May is National Home Improvement Month and chances are that you are thinking of tackling some home improvement projects all on your own. Many homeowners want to take on home projects to add value or simply make it their own. If you are one of the growing number of American homeowners that are rolling up their sleeves, our hats are off to you. Go for it.
You can save a lot of money by putting on your DIY (Do It Yourself) hat and putting some sweat equity into your home. However, the downside is that, if you don’t know what you are doing, you could end up with less than perfect work or even cause damage to your home. So, how do you know which jobs you can do yourself and which projects are better given to someone that knows what they are doing? Here are a few questions to ask before you start swinging that sledge hammer.
Do you have the skills required to do the work?
Many jobs seem deceptively simple until you get into the project and find that you don’t know how to finish the job. When this happens, you end up needing to call in a professional to finish the job or much worse, undo the damage you caused and start all over again. If you wanted to DIY in order to save money, you might end up costing yourself a lot of extra money instead.
For example, you might feel comfortable replacing a light switch or installing a ceiling fan. However, do you have the skills needed to take on plumbing jobs?
If you don’t know where to start on a project, call in a friend or family member that knows what they are doing and get their advice. Remember those YouTube videos? They really are great for small projects.
Do you have the right tools?
Nothing makes a project go easier than having the right tool for the job. For instance, do you want to refinish those wonderful oak floors that were a big selling feature for your home? You probably don’t have a big floor sander lying around in your garage. You should plan on renting the tools and equipment that you don’t own or can’t borrow from your friends and neighbors. Be sure that you have the skills and knowledge required to safely operate the tools.
Does the job require a permit?
If the work requires that you seek a permit, this might be a big sign that you should hire a professional. Permit jobs often require inspections and advanced skills. A professional will know how to handle the permit process as well as how to complete the job safely and with the quality you want.
Do you have the time and energy?
You have the skills and knowledge you need. You have the tools required to do the job. Are your ready to finish the job?
Let’s say that you want to do a bathroom make over. You have the skills to paint walls, replace the cabinets, install a new sink, and re-tile the shower area. Great! However, are you willing to live with the mess and can you do without the bathroom for the three or four of weekends it might take you to finish the job on your own? If not, tap your pool of friends and ask them to help. Your project will go faster, and you will have a great time getting it finished.
Are there some jobs that you should never do on your own?
There sure are.
- You don’t want to get involved with hazardous materials like asbestos or lead paint. Leave those to professionals.
- You should never work on your home’s gas system. Call your gas company instead.
- You should be very cautious of working on your roof.
- If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t work with electricity.
Here are some final thoughts about DIY projects for you to consider.
DIY home improvement projects can be rewarding. You feel good about doing the job on your own. You can save money and you can make your home look and feel just the way you want. You might even be able to add value to your home. Our advice is to be honest with yourself. Don’t start projects that you are not qualified to complete safely or that you can’t do well. Otherwise, go ahead and get to work. Flex your home improvement muscles. You just might be surprised at what you can do on your own.