Bootstrapping homeowners across the country are throwing on their tool belts and getting their hands dirty with DIY home repairs.
But should they?
There are tons of home improvement projects that are excellent for DIY. However, many homeowners underestimate how difficult jobs will be and end up overwhelmed with unfinished projects.
Getting halfway through a home repair and calling it quits costs more than simply hiring a professional in the first place.
To avoid getting yourself into DIY trouble, follow this advice before you decide to fix a house yourself.
4 Questions to Ask Before You DIY
- Does it require a permit? Needing a permit doesn’t necessarily mean that DIY is off-limits. Still, it’s a good sign that the project’s scope is beyond the average homeowner’s abilities.
- Is it safe? Some home repairs are inherently dangerous. That includes anything that involves heights, gas lines, or electricity. If there’s a potential for serious injury, don’t DIY.
- Do I have the tools? Tools are expensive, even if you rent instead of buy. If your project needs specialized tools, hiring the job out may be more economical.
- Do I have the skill? This is the hardest question to answer, but it’s the most important. Taking on a DIY repair beyond your skill level leads to poor-quality results. If you have to pay a pro to fix your work, you’ll spend even more than if you’d hired contractors in the first place.
Avoid These Common DIY Home Improvement Projects
Some home improvement projects should never be done DIY, no matter how confident you are in your skills. If your home needs one of these repairs, always hire a professional for the job.
Roofing is dangerous, but that’s not the only reason you shouldn’t DIY roof repairs. If you fasten shingles or flashing incorrectly, it could continue to let water seep in, causing untold damage to your home.
Roof repairs can start in the low $1,000s, but the overall price of your roofing project depends on the extent of the repairs.
Gas Line Repair
Gas leaks aren’t something you want to mess with. A small gas leak can make you seriously ill or even cause an explosion. If you need a new gas appliance installed or a gas line reconfigured, call a plumber.
Plumbers can cost anywhere from $45 to $200 an hour. Call around to find a good deal, but make sure the plumber you hired is licensed to work with natural gas.
For pest control needs beyond setting a few mouse traps or putting out ant bait, call a pest service. Pesticides are potent substances and using too much or applying incorrectly could harm your health.
Hiring a pest control service is especially important if you’re dealing with termites because the pest company knows where to look for structural damage from termites. Termite control isn’t a project you want to delay, so use this search tool to hire a local termite pro if you see these bugs around your home. Termite treatments average around $150-$300, but serious infestations cost more.
Installing Hardwood Flooring
You probably won’t hurt yourself or cause irreparable damage to your home if you try to DIY hardwood floors. However, between the cost of tools and the amount of time it takes, DIY hardwood flooring is rarely worth the effort.
After investing the money in hardwood, spend the extra on professional installation. You’ll save labor and get the results you want. Your final cost depends on your choice of hardwood, but installation starts around $6-$8 per square foot.
DIY can save money on home improvement projects, but it’s not always the answer.
If you really want to be frugal, build relationships with contractors you trust and save up for repairs so you don’t go into debt maintaining your home. When you take a measured approach to home upkeep, you can save money and spare yourself the stress of a DIY project gone wrong.
About The Author
When he’s not working as a civil engineer, Ray Flynn spends his time dreaming up new DIY projects that promote green living. Visit his site diyguys.net.