To DIY or To Not DIY

o you’ve got a home remodeling project you want to tackle. Now it’s time for the big question: do you hire a contractor or pull off a DIY worthy of HGTV? Depending on the project, one definitely would be better than the other. Here are some factors to consider to make a decision you can live with in the end.

Woman talking to a construction worker about housing project


How large of a project are you considering? A paint job or taking down a wall? These are some things to think about when considering the size of the project, and whether or not it’s feasible for a DIY. Your time is valuable, and if it’s too big of a project to take on, there are other options. Curbed recommends that you DIY minor demolition projects, like removing cabinets and carpets as well as cosmetic changes that don’t need permitting approval. Huffington Post also recommends leaving anything including major structural changes to the pros. Also, if you come across or suspect you found asbestos during your DIY, immediately call in a pro, because they are the ones who can test for, and remove it properly.

Mature-Senior woman painting the wall at her home


Is the project scope within your handyman skillset? Painting can be done by just about anyone, but projects with structural impact require more knowledge. If you feel 100 percent comfortable with your knowledge and capability, you can consider DIYing it. If not, you can leave it to a professional with more experience. However, always lean on the side of caution. It can be easy to think “Oh, I can do this, no problem!” but be brutally honest with yourself. Can you do a job that you will be satisfied with in the long run? Doing something doesn’t always mean doing it well, so sometimes it’s smarter to pass it on to someone who does this for a living.

Construction roofer nailing wood board with hammer on roof installation work


If a project needs more than one person, do you have dependable people you can call to help? If you have ample help for the scope of the project, a project can be easily done yourself. If it’s just you, you may want to call in the troops in the form of a contractor. As a general rule of thumb, one to three people can handle painting and three to six can tackle light demolition, depending on the size.

A young couple doing up their hallway . The man is painting the demo rail on the stairs covered in a dust sheet whilst his wife is sanding down a period door on a workbench .


You’d think that DIY would always be cheaper, but sometimes that’s not the case. The cost of materials, plus the possibility of extra costs if you mess up along the way or if hidden conditions exist, can add up quickly. A contracting company absorbs some of the cost of the materials, and it can actually end up being cheaper in the long run to have a contractor. Do your research and decide which choice is better for you economically.

Regardless of whether you choose to DIY or hire a contractor, choose the option that works best for you. And remember that if you do choose to DIY a larger project, consult a professional to ensure you’re doing everything right and not violating any permits. Choosing the right way to go about it will make getting to the final product faster and more efficiently.

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