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How to Know When to DIY and When to Hire a Professional

Taking on a home project can be a lot of fun for the do-it-yourself type. If you tackle a home project yourself, you can have ultimate control over all aspects - from the materials you use to the final design. There are a lot of benefits to DIY home projects.

But there are also a lot of potential complications, and sometimes it’s best to hire a professional. Here’s how to assess your own skills and decide whether you’re up to the task.

Consider the technical skills involved in the remodel

There are plenty of home improvement projects that almost anyone who can wield a hammer can tackle, like installing new doorknobs and drawer pulls, replacing light fixtures, painting, and installing new shelving units. Then you have the next tier projects that require some level of know-how, like putting up a fence around the backyard pool, replacing a showerhead, or building a space for a murphy bed in your guest room. After that, you have projects that can require quite a bit of expertise.

Take moving a bathroom wall for example. Sounds easy enough, right? Maybe not. Just think about all the things this may involve.

“Say the idea is moving a wall to create some extra bathroom space. This could involve moving the plumbing in the basement, adding new floor framing, rerouting electrical wires, removing and replacing trim on the wall, matching the wall texture to the original, and painting,” notes

Be realistic about your own skills. If you are on the fence about whether you have the skills to complete a home remodel, look online for advice. If there are a large amount of tutorials available, you may be able to use those to supplement your current skills.

Think about the time factor

It’s not just about IF you can finish a project, it’s also about WHEN. Even if you can do something, it may take you twice or even three or four times as long as it would take a professional. If the project is a bathroom or kitchen remodel, for instance, are you comfortable with having an important room of your home basically under construction for weeks or months? Is the rest of you family ok with that?

Even if you could technically do a project yourself, if you want it done fast, you might want to consider hiring professionals.

Safety first

Of course, it all comes down to safety. The biggest determining factor in whether to DIY or call the pros is safety. Unless you’re a skilled plumber or electrician, plumbing and electrical work should always be left to the pros. Not only is there severe risk of injury or death for you, as the one doing the job, but for your family if you don’t do the job right.

It’s not just about getting electrocuted, however. You may need help moving large items for a home project or moving items into storage. If you’re attempting to do it by yourself, you risk physical injury and damage to your home. Does the project require speciality tools like a jackhammer, nailgun, or certain type of saw? If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very easy to lose a finger - or worse.

A little risk - of failure, of extra costs, and yes, some non-serious injury - shouldn’t make you scared to take on a DIY home project. But you need to be smart and realistic about your skills. If you simply have no idea what you’re doing, don’t want to live in a construction zone for months, or are tackling something dangerous, it may be best to call in the pros.

Guest article by Paul Denikin.

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