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Phase 1 Bedroom & Bathroom Remodel – The Cost + DIY vs. Hiring Out

We got the quote from our contractor for Phase 1 of the bedroom and bathroom remodel, and while the line item pricing seems totally fair and reasonable, the total price is just more than we want to spend on this part of the house remodel. I’d rather save as much money as we can on this phase so that we can splurge on the bathroom remodel.

Now I need to go through the line item quote that our contractor gave us and see if there are any items I can do myself to bring the cost down. And I’m so thankful to have found a contractor who’s actually willing to let me do that! So many contractors don’t want homeowners getting “in the way” and get pretty prickly if homeowners want to do parts themselves for fear that it’ll slow down the project. But Mike is very reasonable about working with homeowners to get the job done however it needs to get done.

So here’s how the cost of the project breaks down, and this doesn’t include the master bathroom. The master bathroom will be Phase 2 of this project.

Master Bedroom (soon to be bathroom) and Hallway

  • Demo/Frame — $1,230 — This allows to remove existing wall and reframe new wall. Price includes debris disposal.
  • Door — $150 — This allows to remove and reset interior door to master bedroom (soon to be bathroom).
  • Drywall — $1,066 — This allows to hang, tape, bed, float, and texture new wall, both sides.
  • Pocket Door — $550 — This allows to frame and install new pocket door to Game room. Price includes hardware.
  • Floor Repair — $600 — This allows to repair buckled hardwood flooring in foyer. Price does not include sand and stain.

Okay, so here are my thoughts about the items in the master bedroom (bathroom) and hallway area.

First, I don’t think I ever told y’all, but the crap geyser we had a few months back did, indeed, affect the floor in the hallway. It took about a month for the damage to really show up, which seemed strange to me, but the floor is buckled in places, and you can tell that the subfloor is also damaged. The floor in the actual bathroom is fine, probably because of the grout that kept the water and yuck from getting down between the tiles and getting to the subfloor. Plus, the subfloor has a layer of concrete board over it anyway.

But the hallway is a different story. That floor is original to the house, and the subfloor is just 1″ x 10″ lumber. There are three places where the floor is noticeably buckled. So my beautiful finished hallway that once looked like this…

…will now have to have the floor AND the subfloor replaced. His price included only the removal of the existing floor and replacement of the subfloor and hardwood, with me providing the hardwood flooring (I have two full bundles left over from the studio), and with me doing the sanding and finishing since I know the exact process to use to get it to match the rest of the house.

So I could actually remove the existing floor and subfloor myself and replace it (I have plenty of experience now with putting down subfloor and installing hardwood floor), and save that $600.

The rest of the items in that area aren’t things I want to do myself. The moving and reframing of the wall will deal, in small part, with a load-bearing wall, and I’d rather have pros take care of that. I’ll never do drywall myself again, so that’s out of the question. And if they’re framing the new wall, then naturally they’d do the pocket door framing as well.

So in the hallway area, there’s no much savings to be had by DIYing. Let’s move on to another area.

Matt’s Game Room 

  • Remove wood wall coverings — $1,176 — This allows to remove 1×12 tongue and groove covering walls and ceiling. Price includes debris disposal.
  • Demo/Frame — $879 — This allows to remove existing wall. Price includes debris disposal.
  • Drywall — $1,800 — This allows to hang, tape, bed, float, and texture walls and ceiling. Price includes any necessary demo of existing drywall.
  • Insulation — $1,012 — This allows to insulate exterior walls and ceiling.
  • Door — $150 — This allows to remove and reset interior door.
  • Windows — $750 — This allows to remove and replace three windows, labor only. Price includes any necessary trim installation, interior and exterior. Homeowner to provide windows.
  • Electrical — $750 — This allows to wire and install six outlets.

Okay, there are certainly some things on this list I can do myself. First I’ll remind you that Matt’s game room is the front corner bedroom. It’s the room that we’ll use to access the new master bathroom until we get to the addition in the back and actually have a new master bedroom. At that time, the main access to the master bathroom will be through the master bedroom. But until then, it’ll be through Matt’s game room. Strange, I know, but we gotta do what we gotta do. 🙂

Anyway, Matt’s game room has walls and a ceiling that are covered in actual shiplap (as in, the real stuff) that is evidently original to the house.

I want all of that gone and replaced with drywall. I can already hear some of you trying to talk me into keeping it and just painting it, but I can assure that will not happen. 🙂 It’s just not something that I want to work around, and since the first day I saw this house, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the day that I get to tear that stuff off of the walls and the ceiling and replace it with clean, smooth, beautiful drywall.

That stuff is an absolute bear to remove. I had to remove it from the walls in the breakfast room and pantry area during that remodel, but it’s doable. And since that’s a labor-only cost, that will save me quite a bit.

This is also the room where the closets will be removed. See this area on the right with the wall that juts out creating a narrow entry into the room?

That walled-off area creates the closets for this bedroom and the other middle bedroom. I want that taken completely out, and since that doesn’t involve any load-bearing walls, and that’s another labor-only cost, that’s something I could do my to cut down on the cost.

The windows and electrical work are also something I could do. I’ve installed windows several times before, and of course, I’ve done plenty of electrical work. Installing six outlets would be a breeze, especially with the ceiling and walls completely opened up before the drywall goes up.

And the final area…

Front middle bedroom

  • Drywall — $2,112 — This allows to hang, tape, bed, float, and texture walls and ceiling. Price includes demo of existing drywall.
  • Windows — $500 — This allows to remove two windows, labor only. One window will be replaced and one window opening will be framed and covered. Price includes any necessary trim installation, interior and exterior. Homeowner to provide window.
  • Stone — $850 — This allows to install stone in existing window opening. Price is labor only.
  • Insulation — $864 — This allows to insulate exterior walls and ceiling.
  • Door — $150 — This allows to remove and reset interior door.
  • Electrical — $750 — This allows to wire and install six outlets.

I realized that I don’t have any recent pictures of this bedroom, so we’ll have to go way back in the archives to show you this bedroom. Here’s how it looked when we bought the house…

Since that time, the carpet has been removed to expose the hardwood floor, and the door that went out to the front porch on the left has been removed and covered over on the porch side of the wall. The inside, however, still has exposed framing.

While I won’t do any drywall work myself, I’m sure I could bring that cost down a bit by removing all of the existing drywall and nails from the ceiling and walls myself so that they just have to install, tape and float.

I could also install the front window, but I’ll leave the side window to them. Since that window is going to be removed completely and drywalled over on the inside, and stoned over on the outside, I’ll just let them take care of the whole process.

And, of course, I can add the new outlets in here as well. That would be so easy to do with the ceiling and walls opened up.

So if I do all of that stuff myself, I estimate that I can save about $5500. That will bring the line-item total from $15,339 to around $9850. (I’m estimating some of those savings.) And it will bring the total cost (which includes the contractor’s fee) from $18.407 to $11,820-ish.

That’s a pretty significant savings! But my goodness, the thought of all of that work, makes me tired already. 😀 It’s worth it though, right? Or is it. This is where my Wonder Woman syndrome sometimes gets the best of me. It’s all stuff that I’ve done before, so none of it is new territory. At least I’d have that going for me. But at the same time, I’d be working completely alone because my brother is no longer available to help me throughout the week, although he may still be able to help me some on the weekends. But I still think it’s worth it. I may be exhausted when it’s all done, but I like a good challenge. 🙂



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  1. Well that’s a decision! I will assume that you can afford the costs. So here is what I be asking myself.
    Can I do this alone and not risk shoulder or back problems (which would impact my goals list)?
    Is it worth it to put off the other things on my list that are more bloggable?

    It’s your choice and you’re a pretty smart woman!

  2. Kristi, you truly are wonder woman! I think it is time to start your DIY workshops. I personally will take some time getting there from Canada but I would sign up :-)!

    1. Congratulations that you are to this point in the remodel! You are really making progress. I do have several concerns. One is doing demo by yourself, especially ceiling and wall drywall. It would involve ladders and heavy lifting. Just don’t think it would be wise to not have another person be there in case of accident or to help with lifting. Demo is dangerous and while we all know you can do it, doing it alone is another story. The drill and hand episode was truly scary. Maybe this demo and construction is the time to ask for help from friends, readers, etc. All of this to tell you that we care about you and want you to be successful. Please give this some serious and careful thought about how to proceed. You are carrying a heavy load already and we are rooting for you. I don’t want to tell you what to do, I know you have things well in hand.

  3. What about you doing the insulation? I suggest you look at Rockwool insulation! I just did my basement and this stuff was so much easier to work with the the standard pink insulation. It’s more dense, water resistant and so easy to cut with a bread knife!

    1. I will definitely consider this. The cost on the estimate is for foam insulation and includes product plus labor. So if I do it myself, I’ll only be saving the cost of labor while still having to purchase the product, and I obviously can’t do foam insulation myself. I guess it’ll come down to the question of quality. Is fiberglass or Rockwool insulation as effective as foam? I’ll have to look into that and see if it’s worth the cost savings for the labor.

      1. The insulation institute has great basic comparisons. I used the 4ft batts easy to handle. The chemical component and variables of installation with the foam were not worth it for me. I’ve been reading/ geeking out about air barriers. A rabbit hole😆 Since no new siding I caulked (or foamed) all the batt cavities before insulation. I know we had gaps at the sill plate hence the vines growing inside the wall😮 Green Building Science, Fine Homebuilding are great sources if you are interested in efficiency as well as the pretty!

  4. My two cents…can you work fast enough alone so as not to delay the contractor’s progress at any point? Will the contractor take over after you have started a job in the unlikely event something should happen that you can’t finish it? Is there any other reason, besides cost, that would be preventing you from turning this job over completely to the contractor? What does, the one who knows you best and loves you most think of you taking on this project alone?

    1. Matt is definitely on board with me finding ways to bring the cost down. 🙂 And Mike has already stated that he’s willing to work with me if I find things that I’d like to do myself to bring the cost down. As far as holding them up, I don’t think that would happen because most of my work would be done on the front end.

    2. Have you got a game plan? I would think you would do Matt’s game room 1st with him temporarily moving to spare room. Then do spare room for y’all to move to & new master bath last. I know you should at least save the demo cost. Maybe you may be able to hire a helper to take your brother’s place. Waiting to see what you come up with.

  5. While I know the shiplap is not your jam, it’s very trendy, especially in your area. Maybe it would be worth it to someone to take it down for you if they get to keep the shiplap for themselves? Then it’s a win-win.

    1. Rachel, that’s a genius idea. I’m sure someone would love it. It would be so much easier supervising someone else taking it down than it would be to remove it yourself (what a pain). Just give them a list of tools you want them to bring and tell them exactly what they can and can’t do. A little bit of a pain but so much less than doing it yourself!

    2. If I can get it off of the walls in whole pieces, I’ll certainly consider reusing it on smaller projects or selling it. But if it’s anything like the shiplap that was in the breakfast room (which was the exact same product), it won’t come off in whole pieces. Those 70-year-old nails won’t come out easily, and the stuff in the breakfast room came off the walls splintered. I think I got maybe one or two pieces off in almost whole pieces.

  6. I can totally understand wanting to take down the Shiplap, I have a room that’s wide and narrow tongue in grove pine that was hung around the same time everyone was doing the shiplap only it was stained and clear coated. It’s my bedroom and I’m tired of the darkness it creates in this room. I do have one suggestion and that’s to sell the shiplap.( everyone wants it! It might help you out with extra money, and someone might take it out for you for in exchange for the shiplap.) or keep it to make table tops, shelving, bookcases. It’s definitely very desirable commodity in the remodeling/construction/wood craftsman world. Looking forward to seeing you accomplishments.

  7. Is it necessary to remove the shiplap? If it is sound, why not put the drywall on top of it? This would give you the benefit of being able to pot screws and hang things anywhere you like, not looking for the studs.

    A similar question about the old drywall. Is it in such poor condition that it has to be replaced? In the UK, most likely it would be skimmed over and would look brand new. Or of it has to go, can’t the contractors install the new drywall on top of the old one?

    1. I’d like all of it to come down because the exterior walls need to be insulated, and the two rooms need new electrical wiring. That stuff is so much easier to do with the walls open.

  8. Kristi
    Curious did that “bathroom event” come under homeowners insurances? I don’t recall the specifics, if there were external factors. Just wondering if so, some $ might alleviate hiring costs.

    1. I’m going to check on that. The warping didn’t start until about a month after the bathroom event, and continued getting worse over the course of about two or three weeks. Hopefully some of it will be covered.

      1. If it does no doubt you already have documentation you could turn in for reimbursement. Given your detailed nature I amuse you keep awesome records. My books by room/function of our work on house have saved me several times. Last year some install info got me to the proper part saving me a $1K plumbing job.

        Good luck.

      2. Previous homeowner had all incoming water lines re-piped, but the waste line behind the kitchen sink was the original cast iron piping. I believe it was damaged before the house was even sold, judging by what the pipe looked like. It damaged the engineered wood floors, and since this was tongue and groove flooring over ~700 sqft and this product was no longer made… there was no way to patch it. Luckily my insurance adjuster saw that. They accounted for all the flooring, plus cabinets in the kitchen! I was lucky. This was also right after Hurricane Irma, so I think my adjuster was happy to have a non-hurricane claim, haha. So yes, see if you can get something from the insurance company.

  9. WOW DEMO DAY! Sounds like a whole lotta work. I just wish you could afford to let the contractor do it all and you just do the painting and smaller stuff. You have been going at warp speed and taking on such another huge project is overwhelming and exhausting. Maybe you could be finishing your studio while they are doing the other side of the house. You have all the cabinets to make, work tables to make, the studio bathroom to finish and the storage room. That way you would still be doing something on the other side of the house and they could be doing the work on the other side and not getting in each other’s way or having to wait on anybody to finish and get out of the way. Then there is the workshop area to think about. It would probably help Matt out a lot if he had the bathroom finished for him.

  10. Yes, it’s a lot of work, and it makes me tired and my body ache for you! Will your contractor let you start what you can do (maybe with your brother’s help on weekends), then jump in if you run out of steam on those parts? Communication would be key. What a shame about the hallway floor! and it was looking so good! And I like the idea of the shiplap/take it out exchange.

  11. Well, Kristi, if you feel you can handle the emotional stress, the physical tired, and still be flexible throughout–there will always be something unexpected pop up–then I’d say “Go for it!” I do think you should plan very carefully how the work will be done, i.e., order of work, time schedule, coordinating with your contractor, availability of vendors/products and delivery times for the materials you will be responsible for (electrical, windows, etc., etc.), considering potential change options such as just needing a break, aggravating your shoulder and so on and maybe having a potential backup plan with your contractor to pick up the work should it become necessary. If you have a good plan and feel you can handle it emotionally and physically, then go for it. Whatever you decide, I’m sure the results will be awesome!

  12. Kristi, DIY as a much as possible. I have a suggestion that might cost big bucks.

    I think, in your future floor plan, the size of your family room is way too small. (I refer to 20×16 plan. But I did see a 20×20 plan also). My family room is somewhat smaller—19×15. Similar to your room, my family room has not a single solid wall. Our fireplace takes up all of one short wall. One long wall has an atrium door, which looks shorter than yours. Opposite our atrium door wall is an interior door to the living room. At the end of that wall is a door to the central hall. The other short wall, opposite the fireplace is an opening to the dining area of the kitchen. My mom lived with me and for a lot of that time she was in a wheelchair. Maneuvering was difficult, especially when I transferred her to a recliner. The only place for a sofa is in the middle of the room with a sofa table. I had to get a short sofa. There’s no room at all for end tables. I had only 5 pieces of furniture in the room plus TV in one corner of fireplace wall.

    I encourage you to enlarge that room. Your laundry room looks very large. Is that essential? Can the coat closet go somewhere else? In an ideal world, having a family room entry for Matt seems handy. As is, I picture him sort of in a “rat maze”. Please, no offense intended. Is there a way to make an entry to one side of fireplace from your concrete ramp? In a dream world I would love to see your kitchen open to the family room. Your music room is beautiful but is it really used as more than a walk through? May you do use it often.

    We are selling this house and moving to our retirement home. It has very large eat in kitchen/family room combo. I really enjoy the free space. Mom and I spent winters there for a couple of years, and I can attest to the ease of getting her wheelchair around.

    Only you can decide what is appropriate for you. Whatever, it will be beautiful! And think of your blog subjects 😉

  13. It really depends on how you want to spend your money, not if you are capable to do the work which we know you can. If you would prefer to be working on your workroom while someone else is working on this remodel.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. Someone would love to have it! But I know you are probably as picky (for want of another word) as i am when allowing someone else in to help. Most people have no concern for others home. You could offer it for sale cheap if they haul it away though. Just a thought.

  14. I think it’s worth noting that you won’t be doing all the work you want to take on at the exact same time. Of course it looks overwhelming if you look at everything you need to do, but it will be broken up into smaller phases (days/weeks/etc.) that is totally doable. I have faith in you!

  15. Hey, not on topic, but Kristi, I want to thank you for all of the drapery and shade tutorials you done. They are really the best on the internet. I’ve been teaching myself as I go and doing all the windows in my house, and am so much happier with the results than anything I could have bought off the shelf. So far have finished two large bay windows with triple wide pinch-pleat floor length draperies, four roman shades, and some flat panels. Anyway, thank you! None of my reference books were nearly as good as your tutorials. Velcro for the roman shades are genius. 🙂

  16. Kristi
    I have some friends that do once a month fix it event. They rotate homes. They pull off amazing stuff in one evening or day. It astounds me. They notify each other of the project, everyone shows up with their needed tools, expertise, muscles and goes at it. Anything left is much more manageable for the homeowner but usually it’s piddly details.

    You could probably rally enough of your local followers to show up, lend a hand, have a light “this old house” format. I have learned a lot over the years simply being the pick up/haul/fetch person. I have helped two people with projects this past month. It’s kind of fun lending some muscle and the spirit of support. Win win for everyone.

  17. It sounds like a good beginning plan. If you can do some of these jobs without too much wear and tear on your body, go for it. If there are heavy projects that could cause too much stress/injury I think you should let the professionals do it. Most of the costs estimates sure seem reasonable to me.

  18. As much as Joanna Gaines LOVES shiplap for her projects, and given that she’s so close to you, have you considered contacting her and possibly selling her the shiplap, when you take it down? Could possibly off-set some of you costs, even if a little bit!

    1. They also might know how to get it off the walls without busting it up. There has to be a way of doing it. Maybe a saws-all with a long blade to cut the nails off on the back side. It is a highly prized commodity, and I sure wouldn’t throw it away.

  19. If you are able and willing, I would do what you can to bring cost down. That way, if over runs happen (and often do) you will have a buffer in your wallet! Just don’t do so much that you miss your “day off” for you and Matt, and don’t wear yourself thin! I wish our builder would have let us do things, to keep my husband busy! It would have relieved his stress!

  20. Throwing in my two cents:
    I’m the same age as you, and my body cannot do quite as much as it could 10-15 yrs ago without injury (despite my mind being that of a teenager!). Plus my hormones have been out of control, as far as energy and my emotional state. I highly recommend looking for ways to fund this part and have the contractor do this stuff for you. You will have tons of other stuff blog about, and I’m looking forward to eventually having your YouTube channel (and maybe Instagram) take advantage of instructing the masses (while creating more passive income for you). You’ve done a great job avoiding sponsored posts, but honestly Kristi- as a reader, I would totally be fine with you having a few of them in this case. From drywall, paint, doors, windows to insulation- Kristi you could possibly make up a lot of the costs there. Just a thought! 🙂

  21. Hi Kristi! I really have no opinion on whether and to what extent you should tackle this project. You are a smart and talented woman and I’m sure you know what you want to do.

    I just popped in to exclaim over the picture of your hallway you included! I had forgotten how absolutely beautiful it is! It really is stunning and I remember when I first saw it finished I knew I must do stripes, white trim, and blue doors somewhere! But life moved on and I forgot about it. Now I have renewed determination to use this in my home!

    Thanks for the timeless great ideas!

  22. My opinion is to let them do their thing with regards to all of that work so that you can finish the studio! It sounds like you’ll have to stop work there entirely to get everything done that you CAN do for at least a week, if not more. You are making progress there and I think it would be better for you to continue that, without the interruption of another project, and then you can work on the finishings in the remodeled spaces. This way you continue to make progress on both areas! I know you CAN do all of those things and they would save you a good amount of $ but how far will that put you behind on your studio? How nice would it be to be able to do the finishings in those spaces with a WORKING studio to work in? You wanted this studio for a reason and I say continue to put your focus there and let the contractors do the main constructing.

  23. Kristi… What about your shoulder? I know you were in so much pain and had a lengthy recovery. All that demo is time consuming and hard on the body… is the dollar savings worth it in every category you’ve listed?
    ~a concerned fan

  24. Dear Kristi, I understand about reducing the costs, but the work load you figured out for yourself is quite a bit and I’m concerned about how much that might tire you. I would probably keep it to the electric installations which is more of a fiddling job than a heavy lifting thing (at least that’s how I imagine it 🙂 ) and I think the comment above is valid that you’d be better off using your time to get your studio done (doing the pretty and constructive stuff!!). In the end, it all boils down to money and it’s a question of whether you’ve got those extra $ 8000 to spend. If you do, I’d recommend you think of your health first and do the creative stuff rather than the building that you already know you can do…

  25. I’m curious to know if a homeowner is permitted to do their own electrical? As long as the building inspector approves everything is that allowed or can that only be done by a licensed electrician?

    1. Whether or not that’s allowed is 100% dependent upon the city/county you live in. Every area has their own building codes and requirements, so before doing any work, you’d need to check with your local building codes/permit office to see what’s required.

    2. Interesting. What are the regulations in your area? I’m just curious, I have no electrical skills!