Doing your own repairs around the house is a great way to save money on the costs of home maintenance. However, DIYing home improvement projects isn’t always the prudent choice. If you take on a bigger DIY project than you can handle, you could ruin the project, damage your home or even hurt yourself.
Consider these pros and cons or before choosing to DIY your next home improvement project versus hiring a handyman or contractor.
Pros and Cons of DIY
Completing home improvements and repairs yourself can save a lot of money compared to the expense of hiring professional help. Plus, with the abundance of step-by-step instructions and videos found online, including these channels recommended by Sassy Townhouse Living, it’s possible to teach yourself basic home maintenance skills.
However, it’s important to consider that a project that takes a professional a couple of hours will take an average homeowner much longer to complete. This might leave areas of your home unusable for longer, especially if you can only commit evenings and weekends to your project. And when you finish, the results may not be professional quality. While slightly imperfect results don’t matter much when it comes to some home improvements, other mishaps could seriously devalue your home. It’s wise to do a practice run to test your skills before starting a project.
DIY is also less cost-effective if you have to purchase or rent tools to complete a project. While sometimes a tool is a great investment, other times it’s a big expense for a tool you only use once. Calculate all expenses before committing to DIY to ensure you’ll come out ahead.
Pros and Cons of a Handyman
A handyman is a great compromise between doing a repair yourself and hiring a licensed contractor. A handyman is a multi-purpose professional who can handle a number of minor jobs, which saves you the hassle and expense of hiring a different specialist for each project on your list.
The downside of handymen is that they can be unreliable. While many handymen are highly skilled, there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive quality work when hiring a handyman for the first time. In addition, some jobs require a licensed contractor to complete.
Pros and Cons of a Contractor
When you hire a contractor, you know a job will get done right. In the event it doesn’t, you have recourse because you hired an insured and bonded professional. Contractors are also necessary for certain home improvements and some states have additional laws regarding when homeowners must hire a licensed contractor.
The con of all that assurance is the higher price associated with professional labor. Compared to DIY projects and handyman repairs, licensed contractors are often the priciest option.
Still not sure if you should DIY your next home improvement project or hire a pro? Here are some repairs and improvements that homeowners are better off hiring out:
- Plumbing: A plumbing mistake that leads to a leak could lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. Some plumbing jobs also require a permit.
- Wiring: Many electrical jobs require a permit, and even if they didn’t, DIY wiring is a fire and personal safety hazard.
- Roofing: Roofing is a dangerous and skilled job. Homeowners can complete routine inspections of their roof, but should leave repairs and replacement to roofing professionals.
- Fencing: Installing a fence is a labor-intensive project, which may involve grading the property. Some privacy fences, including pool safety fences, need to adhere to specific standards. It’s best to hire a professional in your area.
- Garage door repair: Replacing a garage door requires specialized tools and mistakes have the potential to be fatal. Feel free to repaint your garage door, but don’t remove it.
- Tree removal: Another dangerous job, felling a tree could injure you, your home, or a neighbor’s property. An experienced professional has the tools to remove a tree safely.
DIY is a great choice for some jobs like the starter projects recommended by Family Handyman. When making cosmetic improvements or updating the landscaping, homeowners can get creative without worrying about permanently damaging their home. But when a home improvement project has the potential to alter your home’s value or threaten your personal safety, hiring professional help is always the smartest choice.
Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years of experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.