Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Frugal Tuesday - The Hidden Costs of Building, DIY Trim

When we first decided to build our house we were slightly naive. Oh, not completely of course as we had done a lot of research and had experience with remodeling and building. We knew basically how much it would cost to build our house and had done research on the price of building materials. One of the things we just didn't seem to factor in however, was the hidden costs of the little things. Things like faucets, trim, light fixtures etc. I suppose one of the reasons we didn't figure them in is simply because we figured there was no way they could add up to very much. A few $100 when tacked onto the major expense of the big ticket items just didn't seem like a big deal.

Of course, we had trucked all the really big ticket items (lumber, plywood, gyproc, roofing etc.) in from a major city, purchasing the little things at a smaller center turned out to be a major expense. Even something so simple as the trim around doors, walls, windows seemed to be very costly and would take a big bit out of our budget. Of course if you are in a major center maybe this isn't the case but when you live where we do prices go up drastically. Just a simple 1/4 round trim eight feet in length can cost anywhere from $5 to $10. Mountain Man decided there had to be a better way. Besides! We wanted a rustic and old world feel to our house, why would we want modern trim? Therefore most of out trim is exactly that.

Made out of cut down 2 x 4's this trim cost only pennies a foot to make. But what if you wanted a more modern trim? We have one room in our house which does have a more modern look to it and while the rounded trim is a bit more work Mountain Man finally tackled it the other day. That's the one thing you learn living this way. Patience. Lots of patience. Just because you want to get something done doesn't always mean you have the time to do it. So you wait...  and wait...  I asked him to take a few pictures of his work and this is what he gave me. It seems pretty easy. I know he spent a few hours with the sander however. If you are someone who thinks time is worth money then these projects are maybe not something you would do, but, for us certain times of the year are quiet and.. well...  we have lots of time. Might as well put it to good use!

This isn't one of the 2 x 4's he used. You want to make sure you find a nice straight unblemished one. 

Items needed: table saw, electric sander and a very sunny day for all the power you need, or in case of a cloudy day a small generator. 

Trim at the store $5 each 8 ft piece. 10 x 5 = $50
Made at home $2.50 for each 2 x 4 x 8 (makes about enough to do one small room)
Sanding disks $1/each, 1 used.
Gas for generator: $2
Paint: We used some leftover paint we had laying around. It didn't take much.
Total saved: $44.50

This doesn't seem like much but if you are thinking of moving off grid don't forget about these little expenses. They can turn out to be huge, unless of course you decide to do things just a little unconventional as we have. The savings on the whole house can add up to hundreds of dollars or even thousands depending on the items.


  1. I like unconventional and the savings $.
    Mountain man and his boss (aka:Glo) did a beautiful job.


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