They all Laughed.


laughing horse

When I said I would remodel my own bath, until they saw the finished product.

Remodeling your home can be very satisfying, but it won’t be easy. That’s why people charge to do it for you. But you know that so let’s talk about D.I.Y home improvements.

In Minneapolis, St Paul and their surrounding suburbs we have building codes and code enforcement. Mainly state or local building officials enforce these rules. These people make sure the minimum requirements for health and safety are enforced. Think of them as friends, although at times it may not seem like it. An inspector will not tell you how to do the job, or even tell you how it looks; they are there to make sure things like plugging a shaver into your bath outlet won’t result in a dangerous situation. Or to make sure the sewer gases stay in the sewer. How can this be a problem?

Let’s start at the beginning.

You want to remodel your home, so you get your concept together.

Here’s how a pro does it.

A professional gets a budget, then measures the job, gets the wish list and makes sure everything on the wish list fits within budget and the space being remodeled. If this sounds easy, it is. But, a pro has years of kitchen, bath and home remodels to make fast decisions based on their experience. A do it yourself-er will have to research not only the products they want, but whether those products will work.

And why is that? A new soaking tub will not work well if, lets say, your water heater is too small, or if the supply lines aren’t sized to fill the tub fast enough. When I remodel a bath I automatically check these things. You need to do the same.

What about the space?

Want a 6’ tub? Is there room, what’s in the front wall, the back wall? In most homes you have electric, plumbing and heat runs in all the walls. You can move these things, but they have to go somewhere else. At what cost? You get where I’m going with all this.

Let’s move on to time. Remodeling takes time, a contractor may spend 7 or 8 hours a day working on your home, add a helper and you’re getting 14 or more hours a day dedicated to your home remodel. It takes about 120 man/ women hours of work to remodel an average bath. Since your new at this lets say it takes you 160 hours. That’s 4 X 40 hours of your time, or 4 weeks of full time work. If you spent 2 hours a day and all day Saturday and Sunday it would take you 10 or more weeks to do your bath. If you’re OK with that, then have at it.

By all means, do your home work and give it a go, but plan your calendar to complete within your time frame. I have seen too many homeowners try to rush things and then get in trouble and find out it will cost more because a contractor has to remove and replace some of their work.

Simple remodel plan

  1. Get your ideas on paper.
  2. Get your material list done, with prices.
  3. Figure what you can and can’t do.
  4. Line up the time for start and finish dates.
  5. Have a helper/ contractor list with phone numbers.
  6. Have a source for what do I do now moments, the pros have these moments and so will you.
  7. Have your backup plan. There is a lot of free help on the internet. Some of it good. Get opinions to plan your next move.
  8. Have a contractor who will come in if you really mess something up. Some contractors will do this. Make the call, find someone open to this.
  9. Find out if you need a permit, most jobs require it. Your contractors will insist on it. If they don’t get another contractor. You are not saving money if you ever decide to sell your home and you’re remodeling gets tagged for non compliance.
  10. Remember, safety first. Those fingers and toes are important to keep.

Good luck, and let us know how its going.

Paul Lesieur – Silvertree Construction


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