The High Cost of Green Remodeling on the Cheap

Mary Butler

There's no doubt the recession has driven people to do crazy things.

A recent Sunday cover of the New York Times provides several perfect examples pertinent to the home improvement world. In, "Even if You Want to Save Cash, Don't Try This Stuff at Home," writer Susan Saulny details the exploits of home remodelers who decided to "do-it-themselves" with disastrous results.

One remodeler installed a toilet and ended up collapsing the ceiling below. When she rushed to get supplies to fix the hole in the ceiling, she clipped a pole in her garage, ripped the bumper off her car and knocked down shelves. The remodeler said that toilet ended up costing her $3,000 and a three-day renovation.

So what's my point? Remodeling can drive you crazy, especially when money's tight.

When to Hire a Green Remodeling Pro

Sometimes it just makes more sense to hire a professional to complete an important job like installing a toilet. You should always ask yourself whether you are willing to suffer the consequences of trial and error before embarking on a DIY project that you're not fully versed in, i.e. will it be okay if the drywall isn't finished perfectly?

And when it comes to green remodeling, DIY can be an especially tempting way to justify the higher cost of materials. Can't you hear yourself talking you into buying those solar panels you'll install yourself? What about that new tankless hot water heater...or how easy it'll be to install new energy efficient doors and windows, even though you've never done it before?

To some degree, you can blame home remodeling TV shows for feeding that train of thought.

Don't trust what you see on TV

The L.A. Times reports that shows like HGTV'S "Weekend Warriors" have made do-it-yourself projects look so easy that construction companies such as House Doctors and Handyman Connection earn their bread and butter from failed DIYers, who call them when they're desperate for help.

I know what you're thinking. You're not one of those bumbling idiots. Just consider yourself warned.

Michelle Hofmann • Weekend wasters struggle with DIY home-repair jobs • Jan 20, 2008 •,0,372892.story • Los Angeles Times,

About the Author
Mary Butler is a Boulder, Colorado based writer and editor, who spends much of her free time remodeling an old house.

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