We thought originally we would give you a complete picture of the costs we had in building our Ytong house. We think now that it is in your best interest to speak directly with Jogi or one of his colleges. We will say that you can save when building with Ytong Do-It-Yourself House approximately one third of the cost of your house! Yes, it is a large sum. Dependent on several factors the cost of building a house runs around 50/50 (material/wages). What we will save by building our own house with Ytong would take us 10 to 20 years to save. It will be a busy year for us but we will have gained financially what is only dreamed of and we will be able to live in truly our own house.

So what information will you find on this page? You will find our exact information on those costs not included in the quote of Jogi's. These extra costs will include fees, tools, landscaping, flooring, bathrooms and any other costs. I will give you first a table of contents to jump you to the sections of extra costs. Following the toc will be a table of the suggested list of tools from Ytong and myself that you will need to complete the Ytong Do-It-Yourself house, if you do not already have them. Since I am a tool guy (not quite as fanatic as Tim the Toolman) I will describe some of the differences in tools found in Germany and Canada. I have already made several interesting observations so stay tuned. After the fun with tools we will breakdown the other extra costs.

Table of Contents

  1. Tools
  2. Digging the Basement
  3. Ground Level Doors

The Tool Table

Tool Name German Name Quantity Supplied by Ytong Must have Cost in € Kevin's Remarks
? Beißzange (Eisenflechterzange) 1 no ?? 5-20
Aerated Concrete Hand sander Gasbetonreibebrett 1 yes maybe n/a If your good you won't need it.
10cm Aerated Concrete Glue Trowel 10cm Gasbetonkleberkelle 1 yes yes n/a For inside walls you will need it.
17.5cm Aerated Concrete Glue Trowel 17.5cm Gasbetonkleberkelle 1 yes yes n/a It's not big enough to be fast with the wide blocks but for inside walls you might use it.
Aerated Concrete Plane Gasbetonhobel 1 yes maybe n/a If your good you won't need it.
Aerated Concrete Saw Gasbetonsäge 1 yes likely 20-50 Aerated concrete is easy to work with. Ytong provides a band saw but there are times when a handsaw is just as fast and easier to make special cuts.
Bolt cutters Eisenschere 1 no maybe 50-120 Angle grinder can replace it but it won't be as fast
Caulking Gun Kartuschenpresse 1 yes yes 5-20 This is a cheap tool. Profi results you will not get with this quality but if all you use it for is sealing your windows it will do the job.
Double Loop Wire Tie Tool Drillapparat 1/helper yes if you do your own footings, floor or slab 25 These ties are strong and can be used for many things
Drill mixer attachment Rührer 1 yes yes 7-25 You will need this for mixing the Gasbeton (Ytong block) glue. It can double as a paint mixer as well, if you keep it clean. I bought a small profi mixer from Collomix so I can mix heavier products such as morter as well.
Float Glättkelle 1 no yes 8-24 I always find lots of uses for one of these
Folding Measuring Stick Zollstock 2 yes maybe 0-10 It's a different way of thinking. A measuring tape is 98% of the time faster and more accurate to use but the stick may come in handy some time. Use it in messy situations if you do not want to get your tape dirty. You can find more and more stores stocking measuring tapes in the last few years in Germany.
Hacksaw 1 no yes 5-15
Handsaw Handsäge 1 no yes 10-20 I replaced it so far with Husquvarna 371XP. I didn't hear about any problems from customs last summer when I brought it to Germany. It was my baby saw in Canada when I was logging. Here in Germany it is rare to find such a powerful chainsaw.
Hard Hat Arbeitsschutzhelm 2 yes yes 5-15 Well on this one I am disappointed. These are generic hats with no advertising for Ytong on them. As far as the subject of advertising Ytong does very little or offers very little for those building Ytong Do-It-Yourself houses.
Heavy Drill Bohrmaschine 1 no yes 50-1000 Simply put, you get what you pay for. If you pick the drill up a a discount place and it has a low speed gear it will probably get the job done. You will need it to do some mixing and some drilling. Most Ytong blocks are easy to drill. As we build and save thousands of euros Kevin gets to purchase good tools that will last long after the house is finished. See the link "Kevin finally has a Hilti".
Ladder Leiter 1 no yes 50-100 We have had our own ladder for some years now. Shop around on this on because the prices for simple aluminum ladder can be quite shocking here.
Level Wasserwaage 1 - 80cm yes yes 5-50 It's a profi level with good accuracy.
Long Measuring Tape Stahlma&zslig;band 1 no yes 20-50 If you want to do some squaring up it should be 20m or longer depending on the size of your villa.
Mini-Sledge Hammer Fäustel 1 no maybe 5-20 The jury is out on this one. A good Estwing framing hammer will likely to the trick.
Mortar Trowel Maurerkelle 1 yes yes 5-20 I have not yet found a proper block layers' trowel yet in Germany. The trowels here are all short and stubby. If you are working out of a pail they are okay but if you want to give gas you may have to import a proper trowel and work off a mortar board. The issue is not very important here with a ytong house since their block layer sets the first row of blocks and all you have to do is glue the remaining rows on top.
Pails and Tubs Kübel 3-4 yes yes 1-10 A couple for water that have litre markings and a couple of tubs to mix glue and morter in. You will receive from Ytong 1 -90L and 1 -20L pail.
Protective Clothes Arbeitsschutzkleidung no yes no limit The chance to build in the nude you will not find in Germany, or at least not in our area. Depending on what dirty jobs you decide to do yourself you may need some clothes for construction.
Rubber Hammer Gummihammer 1 yes yes 5-20 This one is a cheaper variant and a little light weight. Often the head will come loose on this type.
Schafolding Gerüstböcke 2-3 no yes 40-150 You will not find comparable schafolding. More after I have used the German type more.
Short heavy Axe Beil 1 no Maybe 5-20
Shovel Schaufel 1/helper no yes 15-45 Check the link out below on shovels
Sledge Hammer Vorschlaghammer 1 no yes 30-50 For driving stakes and fixing computers
Spade Spaten 1 no maybe 20-40 These short handled shovels will kill your back but are resistant to breakage. If you are doing the digging and it gets tough, and you do not want to buy an imported Canadian shovel, you will need a spade. Normal German shovels do not have the strength in the blade and are not fitted well to the handle. Look for the shovel link below.
Sponge Float Schwammbrett 1 no yes 4-10 You may need two of these. One for rough work and one for tile
Wheel barrow Schubkarre 1 no maybe 40-120 I spent hours on the Internet and drove hundreds of kilometers before I found a robust and well designed wheel barrow. I was looking for a heavy duty cement wheel barrow that is common in Canada. I found one one hundred kilometers west of Stuttgart and later I found out that kat2do in Metzingen has them. I got one with a rubber-like wheel. Jascha or Levion should be able to inherit it. The jury is out as to whether the wheel is as good as a air filled wheel.
Wunderbar Nageleisen 1 no yes 5-20 Crowbar or wunderbar, we'll see how often we need them

Kevin finally gets a Hilti

Pic of Hilti Service CenterKevin finally gets a Hilti

Well if you have been around building projects enough and seen what tools the Professionals use you are sure to see Hilti products. Often at a construction sites the name Hilti may even be used to describe other manufactures hammer drills.

As I looked around at various manufactures drills the options and specs. just got larger and larger. The costs also started reaching the higher limits of my budget. I hadn't originally thought about spending so much for a drill but what I was finding for the costs was not impressing me. I remembered working on our apartment and having problems drilling the very hard calcium cement blocks. Our neighbor had lent me his Hilti and it was a night and day difference in the effort needed to drill these blocks.

I looked Hilti up on the Internet and found the nearest service center was in Reutlingen which is not too far from us. After one visit to check out the feel and operation of the Hilti TE 16C old memories started coming back. A Hilti just feels right and the workmanship leaves the competition a significant step below.

Pic of Hilti TE 16CHere it is

When I explained to the salespersons in Reutlingen I was shopping around and that the Hilti was at the upper limit or perhaps just over my budget I was given one of the best sales pitches I have had in years. Sales pitch normally has a negative meaning but in this case it was more like advice from a friend. The sales person I dealt with was Wolfgang Schweikardt. Knowledgeable, friendly salespersons are not a given these days but the professional quality of the Hilti name is well supported by professional sales and service personal in Reutlingen. I have to save a few more pennies to go back and buy one of their thin design chisels that I suspect works very well.

Hilti does have special discount offerings sometimes (like my TE 16C) so you should keep an eye on their websites or just call 0800-888 55 22. The central phone desk was also very helpful.

As a note my second choice would have been a Kress 900 PSH-Plus Set. You can find them also in Reutlingen at WELSCH GmbH - Maschinen + Werkzeuge, Siemensstra├če 2, 72766 Reutlingen

A friend of mine suggests every man has likely 5 power drills in his shop or basement. With my Hilti and a small decent rechargeable drill I think I am set for life. Maybe I will now ebay the other 3!

Pic of German and Canadian ShovelsMaybe it's Tradition, You Explain It

A good shovel is especially important in the type of ground we had to dig in. The shovel at the top of the picture is the standard type of shovel to be found in the typical building supply stores here in German. If you want something stronger your looking at a short handle spade that is almost strong enough to cut down trees. No kidding, their tough but heavy, have a small blade and that short handle will kill anyones back when doing the kind of digging you'll need to do when building a house.

Yes, it took me about 15 minutes to kill the nice red shovel that is pictured next to the Northern America version. The North American version is still digging and showing little signs of wear. Where can you find them?

I found a 2 meter section of imported shovels in a hardware store in Austria, Canadian hickory, so I had to buy a second. Here in Germany you may find them in businesses that cater to contractors, but not always. I got my first from Eberle Hald in Metzingen.

As a closing note on shovels the German type is great for shovelling sand or very fine crushed stone. Since it is larger I often grab it for these types of materials. Have lots of fun with shovels.

Pic of Seized Wheel on Band SawWheel Seized on first Band saw

This is the wheel of the first band saw we had. It was seized making moving the saw difficult for one person because these saws are heavy. I pulled it apart and cleaned and oiled the bearing. Don't wait to do this because having the saw close to your work will save a lot of time. If the saw and band are in good condition cutting Ytong blocks is not difficult.

These saws are designed for cutting Ytong blocks and if you are careful you should not have trouble cutting all your block with the one free band Jogi supplies you. Remember, they cut block and maybe styropor but stay away with other building materials.

Pic of band saw maintanence

Just as a note the overall condition of the 3 saws we needed was not optimal. If the saw does not perform correctly take a close look yourself. A saw that does not cut properly could be related to the adjustment of the saw, more than damage you may have done to the band.

This picture of the 3rd saw we had shows that it was not correctly adjusted. Placing a framing square on the table and checking for a 90 degree should be your first test if the cut blocks are not fitting.

I corrected the adjustment and that was enough to finish our work. From my experience the guide system for the bands was also in need of adjustment on 2 out of the 3 saws. We had no problems having the saws replaced when we encountered other technical difficulties we could not fix.

Extra Costs

Pic of basement hole with family standing in itWell over Budget!

It's a nice hole but even with two excavators we could not finish for the long weekend. The contractor we had did not have enough trucking capacity, even if I threw material off to the side with the second excavator. We have seen many basements dug here in our subdivision since and have a few tips.

The first is to get a couple or more quotes from reputable companies. The local contractors should be familiar enough with the ground conditions and locations where they can dump the material to do a quote. Our costs have exceeded twice that of what Aktiv Bausatzhaus Südbaden estimated, and yes, these costs are yours!

Talk to the contractors about the extra materials. These include stone for under your floor, drainage stone for outside your foundation, perhaps some sand to fill around piping and last but not least, your backfill material. You can choose to use the earth you have dug out for the basement but there are drawbacks. The earth in this area will not compact well and after a year or two it may still be settling and not just a little. This can cause you problems with doing a good job on your landscaping. Also, the earth in this area does not allow much drainage. Recycled materials offer much better drainage but could add significantly to your costs. In areas that you will drive over or areas where you might consider setting or making a garage there are materials like coarse gravel that are mixed so that they are very good to compact.

Moving material away and back to a building site is something a rural Canadian boy would/did not give much thought to, but in this area of Germany, it can be costly. As a tip from us, try Feess Erdbau out for a quote. They have a lot of resources and a good name in this area.

Pic of pouring slabOver budget again so soon!

Perhaps poor communication or something but our costs were significantly more than we had planned and more than Jogi had quoted. We have not been able to compare our costs against the quote we did not accept. Thinking we could do this cheaper ended up costing us more. Jogi has received our cost breakdown and offered to check this. That was more than a year ago and we have not heard anything back from him.

Jogi has told me they will quote or give a price per square meter to help you with the basement slab. Avoid surprises and talk this through to make sure both are aware of what is included and not. You may also want to check other contractors and their prices. Some are well setup with all the equipment they need and can perhaps pour a foundation floor cheaper.

Ground Level Doors

Pic of a ground level doorOne of the 9 Ground Level Doors

We are now at an addition cost of about 700 Euros for sills for our doors. We have 3 doors that still are not finished. Aktiv Bausatzhaus Südbaden GmbH has told us that the possibilities here to finish the entrances are so many that they do not involve themselves in this detail. The finishing or sealing of this area falls loosely under their removal of insulation and flooring materials for balconies, terraces, and flat roofs from their contract.

Pic of door sillThis Sill for about 100 Euro

Stone sills can be purchased for about 100 Euros per door. Silicon is applied between the sill and door. There are other options and optic for patio doors that you might want to investigate. Our doors have no threshold for someone to step on as they walk through the door. The need for the silicon joint is also not required by some manufactures of patio doors. Yes, the silicon will eventually need to be redone.

Pic of finished garage5,400 Euros extra and counting

Well even without changing the plan we would have been around an extra cost of about 4,000 Euros. This includes excavator rental, fill material, cement, roofing and metal trim. It all adds together to become more than you expect. As I have mentioned elsewhere on this site we are happy with our garage but read the fine print so you are not surprised.