Renovation – March News

5 Important Factors To Take In to Consideration

Before You Carry Out Any Renovation On Your


Knowing when to bow out and leave it to the pros is a decision that can save time, money and stress to any homeowner. When you’re sitting on the fence about doing the project yourself or hiring someone to do the work for you, here are five questions you should ask yourself:

1. How skilled are you? This is the first, most important question you’ve got to ask yourself. Have you done a project like this before, or are you aware of all the steps and intricacies of the project? Are you generally handy, or do you need help switching out a light bulb? Take a step back and honestly assess your skill level. Chances are, even if you’re not skilled you can take on a project like tiling a backsplash, but steer clear of rerouting plumbing or electrical work throughout the house (or anything else that may be dangerous to do with little skill).

2. Are you on a deadline? Do you have a specific date you need to have the project finished by (out-of-town-guests, visitors, before a vacation, before the next holiday…)? Many times, no matter how skilled or determined you are, DIY projects can take much longer than you anticipate. As I’ve learned, unexpected circumstances can get in the way, and many times (especially if you work all day during the week) you just don’t want to devote hours every night after work to completing the project yourself. Also take into consideration how put out you will be by certain areas of your home being unusable during the reno. In our situation, we’re out of a toilet and a sink in our downstairs bathroom (thankfully we can use the shower during the reno, but have to rely on our upstairs half bath for everything else), which is a little annoying, but we’ve dealt with it. However, after a month of living this way, we couldn’t take it anymore.

3. Do you have the necessary tools? Research the project and make note of every tool you may need to complete it. Do you have them all? Can you borrow or rent them? If not, how much will it cost to buy everything you need? Always consider the tools before taking on a project yourself. If the job requires a $200 miter saw, consider the possibility that you’ll ever need to use this tool again. If you do end up buying it, add the cost to your overall project budget.

4. Are you on a strict budget? Budget is something to consider before any project, but when weighing the option to DIY versus hiring a professional, it’s especially important. Getting a quote from a handyman or contractor may be a little shocking at first, but usually the pro will include the materials needed, use of their tools, not to mention their high level of skill and time devoted to the project. You may think you’re cutting costs by DIYing, but every DIY project should include some kind of contingency fund for the inevitable time when things don’t quite go as expected (you need to buy new tiles after some break during cutting, you forgot to seal up your mortar and now it’s all dried out, your subfloor has water damage, etc.). Many times these unexpected costs will actually be more than what you would pay to hire a professional to do the job.

5. What else is going on in your life right now? Aside from skill level, this may be the most important factor in your decision. Is work busy right now? Do you have a lot of upcoming weekend plans? Is a big life change around the corner (planning a wedding, baby on the way)? If you’ve got a lot of outside stressors or plans coming up, you’ll save yourself so much anguish by hiring a pro. And those of you brave souls with little kiddos running around? Please consider going the professional route. If I’m stressing over completing a project and my biggest distraction is an interruption of my marathon of “The West Wing,” you definitely don’t want to have to worry about installing kitchen cabinets with a four year old tugging on your work belt the whole time. If you’re already stressing about something else, you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to tackle a renovation.

Of course, the decision is yours. There is a huge sense of satisfaction in completing a home renovation on your own. Nothing makes you feel like more of an accomplished adult (except, you know, maybe that whole “having a child” thing). But the route to get there is often filled with headaches, stubbed fingers, credit cards and (so, so many) swears. Weigh the options, consider the questions I’ve posed above and think realistically about the scope of your project.

Sometimes, even when you’re a stubborn, proud, do-it-all (like myself), it pays to know when to hand it off to a pro.


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