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Choosing Between Professional and DIY for Your Home

Photo: Courtesy of William Felker

The magic of TV can obscure the technical know-how required for several home-improvement projects, especially as many reality shows condense an 8- or 10-week project down to thirty minutes. Understanding which projects are DIY-friendly and which should be left to a remodeling professional are key for your safety and enjoyment.

First, ask yourself if you’re trying to save money. Before beginning any project, take the time to map out all of your costs, including materials and any tools required to complete the project. Don’t forget to factor in your time as well. If you are new to home improvement, consider the cost of correcting any mistakes. Will doing the project yourself still provide cost savings?

Next, understand the local building codes and permit requirements. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to local building codes, so check with your municipality. Some jurisdictions require that the work be completed by a licensed and bonded professional in order to meet code. Codes and permits may seem like a burden, but they are in place to protect your property and your life — especially when it comes to structural, electrical and plumbing renovations.

Most importantly, consider whether it is safe for you to do this project by yourself. If you are not familiar with roofing or do not have fall-protection restraints, you might want to skip a roofing job. Some jobs can be fatal if not performed correctly or could result in property damage. Never enter into a DIY project that could jeopardize your safety or life.

The good news is that there are DIY-friendly jobs that can be completed easily. Here are three ways to update a room without risking safety:

1. Painting

One of the easiest ways to update your home is by painting the walls, cabinets and trim. With a wide variety of paint products available, there’s a color for every room and design style whether traditional, modern or somewhere in between.

2. Light fixtures

Replacing existing light fixtures can also make a big difference in the way a room feels. As long as new wiring is not required, a light fixture can be replaced with relative ease. Be sure to follow all manufacturer guidelines.

3. Window treatments

Another easy way to update a room is to change the window treatments. Blinds can be installed top down or bottom up for privacy and are available in a variety of materials including wood, fabric,or metal. Fabric drapery panels can add a level of elegance to any room and provide warmth in the winter and protection from the sun all year round.

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