Many of us have thought: why pay someone to do something when I can do it myself? The do-it-yourself (DIY) craze is here to stay, and we have apps like Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to keep the momentum and encouragement going. Now more than ever, it’s easy to find instructional videos on how to do everything from installing a new toilet and putting up wallpaper to replacing an old deck or patching a hole. But unfortunately, home renovation projects don’t always go as planned.
Before taking a sledgehammer to a supporting wall, you need to think it through. Luckily, we're here to help you with that process. Here are a few signs that it’s safe to take on your home reno task alone and others that signal a pro might be better for the job. Read on.
WHEN TO DO A PROJECT YOURSELF
People take on home updates themselves to presumably save money, practice a new skill, and have fun in the process. And it’s true: some tasks are easier than others, and some of us are handier than we thought.
However, we’ve learned from experience that you can’t take a seemingly simple task at face value. You have to consider the time, money, and commitment it takes to complete the project successfully before getting in too deep.
Six Tips for DIY-ing
Before you get to doing a project yourself, check to see if the following applies to your situation first. Do DIY projects when:
- You have support. Move forward if you have handy friends who are available to help or a trusted vendor or contractor on speed dial.
- You know what you’re doing. If you’re a seasoned pro or have done it before and learned from your mistakes, you’re probably good to go.
- You have enough funds to cover the costs if things go wrong—because they often do. Home projects can add up quickly!
- You’ve properly prepared for the task at hand. You've taken the measurements you need, calculated supply costs, enlisted helpers, set a project timeline, and scheduled the delivery of needed materials.
- You’re not making any structural changes to your home. Leave the below-ground work to the pros.
- You have the right tools. The tools you need to complete the job are attainable and don’t require professional certification for handling.
Read more: Top Tools Every Homeowner Should Have
WHEN TO HIRE A PRO FOR YOUR PROJECT
Finding the perfect contractor for your renovation or other home projects can be exhausting. Recommendations can't always be trusted; it really is a hit-or-miss process. However, in some circumstances, it might be more worthwhile to do the legwork in seeking out a professional to do the things that call for more specialized training or experience. You'll thank yourself in the long run.
Six Reasons to Hire a Professional
Here are six signs that a project might be safer and more cost-efficient with a professional in charge. Hire a pro when:
- There’s electrical involved. With wiring, circuits, and currents, one wrong move can destroy your whole electrical system or cause serious harm. You'd rather be safe than sorry!
- Plumbing issues are over your head. Fixing pipes can lead to flooding and water damage—which are expensive issues you don’t want to add to your reno budget.
- The foundation needs work. It’s best to leave this job to a person who understands the factors that impact the foundation, such as home design, geographical location and climate, and soil and moisture conditions.
- You don’t know what’s behind the walls. From a support structure to termites and lead pipes, anything could be back there. Hire someone who knows what to look for and what to do about it.
- You need the proper permits to get the project going. Whether you live in a homeowners’ association (HOA) or not, some cities, states, or counties require paperwork for structural and exterior changes to your property.
- There’s roof damage of any kind. Roofs are there to protect us, and a simple DIY patch-up job can lead to a messy leak and do more bad than good.
Read more: Roof Maintenance Dos & Don'ts
Bottom Line: Know When To DIY vs. Hire a Pro
You want to be successful but also safe and smart when taking on any home project. Use these DIY tips and decide for yourself what makes the most sense for your situation. For a cheaper alternative to sprucing up your home, check out these tips and upgrade your home office without buying anything new. Enjoy!