Welcome! We're glad to have you here and hope you find information to help you decide if you should do a project yourself or hire a contractor. You'll find the cost figures for over 350 improvement projects and you can adjust the cost for where you live. For each projects we suggest a skill level, how much time is required and tool and material lists.
Here's the back story. We've been working on houses and writing magazine articles and books about home improvements for the past 30 years. Our column Do It Yourself or Not has been in newspaper syndication since 1987 and was the foundation for HouseNet, the first home improvement Web Site. Using the column as content we went online and created HouseNet BBS, a subscription-based bulletin board system in 1991 which we operated out of an extra bedroom using a maze of modems running into our home. A BBS, a forerunner to the Internet, was a network of computers and modems using telephone lines that connected thousands of special interest BBS communities all over the world.
With the help of Owens Corning as a sponsor we were able to launch HouseNet on the Internet in 1993 as the only online community serving as a clearinghouse for homeowners and contractors, who freely gave of their time and expertise to answer questions. Soon after we moved the site to an office in Annapolis, Maryland where we could get a high speed connection and hired staff to expand the content and operation.
By 1996 we were part of AOL's Greenhouse Program and launched HouseNet on AOL as their home improvement channel.A year later HouseNet was acquired by R. R. Donnelley & Sons and in 1998 Yahoo! Internet Life magazine rated HouseNet as one of the top 100 Web sites. Today we continue to write our column Do It Yourself or Not which has been running continuously online and in print since its beginning.
About the Project Cost DatabaseOur goal is to give you guidelines and information to help you make the right decision about home improvement projects. The DIY Cost of projects is based on national average cost data from major retailers and e-commerce web sites with home improvement products. For the DIY Time we use our in-the-trenches experience of having remodeled 13 houses and input from homeowners who share their time and experience with us. The Pro Cost and man-hours to complete a project are determined by averaging cost and data information in several construction books that are updated annually and used by contractors to prepare job bids. We generate a regional cost for different geographic areas based on zip codes.
We hope you'll use Do It Yourself of Not as a resource to help you become better informed homeowners and better able to decide when to do it yourself and when to hire a professional.Katie and Gene Hamilton