For a lot of us do-it-yourself (DIY) projects come with the territory of owning a home. The act of fixing or building something completely by yourself can be a fantastically rewarding and satisfying experience. And one of my favorite things about DIY is it can save you a ton of cash. Labor is the most expensive aspect of most repair and renovation jobs concerning a home, which means if you’re handy with a set of tools, or have the passion to learn, DIY projects can end up being a lot of fun to tackle. Not to mention, you can pick learn some valuable skills without adding a lot of stress to your bank account.
With that said, even though DIY can save you a boatload of cash, it is really the best way to go? Well, let’s find out! Below are some tips to help you figure out whether or not doing the project yourself or hiring a contractor is the best option.
Safety first, at least that’s what my woodshop teacher always said. When starting a project, the first thing you need to consider is safety. For instance, if you are throwing some paint on the walls or installing vinyl flooring, there is virtually little to no risk involved. DIY projects such as these are considered relatively safe and fall within the skill-set of the typical novice homeowner.
However, projects that require knowledge of electricity or the use of powerful specialized equipment can prove to be dangerous if conducted by someone who lacks the proper experience. Chances are if you’ve never done it before, and it seems potentially dangerous, it’s probably best to enlist the help of a professional.
Think about how much time you’ll need to invest in the project. Even though the lower cost of DIY can be strongly appealing, if you can’t set aside enough time to see it finished, then it’s a job that is better suited for some outside help.
Some DIY projects require that you have some level of experience. For example, replacing a door, repairing stairs, erecting shelves, or even installing a closet organizer are relatively easy projects that a homeowner can take on. They tend to be straightforward projects and, with the help of Google or YouTube, you can easily find instructional videos that make you feel like an expert in no time.
Other projects, like installing a new shower, putting shingles on your roof, or replacing broken windows are probably better left to the professionals. This is because these projects generally have specific factors to consider, and a lot of these factors may not be evident until you start working. For instance, a new set of windows may not fit in the original frames and you will also be required to figure out a new framework as well as weather insulation. Putting in a new ceramic or hardwood floor may sound like a simple DIY project, however, factors like tight corners, uneven surfaces, and room transitions can end up creating stressful challenges for the inexperienced homeowner. Before you jump in head first on any of these jobs, be sure to evaluate the entire scope of the project.
The number one reason most homeowners choose DIY is to keep costs low. The majority of funds, when doing these types of projects, generally goes toward labor, so by doing the project yourself, you can keep most of your cash in the bank where it belongs. High labor projects, such as staining or painting, can be incredibly labor-intensive, but don’t generally require the help of a professional.
In other cases, doing a project yourself can actually make it more expensive. Projects that require a specific level of expertise can get costly if you take it on yourself, but fail to execute them properly. You can even rack up costs in damages if you’re not careful. Think about hardwood flooring, sure it can be expensive so you may want to DIY. But if you happen to make a mistake while cutting your floorboards you may find yourself buying more wood.
If expense is the driving factor in your decision, then set aside the time to properly plan out the job. Determine what kind of tools and materials you’ll need, and how much they will set you back. Don’t forget to factor in your time as well. Once you have this information, compare it with a contractor’s estimate to help make an educated decision.
DIY projects are a fantastic way to improve the look and feel of your home. When you are trying to figure out whether or not to do it yourself, remember to consider the level of expertise required for the job. Other factors worth looking into include the overall safety of the job, how much time you will be sinking into it, as well as cost vs savings.