DIY vs Contractors

When it comes to a remodeling project that is near and dear to your heart, you may not want to trust it with anyone. In fact, even the thought of a contractor may turn you off. You may be thinking that you can handle the entire project on your own and all you need are the right instructions. The fact is, you can likely handle most of the project, but there are some things that are better left to a contractor. Here is what to consider before deciding if you should stick to DIY or if you need a contractor.

Licensing and Certification


The first question to ask yourself is if the job requires licensing or certification. Electric work, plumbing, setting up detailed home theater systems, hanging drywall, and similar jobs are handled by people with an educational background or training in the field. There are some minor jobs you can do yourself, but you need to decide how the job effects the home. If it is a major job or could cause a major issue in the house, then call a contractor who is licensed and certified. If you are licensed, certified, or trained in the field then go for it. As long as you feel comfortable with the project and your training you should be fine.

Overall Effects


Different projects effect the home in different ways. Some DIY projects, if they mess up, will require a small amount of repair. If you paint a room, and the color turns out wrong, then you can repaint. However, if you remodel the bathroom plumbing and put in the pipes wrong, you may have a very costly repair along with water damage. If the overall effects of the project could lead to major home repairs or issues, then you may want to hire a contractor.

Detail of Instructions


Do you have the instructions for the project? Are the instructions clear? Is there anything in the instructions that is confusing or is there a point you have no idea what the instructions are talking about? The bottom line is, if the instructions are clear and you can follow them with no issues then you can probably handle the project on your own. If the instructions have references you do not understand or too many instances you have to Google just to grasp, then you may want to call a contractor.

A good rule of thumb for anyone looking at DIY projects and remodeling is to look at the complexity of the job. Rewiring a lamp, painting a wall, laying tile, ripping up carpet, or creating an outdoor living area are projects you can likely handle on a DIY basis. Rewiring a house, hanging drywall, knocking out a wall to create a larger space, refinishing a hardwood floor, and pouring a new driveway or the projects you want to leave to the contractors and professionals. You may be worried about the cost, but with places like Craigslist, you will be able to find a contractor that fits your needs and your budget.

Amy Wright
Amy Wright is the Lead Editor of Remodeling Central. When she isn't playing with her dogs she is trying to remodel a classic Chicago style brownstone with her husband.