To truly save money on DIY renovating projects one must think green to find materials and resources where typical builders waste and overspend.
DIY home renovation has become easier with the vast amount of online how-to resources and building outlets such as Home Depot and Lowes. However, these sources alone do not guarantee the self-renovator the savings they were planning on when they opted to forgo a contractor and do it themselves. Follow the three R’s of environmentalism and you will save real money on your renovations.
Reuse: Nails, Screws, and the Kitchen Sink
Slow down and pry apart the old construction and save everything to reuse in the new renovation. A wall being torn down and thrown away is lumber, trim, and fasteners. Even drywall can be reused as any bumps and scratches will be patched and repainted. Nails can be straightened and screws go back in as easily as they came out.
If contractors think this is penny-pinching ask yourself if a builder would throw away quarters so easily if he was pulling them out of the wall? Don’t stop at your own cast-offs, builders and fellow ‘DIY’ers’ all over your neighborhood and city are throwing away materials that can be reused in home renovation.
See that bin full of materials at a house being renovated – ask the contractor if you can have some of the old materials and if they’re on a coffee break (which could be supplied by you) ask them about a construction problem you’re having – that $1.50 coffee could equal hundreds of dollars in renovating education.
Reduce: Think Outside the Box
On a large scale, think ‘no box.’ Why spend money on rebuilding boxes in your home when you can leave the room open? Open concept is not only a favorite modern design concept it’s a savings bonanza. Eliminate a wall or open a staircase, and think of the savings you’ll achieve by not rebuilding.
Savings can also be found in moving a wall, literally, using the old materials rather than buying new ones. The same concept can be used with ‘out of date’ materials. An ugly kitchen counter from the seventies that was re-purposed as a tool bench does not have to meet its end. Flip the counter over, cut it to size and stain the wood as a smart-looking desktop or shelving.
Recycle: If You Build It…
Before renovating put the word out that you’re looking for building supplies. You’ll be surprised how many friends and family members have unused boxes of screws, nails, electrical wiring, and tile leftover from their renovation projects. Most people are glad to hand over their odds and ends at no cost.
Keep an eye out for sinks, toilets, and other building units being discarded on roadsides for pick-up. Chips and cracks and faded paint can all be repaired at a minimal cost compared to buying new.
Seek out a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area (or other second-hand building supply shop.) Many are run as charitable entities and offer great prices on their construction materials such as kitchen cupboards and bathroom fixtures.
As a last resort check the local building suppliers’ advertising for sale items. Remember, when you’re finished with your renovation return unused materials.
DIY projects have the same propensity to go over budget as contract jobs. It is the nature of renovating without thinking about cost at every turn. Renovators do not despair, you can do it yourself and it can be cheaper than you thought. When it comes to splashing out, spend on the finish – that’s where it shows.