How To Shows
Okay, “How To” shows have been on the tube for quite some time now. Amongst the most popular are the Learning Channel, HGTV, along with the Discovery Channel and lest we not forget good old PBS – the Mother from which they sprang. So what is the verdict? Before everyone(?) rushes to comment, I’d like to focus the discourse.
Let’s establish a few agreements or Universal Truths:
1. There is something to be learned on most.
2. Some shows are better than others.
3. Some episodes are better than others.
4. They all make mistakes.
5. They rarely tell the whole story and frequently miss important steps “due to editing for time”.
6. They never offer full financial disclosure, so the Time, Cost and Quality Equation is never addressed properly.
7. When they do submit a cost, it is usually for materials (no manufacturer is ID’d).
8. Labor costs vary conciderably throughout the country and really cannot provide a referance point for the layman.
9. It is rare that they show what goes on behind the scenes between the Contractor, Arch, Sub, Fabricator, etc. I am not refring to feild trips to the Kohler factory, or USG’s Drywall Plant. I’m talking about a cabinet shop that does true custom work, or small stone shops. (We tend to use these more than the mass production places. Not that they are bad – just different.)
10. They never show the Bidding Process and Contractor Interviews to compare and contrast. Only the final “winner” and why.
Now to get to what I would like to discuss. Please ID yourselves in terms of HO or Tradesperson, etc so everyone reading can understand the foundation of your response.
Do you find that these shows elevate respect for our professions or are they proliferating a simplistic interpretation of what we do and expect to get properly (read well) paid for. I am not knocking DYI’ers. I am trying to determine how to deal with Clients who watch these shows and reflect that in their dealings with my Subs and I. Their attitude becomes “Why’s it cost so much? It’s so easy” [Don’t tell me to tell them to do it themselves.]
I don’t see the Pet Channel discussing How To Operate on Rover, or the Medical Channel discussing How To Diagnose Cancer of the Colon Yourself and Operate, or The Legal Channel discussing How To Sue or Prosecute a Death Penalty Case. When the Automotive Channel discusses car repair, they usually refer to and indespensable tool such as an engine lift or hydrolic car lift which is very expensive or task specific and really cannot be stored in a basement tool box. You also will need special calipers, guages, materials and terminology that are not as common as drywall and wood studs.
Here’s an example: I was watching HGTV’s Fix It! this morning (the hazards of channel surfing while cooking breakfast) and watched them replace two windows in a masonry wall with a single window which was taller and wider than the originals combined. I watched because I posted a similar question concerning this recently. Sometimes it’s nice to get the visuals. The Show Host and a Contractor did the work themselves, along with the help of a mason who cut the bottom 7 courses of brick out along with 18″ of brick from each side. They showed him cut the exterior brick veneer wall but not the CMUs behind them (concrete filled, or rebar /wire webbing?), nor show that the CMU’s needed to also be cut from the inside too, (MAJOR DUST) and that the thin plastic sheeting would not be enough protection. They left out the lintel issue – completely.
People in the Trades see this and laugh or cringe but the everyday HO thinks “I can do this.” or worse yet “I’ll get brawny (read uneducated) guy down the road to do it for me. It can’t cost much” Since there is no industry standard, and there is always someone else eager to do it cheaper (properly, well, ins.,work comp, and taxes be damned) I beleive we are left at a disadvantage. Yes, so too is the HO, but they don’t know it and won’t ever accept it. The “How To” Show said so!
Last Point: To a certain degree this Site may contribute to this, however I have noticed what distinguishes us here is that the BT Forum is unedited and so you get comments/ perspectives/ information from a variety of people from different trades – ad nuasium. We argue, agree to disagree, pat each other on the back, encourage and discourage. It is rare that ANYTHING here is viewed as simplistic.
So, wadda ya think? Do HT Shows do more harm than good or visa-versa? How do WE educate the HO that there is A LOT more involved? I bring this up because, as stated in my last thread, the Client had no idea of the amount of preparation I needed to do for his project and therefore why my fee is justified.
Have you seen Real Reno's on HGTV? Not so much a how to show, but a warning to would be contractors. Life isn't all cell phones and Tim Horton's coffe.
Frankie, I work alone. Over 30 years I have borrowed homeowners sweat equity and I think the vast majority of times they have remarked on how hard the work is and how much knowledge and thought goes into it. They don't come at it with an over abundance of information. I don't believe I have noticed a change in their thinking with the increase in these How To Shows. There are those that -no way, jose'-have a respect for our talents. These folks will never give us the credit for a good job no matter what education or background they have. I personally am getting sick of those that "heard from their BIL that" ........... This is just an extension of your thread topic, not trying to change it's direction.
A little informaiton in the hands of the wrong people is dangerous. That must be some kind of law.
Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.
"I don't see the Pet Channel discussing . . . . . drywall and wood studs. "
In an of itself, that's pretty dead on. Calvin I can't disagree with either. It's harder than it looks in 20 minutes of TV, but those who have tried it know the difference. The ones that haven't probably won't until they have the benefit of experience. But I don't think that your job should require you to have to be the one to explain that on a regular basis. The customer that wants to second guess you throughout the process isn't the one you want to deal with.
Both sides being professional, the trust element is they trust the contractor know what he/she's talking about and do quality work; you trust them to pay for the job and fulfill all the little details like accessibility and keeping the pets out of the way.
I'm a remodeler. Straightforward communication solves a great many things, but in my black and white utopia, I simply won't quibbly over that kind of thing. If there's snivelling involved, I just don't want to deal with it, and somebody with more patience can have the work, for better or worse. It's actually very rare that I run into it anymore. DK if I honestly know why. I suspect the stage gets set by the initial meeting. Niceties aside, there's always that little search engine in the head looking for signs, good or bad vibes.
" Exult O shores, and ring O bells! / But I with mournful tread, / Walk the deck my Captain lies, / Fallen cold and dead" - Whitman
As for the best (IMHO). I like the original, The one and only, This old house. I like them better because every once in a while they will show a method that makes you say " hey, that's not a bad idea". Instead of spending a half an hour on spackling nail holes, or sponge painting.
Lunicy = DLRC = Contractor
Can't I go 1 day without spilling my coffee?
Funny, once they got rid of Villa, This Old House was my favourite show for several years - a couple of years back they made some changes that just didn't work for me any longer: they changed perspective from "how to do it" to "what you can have done". I'd much rather that they went back to their roots of matching moldings and period-look materials (like the season they restored a federal-style home) or how to update an older home (like the 'shotgun' home in New Orleans, or even the adobe in Arizona). I still really enjoy The Woodwright Shop, and, I think the other one was American Wood Shop (no longer available here) because I just liked watching them work. The New Yankee Workshop is sometimes very good, either because the project was interesting, or some fairly new or unique tool/technique is demonstrated; at other times, it's just same-old-same-old (like how many times do they expect us to watch Norm cut a tenon ?).
IMHO, HomeTime fell completely off the rails and has lost its direction: too many "how to pick a screw-driver" segments followed by "magic happens here and the plumbing is installed".
Oh, I'm a trim carpenter, but also a home-owner. .
The Unionville Woodwright
I've seen cooking shows that make everything look easy, and yet my cooking has improved little from watching the shows. I've seen heart operations on TV and wont try them myself. Also seen shows on sheer rock face climbing, wouldnt try that either. I think a lot of professionals are getting their feelings hurt because their work is portrayed (to them anyway) as being much easier and less complicated than what it is.
For years the trades were protected from divulging secrets to the public. Everything was geared towards the professionals, and the information was not readily available. Materials were sold, if at all, to the public only at retail price. The older materials were not as easily used as the modern ones. Many times there were no vendors who would sell to homeowners. Now things are different. I think a lot of homeowners are interested more in how things are done than doing them theirself. Tools are more affordable, so the homeowner can have a set of tools that enable them to do some things that were less possible say 25 years ago. Also, people like to build and do things that give a sense of satisfaction. Many occupations today offer no satisfaction at all, and doing a bit of work at home gives a bit of an escape.
One more thing, on auto mechanics. Dont you believe that it is much harder to explain why it costs $800 to fix a heater in a van, than say to replace a window? Someone says that their van needs a new heater core, shouldnt cost more than a hundred or so. But the rear AC line has to be opened to remove the blower and core, and the bearings are going bad in the motor, and the squirrel cage is cracked too. Then it needs 6 lbs of R12 and evacuated to get the AC working again. They dont see the work, it's going on in the garage. at least they can watch their own house being worked on.
I think the shows do a lot of good, but they are geared to getting people to buy tools, high end supplies, and support tool rental companies, not so much to show anyone how to do anything. Lately they show a few shots of the work, and spend the rest of the time showing products and advertising. Maybe the shows are getting afraid of lawsuits if they actually show how to dio something.
Well presented thought for discussion.
I'm a remodeler.
I've spent a lot of time (I suppose because I have patience with most people and get recommended for jobs that others will turn down) helping DIY people get bailed out of jams they get themselves into. These magazines and home shows provide us with as much or more work as they take away.
Problem comes in where they (the HOs) mess things up first. Sometimes this is hard to assess because out of embarrasment (appropriate word sometimes, don't you think - I'm bare #### meant) they will not provide full information about job conditions etc. They are more prone to messing up when these shows encourage them to take things apart...
With thirty some years of experience, I can safely say that very few HOs can save any bucks by doing it themselves and often end up spending more. You may quote me on that.
I think the allusion to heart surgery is not far off and is worth repeating to some customers.
So is the comment from RK about avoiding those who want to look over your shoulder and advise constantly.
I think the worst offense these shows do is to portray themselves as 'how to...' shows and then fail to show all pertinent steps. I think they edit some stuff out to keep it in a the time slot and keep it from being boring. So another good comparison to point out to customers would be action movies. You don't really believe everything youu see do you? I mean how many times have you seen fourty or fifty bullets fired from a wheelgun without reloading...
Excellence is its own reward!
"I can safely say that very few HOs can save any bucks by doing it themselves and often end up spending more. You may quote me on that. "
My experience is the exact opposite, consider me as a Home owner, though I've worked in the trades earlier in my life. All the HO's doing renovations that I know of have done either a little, alot or all of the work, (sweat equity) themselves. Simply because they had to in order reach their goals within a particular budget. I think HO's are all to aware of the costs associated with building/remodeling, but won't let lack of funds deter them from their dreams. In this regard, I believe the "how to" shows fall short, and everyone I talk to agrees - Un-realistic levels of craftsmanship and apparently unlimited dollars. Other than shows like This Old House, where in the real world will you find someone hiring a preservation carpentry firm to restore a front door, Or when Norm says "Gee whiz, Steve, look like we're going to have to replace all the joists on the second floor 'cause they're undersized." and Steve goes "Oh darn! Do I have to be the one to tell the home owners again!"
Well, that's not too far from what I mean when I remember scenarios where HOs 'saved money'. They build an addition and use 2x6s for floor framing to save bucks and then it gets truned down by inspector. I have to do it over for them because by now they are burned out and ready to pay for pro work.
You are probably in the forty percent who can do a capable job and save but even in that group the savings doesn't always come in just labor/sweat equity but in taking shortcuts and not doing things they didn't know needed to be done and often will go undiscovered until the next owners remodel. Things like using short scraps of 12-2 taped togeteher behind the sheetrock. .
Excellence is its own reward!
Definately, homeowners should be aware of their own limitations. If you're dumb enough to embark on a house addition after watching Dean and Jo-Anne do one in a 30 minute episode, without any experience or research on what such an undertaking encompasses, then you've got alot of growing up to do. But you can't blame the TV show for that. I like to think of these shows less as "how to" than "this can be done if...." The "IF" is you've got the money, or you've got the know-how, or you've got the time to do it.
I think you give short-shrift to HO's otherwise, even relatively Un-handy people can save a little $$ by painting, demolition, doing insulation, etc. With time, (which a HO has in abundance, a pro has to charge for his time.) good results can be had doing siding, sheetrock, etc.
And, as for short cuts, I'll put my work against anyone else's anytime...
Maybe. I mean the jobs I see are the ones that are messed up and in need of help. I probably don't see so many of the ones that are done well. But I do see plenty of ones where the HO, sometimes a friend, brags about how much they saved while pointing it all out, and I'm wondering how to be tactful about all the crappy work I'm looking at.
Most every remodel I open up has some of this hidden stuff that sometimes, could kill the occupants who werre blissfully unaware.
I'm not trying to pick on you personally at all. I'm just reporting from what I see..
Excellence is its own reward!
I remember when I used to watch the shade tree mechanic and other car related shows there was always a warning at the end or beginning stating, WARNING this show WILL NOT show you everything you need to do this particular job. If you have ANY question or concerns please contact a professional. now I know this was done to cover there own arse but it would be nice if other DIY shows would put in that kind of disclaimer something like:
What are you about to watch a 30 minute program on a project that took x amount of weeks to complete there is no way we can show you everything that went into this project so please be aware this is only the stuff that we think will get us ratings, All the other behind the scenes work is to boring or hard to show on TV and it would only confuse most people anyway. Even if we had 6 full weeks of 10 hour a day time most people will not have the tools or overall knowledge to pull this project off by themselves. Please use our show for ideas not as a manual to try yourself.
And that only applies to shows like hometime and toh
As to the other shows like While you were out, trading spaces etc.
The disclaimer should be something along the lines of
This is bad idea, what ever we do to your home will look like crap if not now then in 2 years or less. I've watched enough of those shows to know I have seen only a few episodes where the room they worked on looked reasonably decent after they were done
I could get into all the bad ideas I have seen but the worst to date is a room the owners wanted child friendly and the "designer" decided to glue hay on to the walls to give it a "rustic" look.
But alas I will step off my soap box and stop commenting before I go on a tirade.
On the other hand while most people may not know all the work that goes into remodeling their bathroom or their addition I think most are smart enough to realize they don't know this and are willing to be educated
I've been doing remodel and new construction work since I was 16 and wood working since I can remember in one fashion or another. What I've learned is I know barely a fraction of what I need to know to consider myself truly competent. As has been pointed out here in the past :)
edited for spelling
Edited 1/13/2003 1:29:37 AM ET by CAG
Enquiring minds want to know.......
Gotta hear more about the hay..... Kinda a farm motif, I can just hear the "designer " selling the idea.
I guess this is a bad idea if you have a pet cow in the house.
I dont know what the hell she was thinking, Imagine a bale of hay, now take it apart and make a huge mess on the floor, I dont remember what type of glue was used but it was put on with a paint roller, now take said hay and arrange on the wall all "pretty" like running it horizontaly, make sure you leave spaces between the individual straws so you can see the glue coming out and your done. Floor to ceiling if my memory serves, ugliest damn thing I have seen. Now think of the poor couple who had to spend endless hours removing it later so there kid wasnt eating it off the walls.
Oh and there was the episode where a team of womens soccer players did each others houses and one of the designers decided that a huge portrait of her own face had to be dot painted on the wall, the image was like 6' x 8' I guess it was a constant reminder for later of "Hey I'm the one who F'd up your house."
My girlfriend loves that show and makes me watch it from time to time when I cant get away. Ive seen 2 shows where I thought hey that room looks better then before but usually I come away with the impression the people got screwed and now there going to have spend serious money to fix it. They get a 1000 dollars to redo a room I guess you cant expect much with that kind of money but they cut so many corners its horrible
My personal favorite is the "furniture" they make out of 2x4 and cheap ply, then coat it with paint or stain so it looks good from 10 feet away on camera.
But Im a rant again so I digress :)
I have a van and the only thing I will do is change the oil, pump the gas into it, and change the flat tire to the spare. Other than that I bring it to an auto mechanic. I have some of the tools and some of the knowledge to fix my van, but it makes more sense to bring it to pro.
I need to know it's going to get fixed on a time schedule and done right, if the van is not running I can't work - it's vital to my work. So far I've owned 3 work vans. I figure I'll need another van every 7 - 10 years - just a guestimate. So I'll round that to 7 or 8 work trucks and another 7 - 8 personal vehicles. That is approx. 15 vehicles I'll own in my life. Most people own 1 - 3 houses in a lifetime.
Most vehicle loans take 4 - 5 years to pay off. A house takes 30 years to pay off - it's the only thing that I know that takes 30 years to pay off. When you buy a car & pay it off you can't resell it for what you paid for it. A house can be resold for much more than what it was bought for within 1 year.Why do people want to even take the chance of screwing up the biggest financial investment of there life by doing the work themselves? Cars are a much smaller investment with zero potential return on it and they don't work on them. I don't fix my car,I don't try to diagnose my relatives medical conditions,etc.
About twenty years ago, when they started extending financing terms to six years instead of three or four, I asked my banker why, when the car depreciates so fast compared to a house.
He asweered that studies had shown that with our mobile society and better automobile design, that most people kept their car longer than they kept their house and took at least as good care of it.
Jeff Buck might have some interesting comments on that comparison.
Excellence is its own reward!
I don't know about houses.....but when I sold cars full time....2 full years '94-'95
I'd say 80% of the customers that sat across my desk were upside on their trade-in payments.
Most.....at least 70%.....were trying to get out of their current car in 3 yrs or less.
I was amazed.....as I went into the biz as a guy that fell in love with some used car and held on to it forever. This was all new thinking to me.
But to some insight as to the longer terms.....when I'd explian what "being upside down" meant.....and how they still owed money on the car they were trading in...more money than the car was actually worth....9 times outta 10 they'd ask....."Well there must be SOMEWAY to make this work?"
So......here come those longer loan terms! And they just dug themselves deeper in debt! I'd try and find them some econo-box or a used vehicle in good shape that still held some value.....so after we rolled their inequity into the new terms......they might have a shot at being flat even after that loan is paid off......
But very few were interrested. So they'd sign for the long term on a car that'd be worth very little in the end....plus add on what they had lost from their last bad deal.....and the cycle continued!
I even had some 20 something old chicks father come out all pissed off that I let his daughter buy "another" car! He was gonna "sue" because I got her deeper in debt.
I asked him to look at some cars with me...maybe we'd "forget" her deal if she liked them.....then showed him all the base models and used cars she'd already turned down. I explained how each could get her outta debt.....if she paid for 4 yrs...he said "OK..let's get her back here"....I said Why bother..she ALREADY said NO!
Wasted half my day...but I felt better! Yeah..it was my fault she kept trading cars in before she paid them off!
But that's people. Cars are an emotional but for most people. They are for me too...but only if I get a killer deal! My wife is just starting to look at trading in her '94 Cutlass Conv I sold to her!
And she has about $4K in equity to play with. And to think...when I first met her....she was upside down in her car! Took me one trade to get her even...and one trade to get her right side up!
Most cars aren't an "investment"...but you can hedge the depreciation. Now that we're looking again...here's a tip on the new leases.....Never lease longer than the base warrenty...which is what alot of the advertised rates are for. Otherwise...you are paying for maintaining the dealers soon to be car!
As Malcolm Forbes was fond of saying...Buy what appreciates/Lease what depreciates.....
and Jeff adds....or buy slightly used, let someone else take the first hit.....
JeffBuck Construction Pittsburgh,PA
Fine Carpentery.....While U Waite
I have been doing business in the same area for quite a number of years (25). I have found the same attitudes in some clients that you are describing. I don't think it is the influence of these shows that precipitates these attitudes for the most part however. People that are cheap, are cheap before they ever watch that show on TV. A lot of what you say is true but have you ever stopped to think that all the exposure people are subjected to by these shows are helping to increase sales in the remodeling industry by showing all the possibilities of what can be done. People watch these shows and get excited and want to put more of their dollars into their homes than maybe they would if it were not for all the publications and Do-It-Yourself-Shows. So the exposure in my opinion is great for business.
One of the things that is great about being established in an area for a long time is the amount of repeat business I get from people I have worked for in the past. I have clients that I have worked for and are so satisfied with me that I do not even have to give price estimates to anymore. I just get a phone call and am told that they have a job that needs doing, I go over and do it and send out a bill. Those are my top clients and it took a long time to build these customers to this point. The great part of doing business with these clients is the obvious saving of time working up an estimate. You can find these clients anywhere. Then I have the repeat clients that I have satisfied to such a degree where they would never want to hire anyone else. These clients will only hire me and we work together to come up with a satisfactory price, however I know that I will not be bidding against anyone. The third best client is a referral. I get referrals from customers I have worked for, but I find I get the best referrals from other tradespeople I network with (also an Architect I network with). These clients are usually very discerning and are looking for a a certain quality of work I can deliver to them. I also give referrals to my contacts as my way of networking back to them.
I also subscribe to "Remodelers" magazine. This publication is written by builders for builders. They give us the information we need to become more successful. One of the things I remember reading in this magazine is if you are bidding work on a regular basis and you are getting more than 20% of your bids that you are not charging enough money. Also you should be getting paid for the labor you put into a job and each job should make a profit also. By charging enough you can get some leeway in your time so if you work up a price and do not get the job you are covered in a sense. You should also develop a sense when talking to a prospective client as to what type of client this person will be. If I get bad vibes from a prospect I move on to greener fields.
Hope this helps in some small way Frankie.
Good topic and great comments.
OTTOMH, I refer to those "how to" shows as entertainment. I rarely, if ever, waste my off time watching others work.
It's entertaining for a pro to watch it in it's obsurdity. My clients think it's entertaining how everone shows up all cleaned up, on time with never a comment on how much it all costs.
And that's really all it is. Entertainment.
If a pro or a HO takes it beyond that, well, that's like watching a CPA work, thinking that'll give you pointers on doing your own taxes. See how long you stay outta jail.
Now, if they really wanted to make it entertaining, do something in the vein of the Swedish bikini framing team.
There are tradeoffs, but from a contractor POV, overall I would say remodeling shows have been positive. HO's have been doing their own remodeling long before these shows and they would continue to do so if these shows stopped airing tomorrow. I believe these shows generate desires to remodel, and that work will be likely be done professionally. Frankie, as for your client over simplifying their project, don't you think that would happen regardless of the fancy editing they see on TV? I get that all the time too but it's not because they saw Norm do it in 20 minutes. People just don't understand, like I don't understand what's involved in producing an automobile.
Piffin quote: "I can safely say that very few HO's can save any bucks by doing it themselves and often end up spending more. You may quote me on that."
I totally agree and you may add me to that quote as well! I could write a book why this statment is true. Any way you look at it, perseverance and determination cannot make up for a lack of knowledge and skill in this area. Plenty times I too have been standing in the presence of a proud DIY's project thinking to myself, Oh boy. No matter how handy a DIY is he/she is not going to produce the same results of "respectable" professional with years of experience, honing his/her skills on a daily basis.
I cut my sons hair on a regular basis. It looks good to me, it looks good to my wife, but without a doubt it looks like crap to a skilled barber.
Im seeing a fantastic run of great comments and discuission here. Great thread!.
Excellence is its own reward!
All good points, I still disagree though, and believe a HO can save $$ as long as they understand their limitations and not be un-realistic, like trying to build a deck when they've never pounded a nail in a stick of wood in their life.
As Piffin says, you guys may be seeing only the bad examples, Like the old toupee joke, "I've never seen a good toupee" That's because a good one you're not supposed to see. Same is "I've never seen good DIY work"
Ya know why I do most of the work on my house? Not to save any money, But rather to not have to deal with the aggravation of dealing with contractors, i.e., never return calls, show up late, if at all, not trying to meet my needs/wants. "This is the way we always do it.." type stuff. If I asked most contractors in my area that I wanted a belt course between the first and second floors, they'd look at me like I was speaking Chinese, so I do it myself....
I'm a DIY'er.
I'll admit that I've seem some scary stuff done by DIY'ers. But I've seen a lot of scary stuff done by 'professionals' too. Like the attic trusses that were hacked apart, to install chimneys, when my house was 'professionally' built. Unfortunately, many professionals hire help that know nothing about building.
I do my own work mainly because I enjoy it. Also because I can do it the way I want. Also, I know exactly how it was built and that it's a quality job. I can also add in extras for little cost. Plus, much of what I do is little jobs, which are hard to get a contractor to come over and do. Besides, I work at a desk, and just feel the need to build something w/ my hands when I get home. The money savings is a huge bonus. Besides, I get to buy tools!!!
How many of you contractors would get excited to come to my house and build a 30" x 80" basic closet? How long would it take? I'm currently doing this, and it takes a long time. Mainly because of drying times. I put a coat of mud on after work, sand it the next night and apply more if needed. I can't imagine anyone getting too excited to come back the next day to sand a little bit of mud and put on another coat.
A lady at work had a narrow long room divided into two by adding a wall w/ a door in it. It took about 3 months before the contractor finally got it finished. Just wasn't important enough to him. Which is understandable, it's small potatoes. But, her house was a mess for 3 months while he got around to it. If she hadn't paid upfront I'd have just finished it for her.
It's even more of a hassle to get someone out to just replace a light switch or install a faucet. Very easy tasks that are very expensive if hired out. Now, whoever wired my downstairs, should have hired a professional, or even a reasonably skilled hack. The way he did it is dangerous.
Just today I walked through probably one of the best examples of high quality DIY work I've ever seen for this type of remodeling. Upon initial inspection I surely would have guessed professional. This was work done by an older gentleman, where he has gutted an entire upper floor and re-framed approx half at this point. Even though I was impressed with many aspects of his work, and more importantly the forethought involved, there were a couple items just about any "reputable" contractor would have done different. Such as the new sub-floor that was Â½" OSB fastened only every 12 to 16".
These mistakes were made not because the guy is an idiot. He just has limited experience for what standard building practices are. Something like the sub-floor if not corrected will cost $$$. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in the next decade, but eventually. Which brings us back to Piffin's quote.
Billy, Unfortunately what you see in professional hackwork is generally not knowing, it's not caring. As for your trusses I'll bet the trades person(s) responsible knew better but it was more profitable to hack it up so to get down the road and onto the next job. Many contractors are pushing the envlope of hackdom for the sake of a buck.
I'm not sure exactly when this thread took the turn to professional versus DIY, it began concerning those shows everyone loves to hate on the Home and Garden channel.
Anyways, I'm not certain what the point is, if there is one. Do DIY's make mistakes? Sure.... Do professional's make mistakes? Sure..... Do they call them mistakes when they occur, or is it called, "we were hurrying to get to the next job to make more $$$" Does it make it any better? And what of the old gentleman and the ghost of the 1/2" OSB coming back to haunt him? I can go to any number of construction sites around here, and see residential construction thrown together with the same flimsy material. A neighbor of mine had his house redone with clapboard by a siding contractor, they literally placed the nails about 4 feet apart, but not do to a shortage of nails, cause they left a few hundred laying around in the grass. I know, I was there to help him pick them up. Do many professionals do great work? Absolutely ! But just because someone does it for a living doesn't necessarily mean they do it well, or better.
One can easily nit-pick and come up with horror stories, but it really fails to prove anything. In my house someone had used lamp cord in place of Romex behind the wall. Not sure if that's more scary or laughable, but I'm sure it had nothing to do from what someone saw on a TV show.
Billy is on to something... The amount of time versus money made on a small project for the professional can leave a niche for the HO to fill, if he/she has the inclination. I really don't have either the budget or the inclination to do a total demo/rebuild of my house, so I use the caterpillar approach. An approach that I'm sure would be of little interest to a pro, but it works for me, and keeps me busy during the summer.
You had me going there when you said 'caterpillar approach'. Thought maybe you were talking about dozing and I don't mean a catnap.Character? I never had any problem with character. Why, people've been telling me I was one every since I was a kid.
Have you seen "help around the house" with Henry Harrison on HGTV? Great show, he is down to earth with his episodes. This guy can do it all, Remodeling, Electrical, Plumbing you name it. I'm a DIY out of necessity. When I'm not working on my own house I get to work on my daughters fixer upper. I'm so busy I hardly have time to work full time and commute 21/2-3 hrs a day. I was ripped off by a contractor on my first house, took the money and ran. This began my DIY education.
Some off these shows are very good, like the saying go's your never to old to learn.
I agree w/ some contractors it's more a matter of doing things fast then doing things right. I know many contractors hate the idea of home owners looking over their shoulders. I understand that. But, I still do it. Two reasons: 1) I want to know how things are put together and learn how to do it better (such as taping sheetrock takes me forever, I'd love to see how a pro does it). 2) I've seen too many instances where the biggest benifit derived from contractors experience seems to be how to take shortcuts, often at the sake of quality.
That said, I've done some projects that could have definately benifited from professional help. But, I learned alot. Redid if necessary.
The biggest problem is I have no idea who to hire in this area. I'm sure there are many really good contractors. Now if it were plumbing, I have a good friend who owns a plumbing and heating buisiness.
so ask your plumber buddy. If he plumbs....more than likely he plumbs in houses that are under construction at one time or another.
JeffBuck Construction Pittsburgh,PA
Fine Carpentery.....While U Waite
I tried to find Boss's thead along the same lines as this one, but I was Prospero'd, and I'll just post my thoughts here.
I was watching Norm the other day and my daughter cracks up. I go "What's up?", and she says, "I don't even watch the shows anymore, I just watch your face."
Sue me, Norm was running a lathe with "the" tool belt on.
I have also been known to call the girl into the room anytime Bob Villa does plastering, priceless.
Between Norm Villa and you, I'm RTOTFLMAO!
"I was Prospero'd,"
This deserves to be counted as one of the great sayings of Breaktime. Soon we'll all be saying, "I was "'speroed"
I almost think it deserves a thread of it's own....
Excellence is its own reward!
It is about time you smiled, I was wondering what it would take.
Just in case you need another jolt, anytime Princess catches me turning one of these shows on she goes "Daddy, NO!!!"
But I can't help it...
My Princess has a whole list of things that make her say somberly, "Dad, Don't...!".
Excellence is its own reward!
Oh Yeah, LOL!.
Excellence is its own reward!
My 11 year old banned from H&G ?Born free (my father's a doctor).
You're right. I guess I mistated. If I were to hire a contractor I most definately would ask my friend. Will probably do that in a couple years when I change my roofline. I'd rather a pro framed in the new stuff.
My real problem isn't that I don't know who to hire. It's that I'm too dumb to know when to hire someone so I do it all myself. I think I have a masochist streak.
As far as home shows, I still laugh at one I saw years ago. They'd framed a new wall in in the wrong place. So they took the occasion to show how to 'properlly' dismantle the wall.
The guy pulls out a sawsall, right tool anyway; and cuts right through the center of the studs and tosses them into the scrap pile. Then takes new studs and rebuilds the wall from scratch so he can move in 8". Funny stuff.
Edited 1/16/2003 11:36:31 AM ET by BILLYG83440
A few weeks ago on one of these shows they were showing how to tile a bathroom they went through it step by step. part of it was how to measure for the toilet flange the wall had a 2" jog in it. He take the board out side to cut it does a nice job. Any how, when the smart one the boss shows up you can see the 2" quarter moon patch in the backer board he had forgotten the jog in the wall when he measured to cut the flange hole. At the end of the show they usually go short reel of bloopers.
Im still waiting for Jo Jo to give me a peak flash.....or a hot tub scene hehehe
At Darkworks Customer satisfaction Job One..Yea yea were all over it , I got my best guys on it.........
I agree most of do it yourself TV shows are advertising for the manufactures. The one thing about ( TOH ) is when they find the problems and explain they have to dealt with and fixed and not just covered up. Also that to solve a problem most of the time they need to get the architect or engineer to figure out how to fix the problem. If it is something that the professional carpenter canâ€™t do on his own a home owner canâ€™t either. I like that about that show. Its kind of wake up tap on the shoulder for the home owner not every thing is going to be easy as they think. I think ( TOH ) discourages people from doing a lot of remodel them selves. Think about it every time ( TOH ) starts a project they end up with a surprise and having to tear half of the house apart to fix some unseen problem. HAVING SAID THAT, (TOH) does make it look a little to easy some times. I do wish ( TOH ) would explain how much time and materials it will cost to fix the problem. That would be even more or a wake up call. Thinking about it I can maybe see why they donâ€™t say how much some thing will cost. Lets say in Boston the labor rate is $50.00 per hour and in Texas $15.00 per hour.
More like 80 and 35 isn't it?
I keep hearing lately about cheep labor rates in Texas. Are thry really that bad? I's hard to believe. I was making ten an hour as a roofing employee in Lubbock back in '76. Thgat means the company had to charge at least 18 for my time. Can wages have gone backwards in twenty five years?.
Excellence is its own reward!
Hi Frankie: I don't blame anyone for trying to improve their home without US..the guys who know how to do MOST projects.
Look at the jobless rate in the country...Put that aside and consider the amount of guys who cannot tell a socket wrench from a table saw. I do jobs for people who don't even own a screw driver. There are a lot guys and gals who just WANT IT FIXED !!! Yes...I think the TV shows do a great job to help the home owner who is "challenged" to save a buck... Their is STILL a lot of business out there for the rest of us. Walt