With any home improvement project, the homeowner always has the choice to do-it-themselves or hire a contractor. If you are considering a DIY project, there are a few items to consider.
Home renovations experts suggest that for every renovation project that a contractor is hired to do, they are chosen for one of three reasons: safety, difficulty, or time. We’ll address all three of these issues, and more in this article.
Safety Before Savings
Any home renovation project should be carefully planned to ensure that damage to both the home and homeowner are minimized. Projects involving major electrical and roofing should be handled by a professional because…well…you could get killed. Safety should be first and foremost, so when you consider a DIY project, ask yourself, “What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I attempt this project by myself?”. Potential damage to your home should also be considered. If you ask what the worst possible thing that could happen to your home would be if you did-it-yourself is that the home could sustain severe damage, then you should probably hire a contractor. Many examples of DIY projects gone wrong typically include water damage due to improper use of plumbing techniques.
Skills…or Lack Thereof
A good way to evaluate if you have all the skills you need to complete a large DIY project is to start by asking yourself if the project needs a permit. Projects needing a permit often include advanced plumbing and electric skills and the need to maintain the structural integrity of the home. Each township or borough has different regulations when it comes to guaranteeing the renovations are done right. You will need to familiarize yourself with your area’s regulations, apply for the building permit, and hold all necessary inspections throughout the project. Some communities require working with a contractor in order to get a building permit, which you will need to consider before you start your project. Remember that many large remodel projects require a good bit of technical know-how. If you don’t have all of the skills necessary to complete the project, you will need to seek the assistance of a contractor.
Paying for a professional job should be looked at as a good investment. If you are not sure what you are doing, you’ll most likely have to call for assistance from a professional. This can mean more cost to you, especially if the professional has to backtrack to fix errors or damage. Don’t pay twice for the same job. If you know you would be learning new skills as you go, stay safe and prevent costly repairs by delegating the parts of the project outside of your skill set in advance.
Another thing to remember is that if the remodel project is not done correctly, it can damage the value of your home. Prospective buyers can typically discern the difference between a professional job and a novice job. Having your remodel project completed by a contractor can ensure your home’s value remains intact or increases in value.
Time: The Irreplaceable Commodity
Another thing that needs to be considered in a remodeling project is time. Do you have the time to invest into a large remodel project? A kitchen or bathroom remodel can take 4-6 weeks or more when completed by a professional. Most contractors are able to invest full 8 hour days into your project to ensure timely completion. Most homeowners do not have 8 hour days to invest in completing large remodel projects so, if you DIY, you should be prepared to live with the project for 2-3 months. This is a good time to ask yourself questions such as “Would I be giving up too much time with my family if I DIY?”, “Will I be grumpy, fatigued, or unproductive at work if I take on this project?”, and “Is the amount of money I am saving by doing this project myself worth the trade of my time?”.
Warranties: An added bonus
Most professional renovation companies warranty their work for a certain amount of time. Once the project is completed, if any problems arise, the contractor will come back to fix the issues for no additional cost within a certain timeframe. If you do the project yourself, you automatically must fix whatever issues arise. This may not be a big deal for smaller projects, but if the project was not done correctly to begin with, you may have to call a professional to redo your hard work and any money you may have saved by doing it yourself is at risk of being lost.
So should I DIY?
Many homeowners feel satisfaction at the completion of their projects. This feeling is unmatched. If you have the skills, time, resources, and the ability to keep you and your home safe, a DIY project might be a fit for you. However, if you calculate the time spent, the physical labor involved, the risk to your and your home’s safety, and you find any one of these areas to be too great a cost to pay, your renovation project should be handled by a professional.
Cedars Woodworking and Interior Painting is a professional custom renovations company. If you have questions regarding a remodel project for your home, please give us a call at 717-392-1736.