The Surprising Costs of DIY


My husband and I are do-it-yourselfers when it comes to home improvement. This is mostly because my husband’s dad is a contractor and he often guides and helps us when we need it. That being said, we’re barely a year into owning our first home and are still newbies. We recently took on a larger-than-we-thought project and were unpleasantly surprised by how much more money, time and work was required than we had originally thought.

For anyone else out there considering a DIY project, It’s important to understand and anticipate unexpected costs before you start your project.

Product / Materials: OK – so this isn’t an unexpected cost because most people wil


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15 Responses to The Surprising Costs of DIY

  1. Fish says:

    You didn’t cover how great it feels when you are done, and you have the pride of knowing you did it yourself.

    DH and I renovated a house over the course of 2 years and did 99% of the work ourselves. Our last project was a 450 sq ft flagstone patio- your blog brought back so many memories and a few laughs. The labor involved with that particular project was so intense compared to many others. It was the only project that I said I probably wouldn’t DIY if we had it to do over. As I recall, we weren’t talking much to each other by the end of that project, LOL.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and reminding me of ours. I always enjoy your blog, it is well thought out.

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  3. gregory says:

    I always find DIY projects quite satisfying, but I have learned that they will usually cost 25% more than you originally estimate they will cost you to do and will take about 50% more time than you anticipate.

  4. Keith Lauren says:

    I know we are supposed to be all about budgeting, but I am all about not doing any DIY. It’s cheaper for me to pay a professional. When I try to do it myself it usually isn’t as god of a job, and takes longer. Instead I could have been working and earning more money. To me, and how I earn a living, my time is my most valuable asset.

  5. Ann says:

    Turns out, “how to DIY” quickly turns into “who DYK”: Who Do You Know. We need help here, there, on that, with this, and those whos don’t always get the satisfaction we do out of the finished project. Like you said, a meal is a small thank you.

    Unless…You exchange DIY services.

  6. C. Walker says:

    Thanks for these comments. I am a contractor and I often encourage my clients to attempt to do the job themselves to get a better understanding of what a project involves. You pay for not only the expertise of a professional, but also the time and energy you get to save for yourself. That being said, the reason I became a contractor is because I didn’t want to pay someone to do something I thought I could do myself. Kudos.

  7. DIYnewbie says:

    Thank you so much. What an eye opener.

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  9. Gail says:

    there is also the sheer exhaustion from some jobs that may take awhile to recover from. And if you have small children they are harder to work around. That being said, my hubby did most of the work for building our house (it took a lont time). Some of the finishing isn’t real professional looking, but the added stuff that he did makes our house unique and very personal to us–such as the heart ‘engraved’ into the plaster in the bathroom with our names in it.

    We are now at the point that much of the DIY is in my field of expertise–sewing curtains, etc. It is taking me some time but seeing curtains that exactly match the paint in one room and give us the look we wanted, I know we never could have found them for sale.

    It makes it YOUR home when you do this stuff yourself.

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  13. Laura says:

    Thanks for the insight – for me it always comes down to the “labor”. The personal stress, time I need to spend, things I need to give up always seem to far outweigh the cost to hire someone to do it. Although hiring someone doesn’t always result in less stress, having the time to focus on the rest of my life is where the value comes in!

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  15. Jill says:

    Good insight. I just got an estimate & was floored when it came in almost 3 times what I expected. I am all for DIY when it comes to mosdt projects, but a paver patio sounds like such a physically-demanding, back-breaking project. It sounds like any money I could save, would probably end up paying a chiropractor to fix me up afterwards. I guess this is one project I will leave to the pros. Thanks for your insight!


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