How to build ‘sweat equity’ in your home
Homeowners usually have a mental list of projects and improvements they would like to make.
Some are still in the dream stage. Others would be possible if the costs weren’t out of reach right now. There might be one or two under serious consideration, projects that would improve the value of your home.
Sweat equity is a term usually used when you help with the finishing of a new home. It works just as well for a home improvement and could save up to 75 percent of total costs.
On some projects, you can assume labor cost would be about equal to material cost. On others, labor could be up to twice material cost.
A few vacation days would give you the time you’ll need. You also need tools. Once you have them, they can be used for other projects.
Say you want to remove a wall between the kitchen and dining room. You’ll need a circular saw to cut through wood and wallboard. You could work on a sawhorse, but a Black & Decker Workmate, $95, would be better.
A rotary cutter is a palm-size tool that uses a spinning bit to slice ceramic tile, wallboard, or laminate flooring. It can cut a notch or a curve. Rotozip at $60 is a good choice.
For this and other projects, you may need a cordless drill and hand tools. They would include your basic hammer and three sizes of screwdrivers in both Phillips and slotted heads, and a putty knife for spackling compound.