Author Topic: One person: DIY projects still possible?  (Read 7717 times)

reader2580

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One person: DIY projects still possible?
« on: November 22, 2015, 02:59:45 PM »
I live by myself and it makes it hard to do major DIY projects.  How do others deal with this without imposing on others?  I get help at times from my father or my brothers, but they can't be helping on a regular basis.  My father and brothers rarely ask for help in return as my mother helps my father and my brothers have wives and kids to help.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 03:26:16 PM by reader2580 »

BudgetSlasher

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2015, 05:40:21 PM »
There are plenty of major DIY projects that can be done by yourself; I recently re-did a bathroom by myself, my father-in-law building his entire set of kitchen cabinets from scratch by himself, a buddy planed, routed the tongue and grove, installed, and waxed his own floors.

Not having a helper makes things harder or take longer. Truth be told it adds a bit of swearing as well.

Sometime you have to get creative, recently I installed a beam and lolly polls to sure up a springy floor. The beam is 24 feet long and a sandwich 3 2x12's wide with a joint and support poll in the middle. It was installed by running a 2x6 header perpendicular to the floor joist, then attaching a rope sling to the header, then 2x12s where slid into the sling where they were screwed to the header from above (down through the header, essentially hanging from the joists), once all the 2x12s where in place they were timber-locked together, and only then were the polls placed.

Spork

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2015, 06:05:59 PM »
Pretty sure every single project I've done was done by myself.

max924

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2015, 06:11:01 PM »
I guess it depends on what you are calling 'major' diy projects. If you are building a barn or something than yeah, having the extra hands around to help will make it alot easier. But I would say that almost all jobs are possible on your own. It will certainly make the work go faster with help, but there are a quite a few benefits of working alone as well. Depending on the project, I suggest tackling whatever project you have on your own and see how it goes, as mentioned previously it forces you to think more outside the box.

 I generally prefer working alone, but I want to stress the fact that whenever there is a question of your own safety while performing the task at hand, that is the time you truly need another person.

cjottawa

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2015, 06:19:33 PM »
Hell. Yes.

I've done no less than:

- demolished the ceramic tile in the kitchen, re-leveled sub-floor, installed vinyl plank
- installed a ceiling fan in the bedroom (tough to balance for this one but doable with the right tools)
- installed new faucets
- replaced all light fixtures

Come to think of it, while I had help on a couple of other projects, even those could have been done with one person, they'd just have taken more time.

YouTube is your friend, as is a well-thought out toolbox.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 06:21:21 PM by cjottawa »

Rural

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2015, 06:22:42 PM »
Most of the building of our house was done by one man at at time,  since my husband and father had different schedules. They coordinated things like getting roof trusses lifted in place and raising walls, but the vast majority was one-man work.

reader2580

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2015, 08:07:53 PM »
I'm thinking about things like hanging drywall and other stuff that really needs two people.  I've done some really stupid things when working alone like tearing up the drywall along my stairs by trying to move something heavy down the stairs by myself.  I have also injured myself numerous times doing things that really should have have had a helper.  I am lucky I haven't seriously injured myself.  There are many things take way longer by yourself.  Sometimes by up to a factor of five times longer.

There are times I have hired out jobs simply because I didn't have someone to help me.

Greg

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2015, 10:38:26 PM »
For drywall, use a panel lift, they are available at rental places.  I built my garage and then my house by myself, subbing out certain things like insulation which I hate.  Foundation, framing, roofing, etc. I did myself.

There are books about it:
http://www.amazon.com/Working-Alone-Tips-Techniques-Building/dp/1561585459

lthenderson

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2015, 07:51:24 AM »
I'm thinking about things like hanging drywall and other stuff that really needs two people.  I've done some really stupid things when working alone like tearing up the drywall along my stairs by trying to move something heavy down the stairs by myself.  I have also injured myself numerous times doing things that really should have have had a helper.  I am lucky I haven't seriously injured myself.  There are many things take way longer by yourself.  Sometimes by up to a factor of five times longer.

There are times I have hired out jobs simply because I didn't have someone to help me.

I hang drywall by myself all the time. When doing walls, I put the bottom piece of drywall on first by sitting it on a few shims so that it isn't in direct contact with the floor. For the uppermost piece, after it is cut to size, I rest it down on the floor and mark the stud locations on it. I then start a couple screws in the middle of the panel on the marked stud areas. I then lift the drywall panel up and sit it on the bottom piece of drywall panel and push it against the studs with one hand while I work the driver drill with the other. Once you get a screw or two in, you have both hands to do the rest. For ceilings, like someone else mentioned, a drywall lift can be rented for one man operation.

For moving heavy objects, consider renting a furniture dolly. You can strap the furniture to it and it has track like rollers on the backside which makes going up or down stairs a breeze and easy to control.

I have seen entire houses built by a single person. The key is to figure out how you can make a task easier. Most of the time it takes more time and some extra costs for more materials to build jigs, stops, pulley's, etc, to help you out but it can almost always be done by one person.

nereo

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2015, 09:11:46 AM »
I live by myself and it makes it hard to do major DIY projects.  How do others deal with this without imposing on others?
Almost every project I do is largely done solo... with occasional help lifting the final piece in place. 
Tools/tricks that are indespensable to me while working alone:
1) clamps. 
2) make a jig.
3) use stop blocks. 
4) an LED headlamp. 
5) rent equipment when necessary (especially scaffolding, dry-wall hoists, etc). 

Spork

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2015, 09:58:45 AM »
I'm thinking about things like hanging drywall and other stuff that really needs two people.  I've done some really stupid things when working alone like tearing up the drywall along my stairs by trying to move something heavy down the stairs by myself.  I have also injured myself numerous times doing things that really should have have had a helper.  I am lucky I haven't seriously injured myself.  There are many things take way longer by yourself.  Sometimes by up to a factor of five times longer.

There are times I have hired out jobs simply because I didn't have someone to help me.

I have always hung drywall by myself.  Slow?  yes.

For walls, you just muscle it in place.  You can have a small lever (I use a prybar sitting on scrap wood) and step on it to lift it in place.

For ceilings, make a dead man.  Make 2 "T" shaped sticks out of 2x4s that are a little longer than ceiling height.  You can muscle it up on top of the T and lock it into place. 

I would hate to hang a whole house this way, but I've done several whole rooms.  You can also rent a lift as suggested... but I've never done that.

reader2580

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2015, 09:05:43 AM »
Hell. Yes.

I've done no less than:

- demolished the ceramic tile in the kitchen, re-leveled sub-floor, installed vinyl plank
- installed a ceiling fan in the bedroom (tough to balance for this one but doable with the right tools)
- installed new faucets
- replaced all light fixtures

Most of the things you listed are easily done by one person.  I'm think more about installing stuff like drywall, new windows, kitchen cabinets and that sort of thing.  I installed some my kitchen wall cabinets by myself by screwing a support to the wall.  It was a lot easier when I had help to do the rest of the cabinets.

Papa bear

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2015, 09:19:38 AM »

Hell. Yes.

I've done no less than:

- demolished the ceramic tile in the kitchen, re-leveled sub-floor, installed vinyl plank
- installed a ceiling fan in the bedroom (tough to balance for this one but doable with the right tools)
- installed new faucets
- replaced all light fixtures

Most of the things you listed are easily done by one person.  I'm think more about installing stuff like drywall, new windows, kitchen cabinets and that sort of thing.  I installed some my kitchen wall cabinets by myself by screwing a support to the wall.  It was a lot easier when I had help to do the rest of the cabinets.

There are tools that are available to help people do things by yourself.  Drywall levers, lifts, or even 2x4's (plus drywall is so much lighter now!), cabinets - drill a support in and then clamp together uppers as you go, windows - take the sashes out to install the frame, etc. 

I like to have the help, but have done it myself on many occasions.  I do tend to curse quite a bit more though. 


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Kroaler

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2015, 09:23:38 AM »
Give me a lever big enough and I can move the world.    IN all seriousness I never have help with anything major, my wife is 4'10" so she can't even help a little.   

I have a little come along and some straps that I have done some crazy shit with.   Slow and in control, thats the key lol.  I really can't think of a job that can't be 1 manned with some ingenuity and the right equipment.

reader2580

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2015, 10:12:17 AM »
For drywall, use a panel lift, they are available at rental places.  I built my garage and then my house by myself, subbing out certain things like insulation which I hate.  Foundation, framing, roofing, etc. I did myself.

I am in awe that you built your own house and garage by yourself.  Did you already have construction experience?  My problem is knowing all the little tricks on how to do things, and knowing the building codes.  Building a house is not just slapping up walls.  There are code requirements in how everything is tied together and where studs have to be and such.  How the heck did you install roof trusses by yourself?  I could see it taking me a minimum of five years to build a house working evenings and weekends.


Papa bear

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2015, 12:29:56 PM »

For drywall, use a panel lift, they are available at rental places.  I built my garage and then my house by myself, subbing out certain things like insulation which I hate.  Foundation, framing, roofing, etc. I did myself.

I am in awe that you built your own house and garage by yourself.  Did you already have construction experience?  My problem is knowing all the little tricks on how to do things, and knowing the building codes.  Building a house is not just slapping up walls.  There are code requirements in how everything is tied together and where studs have to be and such.  How the heck did you install roof trusses by yourself?  I could see it taking me a minimum of five years to build a house working evenings and weekends.

Go design and build a shed or something, pay a carpenter to work with you and to build it like he would a house or garage. Watch, learn, and do everything he does.  Framing isn't rocket science and is a lot of fun to do.  You don't have to do trusses for a roof, you can go with rafters and a ridge beam.  Walk materials up yourself. 


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SwordGuy

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2015, 12:57:32 PM »
Check out this video for useful tips on how to do major - and I do mean major - DIY projects by yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYQBDhkBfr0


Kroaler

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2015, 04:04:51 PM »
Also if you have a local habitat for humanity, you can sign up on framing day or whatever day you want to learn about.  Free way to learn some best practices.   I did that over the summer and enjoyed every day that I worked with them.

ctardi

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2015, 05:53:39 PM »
  I installed some my kitchen wall cabinets by myself by screwing a support to the wall.

I do that for installing drywall by myself. I prefer having a tight upper joint without cutting the sheet, instead of the other mentioned idea of putting the bottom sheet in first.

I put a few 24" long 1x4's at 48 1/2" down from the ceiling, then put a sheet up, and use a little prybar to snug it up and put a couple of screws in.

reader2580

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2015, 12:34:46 AM »
Also if you have a local habitat for humanity, you can sign up on framing day or whatever day you want to learn about.  Free way to learn some best practices.   I did that over the summer and enjoyed every day that I worked with them.

I forgot that Habitat also has guides on how to do things online for volunteers to read through.  I should see if they have one on framing.  I read one they did on installing soffit and fascia, but it left out the part I really wanted to know about doing the ends.  It basically said the site supervisor would help with that.

The chances of me ever building a house is slim to none.  A garage might happen.  I know how to frame a wall like for finishing a basement, but there are little things that need to be done when framing an actual house that I don't know.

Guses

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2015, 09:39:11 AM »
I really can't think of a job that can't be 1 manned with some ingenuity and the right equipment.

Blowing insulation in the attic.

GuitarStv

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2015, 11:07:39 AM »
I finished my basement on my own.  It took about a year and a half of working for an hour or so each night after work and occasionally on weekends.  Included:

- Electrical work (breakers, wiring, switches, outlets, light fixtures)
- Framing
- Hanging Doors
- Installing subfloor
- Installing flooring
- Insulating
- Drywalling (Had a friend help with the ceiling, but did all the walls myself)
- Mudding
- Sanding
- Painting

It's slower, but there's a surprising amount of damage a determined single person can do.  Being in generally good shape and strong makes an awful lot of the above much easier.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 11:10:23 AM by GuitarStv »

nereo

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2015, 12:11:06 PM »
I really can't think of a job that can't be 1 manned with some ingenuity and the right equipment.

Blowing insulation in the attic.
Blowing insulation... well you got me there.  Don't see how I could do that on my own.
Laying most any other form of insulation though (foam batts, rigid foam core)... that's an easy job for one person.

Sometimes doing it alone means you just choose methods/materials B instead of A.  You can still achieve the same goal (in this case increasing your home's R value).

deborah

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2015, 05:31:54 PM »
I renovated my first house, and only occasionally needed help, and I am a short woman who has never had any pretenses of being fit.

reader2580

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2015, 10:41:55 AM »
Blowing insulation in the attic.

You could do this by yourself.  It would just take many times longer having to constantly climb in and out of the attic to load the blower.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2015, 11:35:18 AM »
Blowing insulation in the attic.

You could do this by yourself.  It would just take many times longer having to constantly climb in and out of the attic to load the blower.

Could one just build a large hopper out of plywood over the blower?

deborah

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2015, 12:19:05 PM »
I really can't think of a job that can't be 1 manned with some ingenuity and the right equipment.

Blowing insulation in the attic.

It is nice to have a break, helps your body - particularly if you are hunched over in an attic.

GuitarStv

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2015, 07:55:09 AM »
I renovated my first house, and only occasionally needed help, and I am a short woman who has never had any pretenses of being fit.

How did you muscle all the drywall around?

jba302

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2015, 06:42:28 AM »
I live by myself and it makes it hard to do major DIY projects.  How do others deal with this without imposing on others?
Almost every project I do is largely done solo... with occasional help lifting the final piece in place. 
Tools/tricks that are indespensable to me while working alone:
1) clamps. 

This is my savior right here. I have a few quick clamps that are my lifeline for many projects. I prefer having help but more often than not it's easier to just clamp and go instead of waiting on someone to show up.

Tony_G

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2015, 09:34:19 PM »
Absolutely possible, I've completed all kinds of projects by myself, the hardest ones are installing cabinets or drywall by yourself, still doable though, as someone else suggested, clamps are useful, for drywall, even if it is not the right way to do it, I've started from bottom to top or you can also screw pieces of wood to the studs to have the panels rest on while they're screwed to the wall.

dess1313

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Re: One person: DIY projects still possible?
« Reply #30 on: December 06, 2015, 09:22:55 PM »
Doing big work on drywall equipment like lifts are fantastic and necessary.  Here are some of the things i have done on my own

Paint
Rip up carpet/flooring
Patch drywall and do small areas
Install new flooring
Fix/replace baseboards
Fix/replace sinks and taps.  Toilets just need someone to help you get it in the right place when settling it
Replace light fixtures, switches and plugs

There are a couple things i don't mess with.  I can only replace taps etc.  Any other plumbing is requiring a professional.  Carpet is quicker and better to get someone in, and now i think i'd go with laminates instead since having them in other areas i have started to prefer them.  And i can replace a light fixture, but can't add more plugs or light fixtures.  A few good clamps, and adjustable saw horses can work wonders for a project.  Totally worth the investment.  I have found that many of those skills listed above will take care of at least 80-90% of most projects.  Its hard to be able to 100% of any project, and working alone will always take a bit longer