For some, the thought of making changes to their home can be filled with excitement and challenge, where for others it can be seen as their worst nightmare and a necessity at best. The first decision you need to make is whether you should hire a professional or whether it would it be more cost effective to complete the project themselves if they have the necessary skills to do so.
If you are thinking of home improvements you may also face this decision and basically you will need to consider a number of factors:
- The project you have in mind
- the complexity of what needs to be done
- the time required
- the different steps you need to take to complete it
- your own personal skill levels and expertise
- your other commitments and responsibilities.
For some projects it might be essential to hire a professional when you need to have a specific permit or need to comply with certain building regulations and codes. Some repairs or changes may require building or planning permission or certification which may require involvement from building authorities in your local area. Anything to do with gas installation, heating, ventilation or air conditioning will need to be completed by a professional.
Highly Skilled Projects Requiring A Professional
Many people may have some basic skills in carpentry or plumbing and perhaps be able to change a plug but some jobs are best left to a professional for example:
- Refitting A Bathroom – it may seem like a pretty straightforward job, rip out the old set and connect the new, but in reality this may be more complicated than anticipated and with the potential of making mistakes you may significantly increase the final cost. A professional may charge you around $5000 to remove your old bathroom suite as well as take care of all the plumbing and fixtures. There are many things that can go wrong with this kind of project so it’s worth the cost to hire a contractor.
- Fitting Hardwood Flooring – There are so many videos available that give specific and detailed instructions to help homeowners install hardwood floors. A pack of hardwood floors can cost $3 – $8 per square foot, and that’s just for materials alone. This does not include the cost of tools or if any mistakes are made, the cost to repair them. Lining up the planks up to the baseboards and into the corners and doorways can be pretty tedious and time consuming and it requires a certain level of patience and professional skill. A contractor will charge anywhere from $5 – $12 per square foot and do an exceptional job, making their time and level of skill definitely worth the money.
- Ceramic Tiling – Depending on the size of the room and the design required it might be prudent to hire a professional to install tiles in a large area or with a complex design. Small rooms can be tiled by yourself for around $1200 but the more intricate the design the more it will cost. Professional installers can also provide solutions to uneven floors, tricky layouts and corners as well as design issues, matching up the patterns and the transition from one wall to the next.
- Replacing Windows – If you are looking to replace your windows you may find that your windows are not a standard size making it almost impossible to replace them without extensive framing and insulation work. A professional will replace your windows for around $5000 on average and their work will be guaranteed in case anything goes wrong. This will help to lower utility bills and makes hiring a professional a great investment.
Projects To Do Yourself
Most other home improvement projects can be completed with some basic skills and good planning and may actually work out more cost effective than hiring a professional, for example:
- Painting Your Home – To paint your home you will need some basic tools like a stepladder, paint brushes, rollers, primer, paint, dust cloths, tape as well as patience and time. It will cost you between $200 to $600 but this may be almost quadruple the cost if you hire a professional to do the same job.
- Laying Vinyl or Lino Flooring – The cost of installing this kind of flooring in a medium sized room is around $200 – $500 for the cost of the flooring and all the materials. If you get a professional to fit this flooring for you then they may add on an additional $400 for their time and effort.
- Install A Backsplash In The Kitchen – You can get grout, adhesive and tiles for around $250 and with a little time and effort you’ll be able to create a kitchen backsplash. If you hire a professional it may cost up to $800 for their time and so it would be a better use of money and resources to do it yourself even if it takes a little extra time.
- Creating A Wood Deck – It can cost around $1000 to build a deck and will take a couple of weekends to complete. It takes some planning and carpentry skills to do a good job but it’s possible without the help of a professional which could cost almost double.
So Professional or DIY?
When you want to complete a home improvement project it’s wise to consider all the options. You need to factor in all the pros and cons, the cost of materials and the time and skill you needed to do the job. Be aware of your own abilities and consider whether you need to hire a contractor to do the work. If you choose this option, you should get a couple of different estimates before making a decision. Making this kind of investment in your home is not something to be done without considerable thought as you want to make sure you will be content with the end result.