What to try yourself, when to hire a professional
One way many homeowners try to save money on hiring for home improvement work is by doing it themselves.
While DIY projects may work better for your budget, the problems that can arise can be disastrous.
"We hear many stories where consumers just don't know what they are getting into when they are doing a DIY project. It's very easy to get in over your head if you don't know what you are doing," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.
Try some smaller projects first: Projects that don't need much experience or many tools.
- Painting areas you can reach without tall ladder.
- Tightening hardware on cabinetry.
- Hanging picture frames or shelves.
- Installing drapes or curtains.
- Wall papering, some flooring projects.
When should you hire an expert? Any time the safety of your home and family are in question, hire a licensed expert to do the work. Such repair jobs can include the following:
- Electrical work
- Plumbing repairs
- Repairs that use potentially hazardous chemicals
- Roof repairs and maintenance
- Repairs that require ladders or scaffolding.
- Repairs that require power tools.
- Repairs that would void a warranty if you do them yourself
- Work involving natural gas lines
- Repairs that need a permit
Important questions to ask before tackling a house repair on your own: Before taking on a challenge and getting in over your head, there are important questions to consider.
- Do you have the right skills and experience? While there are several resources that tell and show you how to do almost everything, there is no substitute for the skills and experience needed to successfully fix the part of your home that needs repairs. For example, if a repair project involves replacing a wall and you've never done this before, consider calling an expert.
- Do you have enough spare time? Some house repairs need immediate attention and complete follow-through, while others aren't urgent and/or can take weeks to complete. When the need to repair part of your home arises, consider your availability, the urgency of the repair and the amount of time it will take to complete the repair.
- Do you have the right tools? Not everyone's toolkit has specialty items like a tile saw, air compressor or welder. If you think that you'll use a new tool several times after completing a repair, you may find the investment worthwhile. If not, your local hardware store may offer rental options.
Angie's List 7 Tips for Hiring a Contractor when it's time:
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