DIY or Contractor: What Projects Require Professional Help

DIY or Contractor What Projects Require Professional Help-min.jpg

With so many renovation shows on air and thousands of DIY inspiration boards on Pinterest, it’s not surprising to see so many people attempting to save cash and tackle some of their remodeling projects themselves.


But is DIY really the more practical choice? Let’s break down the pros and cons of doing remodeling projects yourself.

DIY vs contractor: factors to consider

There are plenty of things to evaluate when deciding whether a DIY job is the better choice. Here are some of them:

  • Cost

    Often, the biggest reason why people choose to DIY is because they want to save some money. After all, labor is one of the most expensive parts of a renovation. However, just because you’re doing it yourself doesn’t mean it’s automatically cheaper. Sometimes, the pros can get materials for much less, so that adds to your savings. Also, the cost of salvaging a failed DIY project can be really high, so don’t attempt anything above your skill level.

  • Time, Tools, and Skill

    Do you actually have time to work on the project? If not, you’re better off calling a professional. Home renovation projects often take a lot of time to do, especially if you’re not that experienced. If you don’t have power tools, a typical half-day job might take you two days to tackle. Also, if you’re not that skilled, you’re going to be spending a lot of time figuring out how to start, so keep that in mind too.

  • Safety

    Some tasks like plumbing and electrical are simply too dangerous to do yourself. Never compromise your safety and the safety of everyone else at home just to save a few bucks. If you can’t pay for a professional to do these dangerous jobs right now, then you’re better off putting it off.

  • Permit

    If the work is something that typically requires a building permit, then it’s probably too complicated to be done without the necessary skills, training, and experience. It’s best to leave it to the pros.

Choosing what to DIY

If you’re looking for things to DIY, there are still some things that are quite safe to do yourself. These include:

  • Cosmetic changes

    Many cosmetic changes like painting, wallpapering, changing small fixtures, and so on are pretty safe to do yourself.

  • Simple tiling and flooring work

    Changing your kitchen backsplash and installing vinyl or linoleum flooring can be done by an amateur.

What should you always leave to the professionals? Jobs that require special skills and safety precautions like electrical work, plumbing, HVAC work, and structural changes should always be handled by a licensed contractor.

If you’re still unsure whether to go the DIY route or to hire a professional, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or NARI, made a quiz to help you decide. Answer these questions from NARI to know what’s the better option for you!