Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Save Money

By Todd Fratzel on Home Improvement Cost Savings

DIY Can Save Big Money

Long before I was professionally employed in the construction industry (I was a practicing civil and structural engineer) I was tackling every home improvement project I could think of around our first home. One of the first major DIY projects that I took on was a full renovation of the kitchen in our first home. The house was a definite fixer-upper and the kitchen was certainly first on the list. The kitchen hadn’t been remodeled since the 50’s when the house was built.

Kitchen Renovation - Before & After

Kitchen and bathroom renovations are by far the most expensive renovations that you can do in your home. Because of that if you’re able to do-it-yourself then you’ll likely save big money. You too can save money on your next project if you do-it-yourself. However, you’ll need to spend time preparing for the project and following some basic guidelines.

Be Prepared

Being prepared is by far the most important piece of advice that I give anyone considering major DIY projects. Most renovation and construction projects around the house are not very complicated but they do require general knowledge of construction techniques, codes and safety precautions. The internet has become a wealth of resources for the DIY’er with sites like this one providing valuable information and instructions. Like anything else be sure you rely on reputable sites with a history of providing accurate easy to understand information.

Be Committed

Don’t start a major renovation project unless you’re committed to finishing it. Be sure you’ve committed sufficient financial resources (read more about how to avoid project creep and budget overruns), time and patience to completely finish the project. Don’t do 90% of the job and get lazy. Don’t omit an important safety feature that could be dangerous to your family or friends. Don’t be lazy and put off painting and/or sealing your great new project only to see it ruined by the weather.

Be Safe

If you’re interested in DIY projects then I recommend you take safety very seriously. Thousands of people are injured every day while doing DIY projects. Lots of people think their small little project lacks any serious hazards. I fell into that trap while painting our first home. I fell off a ladder because I wasn’t taking safety seriously. I was quite fortunate not to suffer any serious injuries, however, it taught me a very valuable lesson about being safe.

Be Proud

One of the best things about DIY projects is the great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. Every time I’ve completed a significant DIY project I’ve felt so satisfied at the accomplishment and savings. I’ve literally saved $75,000 or more over the years doing some major DIY projects like: full kitchen renovation, full bathroom renovations, framing portions of our new home, finish carpentry in our new home, building decks, painting, installing hardwood and tile floors and lots of electrical and plumbing projects. The bottom line is you too can save thousands of dollars doing your own work if you just take your time. Good luck and enjoy your success!

Save Money

One last tip is to save money where ever you can. Keep an eye out for coupons like the Lowes Coupon.  Coupons and flier sales are a great way to save money on your next DIY project!

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Diygirl says:

    That was some great advice on DIY. I’m currently in the middle of a home remodel and tackling most of the work ourselves! I will keep your blog in mind during my remodel journey.

    Please check out my blog at
    I’d love to hear what you think!

  2. Atlanta Plumber says:

    The only thing about DIY Bathroom or Kitchen renovations is the plumbing portion and the tile seem to always get hacked up because of the experience required to do these two portions of any home remodeling project.The last house we did the plumbing on the homeowner wanted to set the toilets himself.He ended up calling us back because he forgot to put down the wax rings.Ended up costing him more in the long run.He did his own tile as well and the entire project turned out horrible.Some people need to stay away from tools in MHO

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