Worth It: DIY vs. The Pros

When it comes to updating your home, there are a lot of balls to keep up in the air. Budget being one of the most important makes every opportunity to save a dime or two is appealing to anyone. Or maybe you married (slash, are) a Frugal Lougal and think you can do almost any job as good or better than the professionals. And then when you’re painstakingly proved wrong, the cost to fix it can be way more than if you’d just consulted the pros from the get go.

So what’s really worth doing yourselves and what’s worth the extra dough?

Painting

DIY wins the day in this match up. Painting is an arduous task, granted, but a child could paint walls. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Need we say more? The point is, so long as you make proper preparations, buy the right supplies, and work with the utmost care you can do the job just as easily as a professional painter and have similar results, but saving on labor.

The only consideration that might sway you one way or the other is time and type of job. If you have more than one room, if it’s an exterior paint job on a two-story house, you’ll want the person with the right equipment to handle this job safely and quickly. If, because of your two story home, you have particularly high ceilings and walls, the man with the tools should once again, get the job.

It’s Electrifying!

You better shape up and call the professionals. Unless you’re licensed then why are you even asking this question? Electricians are certified professionals with extensive training. One wrong move and you could see yourself in $10,000 worth of trouble. The same goes with plumbing, HVAC, and foundation issues. If it requires a technical education, it’s not the job for you, Joe the Every Man.   

Demolition-Man

This is another either/or reno arena. Taking a 10 lb. sledge hammer to your old cast iron bathtub and its surrounding Dixie Dawn Pink tiles can be some glorious physical therapy. Pulling up carpet, knocking down a wall and showing all your friends later where you “broke ground” is actually quite exhilarating. But while it can be fun and totally doable, just make sure you understand what you’re hitting, what you shouldn’t hit, and be sure to practice safety and proper form. And maybe take yourself to a nice yoga class afterwards. And soak in an epsom bath. You’ll be quite sore. But if demolition is something you feel comfortable and confident doing, by all means, whack away!

Flooring

Home Improvement stores are making it exponentially easier for the Regular Sue to do anything home improvement around the house. Flooring is no exception. Depending on the route you’re choosing to go, installing your own flooring will be easy and worth the savings, or a little harder, but still totally doable with your skill set. There’s the easy snap-in-place wood or wood/vinyl flooring that’s like a flat, boring version of Grown Up Linkin Logs. Laying tile with the proper tools takes a little more care, but doesn’t require incredible skill, either. Marble or granite will be substantially heavier, but still up to you. However, that flooring can get expensive and if something breaks or goes wrong, it’s on you.

Dealers Choice

At the end of the day, there’s no escaping the expense that is a home renovation. And you may reach a point where you think, “Just let them take care of it. I’ll sign the checks.” But if you can save a little on labor, you’ll have more to spend on the materials, or more money in the bank. It can be a win-win either way. Ultimately, each choice comes down to you and what you’re capable of and feel comfortable doing.