A major part of assessing your DIY skill is knowing when you lack the DIY skill to complete a project. Whether you fear for your safety, don’t think you can complete the job in a reasonable amount of time, lack the skills to do the job right, or simply don’t have the time – there are plenty of scenarios where the best DIY decision you can make is not doing it yourself. Here are some of those instances.
When doing it yourself is going to be cost inefficient
There are plenty of home improvement jobs that you can do yourself and save tons of money on labor costs. Some of these projects include painting, tiling a shower or kitchen backsplash, and building a wood deck in your backyard. If you have enough skill to do the job right, it may be worth taking the time to do it yourself.
But there are some projects that, once you factor in materials cost, value your own labor, and make allowances for mistakes and repairs, will wind up costing more to do them yourself. Take a job like replacing a tub, for example.
“Expenses can add up rapidly, with potential mistakes ratcheting up the final costs. For $2,500 to $3,500, a professional contractor will remove your old tub, install your new tub and handle any plumbing and tub surround issues that may arise. Considering this job’s potential for disaster as a DIY project, most homeowners find using a pro to be a bargain,” says Investopedia.
When the job is too much for one person
Let’s say you need help moving items to storage. It’s completely possible for you to do it yourself, making multiple trips with small loads and doing the heavy lifting yourself. But just because it’s possible, is it pragmatic? Why take 16 hours to do a job yourself when you can spend a little bit of money, hire help, and get the job done in 2 hours?
This concept is useful when thinking about potential DIY projects. How much do you value your time, and what would be the time cost for doing the job yourself vs. hiring help? For big projects like kitchen and bathroom remodels, you have to ask yourself: is the satisfaction of doing it yourself worth living in a construction zone for weeks or months? Check here for a great list of over 60 home projects with tips of whether to DIY or hire help.
When the job has a potentially hazardous element involved
Some home projects seem doable when you think about them in broad terms, but as soon as you get down to the grit of it and itemize each task involved to complete the project, you often find that there are some steps that may involve a bit of danger for the amateur.
A good rule of thumb is that professionals should be called if a project involves major electrical work, major plumbing work, the use of heavy machinery that you’re unfamiliar with, or involves messing with a load-bearing wall. It’s not only about the potential danger to you while you work on the project, but you also must think about protecting your family from danger. Messing up an electrical job, for instance, could be a danger to your family down the road.
The DIY-or-bust mentality is fraught with problems. Sometimes the best decision you can make is to let the pros handle it (check this chart for common jobs and their DIY vs Pro recommendations). If the job is too costly, too lengthy, or too dangerous, you’ll only create additional headaches for yourself if you attempt to work beyond your capabilities.
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