Should I Hire a Contractor or Do-It-Myself for My Remodel?

Home renovations can increase the value of your property, or even just make it a more beautiful and more comfortable place for you and your family. Some renovation jobs are fairly easy to do yourself, and may even be a fun weekend DIY project. But when is it better to leave it to the experts?  Here are the things to consider.

Can you get injured?

There are some jobs that need proper training and safety equipment, such as roofing work or any extensive electrical repairs. You could get seriously injured, or even killed. That’s not worth any money you save from hiring a contractor.  

Also, consider the long-term safety risks if you aren’t able to do the task correctly. For example, you may not be electrocuted, but faulty wiring could lead to a fire.

Can it cause damage to your property?

A botched-up plumbing job can cause water leaks that can weaken the wall to the point that it cracks or be at risk for collapse. It can also cause wooden flooring or fixtures to rot, and leave ugly stains that seep through the paint and wallpaper.

In the end, you’ll be spending more money to re-do the work and repair any damage it’s caused.

Does the renovation work need a permit?

Check your city’s laws about what kind of renovation work needs a permit. While you can apply for one yourself, the paperwork can be a headache—and some types of jobs actually require you to prove that you’re working with a licensed contractor.  

That permit isn’t just government bureaucracy: it’s an indication of the difficulty and the safety risk involved in that type of construction.

Do you need special equipment?

Weigh the cost of hiring a contractor versus buying the equipment. Unless you foresee yourself frequently using those tools in the future, it will only waste money and take up space.

Do you need someone to check for hidden damage?

Let’s say you notice that a few bricks on your side porch are coming loose. It’s easy enough to replace the bricks yourself, but you may want to ask why they’re coming off in the first place.

That’s why even before you do any DIY repair work, you may want to ask a professional to take a look at it, so you know what the problem is and get his recommendations on what you can do to fix it or prevent it from getting worse.

Do you have the right skills and experience?

The question isn’t can you do it, but how well can you do it. Some jobs, like tiling the kitchen, require precision that you can’t get from watching a DIY video on YouTube.

But some jobs are easy, like painting an accent wall or adding shelving. And if you’ve done several woodworking DIY projects, you could add a patio deck without a problem. Assess the difficulty of the job, and your own experience and skills.

Weighing the cost

All renovation work—whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor—will involve time, money, risks, and benefits. Weigh the pros and cons.

If a DIY job will compromise your safety or the value of your property, it’s better to find other ways to save on your renovation costs. For example, instead of buying reclaimed wood, you can use CDA wood. It looks exactly like expenses reclaimed wood, but it is cheaper, safer, and comes in a variety of shades.