Home renovations


What’s your take?

We’re currently renovating a bedroom to make it ready for the forthcoming arrival of a tiny human, and, unfortunately, we’re probably going to do the guest room/office as well :frowning: Aaaand tear down a wall to get a wardrobe installed in our own bedroom.

I’ve found zen in a lot of strange places since becoming a homeowner, such as lawn mowing, hedge trimming, weeding and what not, but I’m just not getting it when it comes to renovation like this. The not knowing what the heck I’m doing for the most of the time, and plastering, sanding and getting dust everywhere, putting up wallpaper (the worst!!) is sooo boring and all I wanna do is cry.

I would seriously be contemplating outsourcing these jobs if my spouse didn’t insist on us doing it ourselves. It’s good for our finances, but bad for my mental health! :grin:

Any suggestion on how to alter my mindset?


You are not alone. I’ve been a construction project manager for most of my career, and I’m with you. I do not get enjoyment out of remodeling. I am a real estate investor also and when realtors hear of my background, they wonder why I don’t want fixer upper properties. When properties do need minor repairs, like carpet and paint, I always outsource. I also worked on both residential and commercial projects, and the homeowners are always stressed no matter what. Construction Project Management is at the top of the list when it comes to stressful jobs. I have colleagues who love to work on their own houses and remodel, but not me. When I was younger and new in my career, I used to love being on a jobsite and seeing the progress, but now it just feels noisy, dusty and wasteful. Like you, I’d much rather be weeding… sitting in the sun, fresh air, digging through soil, listening to the birds… :slight_smile:


I just finished the trim work in our new bathroom, and now its ready for fixtures. This project has been going on for at least 5 years! We don’t want to pay someone, but I’m an amateur remodeler, and had to learn how to do certain things, and also don’t enjoy many aspects of it.

That said, I finally had a burst of motivation to get it done. Loud music, good weather, the right tools, and uninterrupted work time helped a ton!


Ugh. Well, I grew up the daughter of a carpenter and now wish I learned a lot more than I did. About all I do is paint and refinish and do minor repairs. Wish could do the bigger stuff to save more $$. (though my mudding skills are improving)

But wallpaper…NOOOO Don’t it!!!. Seriously, I hate that stuff and have taken down so.much.wallpaper. One house had, I swear, 5 layers of the stuff w/ paint layers between.


Glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t find it particularly enjoying (we’ll see about rewarding when we’re done with this round). I sometimes get the impression that every PF-writer DIYs everything! :see_no_evil:

@PrimalProsperity It sounds like you’ve figured it out, what works for you and what doesn’t. I guess your work experiences helped that decision?

@FPF I think uninterrupted time, as you mentioned, is a big one for me. That said, five years to finish?! I would’ve gone mad having that hanging over me.

@SFF Hah, yeah, I know what you mean. I don’t have carpenters in the family, but both my father and grandfather are/were quite handy, and I wished I’d picked up more if it from them. And yes, wallpapers are the worst! This time we’re just putting up the one layer, no pattern, it only functions as a “wall straightener” that we’ll paint over (as opposed to new drywall plates). I actually left the room and went skiing in frustration on Sunday! Thankfully my (pregnant :see_no_evil:) SO discovered her wallpapering touch when I was out, so it was all but up on all the walls when I came back. Joy!!


It may be cheaper in the long run to pay someone else to do the work, especially if you are inexperienced and don’t like the work, anyway, by getting it done right the first time rather than “saving money” by doing it wrong yourself and then paying someone else to do it right later.

I have an inherent bias here: I’m a landlord and we have a lot of building codes in Boston. I hire out the work just as much as a risk mitigation strategy. If I’m paying someone to put in a new electrical outlet to code, I’m demonstrating beyond any reasonable doubt that I’m taking due care. If a fire broke out from that electrical outlet that was done by a licensed electrician with a building inspector’s stamp of approval, I’m as close to being off the hook as possible.


Oh yeah, absolutely. Local codes dictate that you’re not even allowed to touch the electrical system unless you’re licensed, so I’m definitely staying away from anything related to electricity.

At this point I’m pretty much just doing stuff where the worst case outcome is that it looks a bit crap. But I’m seriously considering outsourcing that, too. Because even that can, as you say, become more expensive in the long run!


New(ish) 1st time homeowner here. I wish I was a better DIY-er so that I’d be able to do some of the fixes myself.That being said, I’m clearly not :sob: I’ve got a lot of learning to do on that front… I’d also much rather be mowing/weeding than some of the meticulous repair work.

We had the whole inside of our house painted. Originally we planned on outsourcing it, but due to some circumstances such as taking forever to finally find a paint color, changing our minds 4987239439234 times, then once we finally decided on one our painter who had started had health issues and had to take a couple of weeks off. We ended up doing a good portion of it ourselves (bedrooms, foyer/hallway, windows) but did have her do some of the more difficult rooms. As a matter of fact, she’s here finishing up the kitchen as we speak :joy:

While I’m all for saving $, at this point I’m all for spending it to be done right. Just my $.02.


How were the results in the rooms you did yourself versus the ones you hired help to finish? Were they substantially different, in that the quality difference bothers you?

And I think I agree with your conclusion :slight_smile:


I asked the painter her honest opinion (she’s a family friend so if it’s a crappy job, she will tell me) and she said that we did a “pretty good job”. There were a few spots that were far from perfect, which I asked her to point out for me but for the most part we did pretty well. The rooms we did were mainly flat walls that could be done with a roller with no major obstacle other than trimming edges.

That being said, the painting she’s done looks a lot better quality than ours in my opinion (I suppose that’s what 30+ years painting experience does when compared to my dozens of hours of painting experience). The rooms we had her paint had paneling walls, which to me looked impossible (or maybe just miserable) to paint so I had zero desire to paint those. It seemed like the margin for error on those would be VERY high. Plus those were in living/family room so they’d probably be seen the most, so to me it was worth it to have those done right (aka pay somebody that knows what they’re doing).

With the amount of time it’s taken, if I had to do it all over again and it was my decision then I’d paid to have had her do the entire inside of the house. It will all come down to valuing your time. It may be different if it was a handy DIY type something that maybe at some point I could use again or acquire more skills doing but with it just being painting the only thing I’ve learned it that I hate it and I’d rather pay somebody else to do it for me.


Closing in on being done with what’s going to be the kid’s room. So many “hidden” time sinks in these projects that I never really considered. We had my father-in-law over the other day, and he spent a full day doing floor and ceiling mouldings, and today I spent the entire evening after work just “cleaning up” around those, applying acrylic sealant and what not. And I’m still not done!

But I’m confident I’ll get it done by the time the weekend is over, and will definitely give it a rest with the next two rooms we’re going to do some work with until I find some new motivation :smiley:


Yes, learn to meditate, get clear, and become true to yourself. Zen sages have a saying, “Act or don’t act, but don’t wobble!” One Zen Master’s favorite phrase (long before Nike came along) was, “Just do it!”

Getting clear may mean doing whatever needs to be done, without reflection, or it may mean telling your spouse to hire someone to do the work. Look within, and get clear so that you’ll know exactly what to do.


I think this post has motivated me to finish - the toilet and shower are functional, and I’ve built the vanity out of an old oak table that I found in an old warehouse. Just a few more hours of work, and it’ll finally be over!


My wife asked me to wash the clothes once and everything came out pink.
Another time she asked me to iron and I accidentally burned her clothes.
She now does the washing and ironing…
I would probably consider taking the same approach to renovating if she insisted on me doing it to save money.
That way you can keep your zen in tact by getting professionals with insurance!!!, unlike DIY renovators.
Warning. A tantrum will be had first- but some people just gotta learn the hard way.
Living the dream!


Hehe, pertinent response and timely revival of this thread as I’m just getting started on a new room this evening after work. I’m not looking forward to it, that’s for sure, but I’ve now got some impression of how much work it is, and how much time it should take (hopefully dove through next week).

I also did a quick mental calculation of how many extra hours of consulting work on the side I’d have to put in to finance hiring people, and that gave me some newfound appreciation for being able to do some of the fundamental basics myself!

Still, rough week ahead, that’s for sure, and I’m not looking forward to spending most of the weekend in a mask, doing sanding work :sob:


Hey @Lars-Christian all the best.
I just read your blog on the diminishing return of personal finance… Are we on the same page or what!!!
I just wrote my most recent post about discovering “enough”.
Please read and if there is anything else you want to reply or add I look forward to your comments.
Enjoy the Texas-Flip my friend!
Living the Dream


Thank you for sharing such useful information.