Tag and I moved into our new house last December. Six months later we are about 100 square feet away from finishing the installation of about 1,400 square feet of bamboo floors.
That’s right; it has taken us over six months to install the floors in our house (and it’s still not done).
It also saved us about $3,000.
According to a calculator I found at Home Wyse it would have cost me about $3,000 to have someone install 1,400 square feet of bamboo flooring. I never got a quote from an installer so I don’t know if that’s correct, but I assume it’s about right.
Now that I’m basically done, I’m ready to walk through the positives and negatives and see if we made a good decision.
The Positives of Installing Our Own Floors
The biggest positive is obviously the money. We are saving for a wedding and I literally don’t have $3,000 to pay someone else to do it. No matter how bad I may have wanted to pay someone, I simply couldn’t.
- I found a GREAT deal on the floors and only paid about $1.83 per square foot, including taxes and delivery. The cheapest click-lock bamboo flooring at Lumber Liquidators is $3.79 per square foot not including taxes. If I go to sell my house I will say “new bamboo floors”. I won’t say “new bamboo floors that cost $1.83/sqft.” The future buyer is free to assume I paid $3-5 a square foot.
- Obviously I saved about $3,000 on installation, while I only paid about $3,500 for everything (including underlayment, transition pieces, etc.). That means I only paid 54% of what someone else would have paid with professional installation. I couldn’t find numbers specific to flooring, but these days you can expect to get 60% back from what you put in your house according to the Remodeling Cost vs. Value report. I’m guessing it will be more, but even at 60% I’m getting a 6% ROI.
- I feel more like a man because I know how to install floors. Seriously. It’s a pretty cool feeling.
- If I need repairs in the future I can do them myself. I didn’t just save money on the install; I saved money on any work that ever needs to be done on these floors.
The Negatives of Installing Our Own Hardwood Floors
Overall I’m really happy with how it turned out, but there obviously would have been a few positives to paying the $3k in installation costs. Here are the two biggest issues with being DIYers.
- It’s taking FOREVER! If I had paid someone to do it they would have had it done in a few days. We would have been enjoying new floors for six months. Instead, we still have half a master bedroom waiting on one more free weekend to get it done. There is a price to pay for convenience and sometimes it’s worth it. It wasn’t for me in this case, but it sure would have been nice.
- All the time spent working on floors could have been time spent making money elsewhere. I saved $3,000 but I might have made $5,000 if I spent all that time working on a side hustle idea. In reality I probably would have used that time to watch TV or surf the web, and even if I did try to make extra money there’s no guarantee I would have been successful. At the very least I could have written a few more posts for you guys. Sorry.
I’ll Only Do It Again Under One Condition
Overall I’m very happy to have done this myself because it saved us money and I learned something. However, it’s tedious work and I have very little desire to EVER do it again.
If I move into a new house and I need to put down floors then I will have one essential requirement for me to consider doing it myself: the boards had better be wide. Like REALLY wide.
The boards we used are 3.5 inches wide, which is about the average width you’ve probably seen in other houses. It takes 35 rows of boards to fill a room 10 feet wide with our bamboo flooring.
Imagine if we had bought 5 inch wide planks. That same 10 foot wide room only needs 24 rows of flooring. It would have reduced installation time considerably, and faster is better.
Readers: What’s the biggest home improvement project you’ve ever done?