Do it yourself — or DIY — has become more than just a term when it comes to home renovations. It’s all about surfing for the right how-to video, right? Not so fast. Unfortunately, DIY doesn't always save money because DIY disasters can cost homeowners plenty in repairs and redos.
Here are seven key questions to ask yourself before deciding to DIY or hire a pro.
How Complex Is the Job?
Make a list of each step needed to get the job done. The more professional skills needed, the more complex the job. Renovations that include electrical or gas lines, or plumbing may need permits and inspections. Never compromise safety and the structural integrity of the house.
How Much Will the Job Cost?
Tradespeople get special pricing from vendors, which is unavailable to the public. This allows them to sometimes get you better pricing on materials than you could get at your local home improvement store. In other words, DIY savings on labor may be end up being a waste with the higher prices you will pay on materials.
What Materials Are Needed?
Most home improvement stores will rent power tools to homeowners but they may not be of professional quality or the latest design. Purchasing new tools for a single job may be cost prohibitive. Also, don’t forget the price of attachments, drill bits, saw blades, and batteries.
How DIY Skilled Are You?
Critically assess your abilities and experience. If this will be your first time using a wet tile saw, for instance, you likely will make more mistakes than a skilled tile installer. More tile breakages or inaccurate cuts mean buying more materials, leading to higher costs. Before taking on a job with a new power tool, take classes, shadow a professional, or ask a friend in that trade to coach you.
What Time Constraints Do You Face?
A professional can likely finish a project more quickly than a rookie DIYer. Also, don’t forget to factor in your full-time job, which means your project will be relegated to nights, weekends or vacation days. How long are you — or your family — willing to live in a renovation zone?
How Much is Your Time Worth?
Is it worth taking multiple hours, days or weeks away from your family, work, and hobbies to devote to the renovation? Or would you be better off working a few extra hours at your job to pay for the improvements?
How Much Will Undoing Your Work Cost?
You can't afford to make any mistakes. If you end up handing the job over to a professional, will the work need to be redone or worse, demolished and started anew? Mistakes can be expensive.