In this tight economy, many people who haven't considered themselves do-it-yourself fanatics have been tempted to tackle remodeling and repair projects themselves to save money. While we respect the fact that many people have skills and experience which allow them to handle certain aspects of home repair and renovation themselves, for the majority of people, it's wise to hire a professional. That being said, if you're still thinking of doing it yourself, here are some things we think you should know ahead of time.
- It isn't always cheaper to do it yourself; in fact, in the long run it could be more expensive. Professional contractors can usually obtain materials cheaper than you can buying retail at a big-box store. And due to experience, they're familiar with the most economical solution for a project.
- It will take much longer than you think. Especially if you're dealing with an area of home improvement in which you don't have experience, you'll find that once you get into it, it's more complicated and involved than you had estimated. And since you don't do this kind of work regularly, you won't get things accomplished with the same efficiency as someone who does it for a living.
- Demolition is something you should never attempt on your own. Often homeowners are tempted to do the demo work themselves to save money. In this case, it could actually be dangerous. If you've got an older home, it may have lead or asbestos materials which require certified contractors to remove and dispose of. And there are regulations regarding disposal of toxic and hazardous materials which you may not be aware of. You can't just put these things in the trash. Even something as seemingly simple as sanding old paint may uncover and release lead. Demolition is definitely one area that's better left to a professional contractor, even if there are areas you are able to tackle afterwards.
- Do you know the code? Building codes can be complicated; in addition to the standard and state building codes, there are local regulations and ordinances you may not be aware of. It's the job of a professional contractor to know how a project must be done to comply with all regulations and codes. That's one reason why residential building contractors must be licensed.
- You'll probably end up calling us anyway. It's been our experience that often zealous DIY'ers start out with enthusiasm but quickly find out they're in over their heads and need a pro to bail them out. You may uncover an unexpected problem in the middle of your project or find yourself with a situation you can't deal with. It's at this point that the costs may begin to mount, because often the contractor you hire to fix things for you has to first undo what you did incorrectly, then re-do it right.