To DIY or Not to DIY? How to Assess Your Next Remodel

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The freedom to customize is one of the best parts of owning a home, but some homeowners dive into a remodel only to discover they’re in over their heads. While tackling home improvement on your own can be a great way to save money, not all projects are suitable for DIY. Use this guide to determine whether you should hire a pro for your next project or go it alone.

Assess the Project

Before you decide to DIY, take a full accounting of everything the project requires based on the inspection you received from First-In Home Inspection. Consider not only time and money, but also your own skills and enthusiasm for the job ahead. While updating your own home can save you money, it also takes more time and energy than hiring a contractor.

Man Checking Blueprints While Building Kitchen CabinetsTo decide if you’re up for the job, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do you need more: time or money? If you’re time-rich and cash-poor, a DIY remodel might be the right choice for you. On the other hand, some homeowners are better off investing their time at work than on home improvement.
  2. Can you live without parts of your home? Areas of your home will be unusable until the project is complete, and that could be a long time if you do it yourself. Consider whether the room being updated is a space you can live without, like a half bathroom or office, or a space you need for day-to-day living, like a kitchen.
  3. Do you have the tools? Equipment rental costs can add up quickly, especially if you need a tool for more than one day. Contractors, on the other hand, will arrive with everything needed to get the job done.
  4. Is it safe? Some projects simply aren’t safe for unskilled hands. Rather than risk hurting yourself or damaging your home, let professionals handle any high-risk tasks.
  5. Do you enjoy DIY projects? If getting your hands dirty isn’t your idea of fun, your patience will wear out long before your remodeling project nears completion. While home improvement can be enjoyable, it’s not for everyone.

Common Remodeling Projects

  • Kitchen Remodel

    When a project’s price tag creeps over $20,000, it’s tempting to DIY instead. However, remodeling a kitchen is a complex job, and since it’s the first room buyers look at, you don’t want to mess it up. Plus, a DIY remodel could leave you eating takeout for months on end, a cost that adds up quickly. Keep in mind that adding a new floor, stainless steel appliances, and stone or granite countertops could increase your home’s value.

  • Bathroom Remodel

    Making minor updates to a bathroom’s look is an approachable project for many homeowners and can be a great way to save money. However, if you want a more comprehensive remodel (which can be a fantastic selling point for your home) that will require plumbing and electrical work, it’s best not to attempt it on your own.

  • Room Addition

    Adding a room is a huge task, and doing it wrong could impact your home’s structural integrity, insulation, and value. For this home remodeling project, unskilled help should stick to interior design while contractors make the structural and electrical updates. The cost of a room addition can vary dramatically; consult a contractor to get a quote for your project.

  • Deck Construction

    Adding a deck to your home is surprisingly doable. Homeowners will require intermediate carpentry skills and an eye for detail, but completing this project yourself means a cost of around $1,500 for a raised deck rather than $3,500.

  • Flooring

    When it comes to flooring, you may be in a quandary about what to choose, especially depending on the room. If you don’t have your heart set on a certain type, it can be hard to decide. According to Nerd Wallet, the typical range for solid hardwood is $4 to $8 a square foot, while engineered wood installation runs about $3 to $10 a square foot. Luxury vinyl plank can run anywhere from $1,915 to $6,491 for installation, and carpeting runs $3 to $6 per square foot. Depending on the size of your home, this can add up quickly. If flooring isn’t a must right now, considering instead having floors refinished or carpeting spruced up by a professional.

Safety Concerns

There are some home improvement tasks that homeowners should never do alone. Not only can electrical work be dangerous, but in many places, permits require a licensed contractor to complete the job. While plumbing work is unlikely to injure you, a mistake could result in costly damage to your home. Asbestos, common in materials used to build some older homes, is highly toxic and requires trained hands and protective equipment. While homeowners can get involved in other aspects of the project, a professional should always handle these tasks.

DIY projects are a fun way to add value to your home while honing your own handyman skills, but not all tasks are suitable for homeowners. When it comes to major updates to your home, trust professionals to handle anything that could permanently impact your home’s value or your safety.

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