When homeowners decide to renovate some aspect of their homes, they have a choice: to hire contractors or installation workers to do it for them, or to DIY (do-it-yourself). DIY projects tend to be cheaper because you’re just paying for materials and not labor. You also have more control over the project’s timetable, its customization, and the price of the materials used. However, doing a renovation yourself means you need to have the proper skills, tools, knowledge of what materials are required, and the motivation to complete the project once it’s begun.
Another challenge is if you mess up your remodel, you could face paying far more money to correct the mistake than you would have paid a contractor to get the job done right the first time. The Hamilton Spectator, a Canadian newspaper, listed a few projects the average homeowner might be able to get done themselves, versus a few projects better left to the professionals.
For the homeowner:
– Leaky faucets
– Refinishing hardwood floors
– Installing new blinds
– Replacing a water filter
– Replacing a furnace filter
– Cleaning an AC unit
– Installing smoke alarms
– Replacing weather stripping around doors and windows
For the professionals:
– Roof repair
– Structural changes (including home additions)
– Window replacements
– Demolition jobs
– Changing, replacing, or repairing plumbing
– Changing, replacing, or repairing electrical implements
– Tree removal
– Paving the driveway
For other projects, just ask yourself these questions: Does the project require specialty knowledge, skills, or equipment? Is the project too big to complete in a timely and efficient manner? Is there a risk of danger in doing the job yourself. If you answer yes to any of these questions you’ll want to think twice about doing the project yourself.
Keep in mind that not all contractors were created equally. Some will specialize in certain aspects of renovation, like bricklaying, drywall installation, bathroom and kitchens, exterior restoration and repairs, siding installation, demolition, and structural improvements. Get references on any contractors before you hire them and request their quotes be delivered to you in writing so if a disagreement occurs partway through renovation, you’ll have a document to prove who’s right and who’s wrong.
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