For homeowners looking to improve their abode, going the DIY route is tempting. It can save you money, allows for customization according to your needs and style, and can provide a sense of accomplishment and creativity.
That said, some renovation projects are best left to the experts. If you’ve got a project in mind, take a look at the following considerations to help you determine whether to hire out or do it yourself.
Questions To Consider:
What’s your skill level? In the age of YouTube, almost anyone can become a (near) master at anything. Depending on your project, you can find a ton of educational resources online to shore up the required skills and many times even the step-by-step instructions. Be honest in assessing your skills — if you feel comfortable and confident, great; if you feel out of your comfort or learning zone, look at hiring a professional.
Do you have stick-to-itiveness? All home reno projects are exciting in the “dreaming” and initial action phases, but do you have the patience to slog through the hard work and inevitable challenges? Multiple runs to the hardware store in a single day? Broken tools? Miscalculations of supplies or measurements? Maybe tackle a small project or two to test your longevity muscle.
How much time do you have? Try to gauge how much time your project will take (add a buffer of 20% or so), and realistically look at your available time. Evenings and weekends might be the quick answer, but remember you have a life and need downtime too. Also, think about the risk of a project dragging out unexpectedly. If your free time is tight or the family calendar too hectic, a professional contractor will save you sanity.
Is the project complex or dangerous? If your project involves asbestos, gas, electricity, or plumbing — or a mistake could cause serious consequences or harm — it’s best to go with a pro. Reputable contractors carry insurance and are current on all safety risks and requirements. They also have the expertise to advise you on any complicated aspects of the project, such as permitting, regulations, zoning, or structural issues.
Have you crunched the numbers? Usually, cost savings is a main factor for people going the DIY route. However, it’s smart to get a few estimates from professionals anyway and compare them to the DIY costs you’d rack up in materials, tools, and time. Don’t overlook opportunity cost — the time you could spend doing other important things in your life. And remember that for some materials, contractors can secure much better prices (or selection) than consumers.
Is good enough … good enough? Can you live with the end result not being absolutely perfect? Visible paintbrush lines? Tiles not quite even? A crooked cupboard? If so, DIY might be for you; if not, start asking around for professionals known for high-quality work.
Do you mind getting dirty? The majority of home remodeling is the demo work. It’s grueling, dusty, dirty, and messy. If you’re okay with that, more power to you on your DIY journey!
Here are some typical home renovation projects and whether they’re most suited to DIY homeowners or professionals. Many times, it boils down to question 4 above — the level of danger, expertise or complexity.
- Update kitchen cabinet front panels
- Update interior door knobs or cabinet handles
- Fix or Install a toilet0
- Hang drywall
- Paint interiors
- Install laminate flooring
- Change a ceiling light
- Install baseboards
- Replace tile grout
- Replace tiles
Hire a Pro:
- Remodel bathroom
- Remodel kitchen
- Install hardwood or tile flooring
- Side the house
- Remove lead paint
- Make major structural repairs
- Replace windows
- Pave a driveway
- Repair or replace roofing
Sprucing up your home can improve its functionality, increase your property value, and boost your mood. Being thorough in comparing a DIY versus professional approach can help you come to the best decision for you and your family.
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