DIY vs. hired help: Benefits and drawbacks
Learning how to do simple home projects yourself can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. And with all of the information available on the internet, laypeople are able to do many home projects themselves. But sometimes it's important to call a professional. Learn when it's OK to do a project yourself and when to hire a professional.
Before you tackle a carpentry project, whether it's as simple as fixing a chair or as complicated as hanging kitchen cabinets, take a moment to assess your skills and time. Are you just hankering to bring out your miter saw and cordless drill, and do you have the time to research a new skill or trade? If so, you could probably put this on your DIY list. But keep in mind that these types of projects often take more time then imagined, and a certain level of patience and perfectionism is required. Cabinets hanging slightly crooked will get noticed — and not in a good way. You might be able to save some money if you DIY, but the stress of doing carpentry projects is not for everyone.
Most surface fixtures like light fixtures, new faucets or new doorknobs are fairly simple to install yourself if you're merely replacing existing items with similar items. Grab a friend who has completed similar projects or a good DIY book, and you can learn how to replace these items in no time, saving you lots of money and giving you a great sense of accomplishment.
Whenever your project involves electrical lines, gas lines or plumbing, unless you have training, these areas are typically best left to the pros. You might be able to start the project yourself — such as demolishing the wall — but then call in a professional to reroute your electric, gas and plumbing lines. Without proper training, electric, gas and plumbing lines can be difficult to move and can also quickly cause issues that will need to be fixed by a professional. Electrical outages, dripping pipes or gas leaks are never a good thing. So be assertive and plan to hire a pro for any electrical, gas and plumbing line moving or rerouting.
Some flooring is easier to install then others, but all of it takes patience, lots of time and the right tools. Consider what type of flooring you are installing: Floating laminate wood flooring is fairly simple to do yourself in the grand scheme of installing flooring, while installing porcelain tile on a diagonal is more complex. Have you tackled any projects like this before, or do you have a friend in the trade who is willing to help? Installing your own flooring can save you up to 50 percent in cost, but remember that it will take a lot of time, the right tools and patience to do it right.
DIY construction projects — think moving walls, installing new roofing or building something — are often best left to the professionals. While it is possible to do these things yourself, they are often projects that will take a very long time to complete if you have a job, children or other responsibilities. DIY construction projects are not for the faint of heart or for those who lack patience. So if you choose to tackle one of these yourself, allow extra time — double what you think it will take you — and extra money for tools you may need to purchase or for extra supplies when mistakes are made, and take lots of time to research exactly how to complete your project from start to finish.