Remodeling: DIY or Not?

By: Allison Millar, Contributing Writer
In: Necessary home improvements
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There are always home improvement projects that fall in that “DIY or Not” category. Perhaps they aren’t as complicated as doing a major room addition, but still require some skills. Can you do the work yourself and save some money? Here’s how to decide whether to DIY or hire a contractor.

When planning a remodeling project, define:

  • The scope of the project. What skills are needed? What tools?
  • The timeline. A bathroom remodeling might take three days (for minor updates) or three weeks (for a full blown remodeling). If you’re dealing with rerouting pipes and other structural issues, call a bathroom remodeling contractor and check out these tips from HGTV.
  • The level of quality you want from this remodeling. Many DIY remodeling projects fall short in this category because it’s tough to imitate the skills, tool selection, and years of experience that a contractor has.

Do You Need a Contractor?

If you’re talking about painting a basement craft room you might not need a professional painting contractor, but if it’s the outside of your house? You bet. That’s one place not to skimp because it’s the focus of your curb appeal. Then there’s the whole safety aspect of working on a ladder! This video from Lowe’s gives you the basics, but don’t try this one without a contractor.

The Remodeling Scope

The decision whether to hire a contractor or try the work yourself often comes down to cost and the scope of the remodeling. Most people can paint a room (although not as well as a contractor), install shelving, plant some bushes, and do odd jobs around the house. When it comes to bigger remodeling projects or a bathroom remodeling that needs major construction expertise, ask yourself an important question. If you had plenty of extra money, would you even imagine doing it yourself?

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  1. 2 Responses to “Remodeling: DIY or Not?”

  2. Aug 27, 2010

    Allison, you offer great advice as to whether or not to hire a contractor. It is important for your readers to fully understand the task they are taking on when starting a DIY project. If you find yourself working out of a “How To…” book throughout the entirety of your remodel, chances are you took on a task to heavy for yourself. Likewise, make sure you have time. If work suddenly gets busy, you’ll have to live with a half-finished project in your house for months. Remember, projects have a way of taking up more time you estimate. DIY projects can easily save hundreds to thousands of dollars, however a remodel gone wrong can end up costing you a more. Analyze your project thoroughly to make sure you have a clear picture of what it takes to get it done.

  3. Oct 28, 2010

    We often tell folks this: “If you are just changing or enhancing aesthetics, that’s one thing. But if these changes require you to infringe on the integrity of your home, hire a professional”.

    Good Read.

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