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When to DIY vs. When to Hire a Pro

Many of us have thought: why pay someone when I can do it myself? The DIY craze is here to stay, and we have apps like Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok to keep the momentum going. It’s easy to find instructional videos on how to do everything from installing a new toilet to replacing an old deck. But home renovation projects don’t always go as planned.

Before taking a sledgehammer to a supporting wall, think it through. 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.


People take on home updates themselves to presumably save money 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. Here are six tips to keep in mind. Do it yourself:

  • When you have support. Move forward if you have friends who are available to help or a trusted contractor on speed dial.
  • When you know what you’re doing. If you’re an old pro or have done it before and learned from your mistakes, you’re probably good to go.
  • When you have enough funds to cover the costs if things go wrong—because they often do.
  • When you’ve properly prepared for the task at hand, including taking the measurements you need, calculating supply costs, enlisting helpers, setting a timeline, and scheduling delivery of materials.
  • When you’re not making any structural changes to your home.
  • When the tools you need to complete the job don’t require professional certification for handling.


Finding the perfect contractor for your renovation or other home projects can be exhausting. 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. 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.
  • When 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.
  • When 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.
  • When 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.
  • When you need the proper permits to get the project going. Whether you live in a homeowners’ association or not, some cities and counties require paperwork for structural and exterior changes to your property.
  • When there’s roof damage of any kind. A simple DIY patch-up job can lead to a messy leak and do more bad than good.

Bottom Line

You want to be successful, but also safe and smart when taking on any home project. Decide for yourself what makes the most sense. For a cheaper alternative to sprucing up your home, check out these tips and upgrade your home office without buying anything new.