Knowing When to NOT to DIY
While census bureau data reports that 20% of home remodeling projects are undertaken by homeowners, data from the professional remodeling industry suggests that almost 30% of jobs come from fixing do-it-yourself projects that have gone bad. Ouch! It seems the secret to home improvement – knowing when NOT to do it yourself.
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Not As Easy As It Looks
Why are so many homeowners attempting repairs that, in many cases, are beyond their skill level? Television shows and channels dedicated to home make-overs may play a role. These shows highlight some of the creative remodeling and decorating that can be done, and provide encouragement to homeowners to give it a try. Unfortunately, these shows pack days or months of remodeling work into pre-packaged 30 or 60-minute time slots, making it look a lot easier than it really is.
When is it better to leave remodeling and large-scale repairs to the professionals? One remodeling contractor uses this rule of thumb when advising homeowners: If it’s a repair that a handyman can do, the homeowner can probably tackle it. If the job is too big or too complicated for a handyman, it’s probably time to call a professional.
One example of a job that probably requires calling a professional is when the scope of a project includes multiple systems. Gutting a room or several rooms involves framing drywall, electrical wiring, flooring, and sometimes plumbing. A contractor hired to oversee a large-scale project may employ the skills of several trades people, each who specialize in one aspect of the total job.
Overzealous homeowners may begin a project, only to find out that there is no way they can finish it. For example, gutting a bathroom is a lot easier than putting it back together again.
Lack of understanding of the details of a project can also get in the way. In one case, homeowners installed a bathtub without thinking the project through. The failure to hook up the tub to the drain pipe made it really difficult to take a bath.
Flooring Can Be A Challenge
Another common problem remodeling professionals are called in to fix are ceramic tile floors. This type of floor material looks great, but it can be difficult to install. Problems can range from cutting the tile, keeping it straight and leaving enough room for grout. There’s also the embarrassing difficulty of having a floor buckle during a party because the sub-floor couldn’t hold the weight of guests and the ceramic tile, too.
Do These Things With Confidence
Do-It-Yourselfers are generally safe when it comes to:
- hanging pictures,
- interior painting,
- painting front door, trim and shutters,
- minor landscaping,
- changing cabinet pulls,
- Installing doors, and
- installing crown molding and trim.
Bigger projects often need the guidance of a professional to keep the project on track and on budget. You definitely don’t want to be known as the family who has been remodeling their kitchen for two years, or the family who over-built for the area and recouped none of the money they put into their home. And you don’t want to own the home that looks mismatched because the remodeling was done in a haphazard fashion. Related: 3 home improvements sellers should avoid.
When it comes to do-it-yourself projects, if the job is not fun, not productive, leads to family strife and causes a rise in one’s blood pressure, it’s time to research remodeling professionals.
Permits Are Your Responsibility
Whether you do a project yourself, or hire a professional, make sure you check to see if a permit is required. The requirement for a permit varies from place to place. Most areas however, require that you have a permit to build, move, or significantly add to or alter a building.
Experts advise calling your municipality’s code enforcement authority (or County authority if you live in a rural area) to find out, and to schedule an inspection. You can also typically check online, such as at your city’s code enforcement Web page, for a list of project types that require a permit in your area.
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