Encore: DIY or NOT

Episode 52: Welcome to the She Builds Show, I’m your host, Stefanie Olson. Today, I want to talk share an encore of one of my most popular episodes about the DIYer, the do-it-yourself. The title of today’s she build show episode is DIY or NOT. When you look at it, it kind of looks like to die or not, which may be fitting. I want to run through the steps of what it means to take on a simple, let’s say, bathroom remodel, and if you want to do it yourself, and what that would encompass. Most homeowners stare at their ugly bathroom and they just dream, they dream about the sledge hammer going right into that ugly tile. You know what I mean? You just want to destroy it, you want to make it disappear. But, 90% of construction is planning, so I want to take you through the planning aspects that would need occur to do a bathroom remodel.

Ready? Let’s go…


• If you’re going to update the electrical in your bathroom, you need updated plugs, switches and cover plates, bathroom vent fan, cabinet hardware, vanity facet, tub, faucet and shower head combo, paint and grout colors, so that’s kind of like a material and selection list is what I call it, and sub-contractors needed to do the whole job, if you just wanted to organize it and not do anymore, you need someone to do demo, plumbing, electrical tile, counters, drywall, paint and window installation. Okay, now that we have a list of both of those items, you need to design the space, selections need to be made for everything on the material list, you need to pick out your tub, your title, the paint colors, the cabinet, the counter is the window, the facets the light in the hardware, the mirrors, and then you need to order it all, so that means you have to measure and order everything associated on that list. So right now it’s taking me two or three months to get windows, and if you’re going to have a custom vanity made, cabinet makers are booked out just as long, don’t even get me started on appliances, that’s why we’re doing a bathroom example. (02:50)

• If you just have some drywall patches and it needs to be painted, so two weeks is usually plenty of time for a bathroom remodel, what’s really not fun is living in a house that has been demoed and then just staring at it for a month. Anybody ever done that? Like, yeah, we’re going to redo our bathroom, and then you find out that the title you want is three months out, you can’t get a cabinet, can’t get a window, and then you just stare at that empty demo bathroom for months. So no demo. Until everything’s planned. No demo until all the stars aare aligned. So most cities would require a permit for this type of remodel, and I always get a permit no matter what, it’s super easy to go to your local building department and just ask about the requirements, a lot of times they just appreciate you coming in and communicating with them what you’re doing rather than trying to hide it. So go down there, ask what is required, and get the permit for this process. (4:43)

• I always allow days, not hours, I don’t try to cram things into multiple days because sometimes you get there and you’re like, Oh, the floor is not level, or whatever the problem is, to assign a timeline to each step on your calendar and then you can see what needs to be done and how long it’s going to take, and if you’re going to be doing parts of it, assign your timeline to your task, and if you’re using subcontractors, you need to give them a minimum, at a minimum a week’s notice when you will be ready for them, Hey, the tile is going to be done on this day, we’ll be ready for counters. I give my sub-contractor a minimum of two weeks, it’s crazy busy where I live, and I just like to give them as much notice as possible. So if I know when the cabinets are being installed on a certain day, I notify my tile guys and give them a window of time on the schedule after cabinets, and then I also notify my counter top sub so that they have plenty of time to put the job in motion, and they always know that I’ve already ordered all the materials, and they don’t have to worry about anything, they just go pick it up and they install it. When I’m scheduling items, the most important thing you can do is plan, everybody has commitments and schedules, and no one likes a surprise or something unplanned. (08:04)

• The work I do in the background to make sure everything runs smoothly, basically gives the impression to my sub-contractors that I respect their time and I appreciate their work, and if anyone comes to your house and they do a good job, give them donuts. I’m serious, feed them, give them a good review and recommend them and always be kind, be kind to anybody that comes into your house. Every single subcontractor talks to every other contractor, so if you treat one poorly and give them a snotty attitude, you will get ghosted because they all talk to each other, Hey, don’t call that crazy lady back, that’s what happens, because that floor guy is going to tell the cabinet guy. Now, with that said, this is just a little insight into how I run my jobs. This is just a tiny easy Hall bathroom. There’s a lot that goes into construction, and it takes a lot of good planning to do it well, so if you’re considering DIY, I hope this information has either empowered you or slap you in the face to hiring a contractor to manage the project, one or the other, you’re either going to fall on one or the other side. (09:20)


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