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Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 06:52 AM   #1
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Fair price from contractor?

I know we have a lot of experienced home improvement people here so I thought I would give this a try.

We have a 13 X 19 family room in our new home that was covered in horrible wood paneling. I ripped it down and put up new drywall.

Now, my friend who is a carpenter has a sick wife and isn't going to be able to help me finish the room in the near future. My wife isn't keen on the look of untaped drywall in her living room.

Anyway, I have found a carpenter who will tape, mud, sand, and prime the room for $600. Does this seem like a a fair price?


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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 07:06 AM   #2
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

If you can get anyone to do *anything* in your house for less than a thousand dollars, it is a deal. But then, I am in an expensive cost of living area.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 07:27 AM   #3
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Yeah, I'm in a very high cost of living area too.

The only reason I question it is because I've done half the job already

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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:04 AM   #4
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

It think the price is probably reasonable considering he will have to make two or three trips to complete the job.

Small jobs seems to always cost more than you would think they should. I painted 80% of the soffits and trim on my house but since I'm not very good at working on a fully extended ladder, I hired a guy to finish painting the four roof peaks (required a 32' ladder). The best deal I could get to clean, caulk, paint and repair a couple of rotten boards was $650. And that's in a 'low' cost of living area. :P

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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:09 AM   #5
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

that's a great price ... sanding spackle is a painful, messy, pain in the @ss (without a vacuum sander).
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:20 AM   #6
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
Anyway, I have found a carpenter who will tape, mud, sand, and prime the room for $600. Does this seem like a a fair price?

Drywall work is ususally done by a drywall specialist, not a carpenter, so I assume your guy is more of a handyman-generalist doing carpentry, drywall, painting, etc. Therefore, I'd make sure he has the right equipement, such as a vacuum sander, to keep the mess to a minimum.

Assuming he can do good drywall work, the price sounds fine. You'd probably have to receive a number of quotes to get one marginally lower and, of course, you'd have to check out the quoters.......a lot of hassle.

You might ask him how much you could save by priming yourself. Since it sounds like you are going to do the painting anyway, that's just one more coat you're doing yourself.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:38 AM   #7
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Seems reasonable. At $40/hr for skilled labor, that is 15 man-hours of labor. Not bad since he'll be making 2-3 trips. Does that $600 include the price for the install of the base moulding, crown moulding, and chair moulding (if applicable)? You might be able to get that thrown in for a little more and have it primed at the same time (if you're planning on installing it anyway).

All the houses in my 1960's-1970's neighborhood have that wood paneling. Most just painted over it with tons of primer and paint. It looks nice with the vertical grooves - barely noticeable. Too late for that though in your case.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:40 AM   #8
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Youbet

You're right, he's not a drywall specialist, just a generalist handyman. That being said he gutted my sister's basement, put up new stud walls, rocked it, taped, mudded, sanded and painted for $5K and did a VERY GOOD job which is the only reason I will use him. He does have the vaccum sander otherwise I wouldn't let him do it.

When I lived in my condo we had a handyman rip out some tile flooring. He sanded the concrete floor without the vaccum and when we moved 4 years later we still were finding layers of dust on things. What a mess.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:42 AM   #9
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

DH was a drywaller for years, his son still is, that's a very good price.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:49 AM   #10
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Seems reasonable. At $40/hr for skilled labor, that is 15 man-hours of labor. Not bad since he'll be making 2-3 trips. Does that $600 include the price for the install of the base moulding, crown moulding, and chair moulding (if applicable)? You might be able to get that thrown in for a little more and have it primed at the same time (if you're planning on installing it anyway).

All the houses in my 1960's-1970's neighborhood have that wood paneling. Most just painted over it with tons of primer and paint. It looks nice with the vertical grooves - barely noticeable. Too late for that though in your case.
Nope, no trim. My friend who helped me put up the walls is a union journeyman finish carpenter so I will let him do it.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:51 AM   #11
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
Nope, no trim. My friend who helped me put up the walls is a union journeyman finish carpenter so I will let him do it.
That'll work! My FIL is a carpenter, and he can knock out that trimwork in the time it takes me to get out my saw and tape measure. And my trimwork would undoubtedly look like crap with gaps everywhere.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 09:03 AM   #12
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
That'll work! My FIL is a carpenter, and he can knock out that trimwork in the time it takes me to get out my saw and tape measure. And my trimwork would undoubtedly look like crap with gaps everywhere.


I had two bathrooms that needed new baseboard molding and quarter round. The guy came and measured everything, and pulled the old stuff out with a prybar. He came back two days later with the stuff stained to match, nailed it in, and it cost me $150. To me, that was cheap.............even though the bathrooms were small............
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:39 PM   #13
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
Yeah, I'm in a very high cost of living area too.
The only reason I question it is because I've done half the job already
A few more days with that job and you'll be willing to pay a lot more than $600!

Taping drywall is easy. But making it look good?-- Priceless.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:49 PM   #14
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

I'd say that is a good price if the plan is to texture the walls and likewise the ceiling.
As mentioned before, priming is childs play if you can save some bucks by doing it yourself.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-10-2007, 10:54 PM   #15
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Saluki,
Yep, it is a good price. Also, since the panelling you took out is a different thickness than the drywall he'll be puting in, be sure the cost incuded making the electrical boxes/switch boxes flush with the new wall surface (if you are lucky, it will just require the addition of mud rings/extenders. If not, he'll have to move the boxes out a little). Likewise with any wall registers for heat/cooling. Also, if you want to add outlets or switches, this would be a very good time to do that. Ditto with running any new feeds for cat 5 cable, cable for TV, telephones, etc. It is a little easier before the drywall goes up. Finally, do you need to acoustically isolate the room from other nearby rooms? Puting insulation in the wall will help a little, but you can add special strips to the front of the studs to de-couple the drywall from them, this is fairly effective in reducing sound transmission, though using them with staggered studs is better yet.

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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-11-2007, 04:33 AM   #16
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

How many hours would it take you to complete it? Divide the 600/time. Do you want to pay yourself to do it?

The only reasonable cross-check is to get another estimate.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-11-2007, 06:18 AM   #17
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

good deal...sanding sucks
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-11-2007, 08:01 AM   #18
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Quote:

be sure the cost incuded making the electrical boxes/switch boxes flush with the new wall surface
Or just get a box of longer outlet plate screws.
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-11-2007, 08:26 AM   #19
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

Quote:
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Or just get a box of longer outlet plate screws.
These work great::
http://www.improvementscatalog.com/p...by=&asc=&page=
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Re: Fair price from contractor?
Old 04-11-2007, 08:36 AM   #20
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Re: Fair price from contractor?

JPatrick,
Thanks! Those spacers are a cool product/idea. Of course, to move a double wall outlet out 3/8ths of an inch will require 16 spacers = $2.28 cents worth of them, so I'm looking for a cheaper alternative.

Get a few of those gaskets to go behind the plates as well to stop air infiltration--a lot of heated/cooled air escapes from a home through the outlets.

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