DIY Or Call A Professional?


Every homeowner who is skilled at DIY asks themselves the same question before they start on a renovation; can they handle the work themselves or should they hire a professional? If you’re willing get stuck in, there may be more you can do yourself than you might think.

Here are some of the projects you can do yourself, and when you should call in the professionals. 

Go Pro: Make a plan before you start

Before rushing into a home renovation project and start your ‘to do’ list, you should take a hard look at everything that is coming up, think about the costs and the timeframes involved.

It’s well worth it to pay some to strategically plan the project for you, even if you’re on a budget. You need to work out the maximum scope of work, break down how to phase it and strategize properly.

For large scale renovations, you will need an inspector to check the systems in your home and will need an architect or contract you trust, like Hometown Roofing ATX, to put forward a proper plan. A professional will also also be able to alert you too any urgent problems that you need to solve. 

DIY: Purchasing Materials

An easy thing that anyone can take on is purchasing their own materials, equipment, and appliances for a renovation project. You can pick out things like tiles, cabinetry, doors, and bathroom, and kitchen fixtures, yourself. Shop at antique stores or flea markets. 

Ask your contractor for recommendations of where you can shop for these materials without breaking the budget.

Expert advice on choosing these finishes can be helpful, but do the buying yourself. Ask your architect for advice on the quantities and sizes you will need. Many homeowners make the mistake of not ordering enough of something or ordering too early. 

Go Pro: Structural repairs

The homeowner shouldn’t affect any structural part o the house. Older homes often have structural wear that will need to be upgraded by a professional architect and contractor, or a structural engineer. It’s smart to do this during a renovation. 

If the house has been split into multiple units at some point, there will be repairs needed to the structure of the home. Be prepared for surprises when you’re working on renovations in an old home.

You never know what might be found when you start working on an older property. Whatever you do find, you’ll need the proper help to handle it without doing further damage to your property. 

DIY: Lite demolition

Nobody should take a sledgehammer to the walls of their own home without a professional, but lite levels of demolition are perfectly possible to do yourself without causing any issues.

Leave the walls alone, but you can rip out old cabinets, appliances, fixtures, tile, moldings, floorboards, or carpeting without any help. 

Take things apart carefully piece by piece, and avoid anything structural. If there’s a lot of light demolition work to be done, you could invite some friends over to help you. After that, call a contractor and ask them to take over for any demolition of anything structural, like taking down walls.

You’ll need a team for any kind of large-scale demo project, as doing it yourself will take far too long. 

Go Pro: Asbestos

Asbestos is a thing that nobody wants to find in their home when they’re renovating, but it does turn up from time to time.

Asbestos is not always accounted for in your home inspection but if you do find it, you can’t do any other work until it has been removed. Never touch it yourself, and don’t hire just anyone to handle it.

In fact, asbestos will need to be tested for and then removed, by a qualified professional.

Go Pro: Gas, electricity, and plumbing

Are you planning any major work on gas, plumbing, or electrics in your renovation project?

You need a professional to handle any work like this. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of this kind of work needs a particular permit. In some states, plans for major plumbing and electrical changes, as well as structural changes or the removal of asbestos, needs to be approved.

Getting the right permits can be complicated and time-consuming, and this need will be much easier with help from an architect and expediter. An expediter can make completing your project a lot easier and faster. 

DIY: Cosmetics

The cosmetics of your renovations is where you, as the homeowner, have the most flexibility. Cosmetic changes don’t need any approvals or permits, and there are lots of resources to help you do this DIY online and elsewhere. 

You can learn to do some cosmetic changes using instructional YouTube videos and renovation forums.

Learn to apply plasterwork and brick mortar, strip woodwork, create ceiling moldings, and install tile work by yourself. You might be able to find some great tips to help you with tricky parts of the changes you want to make. Researching a lot can help you to learn lots about how to do the work yourself.

With thorough research, you can accomplish some projects that you might have thought you couldn’t manage alone and originally planned to use a professional for, like repainting the exterior of the house. 

A good rule of them for deciding whether you should do the job yourself or call in a professional is to only take on jobs yourself that can be undone.

That way if the task you take on goes on, you can bring in a professional to put the work right without having to spend ages undoing the work you did. If you do need to call in a professional to correct your errors, this will cost you and could be embarrassing for you, so don’t take on any task unless you feel confident you can manage to pull it off by yourself.

If undoing your work would be too expensive or time-consuming, just start with a professional. 

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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