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Hey all,


Just thought I'd pass along an experience of mine so that it may help others out there. I'll try and keep this short, though it doesn't do it justice. I am a novice builder, I have built a deck and a loft and really enjoyed doing both.


I bought a house about 2 months after discovering the wonderful world of home theater and this forum. I was determined that i could finish my basement myself with a little time and effort.


I spent the first month putting up all the stud walls. I spent the next week taking it all down. I spent the next month putting up stud walls, again.


Then i started the drywall. If I had ever drywalled before there are alot of things I would have done with my stud walls, but I'm not taking them down again.


I drywalled about 80% and after looking at it and talking with friends, I decided that hiring a professional to mud it and sand it may salvage my work.


A guy came over the other night and quoted me $600 to tape, mud and sand my basement. Then, out of curiosity i asked him what he would have charged to hang the drywall and finish the whole basement. He said $1,000, materials included.


The last couple of days I have spent taking down all my drywall. He will have it all done in the next 3 days.


$1,000 is alot of money to me, But well worth my theater looking sharp.


I don't post this to solicit any comments about how crappy of a job I must have done or hear about the thousands that finished their basements and it turned out fabulous. Only as a notice to those that may be rushing into things, bull-headed and over confident as I was.


Jeff
 

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Good for you to looking at the situation cold and hard and deciding to do it right. You'll be glad you did when it's finished.


Stick in there!
 

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When we decided on building our house, I inquired into what it would cost for the framers to frame the perimeter walls of my entire basement. They did it for $1000. A few advantages:


1. Was able to include that in cost of mortgage.

2. Save me time when I go to finish basement.

3. I know that I could do a good job of framing straight and plumb, but I don't have to worry about that as much.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by nettleman


I don't post this to solicit any comments about how crappy of a job I must have done or hear about the thousands that finished their basements and it turned out fabulous. Only as a notice to those that may be rushing into things, bull-headed and over confident as I was.


Jeff
Bravo, Jeff!


Sometimes we think we can do something, try to do it ourselves, then realize (too late) that for the amount of money we spent re-fixing everything, it would have been cheaper to hire someone to begin with!


I know - been there, wish I'd done that with some of my projects!


You make a great point - if you aren't somewhat experienced in some of these things, get a pro's quote before you take the plunge - it may save you not only time, but also money and sometimes a marriage!:D


pam
 

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hey at least you realized it early on, and it wasnt a part of the house you needed to use everyday!! ;) :) I realized that after spending a month trying to redo my kitchen! man what a mess I made of that job! :( I had done all kinds of small projects, but bit off more than I could chew, got frustrated, rushed it and it showed. I did spend lots of time watching them fix it, and I am ready for the next project though! :D
 

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Out of curiosity, how many square feet is your basement? I'm trying to figure your rough square footage cost.


Thanks for the info!
 

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Just curious? What was wrong with your drywall installation. I agree mud and taping is best left for the experienced but mud and tape also covers up many snafoos as well.


I have seen quite a few "professional" commercial drywall jobs where the base drywall is patched with what ever scraps they have left. The seem bound and determined not to waste any scraps. In the end it always looks perfect after mud and sanding.


I always thought splices mean future cracks. A got quite upset when a contractor in my house was doing that. For pet'es sake, another sheet is $4.00 at Home Depot!
 

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Glim, that's because we measure by sheet count and they measure by square feet. I will use a whole sheet over piece-work 99% of the time, even though I mud'n'tape (aka 'finishing') very well (I've been told by a pro).


When I hire someone, as long as it's done properly, I don't tell him or her how to do their job. I do, however, make it known what my final expectations are before the job begins (i.e., before the contract is signed).
 

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I paid a friend to bring in a crew to double layer my room and then he taped, bedded, light textured, sprayed 3 coats of heavy build primer and 2 coats of flat dark blue paint. The whole thing was done in 2 weeks. He did the primer and the paint for cost of supplies, and I paid his discounted price.
 

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On this point I must disagree. We've been having a drywall crew do the drywalling for the theater the past week... and man oh man.. I wish I had just done it myself.


First off.. none of them speak any english... so trying to communicate to them that they need to put another layer of drywall in one corner to get the soffit down to the level of the sprinkler head... it just ain't getting through. I'm so tired of this smile and nod yeah I understand routine... argh. I need to take a spanish class.


Secondly, there is now drywall dust throughout the house.. mud tracked through the carpet.. (despite the fact that remnants are covering all the areas you should be walking through... ) several of the ends of my speaker wires have been broken off.. okay that one's my bad.. I should have protected them better... but sheesh.. I'm very disapointed by the lack of respect for our place.... as our contractor says the drywallers are the roofers who fell off the roof too many times...


Drywalling is not that difficult nor expensive.. mud is really cheap.. and heck, enough coats of mud and you can cover up most anything.. :) Texture on the other hand.. I'd leave that to someone with the right equipment....


- Ben.
 

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In my neck of the woods a lot of the work crews are assembled in the parking lot of a nearby 7-eleven. Every morning about 100 men show up hoping for a days work. The contractors come by with their trucks and get a crew. They all hope that the contractor will actually pay them the $10/hr that is promised. Often they get stiffed. If they do get paid they are happy because they just made more in one day then they could in a month back home.


I like doing the work myself, I always learn something new and when I'm done, I can say I did it rather than "look at what I bought".


I had two drywall companies come by for a bid, neither of them had heard of the resilient channel, Hat channel yes but not the RC. I even had a print out with a picture to show them but they were clueless. Now, do you actually think that if the boss didn't have a clue, that the work crew would know that you only screw the rock to the channel and not through to the studs?


This is what I get I guess for living in a non-union region.
 

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Quote:
This is what I get I guess for living in a non-union region.
No, this is what you get for not knowing who to hire.


Brian
 

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I have to agree with usabrian. Hire the right people when you come to the conclusion that Jeff did.


I interviewed two general contractors before finishing my basement. I decided to go with neither, since I couldn't see them doing the job I wanted for the price I wanted. I then had to hire the subs for the jobs I didn't want to do myself (or couldn't do).


In many cases, I feel I lucked out. Well, maybe not. I first relied on recommendations by people who had used these professionals. This isn't fool-proof, but it worked out very well for my electrician. I also paid a lot of attention to how careful the "lead" person on the initial contact was. Did they call me back promptly? Did they show up when they said they would? Again, these don't guarantee anything, but if they fail this test, I won't be comfortable. I refused to hire anyone who came in with a bid that was so low that I suspected they would cut corners. On my drywall contractor, I hired a crew (company) that does commercial work. I was happy to learn that they could NOT do my job during the week (or during the weekday), since they were busy on commercial work. This indicated to me that, especially in this economy, these people were employed at their trade and in high enough demand that they might be worth it. The guy bidding on the job was thorough (taking over an hour to go through my basement, taking measurements and notes). He called back when he said he would and kept very good communication. Yes, all the workers spoke spanish, though the foreman/crew chief spoke adequate english and spanish (I'll take a hard-working spanish crew over the alternative any day). The job was not perfect (which is too high a standard here), but it was quite good and better than the rest of my house, which was built by an above-average, well-respected builder.


You also have to accomodate these professionals. Consider the typical job sites that they work on: roughed in, bare floors, etc. Sub-contractors are used to dealing with professional general contractors and construction sites. The GC's take care of quite a bit to accomodate the subs. A good remodeling contractor would be sure that the subs didn't track mud all over the house and would take measures to prevent dust from escaping from the work area (and it is dusty, no matter who does it). This is not necessarily the sub-contractors responsibility.


Sorry this is so long. My point is to applaud Jeff. I had intended to do the drywall myself. Like Jeff, I realized that some things are better left to the pros. But, you must work with the sub-contractors rather than view them as simply working for you. To get the job you want, they need the environment in which they can do their job well. If you expect them to be careful of tracking mud around, then you are expecting too much. Think ahead and prepare the site for them -- letting them focus on their job. If the framing is done properly, the drywallers shouldn't have to add extra pieces to cover up things (though the professionals will do a good enough job that covers many sins we don't want seen). Take some time in hiring the right people when you decide to hire.


I'll add a final thought. Many of us here decided the opposite of Jeff on some things. We chose the DIY route because of knowing that a "pro" might not care as much as we do about the end result. To me, this is the key trade-off: their skill and experience vs. our willingness to take our time and do it to our own standards. I can't say which way this will go for each job. I did a lot on my own, but the tradeoff tilted to the pros for enough. I don't regret a penny that I paid to the people I hired.
 

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When hireing sub-contractors, you are by definition the GC (general contractor), and everything becomes your responsibility. Scheduling and timing issues, materials delivery (often), coordination between inter-connected work (like insulation/ducting/drywall), etc.


I rewired a kitchen remodel for a client who said,"Hey, that's why I hired contractors; so I wouldn't be responsible" when the countertop receptacles had to be moved up. It turned out that the backsplash was higher than the original, and the cabinet-man and I had never met nor been introduced.


He demanded that I raise the boxes (and consequently, I had to replace wire coming from below) at no charge. The homeowner finally understood the point, that, because he didn't hire a GC in order to save money, HE became the GC, and shouldered the responsibilities required to coordinate the work.


His wife understood, and said that I was right, and told him to pay us. He acquiesced, and wrote a check on the spot. I believe he was more embarassed than anything else. They have had us do more work, so everything ended well after all. It's a matter of mutual respect.
 

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I did everything in my basement except I subbed out the drywall. I made a bunch of calls, checked references, and found someone I could trust who asked a fair price. His team did a great job and it was done months before I could have finished it. I get a lot of pleasure out of doing it myself, but there are some things that are better to hire out (like carrying 200 sheets of drywall into the basement)


--Burke
 
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