We all love to be able to step back from a project and say, “I did that” with a sense of pride and accomplishment. When it comes to home improvement, there are many projects that homeowners can tackle on their own to save money. But there are certain projects where homeowners don’t have the experience, time, or the proper safety equipment and know-how to safely complete a project. Here are several home improvement projects where we demonstrate when you should DIY and when to hire a professional.
Leave It To the Professionals
We’ve all seen them… Professional roofers walking on roofs so easily and effortlessly making it look like a cakewalk. But don’t let a professional’s experience with a roof fool you, roofing is extremely dangerous for first time and inexperienced do it yourselfers. Roofs are difficult to walk on, making it easy for anyone, even seasoned professional roofers, to fall and severely injure themselves. It’s best to leave roofing for qualified roofers for this reason alone because roofers have acquired ‘roof legs’ with their experience, which makes it easier for them to keep their balance when walking on steep roofs.
If the risk of serious and sometimes fatal injury isn’t reason enough to leave it to the professionals, here are a couple of other factors you should take into consideration.
- Compromised roofs can cause roof leaks, mold problems, expensive water damage, and damaged roofs. You may be covering up a bigger problem you can’t see that a professional will be able to spot immediately.
- Professional roofers are trained to spot things you cannot: soft spots, loose shingles, leaks, and problems associated with different types of sloped roofs (steep and flat).
- It’s incredibly easy to cause more damage than good and you could potentially end up spending more money if this happens.
- You could actually save money by hiring a professional: they will do it faster, get materials at a discounted cost, and will have all the necessary tools and safety equipment.
- Would you walk a tightrope? If the answer is no, then call the professionals!
My Siding Needs a Facelift
Like roofing, siding is another home improvement project that can cause severe injuries when attempted by inexperienced do it yourselfers. Working on ladders is extremely tricky and we’ve all seen the “America’s Funniest Home Videos” of DIY-ers falling off ladders. Professionals have experience working on ladders and all the necessary safety equipment to prevent them from getting hurt.
Incorrectly doing siding or not doing it in a timely manner will result in problems in the future such as mildew or mold under the siding and leaks in your walls. You may repair or fix the problem temporarily, but it may end up costing you money in the future. Money you wouldn’t have had to spend if you had left it up to the professional. Spanning out your siding project could lead to a risk of being exposed to pests entering and making a new home under your siding. It’s best to leave this one for the professionals.
Gutters help to protect your home from intrusive rainfall that could damage your home’s foundation. Installing gutters is a time staking process and requires lots of movement up and down a ladder. Experienced professionals have special gutter cutting machines, which means a better & stronger gutter system with fewer seams. Also, professionals have the experience on what types of screws to use, having enough drop in the right direction to achieve the desired flow, and how to direct the downspouts and gutters correctly that will make the water flow correctly from the roof to your property.
Unless you were planning on putting a pool in your living room, this is another project that is best done by the professionals.
DIY Projects That You Can Actually DIY
Ok, so you are probably at this point in the article saying, “well what projects CAN I do on my own?!”. Below are a few projects that do not involve heights, your home’s foundation or ladders.
Sealing your driveway is a relatively easy task anyone can perform with little to no experience. Simply roll the sealant on and it only takes a few hours of your time. It will cost you less than $100 to do it yourself. Sure, a professional could do it faster and more efficiently, but who wants to pay upwards of $200 for your driveway? If you aren’t afraid to roll up your sleeves up and get dirty for a couple of hours, this task is one that you shouldn’t think twice about completing on your own.
So, You Want to Build a Deck
Depending on your level of experience, this project could go either way. If you aren’t very carpentry and “I got an A in woodworking in high school” savvy, hiring a professional might be the best idea. Professionals will have all the necessary tools and materials to get the job done more efficiently and will have you enjoying your desk in week.
However, there are lots of individuals that know their way around a 4×4 and can DIY it. Forewarning, building a deck takes time, a minimum of a month if you are a weekender and have time to construct your wood deck. You will save money by doing this on your own but you will be substituting cost with a lot of time and labor.
The frame and foundation is the most important aspect of any wood deck and no experience can result in a weak foundation that may collapse if the deck fails to hold the weight. So make sure you assess your skill level before taking on this DIY task!
White Picket Fences
Installing a fence on your property is not terribly difficult to do and mostly requires patience. For those who are pretty handy with home improvement projects, this task should be relatively easy from start to completion. This task is more labor intensive and detail oriented than anything so you will save yourself money having only to pay for materials. Since not everyone has a posthole digger in their tool shed, you may need to rent one for this project, but that shouldn’t derail you from doing it yourself!
There are a few things to watch out for though:
- Make sure you know where your property lines are
- Do not dig into any gas/electric lines
- Be aware of your HOA requirements
Saving money and a feeling of accomplishment are the biggest motivators for people to tackle home improvement projects. A project may lower your costs and appear easy when doing it yourself, but there are certain jobs not everyone can do and are down right dangerous to even attempt. It’s the best decision to call professionals for projects involving ladders, roofs, and power tools. A professional’s expertise in home improvement, knowledge in building permits and codes, having all the necessary tools, and the ability to get materials/supplies at a cheaper rate makes them the more logical choice for certain projects. Homeowners should be able to complete projects that don’t involve great heights and requires an average skill level with measuring and power tools. Just make sure you take all the proper precautions and make sure safety is your number one priority before tackling any project on your own!
Visit our Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional? infographic and we will help you choose the best option!