DIY or Don’t?

by Rachel Laurendeau on April 18, 2012

Are you thinking about making some changes around your house? Will you do it yourself or will you hire a general contractor or handyman to do the work? While there are many projects that most of us can do ourselves, others may be best left to the experts. But how to decide what to take on and what to leave for someone else?

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start a new project. Be honest.

Do you have the skills to take on the proposed tasks? Certain projects require less expertise than others. For example, it is pretty easy to install a low-flow showerhead but replacing a window and ensuring proper fit and seal requires experience and knowledge. Of course, if you were an electrician, it would be silly to hire someone wire your house alarm. You see where I’m going with this.

Do you have the time and desire to take on the project? Some smaller scale projects like laying sod or stripping old wallpaper and repainting the dining room can likely be completed in a weekend or two. Other large projects like finishing your basement will take much longer. Can you take time off work to complete your project or will you be juggling drywall between your kids’ soccer practice and bath time? Living through drawn out home renovations is not fun and can be quite stressful, believe me; I’ve lived through the months of never-ending dust and chaos and would prefer not to think back on it for too long.

Do you have the right tools? If you’ve always wanted to learn how to put in tile and are thinking of installing a whole lot of it around the house, then the investment in specialized tools can be worth it. But, if all you want to do is the bathroom floor, the cost of the tools may actually outweigh the price of hiring a bathroom remodeling expert. If you really feel you have the skills for a project but don’t have the right tools, you may also want to look into renting them from a hardware store, borrowing them from a neighbor or checking your local swap group.

I certainly don’t want to discourage you from taking on DIY projects. My husband and I do all the time. What I am saying is, ask yourself the right questions and be honest with yourself before your start. Know your limitations and call in the home improvement experts when you need them.

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