When To Go DIY & When To Go Pro

Dec 24 2018
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I’ve had folks ask me here on the blog (many times) what they should do themselves and what they should hire out. Honestly that’s not really something I can answer as it totally depends on their own experiences and ability. But there are some things you can do yourself without any experience whatsoever and just basic tools.

Tear down, clean up and hauling away. If you’re gutting a home and doing a MAJOR renovation the first huge cost savings you can give yourself is just in grunt labor. Almost anyone can tear plaster and lather off a wall and shovel it into a bag and then take the bag to the dump.

Just make sure you turn the electric off first at the breaker and don’t knock down a load bearing wall lol!

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.
(The following is a contributed article.)

Getting out the old hammer and thinking about tackling some major home renovation projects? Maybe you are on the verge of a whole house remodeling job and you want to do as much of it yourself as you can to minimize the costs?

But as you are sketching out your renovation plans, it’s wise to be realistic about which tasks you should handle on a DIY basis and which ones are best left to the pros.

Be sure to choose your contractors with care, wherever you “go pro.” It is far better to invest a little bit more to get the job done right than to be dissatisfied with the end-result or have to re-do it again later.

Here are 4 key areas to consider in figuring out which jobs should go in the DIY category and which to entrust to a professional contractor:

Safety Concerns

Don’t do anything you aren’t 100% sure you can do by yourself in a safe manner. According to Northface Construction, homeowners without significant experience at working on a roof (or even just walking on a roof) should go pro for all roof repairs and re-roofing work.

Electrical work is another obvious area where you need a lot of expertise to be sure you don’t hurt (or kill) yourself by making one simple mistake, as is gas line work.

Plumbing isn’t as dangerous. However, the risk of doing serious damage to your home when water comes bursting out, or allowing toxic sewer gases and/or water into your home, are still great if you don’t know what you’re doing.

DIY inexpensive how to deck rails out of steel conduit to look like steel wire deck railings, tutorial on how we did the railings on our deck!

Expensive Tools

Some jobs require use of extremely expensive tools and equipment to do in a timely and effective manner. Sometimes you can just rent tools. However, that’s not always a viable solution. Even when it is, you feel rushed on the job because you want to return the rental tools quickly to minimize the fee.

When you need little more than a few basic hand tools or you can borrow and rent only one or two major pieces of equipment that you know how to use properly, DIY makes sense. Expensive materials aren’t normally an issue since you have to buy them anyway (unless you are worried about damaging those pricey materials due to inexperience!) but tools are another story.

Structural VS Cosmetic Work

When you are talking about major structural repairs, say, to a wall or a roof, it’s often best to go with a professional carpenter. If you need to rip out walls and build new ones, it depends on how much weight those walls are supporting and on your skill level, but you might still want to go pro.

But when you are just doing light demolition and non-supportive carpentry work, DIY is safe for most homeowners. Putting down new tiles, installing a window or door, changing out light or water fixtures, laying down new carpeting, barn door hardware or painting or anything “cosmetic” is usually the key area where doing it yourself is a wise choice.

Before and after of my multi functional multi purpose entry and dining room that is also now doubling as my office and mudroom too! See how I transformed this space during a DIY do it yourself renovation, gutting my Grandma's 100 year old farmhouse and making it all new again!

Time and Cost Analysis

Let’s face it. You only have a limited amount of time to spend on your home renovations. You don’t want the project to drag on for months. And more than it needs to take. Devote your energies to the DIY projects that you do best and most enjoy doing. Leave the rest to the pros to speed things up.

Also, realize that you can often save money long term and get more satisfactory results hiring a contractor rather than attempting something yourself you aren’t equipped to handle.

These are four factors to think through seriously before deciding on what belongs in the DIY bucket and what in the Pro bucket. Make these kinds of decisions an integral part of your overall renovation plan.

(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)
When To Go DIY & When To Go Pro when to do it yourself on your home and when you should hire a professional a complet list to help

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