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Master Contractor Bob Vila’s Tips for Aspiring DIY-ers

Photos: Courtesy of Vila Media, LLC

Bob Vila is a master contractor and probably one of the first TV show hosts to teach homeowners how to tackle a variety of renovation projects.

According to Vila, more and more people are discovering the fun (and savings) gained from home repairs and improvements. But the most important thing to consider before starting a project is cost. Not only in terms of how much money you can afford to spend on a renovation, but also in terms of how much your home is worth.

The second thing to consider is whether you are planning on staying in your house for 10 or even 20 years? If so, go ahead and paint your living room purple. But, Vila says, “If you think you might be moving on in a year or two or four years, any home improvement you make should be attractive to the average home buyer.”

Testing the waters

If you’ve never done any DIY, start with a small project, like painting a small room to see how you feel about the prep work, the sanding, the cleaning, et cetera. If you hate it, that’s a good indication you should consider hiring a professional.

The other crucial piece of DIY is knowing your limitations. Installing a dimmer switch is one thing; rewiring or fixing cables is problematic and dangerous. Anything to do with electricity, gas, furnaces or plumbing should be left to licensed professionals. That’s non-negotiable, according to Vila and other experts.

The bigger picture

Lastly, consider how long a project will take. Some projects can be completed in a day or weekend, while others might take weeks or even months. Budget for time because you don’t want to be left without a kitchen (or toilet) for longer than necessary.

Vila’s take on DIY trends is what sets him apart from flock. He’s noticed the impact millennials have had on the DIY world. How they’ve revived mid-century modern (probably in part thanks to watching Mad Men) — from clean and contemporary design to bright colors, lots of whites and cool greys.

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