Because you’re paying the mortgage, auto loan, college tuition, insurance, and utility bills, you might think it’s okay to go the do-it-yourself (DIY) route when it comes to home maintenance and improvement projects. Although there are a number of things anyone can do around the house, home improvement projects and major repairs are not part of this list. When you get the itch to repair something yourself, ask yourself this question: is it truly more cost-effective for me to repair the deck or is it more economical to hire a contractor?
Repainting your walls is one thing. Doing roof repairs is on a whole new level. The former involves the physical appearance of your house. Bungling that job will not affect the structure of your home. The latter requires more specialized skills. Repairing the roof by yourself can lead to serious physical injuries. Not only that. Your amateurish skills can cause more problems than help solve the current roof issues.
Type and Complexity of the Project
You can paint the home’s interior, install vinyl flooring and kitchen backsplash, and even add a deck. There are plenty of tutorials on the internet to guide you on how to do these. But remember that these also requires special tools and skills.
The type of home improvement project you can take on depends on the complexity of the project. Repainting the interior walls is easy enough. It might even be cathartic for you. But repainting the home’s exterior and even the interior ceilings? Those are more complicated projects that might require you to call the pros.
When it comes to replacing the bathtub and installing hardwood floors, ceramic tiles, and replacement windows, it’s best to leave these up to professionals. Not only do they have the necessary skills to deliver the right outcome, but they also have the tools, devices, and machinery for the project.
Level of Skills
What kind of repair jobs can you do around the house? Have you ever tried fixing the cabinet door or a leaky faucet? If all you ever did was to change a light bulb, that does not mean you can take on bigger projects. If you have never even tried fixing a clogged pipe, what makes you think you can replace the toilet bowl or the sink?
You have to assess your skills. While it’s cheaper to do things on your own, that’s only possible if you have the skills the job requires. Trying to do something outside your particular skill set will result in a bungled job. At the end of the day, you have not only made a mess of your home, but you also have to pay someone to fix what you damaged. It’s a waste of money to pay someone to repair what wasn’t broken before you tried fixing it by yourself.
Available Time to Work on the Project
How much time each week can you spend on the project? If you want to renovate your basement, for example, how much time will it take for you to finish it on your own? Working a regular job means you only have the evenings and weekends to work in your basement. It might take you months before you can fully transform it into what you envision.
Although doing it yourself saves money, it is a waste of time. Instead of resting after work and spending time with the family on weekends, you’ll be forced to labor in your basement. And how much did you actually saved? You had to buy the materials and rent power tools and equipment.
If you list down what you spent on your little DIY project, you’ll find out you only saved a couple of hundreds of dollars. Because you can only work a few hours a week, it has taken you longer than a contractor can do the job. As a result, you paid more days for renting the equipment than simply paying a professional and having the basement done in a week.
Money to Spend
It is perfectly fine to do home improvement projects yourself if you have the skills, tools, and time. However, money is the most important consideration when deciding whether to hire a contractor or do the repairs yourself. If you have the skills to do the job, then you’re going to save on labor costs. But if you’re going to play a hit-or-miss game with your home repairs, you’ll face an even bigger problem than what you currently have. Not only are you going to waste time fixing your mistakes, but you’ll also waste money that should’ve been used to pay a professional contractor.
As a homeowner, you have to make smart decisions with your time, money, and effort. Be honest with yourself. Determine the level of skills you have and what you can and cannot achieve around the house. What you want to do and think can do don’t always translate to what you can actually do.