Tiffany E. Duncan Shannon Collins Eng 101 September 23, 2012 Classical Argument Remodeling a house on one’s own isn’t as cheap or as easy as it may seem, because more problems are often revealed during the demolition stage of remodeling. One can’t always prepare in advance for unforeseen problems when remodeling and it isn’t always cheaper doing them on one’s own rather than hiring a professional. I was able to prove this to myself when I was remodeling my own house.
The original plan was to have all the remodeling completed within a year; my time spent on the project is now over double what I expected and I’m only about three fourths of the way complete. I had 6 projects that I wanted to do, keep in mind I live in an old farm house that was abandoned for 4 years before I began. I planned on: refinishing all of the cabinets throughout the house, installing all new windows, a complete bathroom remodel, new floors in the entire house, new ceilings in three rooms, and painting the entire house.
I couldn’t remodel my house full time when it wasn’t livable being I’m a single mother of two. That made it even harder; but I also had less time to work than I planned because I also started attending college about one month into the renovation. When I started I expected to spend right around $5,000. 00. This was roughly the cost of all materials with about $1,000. 00 extra for anything that came up unexpected. For the most part I have done all the renovations myself with some help from family and friends; I’ve had to call in a professional once. My running total is around $10,000. 0, which is double of what I planned on spending and it’s still going up! The first project I began was refinishing the cabinets. This was quite a task; I took all the cabinet facings and doors off, sanded them as well as the cabinets and painted them. All the cabinets in my kitchen, 16 of them, took me approximately 5 months to complete. Luckily my Dad was his own handy man so his tools and skills of the trade came in handy often! An unforeseen task came when I started redoing the ceiling’s in the bathroom, my bedroom, and the hall way. I learned the house wasn’t exactly built square.
Just to be able to do my ceiling the correct way I had to add two inches to the ceiling rafters on about half the room. Not expecting this, I over spent $80 on this project. This was a small increase but every little thing you don’t expect adds up quickly. The entire ceiling project ended up costing me an extra $600 over my estimate. With the house not being square, drywall was wasted and it was harder to apply the mud tape (which led me to buy a more expensive tape). What should have taken approximately two weeks to complete took a total of two and a half months.
For the bathroom remodel I allotted myself $600. 00 to spend; which is on the lower side for a complete bathroom overhaul. But I really did my research on this one; a new toilet was $300 and a new bathtub $200. I was able to get cabinets from my mom when she was redoing her kitchen and I used those in the bathroom; which surprisingly saved me about $600. 00 if I bought them new. I just had to refinish them and paint them, and that little project still isn’t complete. When I tried to take the bathtub out, I removed seal and unhooked all the plumbing but it wouldn’t budge.
I called a few of my family members to help remove it since it was a porcelain tub which is quite heavy. It still wouldn’t come out, the fit was too tight. We used a little intuition and decided to just cut the bathtub out. Once it was cut in half it did give us enough room to get it out. However, putting the new tub in became and even harder task. We tried every way possible to put it in, but there wasn’t enough room. It was even the same size as the old tub. When we measured the dimensions; it was out of square by almost three inches.
So we had to tear down the wall at the end of where the bathtub would go, install the tub, and rebuild the wall. Supplies were costly for this bringing my expenses up $150 more than I planned and it added almost a weeks’ worth of work. The toilet was supposed to be an easy job; uninstall the old one, add a new seal and install the new one. Once the old one was taken off, we discovered it had been leaking on the floor; ruining approximately a 4’x5’ section. We had to rip the old floor out, install new floor rafters and new floor.
This added $200 more to my quickly rising total, for my new toilet and about two extra weeks of work since I couldn’t begin doing the flooring myself. Now I was 10 months into the project and more than ready to move; since I was living with my mother while I was completing the renovation. I decided to redo the floors and paint next; I could redo windows after I moved in. I pulled the old flooring up first; this took 3 weeks and should have only taken a couple of days. Apparently the previous owners had pets and they used the restroom on the carpets numerous times.
So instead of being able to just pull the carpet up, I had to scrape it up. This didn’t add on to my expenses since I was doing it myself, it just took a lot of patience because it took so long to do. Once it was all up, I had the floors inspected. To my surprise a support beam had given out under the front of the house. I had to call in reinforcements; my dad and brother were both great handymen for the project. They had to use three jacks and actually jack the house up while they cut out the floor over the broken beam, took the beam out and put a new beam in.
This added about $700 onto my estimates but only an extra day worth of work. With the carpet up and the beam fixed, I was ready to paint. It took me 3 months to get everything painted. I ended up having to buy Kilz to cover up stains, trimming to replace what was already missing or broken, and a lot of paint supplies. It took me three months to paint the whole house, and I ended up about $500 over budget on supplies then I anticipated. I was going to do my floors myself, but it wouldn’t have saved me any money once I purchased the trimming and the tools needed to install the carpet.
Plus I was so exhausted from working on everything else I opted to hire in professionals to install my carpet. I did have to get on a list for installation, adding a week of just waiting to my time. It was worth it once the floors were in, it looked great and I was finally getting my energy back. Remodeling a house on one’s own isn’t as cheap or as easy as it may seem. It took me 14 months until I was able to move in my house. I had planned on being finished within 12 months and my work was only half done. Not to mention I was already over $2500 being past my estimates on the house.
It took a lot to be able to do the renovations myself, running into problems every time I turned around. I had to hire in professionals once but I probably should have a few more times. I tried to stay as close to my budget as possible. Many of the factors that rose my spending were because more problems were revealed during the demolition stage of remodeling. One can’t always prepare in advance for unforeseen problems when remodeling and it isn’t always cheaper doing them on one’s own rather than hiring a professional.