No matter the age or quality of your home, there’s a good chance you’ll need or want to improve it. Home improvement projects vary from simple upgrades to more complex gut jobs.
Some people are very handy, and do most of the work themselves. Others know that they are not handy at all, and always hire a contractor. Most of us are somewhere in the middle and each new project makes us wonder, “Can I do this (and save money)? Or should I just hire a professional?”
Here are some tips to help you decide.
Evaluate the risk
The reality is that almost every home improvement project comes with some level of risk—from bubbles in the wallpaper to compromising the structural integrity of your house. Some projects, however, are actually dangerous.
Let’s say you want to paint your kitchen and put up a tile backslap. Since the risk level of this project is fairly low, you may want to do it yourself. On the other hand, if your goal is to remove a wall to open up your floor plan, it’s in your best interest to hire a pro. An improper wall removal may compromise the structural integrity of your home.
In addition to the risk to the house, there are varying degrees of danger. The most dangerous project relate to:
- Oil and gas: If you make a mistake while fitting new oil or gas equipment, you may face environmental damage like a leak into your foundation or something more catastrophic, such as an explosion.
- Water and plumbing: A Poor plumbing job can lead to water damage, black mold, or even flooding that may wreak havoc on your home and everything in it.
- Electrical: Poor wiring frequently triggers house fires. What’s worse, however, is the effects of DIY electrical projects on novice electricians. If you lack extensive knowledge and experience with electrical work, you put your own life on the line.
Where there is a significant level of potential danger to a project, always hire a professional.
Consider the legalities
Some home improvement projects require inspections or building permits by governing authorities. Just because you or a friend may complete a task doesn’t mean the work would adhere to your jurisdiction’s legal requirements.
Imagine David is an electrical engineer who works at a utility company. He wants to upgrade the electrical panel in his home and feels confident that he can do so himself. After doing some research, David realizes that his jurisdiction requires that all electrical work is performed by a licensed electrician and inspected by a certified inspector.
In an effort to save money, David decides to replace the electrical panel on his own despite his jurisdiction’s laws. Unfortunately, this puts David at risk for the rest of his life. In the event of a fire, an insurance company may question the home wiring and find out David did the work on his own. The insurer would deny David’s claim. Risks may also arise if David decides to sell his home down the road or a new owner faces issues.
Think about your skills
There’s no point in taking on a home improvement project if you don’t have the knowledge or skills to complete it with excellence. Regardless of what your project involves, you want to ensure that the end result is not only aesthetically pleasing but also safe.
Your home is likely one of your largest investments, so hiring licensed professionals with the knowledge or skills you lack is your best bet. Doing so can give you some much needed peace of mind and prevent legal issues—as well as safety concerns—in the future.
Prioritize your resources
Homeowners often try to DIY house projects to save money. If that’s the case, consider your time, on the balance.
Because it always takes an inexperienced homeowner much longer to complete a project than a professional contractor. You might watch several videos of contractors completing a similar project in one day, but it will take you much longer if you’ve never done that kind of project before.
If you work full-time, do you really want to spend your weekend on a frustrating home repair project? If you enjoy the work and learning a new skill, then by all means, do spend your weekend laying tile, but if not—hiring a professional is worth it.
Take inventory of your tools
Even a seemingly simple home project like repainting a room requires a good deal of tools and equipment. If you’re hoping to save some money by DIYing your project, be sure to include the cost of purchasing or renting all of the tools and equipment you will need, as well as the materials.
Should you hire or DIY?
Before you make a trip to the nearest home improvement store and begin your project, make sure it’s something that you really want to do yourself. Is it safe? Can you do it? Is it worth it?
If you decide to hire a professional instead, we can help. Schedule a consultation today with one of our highly skilled, licensed professionals today!