Homeowners who enjoy do-it-yourself projects and are hands-on have a plethora of resources to guide them through the process. Resources include online tutorials, magazines and help from the local retailer. Many projects are straightforward and can be easily accomplished. Examples include painting, replacing light fixtures or décor-related tasks like installing window treatments.
However, some projects require expert skills to ensure safety and that remodeling is done right. Here’s what you should ask yourself:
1. Is a permit required?
If yes, consider a professional. Some cities may grant a permit for a DIY job, however many will require a licensed contractor based on the complexity of the work.
2. Could I be seriously injured?
Don’t take on any project that could have catastrophic consequences for yourself or family if a mistake is made. Anything involving electrical, structural work including load bearing walls and projects that use natural gas. Errors in natural gas projects could result in poisoning, fire or even an explosion.
3. Could this ruin my house?
Resetting bathroom fixtures, such as replacing a toilet, sink or faucets can be accomplished using a handbook. But if not installed correctly and the plumbing connections aren’t 100% complete, it could result in an unperceivable leak. Left unchecked, any leak can result in black mold, a weakened subfloor or wall which could deteriorate over time causing major damage.
4. What is the cost of my time?
Are you a “Weekend Warrior” who has a full-time job and can only tend to house projects after work or over the weekend. Before saying no to a pro, consider the costs. Not only money but time and inconvenience to you and your family when living through partially completed projects.
5. If done incorrectly, what’s the cost to correct?
Smaller projects are more suited to DIY. Where DIY doesn’t pay is when mistakes happen. In the case of a poorly installed product, it can be almost double the cost — especially if additional product is required to correct the issue.
There are always hidden costs that creep up. Some projects require specialty tools which can be costly when needed. Many tools come with a hefty price tag, sometimes hundreds of dollars. Having the correct tool can make the difference between success and difficulty.
Watching home improvement shows is inspiring. The internet is full of many sources of ideas, tools and how-to guides. But when it comes to bigger projects, especially those involving electrical, building structure and natural gas, hire a professional. Ensure the well-being of your family and get on the road to remodeling done right.
H. Dale Contant, CRPM, President, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, [email protected]