DIY Projects: When to Ask for Help
Homeowners, like most people, typically like to save money. Maybe that’s why you’re tempted to reconstruct that retaining wall, or replace some rotting siding by the deck out back. But, be careful, while some DIY is healthy for your budget and even wise as you build your skills as a homeowner, biting off more than you can chew can cost big money if you take a wrong turn and get in over your head.
DIY Projects in the Age of YouTube
YouTube is amazing. Armed with a smartphone and a five-bar signal, you may feel like you can take on any DIY projects. Fixing the busted auger belt in the snow blower? Installing a vent in the spare bathroom? Bring it on! The world is your oyster.
It’s Just Time and Money, Right?
Maybe you DIY to save money or time, or maybe because you don’t like calling contractors. What happens when you find out that renting a floor sander, buying sealer, finish, stain, and everything else for your project will cost nearly as much as hiring a contractor? And, then, there’s the day or three you’ll need off from work. How do you decide when to DIY and when to hire it out?
Gauge the Difficulty of the Job (For You, Not Everyone Else)
If you helped your dad roof houses during high school, roofing will be easier for you than for the next aspiring DIYer. Generally, though, the average homeowner will likely manage home maintenance tasks like painting interior walls, doing seasonal yard maintenance, and taking on DIY craft projects that add a personal touch to home décor. Sure, you can hire these jobs out, but wouldn’t you rather save that money for tougher home projects?
Beware Major House Surgery
Large projects take time … and turns. Tearing down walls, shoring up foundation walls, rewiring your house. … If the project is large and/or requires getting into your home’s major systems, you probably want to start looking at general contractors. Plus, there’s a reason plumbers and electricians have bonds, insurance, and licenses. Mistakes happen. When they do, they cost time and money. Hire pros who know how to avoid them.
Does the town want to know what you’re doing?
If it requires a permit, it’s probably best left to the pros. Installing a fence, windows, or making structural changes to your home almost always needs a permit. You’ll likely need to acquire a permit for plumbing and electrical work too. Play it safe, and hire an expert.
There’s no shame in asking for help. Sometimes you know the project is over your head, and, other times, you find out mid-way through, as the dust settles. Call in the experts to do the job, finish the job, or even fix damage from your well-intentioned DIY efforts.
Save your time and money for the DIY projects you know that you can do. For everything else, hire a pro.