For many of us, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are the fun part of owning a home. Fixing or building something on your own can be an incredibly satisfying experience. And as an added bonus – it can save you a lot of money. For most repairs and renovations within a home, labor is the most expensive aspect of the job. So if you’re handy with a set of tools, or are willing to learn, DIY projects can be a lot of fun to take on. You can pick up some valuable skills and save yourself a little cash as well.
Even if you are saving a ton of money, is DIY the best way to go? Below are some tips to help you decide whether to do the project yourself or a hire a contractor to do it for you.
A key consideration is the overall safety of the project. If you are painting the walls of your home or installing vinyl flooring, there is very little risk involved. These types of DIY projects are relatively safe and fall within the skill-set of the typical homeowner.
On the other hand, projects that involve electricity or use of specialized equipment can be dangerous if conducted by an inexperienced homeowner. If you’ve never done this type of work before, it may be best to stick with a professional.
Some DIY projects require minimal experience. Replacing the backsplash in your kitchen, building shelves, or installing a closet organizer are fairly simple projects that a homeowner can tackle. They are usually straight-forward projects and, with the internet, you can easily find instructional videos that can help you along.
Other projects, such as installing a new bathtub or replacing old windows may be best done by a professional. These projects often other factors to consider, many of which may not be obvious until you start working. For example, a new set of windows may not fit in the original frames. This may require a new framework and insulation. Installing a ceramic or hardwood floor may appear to be a great DIY project, however, factors such as uneven surfaces, tight corners, and room transitions can pose challenges for an inexperienced homeowner. Before you decide to take on these jobs, evaluate the scope of the job. Putting tile down in a small, square area may be a task for you. However, if you are putting tile down throughout your entire house, using a professional may be your best bet.
Consider how much time you actually have to invest in the project. While the lower cost of DIY can be very appealing, if you don’t have enough time to actually get the job done, it may be worth getting some outside help.
Many homeowners choose to DIY to keep costs low. Since the cost of most home projects lies in labor, doing the project yourself can save you a lot of money. High labor projects, like painting or staining, can be highly labor intensive, but don’t necessarily require professional expertise.
In other cases, the cost of a project can be inflated if you do it yourself. Projects that require a certain level of expertise can end up costing you a lot more money if you take it on yourself and make mistakes. Hardwood flooring can be expensive. If you make mistakes when cutting the boards or are unable to line it up properly against a wall or threshold, you may end up buying more wood.
If cost is the motivating factor in your decision, take the time to plan out the job. Determine what materials are needed and their cost, as well as an estimate of your time. Compare this with a contractor’s estimate to help you make this decision.
DIY projects are a great way to improve the look and feel of your home. When deciding whether or not to take this project on yourself, you should consider the level of expertise needed for the job. Other factors to address include the overall safety of the job, the time that you have to dedicate to the job, as well as the cost savings that you can realize if you do it yourself.