How to Decide If You Need a Pro for Your Home Project
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Not having to deal with preoccupied property managers or lazy landlords is one of the appeals of home ownership for many people. DIY projects are all the rage right now, and for good reason -- they can keep costs down and help you feel emotionally (rather than just financially) invested in your home. However, some home improvements and repairs are best left to the professionals.
How Do I Know If It’s a DIY or Professional Project?
Lifehacker recommends homeowners consider the entire scope of the project they are considering and then ask themselves some questions before deciding to DIY. These questions include: Is it worth the time and effort? How risky is it? Do I have the necessary knowledge, skills and equipment?
When answering, be honest with yourself. If there is any doubt, err on the side of caution and seek the help of professionals.
The Benefits of Hiring a Pro
Experienced professionals will have the proper tools on hand to complete the job, from basics like hammers to heavy-duty equipment like power saws. They will also understand any relevant permitting processes and municipal regulations. While cutting corners on things like permitting may seem tempting and like a victimless crime, homeowners can get in big trouble (and worse yet, lead to someone being injured) by not following set codes and procedures. Safety standards exist for a reason, and cutting corners on them is never a good idea.
Foolproof DIY Projects
Purely cosmetic things like painting, replacing hardware, or simple installations are a no-brainer and easy to handle with the help of an online tutorial or advice from handy friends. When it comes to those types of relatively safe and straightforward projects, homeowners should embrace their DIY and get hammering (or painting, or sanding).
Projects Best Left to the Pros
However, anything involving the structural elements of your home or utilities is best handled by an experienced professional. That includes major repair work related to water and gas lines, installing HVAC units, and doing anything with electrical wires. Using a professional for these repairs will keep you safe, both during the project and afterward when you have peace of mind that it was done correctly.
Another thing best left to the professionals is roof and shingle replacement or repair. According to HomeAdvisor, the average price to install or replace an asphalt shingle roof ranges from $5,359 to $9,426. The price might seem steep, but investing in a professional pays off in the long run. According to Reader’s Digest, a roof should last somewhere between 18 and 30 years. Amateur work typically focuses on immediate, “Band-Aid” fixes that only delay major repairs, which wind up costing homeowners much more in the long run.
Roofing is also dangerous and time consuming work. Falling off even a low roof can result in serious injuries like broken backs and concussions. They can also be potentially fatal. Professionals use safety equipment to minimize the risk of a fall, and because they are on roofs all the time, they know how to carry themselves in that environment. Amateurs are often relying solely on luck when it comes to leaving a job unscathed. Roofing is also one of the most physically draining and demanding jobs because it takes place outside in the elements, often under the hot sun. Embrace the path of least stress and let someone else endure that for you.
The same goes for any home improvement repairs or projects involving structural support beams, or the creation of any new room. Getting something wrong in these crucial areas isn’t just a dumb mistake; it’s a potentially deadly one.
By hiring professionals when the task calls for it, you are helping yourself and your home value in the long run. Embrace it. There will still be plenty of other, more appropriate DIY projects waiting for you once the pros are done.
Photo via Pixabay.