As a new homeowner, the key to being a good do-it-yourselfer is knowing when to draw the line and call in a professional. While it’s likely that the majority of home improvement projects can be done without outside help, especially if you’re handy, some are a little too risky to take on. A good rule of thumb is if it could damage your home, damage yourself or requires a permit, start looking for contractors. Safety should always be your first consideration, so unless you’ve had a lot of experience or you’re positive you can handle it, it’s well worth looking for help.
One good way to make your decision is to do some research and find out what’s involved in a prospective home remodeling or improvement project. A YouTube video, a “how-to” book or the DIY Network can be a useful resource if you want to know what you’re up against. You don’t want to buy materials and tools and start tearing up the floorboards only to find out too late that you’re in way over your head.
If you’re contemplating a highly involved project, bear in mind that even high-profile celebrity professionals reach out for help once in awhile. Many people call in a professional when faced with a job that calls for plumbing know-how or rewiring, which is always a safety concern. No DIY project is worth a trip to the hospital. Remember that mistakes can be costly in more ways than one. You could wind up doing damage that might undermine your home’s value and require you to pay extra for a contractor to fix what you’ve broken.
Figuring it out
Safety comes first, but there are other factors to take into account too. If you’re clearly looking at a major expense or a long, drawn-out job, it may not be worth your while after all. One good way to figure it all out is to add up the expenses, then compare the total cost with what it would take to hire a professional. You should compile quotes from professional contractors. Discussing your project with a pro can also give you an idea of the safety issues involved.
Best bang for your buck
Of course, there are lots of home projects that are perfect for DIYers, jobs that don’t require a great deal of knowledge about home repair or constitute a risk to life and limb. You can save money by painting your walls, doors and cabinets, updating fixtures, installing a new shower head and other “low-impact” tasks. Adding some crown molding to your home’s interior is a great way to add a touch of sophistication, though you should make sure it fits in with your home’s architecture and decor. While you should probably leave a complete bathroom or kitchen remodel to a pro (kitchen remodels average around $22,000 nationally), replacing the grout between your bathroom or kitchen tiles is a DIY job that can do a lot to brighten a room. A simple rotary tool attachment makes it easy to dig out that old grout in an hour or two.
Some tasks may seem simple but include an element of risk that you may not want to accept. For example, those gutters need to be cleaned out every year, but you have to get on a ladder to reach them. Particularly if you own a two- or three-story home, it may be best to hire a handyman or roofer to do the work. Getting your gutters and downspouts cleaned generally costs $91 – $208 in Davidson.
Making good decisions about home remodeling projects and upgrades is a matter of gathering information, doing a little arithmetic, and being honest with yourself about safety. Consider which projects you should DIY and which ones you should hire for when you have all these facts.
This post is written by guest author Paul Denikin. Paul Denikin is passionate in sharing and helping homeowners try DIY projects and make their homes more personalized.