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    margog85's Avatar
    margog85 Posts: 241, Reputation: 19
    Full Member

    Jul 21, 2008, 04:58 PM
    General price range
    I am looking to have a few things done, and have contacted several people for estimates. The majority of appts I have made with people have either been completely missed (no call, no show) or rescheduled (after 1 reschedule, I do not reschedule again).

    I had a guy come out to give me an estimate on Thursday evening. He was 1/2 hr late w/no call, but I was happy that this one at least showed up. He told me he would have an estimate to me via e-mail by Friday night, and it is now Monday night and I have not received an estimate.

    Is this typical? Or is he unreliable? I just don't want to get started working on something with someone who is not going to follow through or do as they say, but it seems to be the norm that I have to hound people just to get them to look at the job and give me a price--- and it makes me very nervous about having anyone actually START work.

    Am I being too uptight, or is this kind of run-around normal?

    Anyway, what I am looking to have done is have paneling and drop ceilings removed from 3 rooms (living room 12x15, dining room 14x15, and an L-shaped kitchen that is probably about 150-200 sq ft)- I'm not sure what's behind the paneling- I'm pretty sure it's plaster, possibly with wall paper over it- not sure of the condition, and won't be until the paneling is removed. It's definitely not beams, at least in the living room and dining room. Not sure about the kitchen, it may be just beams behind there. I know for sure that there is a ceiling above the drop ceiling in the dining room (but it has decent sized holes in it from hanging the drop ceiling from the beams), and there is only beams in the kitchen and living room above the drop ceiling. If it is plaster, how much would the repair of it cost per sq foot? And if it is irreparable, how much would it cost to remove the plaster and hang drywall? Is plaster removal something that someone could do w/o any experience, or is it very difficult?

    When doing the drywall in the kitchen, I also want to put in 6 can lights, a new fan to replace the one that is currently there- We have a pantry closet build entirely of paneling that we want taken out and replaced with cabinets. (It is about 8 ft long, and 1 1/2 to 2 ft deep, goes all the way from the floor up into the drop ceiling)- We will be purchasing the cabinets, but would like them to be assembled and installed for us (about 11.5' of base cabinets, 2 18"x30", 2 36" X 12", and one 18" pantry- we will need about 15' of countertop)- and a dishwasher installed next to the sink, and a microwave mounted over the stove.

    I would also like a ceramic floor installed in the kitchen, laminate flooring laid down in the dining room, and carpeting installed in the living room.

    Any idea of the cost I'm looking at for all of that? Like I said, we would purchase the tile, the countertop, the carpeting, the cabinets, the fan... but how much for labor and actual materials to put it all together? And how much would that figure change if we ripped out the drop ceilings/paneling/counters, etc. ourselves?

    The guy who we're waiting to hear back from said he charges $25/hr and he works w/one other guy who also charges the same- so that'd be $50/hr- I didn't think to ask at the time, but would that typically be a labor-only charge, or would that include any supplies he would need to do the work?

    Very confused, very anxious for some idea of what we're looking at expense wise- any input would be appreciated.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,378, Reputation: 2280
    Home Repair & Remodeling Expert

    Jul 22, 2008, 08:02 AM
    At $25 per hour you'd be getting a experienced handyman and not necessarily a pro. With the variety of work you want done that's probably what you need. Be prepared for some disappointments because there are few handymen who can do everything perfectly. For example, I am best at bath and kitchen tile and plumbing. I can do many other types of work but just not perfectly.
    rtw_travel's Avatar
    rtw_travel Posts: 347, Reputation: 36
    Full Member

    Jul 22, 2008, 08:25 AM
    Hi - you have a bunch of different questions. I'll take the first crack at answering some of them. (edit: or not... I see Bob beat me to it again!)

    1) no-shows are relatively common. Keep trying. Ask friends and neighbours for recommendations of workers. If you find someone you like, then ask them for their recommendations for more sub-trades. On one of our jobs, we started with a carpenter, and ended up using him to get a plumber. The plumber gave us a roofer... and so on. We liked it because it was a nice group of workers. They liked it because they were working with friends.
    2) You're actually describing a lot of work. You are basically gutting and rebuilding 3 major rooms in your house. Unless you are ready for the stress of no-shows, and dealing with individual workers, you may wish to get a few quotes from general contractors. Hourly is a good way to go, but only if you can find good workers.
    3) The hourly wage includes the worker and their standard tools, but no materials of any kind, and no specialized tools. Labourers typically just show up with nothing. We also pay a half an hour for lunch. $25/hr is relatively cheap for a carpenter (in our area anyway). I'd be nervous about hiring just one person to do the whole job because there are a variety of skills required.

    * Labourers can demolish and take away everything you've described in probably a couple of days. If you are going to do the ceiling, I'd do the walls too.
    * you'll need an electrician and plumber for the odd bits of work you've described
    * Drywalling is a bit of an art, and if it were me, I would hire someone who only does drywall to do it.
    *same with tiling. You can easily see the difference between a pro, and a handyman's effort.
    * kitchens can be tricky. Although we employ a bunch of very good carpenters in our renovations, I still pay for the kitchen company to install their own cabinets. Then there are no excuses if it is not perfect.

    All in all, I think it'll take a month to do all this if you keep things moving along fairly smoothly. That's a month of living in a mess, and you likely won't have a kitchen for most of it.

    4) Cost are really hard to estimate from your description. As a planning estimate, say $15,000 excluding cabinets/ countertops/ appliances?

    5) one last point - this is a renovation where it may be difficult to draw the line. i.e. if the celings are down, then you might as well remove the plaster on the walls. If the walls are open, then you might as well re-wire and re-plumb if it is older stuff like knob & tube wiring or galvanized pipe. If you're doing that on three major rooms, then maybe you'll consider doing a bit more. Then you'll wonder if it is worth spending that much money on an older house. Before you know it, you're tearing down the house and building the Taj Mahal. :-)

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