Renovation tips: Average joe vs. reno pro
Project 1: Painting
This doesn’t mean it requires no skill – I’ve seen some horrific paint jobs, but with some patience and preparation, painting is a great DIY project. A 1,500-square-foot house takes about two days to paint, and it would cost about $2,500 to have a professional come in to do it. Either way, it should have about a 250 percent return on investment (taking into account the home’s total cost). So whether you DIY or hire a pro, the job is worth about $6,250.
- Protect the floors.
- Remove receptacle and switch cover plates.
- Tape your edges if you aren't steady with the brush.
Project 2: Insulating framed walls
I often see houses with energy wastage from lack of insulation on walls and in headers. The installation of batt insulation is simple and has immediate results. The average 700-square-foot basement takes about a day to insulate, and the labour would cost about $1,200. Insulation has about a 150 percent return on investment, so it adds about $1,800 in value. If I’m working with a homeowner who has no construction experience, one of the first tasks I’ll suggest is installing insulation.
- Most walls are framed on 16-inch centres, and Roxul insulation comes ready to fit betwen those frames.
- Start at the top of the wall and work down, cutting the last piece to fit.
- Use a bread knife to slice the insulation for a perfect fit. You can do an entire basement in one afternoon; the reward is saving up to 20 percent on your energy bill.
Project 1: Electrical work
Electrical work is something that requires a licensed trade, and rightfully so. No electrical work should be completed without an Electrical Safety Authority inspection. Unsafe or improper wiring can cause electrocution or fire.
Project 2: Plumbing
Plumbers are also licensed trades. I’ve seen improper plumbing connections that have led to flooding, backups, clogged drains, and seepage of sewage gases into the home. Changing a faucet is one thing, but if you’re adding in or moving your plumbing fixture, a licensed plumber should be contracted and the work will require permits and an inspection.
Note: Small jobs like painting and insulating are simple, rewarding and won’t require a permit, which is where DIY shines. Now, having said that, there are many construction tasks that are better left to the pros. At the end of the day, whatever project you choose to take on should be attainable, safe and fulfilling. Be ambitious - but don't be a hero.