If you spend enough time watching home improvement shows on TV, it’s easy to find lots of design inspiration and get ideas for projects you’d love to do around your house. But home improvement shows can also make some projects seem easier to accomplish than they really are. While there are many home repair and improvement projects the average person can absolutely handle themselves, there are many projects where it’s best to call a professional. Handling home improvement and repair projects yourself can save you a lot of money, but sometimes, a professional is well worth the money.
Before trying to do a project yourself, ask yourself these questions to figure out if you might be better off calling a professional.
How Dangerous is the Project?
There are a lot of ways you could get hurt working on a project at home. Many people end up taking trips to the emergency room after falling off a tall ladder or because they didn’t use a power tool properly. Professionals are not only trained in how to use things like these as safely as possible, they should have insurance to cover them if they do end up being injured on the job. Generally, if a project is cosmetic and doesn’t require any major tools, you’re probably safe to do it yourself. For example, if you want to paint a room in your house where the highest areas could easily be reached with a stepladder, it’s probably fine to handle it yourself. But painting the exterior of a home or a room with very tall ceilings are better jobs for professionals.
Could This Project Damage Your Home?
There are many projects that could cause serious damage to your home if it’s not handled correctly. Knocking down walls could potentially alter your home’s structural integrity and could result in even more problems if you run into electrical wiring or pipes you didn’t know were in there. In most cases, projects involving plumbing or electrical wiring should be left to professionals if it’s any more complicated than unclogging a drain or replacing a light switch or faucet. Plumbing projects can cause very expensive water damage if not done correctly and an improper electrical wiring job can pose a fire hazard and can be very dangerous for the person doing the job. Also, anything involving a gas line should be handled by a professional.
Does the Project Require Permits?
A good rule of thumb for deciding whether or not to hire a professional is whether or not a job requires building permits from the city. Unless you happen to be a professional carpenter or contractor, projects that require permits are generally too complicated to do as a DIY project and should be left to the pros.
How Complicated is the Job?
Now, this is where many homeowners get themselves into trouble. A project that might seem simple and straightforward on the surface can easily turn out to be more complicated than it initially seemed. If you’re unsure about whether or not you should hire a professional, get estimates from a few contractors and see if they mention any aspects to the project you didn’t anticipate. It’s also possible a job could require special tools or knowledge, in which case hiring a pro is the way to go. For example, most people don’t install replacement windows on their own.
How Large is the Project?
In many cases, people are only able to work on their home DIY projects on weekends or during evenings after work. If the project you’re thinking of starting is pretty large scale, such as replacing the flooring throughout your entire house, a professional would be able to get the job finished much sooner than you would be able to if you only worked on it in your spare time.