Professional versus DIY

A simple painting job to tidy up one of our rentals.

A simple painting job to tidy up one of our rentals.

There is always a toss-up about whether to do something yourself, and potentially save some money, against getting a professional in to do the job.

We have completed a fair bit of cosmetic renovation work over the years. I am a mean hand with the paint sprayer, painting the inside of a house in a couple of hours and husband extraordinaire has learnt many tricks over the years in hanging doors and finishing those fiddly corners of the skirting boards so they sit neatly. In the past we have always done the majority of the work ourselves. It has been enjoyable and saved us money at a time when we weren’t earning a lot and had more spare time. Lately however, we have found there are other things we would prefer to do rather than spend our weekends painting and tiling.

This latest project is vastly different to others we have tackled, those past projects were cosmetic renovations, where we focused on improving the look of a place by painting, replacing floor coverings and tidying the gardens. Over time, we have took on more complex renovations, employing tradesmen to install new kitchens, revamp bathrooms or polish the floors in some of our rental houses. The more we have used outside tradesmen, the less profit there is in the deal, or at least that is what it looks like. Read more

A wild, wet week

Rear elevation of Queenslander, water courtesy of Cyclone Marcia.

Rear elevation of Queenslander, water courtesy of Cyclone Marcia.

Wow, what a wild week it was weather wise. Parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory took a beating with both Cyclone Lam and Cyclone Marcia hitting Australia this week. Thankfully Marcia had downgraded to a tropical low by the time it hit Brisbane. The massive amount of rain we received has well and truly settled the fill under the house and shown us that we need to add more fill, or we will end up with a mosquito breeding ground. The house is nearly closed up, still waiting on those front doors, so there was no issue with the inclement weather affecting the internal fixings of the house.

While the builders were busy with their work this week and the rest of Queensland was in cyclone management mode, I was working, and enjoying the beautiful sunny weather of Cape York, in the Northern Queensland community of Pormpuraaw. There they are still waiting for the wet to really set in. We experienced high tides and stormy seas from the effects of Cyclone Lam, which washed away some of the ocean-side tracks, but that was it. Read more

Oops, should have read twice, signed once.

Making sure the supports are welded in the correct location

Making sure the supports are welded in the correct location

I made a slight error the week prior to the Christmas break, nothing that will bring the house down but in my haste to get things done before Christmas and the holidays I didn’t talk through the whole job with one of my contractors, the company that was to re-roof the house. The builder had told me that it would be better to add in some extra timber supports to the roof where the existing frame had sagged over the years. I had a quick word to the roofing contractor about the need to ensure the new roofing allowed for taking out the dips in the roof which he interpreted to mean packing out the rafters here and there. I didn’t read through the description carefully in the quote otherwise I should have realised this difference. In my defence I was rather busy getting some work completed before going on holiday plus organising a whole host of other things related to the development. Unfortunately the problem wasn’t picked up until the team arrived on Monday to commence the job when the builder and the roofing foreman got talking. A quick call to the roofer confirmed my error. After a hurried discussion with the builder confirmed that the problem would be cosmetic only, we decided to go ahead with the re-roofing. Read more

It may not be obvious, but…

It’s been a busy week on the renovation front although this has mainly been behind the scenes work.

Replacing the roof deferred

The builder decided that it was better to wait until after the move to replace the roof as it needs further bracing and tie downs to meet new cyclone standards since the last roof was installed in the 1970’s. After the past couple of weeks of storms, I think this might be a good idea. I have been getting quotes from roofing companies and it looks like it will cost somewhere between $13,000 and $15,000 to remove the old roof, add bracing and tie downs to the timber frame, insulate and replace with Colorbond roofing iron.

The vinyl flooring removed leaving the bare floor as it must have looked many years ago.

The vinyl flooring removed leaving the bare floor as it must have looked many years ago.

While I’ve been working on income generating work and following up various things in whatever spare time I can find, the builder has been busy with preparation work. He has advised me that next week we will have the house lifters on site. Read more

Demolition Day…

Sorry guys, it was my fault it rained this morning in Brisbane; we’ve started the renovation.

Commencing the demolition

Commencing the demolition

I can hear the sound of the chainsaw as I type from my temporary office next door. It was fortunate for us, and probably our neighbour, that he was moving out and we have been able to rent his home for the duration of the reno and new build. This means I can keep an eye on what is going on and also be annoyed by the hammering etc along with the rest of the street. Read more