. Everybody has them. Del Grande won't work on a roof; yours might be plumbing or electrical work. Don't stand on the top steps of ladders, and don't try to work beyond your reach. Ladder accidents send more than 164,000 people to the emergency room every year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    10. Failure to get a clue. You don't want to start to learn how to do a project on your own house. If you have a friend who is a contractor or an experienced DIYer, offer your assistance on one of his projects so you can learn. No one will turn away free labor. If you need to remove a supporting wall, have an engineer look at it to see what kind of beam you need to replace it. "If you have a saw in your hand and have a question about what you're doing," Del Grande says, "stop. Follow that little voice in your head."

    link on front page of yahoo

    I can attest to the service call that I just did 2 hours ago.....the woman tried to fix her plumbing and she spent 4 hours trying to get it to stop leaking, 3 trips to HD and I come in and 3 minutes, water is back on. :D :p
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    3 minutes, that's pretty darn good.
    I was feeling pretty good the other day, when a homeowner told me the neighor has spent nine hours trying to replace a wall-hung toilet.
    He had found a used one that wasn't being used anymore.

    I got the call, and out I went with a new one. I always carry a few in stock anyway.
    I was on the job, maybe an hour, done, and ready to roll.
  3. She already had the cartridge out in about 4 pieces. It was the light translucent green cartridge that was changed to solid blue in my area due to chlorinate levels destroying the old style.

    Ran back to the truck, grabbed a cartridge and told her to go turn the water on the second I reached the second floor knowing I'd get the bonnet nut back on before the pressure came back.

    Now if that bonnet nut hadn't been disturbed.....whole different story.

    True story:

    I did a job last week where a homeowner tried soldering a 1/2" ball valve into his outside hose bibb lines,,,

    1 pound of solder later, still leaks. He caught all of it in a paint tray because he said he had a jig for making lead fishing weights.

    Can't say he wasted it. :cool:
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    A friend of mine built his first house years ago that I plumbed for him. He had been the finish carpenter on the homes I was building.

    I think I told him before he started that it was important that he was there the day they cut the hole for the foundation. Real important.

    He worked that day instead, and come home to a really deep hole, that required a new set of plans, and engineering, and a six week delay to get those plans repermited. The job went over budget something like twenty thousand in 1988 dollars the first day.

    Why am I laughing?
    On one house I let someone talk me into doing my concrete drive and patio. It wasn't what he did for a living, but he said he knew how.
    I wound up getting jackhammers and breaking up all the concrete, bringing it to the dump, and doing the job over again.
    This time I called the the concreter supplier and got the name of a contractor that I still use to this day.
    But my lesson was paying for a driveway and patio twice, and paid to break it up and haul it away.
  5. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    SW Florida
    I can design permit plans all day long for residential and commercial. For the most part though, I do not do the plumbing in my house.

    I learned that lesson well after replacing the kitchen countertops with granite and a new sink. Took me all frigging day to do what a real plumber would have done in about 30 minutes. My time behind the computer is worth way more than my time under a cabinet.
  6. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    As if that is some reason not to be a DIYer?!

    As a "savvy DIYer", I do exactly as suggested: I make my best guesses at time and material, then proceed while remembering it is actually going to take more of each.

    DIY projects do not always take longer and cost more than first thought simply because of mistakes. Sometimes that happens because DIYers cannot find answers to questions beforehand. So, sometimes we have to do a little practice first or even do something over ... just like regular apprentices, eh?!

    Also, and at least for a guy like me, being told I *cannot* do something myself only makes me more determined to go right on ahead and save myself a ton of money. For example, I once removed two I/O units and V-8s from the rear of a 45' houseboat, 'glassed the holes shut and installed a used inboard engine, transmission, shaft, exhaust and cooling without first hauling the boat ... and all for less than $1000.00.

    Bottom line? In spite of whatever, DIYers can often get their own stuff done at prices they can afford.

    Peace to all ... :D
  7. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Does that 1000 only include your materials, or does it also account for your time?

    From everything I've ever seen, if you include the money you could have been making if you'd spent the same time at your job instead of doing the project... it's always cheaper to get a pro.

    Doesn't mean you shouldn't do it - there's nothing quite so satisfying as looking at something you built with your own hands. That feeling is priceless. I'm just saying, it isn't free, either.
  8. There are some jobs that DIY'rs can do, save money and there is nothing wrong at all with doing it.

    I know I'm one because there are never hardly any service providers at my home, just me and the plumbing is tip top!

    But if you ask me to replace the A/C coil on my furnace or run new stack for the cold air return, get outside and climb a tree to cut down a dead branch, go up on my roof and trim the eaves of my house,
    I'm stepping outside of boundaries that not only is a risk, but I'm taking on something that the average pro can do it like second nature.

    There are just "some" things that even though you're trying to save a's better to call in the pros and make the best financial decision and make sure your money is well spent.

    I use my computer everyday but I'll never take it apart to fix it. No way.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2007
  9. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Just materials, but my time spent was that so-called "spare time" that is "free" anyway.

    The most money I have ever made was/is at the rate of $12.00 per hour ... and I cannot possibly imagine how I ever could have afforded to have that particular project or many others done professionally at several times that rate. Over the course of about two years, my wife and I completely re-did that derelict houseboat for a grand total of around $12,000 for materials, lived on it "rent-free"(!) in the Florida Keys for a year and got all of our money back when we later sold it and moved back north.

    No, but as you have just reported, it actually pays ... and that makes everything pretty "even", eh?!
  10. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    So then, the pros are the ones most needing to avoid DIYing, eh?!

    I am glad we finally got that one figured out! :rolleyes:
  11. kordts

    kordts In the Trades

    exurban Chicago
    Because if a pro works on something outside of his trade, our insurance doesn't cover it. DIYers can jump in over their head because they don't have to carry liability insurance.
  12. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    A DIY Man

    I have done plenty of DIY.
    I started working on bicycles as a kid. taking whatever wheels I could find, and putting them on a frame. First bike didn't have any brakes. That just meant my next one would.
    Because of that experience, over the next few years, rebuilding bicycles, I got a job in a bike shop at 15.
    I did that for about 7 years until I got into plumbing.
    I did do a short stint into real estate when I was 19.
    That's when I bought a new car that got better gas mileage, but needed valve adjustments all the time, because of the miles I was racking up.
    I soon was doing valve adjustments and tuneups.
    Next thing I knew I was replacing clutches, brakes, valve jobs, water pumps, half axles, rebuilding engines and one transmission. I did all of that from books. The whole time, the mechanics were saying it would be too hard for me.

    When I got into plumbing, I got a hook-up from the church. They let me work in the warehouse, but didn't think I should work with tools. I was from Bellevue, and they didn't think people from Bellevue could work with tools or use shovels. What ever.

    After six months I made them put me in the field. I could get raises as fast as I could pass the tests, every month I was getting a raise.
    In two years they gave me my own van, and at three years they were having me train the best new people. A few years after that, remember the guy that thought I wouldn't be able to plumb? I was his boss now.

    During that time, my family bought a farm with a circle, and I was going over there on weekends and farming.

    Then I thought I would start building homes. Hadn't done that yet.
    I was designing my own homes and building them, some where bought by other builders for their own homes.
    I learned how to frame, drywall, roof, set concrete forms, electrical, siding, installing windows, installing drywells, tiling, flooring, and some finish carpentry.
    I picked up a computer about that time, early 80's and started book keeping on a PC. Soon I was drawing plans on my PC using AutoCad. I turned in the first CAD drawing for permit in the City of Bellevue. I was a plumber, but you know, I just didn't know I couldn't do those things.

    I then went back into plumbing, worked for a firm with 8 plumbers, and computerized their manual book keeping system. I plumbed for most of the week, and did book keeping on Fridays.

    Then I hooked up with a firm that was doing large commercial buildings. I ran one large one, then took time off and built an addition for my parents on their home.
    Back to plumbing, and eventually, my two older brothers finally convinced me to put up a web site. Hadn't done that yet.

    The latest thing I've tried is a television show that I run on Fridays.
    I shoot with a Sony VX2000 and edit on a Premier system.
    Hadn't done that yet, but you know, there is always a book handy somewhere.

    So you see, I believe that people can and will do things.
    And, I kind of enjoy talking about it anyway.
    I know, that with a few questions and a book, a guy can do just about anything.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2007
  13. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    DIY plumbing

    Back in the early 70s I walked into the house only to hear my dad complaining about having to call a plumber to fix a leak in the basement. I asked him to show me the problem.

    After looking at it I walked down to the local hardware store and asked the guy how to fix a leak in a water line. First thing he asked was what size the line was and I said as big as my little finger. (I didn't know sizes) So he sold me a tubing cutter, couplings, solder, flux, sand cloth and a torch.
    He then explained how to do it.

    I went home and did it. First time first shot.

    The rest is history

    My parents still live in the same house and sometimes when I go back to visit I go into the basement and look at the repair.

    Still holding after 40+ years.
  14. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Until I was about 19, I was convinced I could not do much of anything. My younger brother worked on my car for me, and I could hardly drive a nail or turn a screw without splitting something out, including fingers. Then during my extrance exams for the Navy, I "aced" a very simple test for mechanical aptitude and somebody told me I could be a mechanic ... and from that point on, my own story is similar to Terry's:

    If I cannot fix it, it is way past broken, and if I cannot not fabricate it, you probably do not really need it anyway!

    My grandfather was a tinker, and maybe I got it from him.
  15. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Licensed Grump

    You "cannot" build a nuclear power plant
    You "cannot" install a Cleaver brooks
    You "cannot" build a rocket and fly to the moon
    You "cannot" fly a commercial jetliner (with me on it)
    You "cannot" rebuild the Grand Cooley
    Give a hollar when your done
  16. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Terry, my husband and I used to fix bikes up for kids at Christmas time. We converted our garage into a Santa's workshop. Together thru the years, we did a couple of hundred bikes, numerous other toys, and I did the girlie things, dolls, dollhouses, etc. We worked on this all year 'round so, when that season rolled around we had alot. We strung lights down our driveway and parents could come and get anything they needed. The year before he died what he worked on alone, did enough of toys for 50 families. He was forever coming home with a broken bike he fished from a curb on garbage day, whether it was a tricycle, or bigger or better. I liked doing the tri's. I put alot of bells and whistles on them. He hand made the dollhouses, and I painted them, and filled them with furniture. We had alot of fun. I am thinking of starting it back up.
  17. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Cass, you were destined to be a plumber. Things happen for a reason.
  18. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Ah, mere steel and concrete and a few valves and computers and whatever ...

    What is a "Cleaver brooks"?

    Did not want to go there anyway!

    Good thing you qualified that one, cause getting it back on the ground in one piece would be the difficult part ...

    Who gives a hoot's hollar or needs it done anyway?!
  19. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Licensed Grump

    He has a sense of humor!!!!

    By the way, the test is called the "ASVAB", I scored very high as well on the mechanical.
    Cleaver brooks is a humongo boiler...the size of a trailer.
    PLEASE...DON'T humor me on that one...they go "boom" and you'd prolly hurt yer back lifting it.
    Get the commercial pilots license and I'll seriously reconsider the "not with me" part. (um...won't make me sit in coach, will ya?)
  20. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Gotta stay sane somehow, eh?!

    Maybe the best bet would be for both of us to parachute back to the ground and just let Terry bring it on in ... nose up ... a little flaps to scrub some speed ... but I hate falling ...
Similar Threads: Twice much
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Outdoor Faucet goes on full blast---twice now. Nov 28, 2010
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Newbie question-can you solder fittings twice? Apr 17, 2006
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice How much Mapp gas? Oct 1, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice too much water pressure Apr 29, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Is twisting a P trap to offset/redirect it ever "too much" WWTD? See mockup pics... Mar 27, 2014

Share This Page