With all the do-it-yourself shows, magazines, and websites out there, it’s easy for any homeowner to get caught up in plans to completely transform their home. There are times when nothing equals the satisfaction of a really well-done DIY. However, it’s very easy to get in past your level of expertise and end up not only with a less than stellar job, but a very expensive bill to undo the damage, and then fix it. There are lots of great ways to get your toes wet with DIY, but the first thing you need to know is when to call a professional.
Getting started with DIY home improvement project should start with small, easy to learn projects. You’re not going to be Bob Vila on your first time out, just the same way that you don’t expect a college student living on Ramen noodles to cook for a three-diamond restaurant. It takes some time to work up to that level. In between, you are going to have a lot of mistakes. Here are some tips on how to make a good start:
- YouTube is an excellent resource when you are researching a new project. There are lots of videos that take you through projects, show you the steps, and give you tips from experienced DIYers.
- Don’t let “perfect” kill “good.” Not even the pros get it right all the time, you may have some things that bug you once you have completed a project, but remember we always look at ourselves and our work more critically than others.
- For beginners, cosmetics or easy fixes are a good way to start. Learning how to paint your exterior trim, or install a new door can be a very satisfying experience. Remember that people get discouraged when they are out of their depth, and sometimes projects are left hanging for months or even years out of frustration.
- Finally, Fox News advises never to plan your project in the aisle of a big box store.
When to Hire a Pro
You will need a professional if the job needs a permit. Building codes exist for a reason, and professionals are trained to work with the regulatory authorities to get your job in two code and safely. Doing work on your home without a permit can lead to huge problems down the road, not only with fines and demolition costs, but losing a much-needed sale to unpermitted work. You will need a professional if what you are doing could hurt you, or your home. You never want to monkey with the electrical system, the plumbing, the roof, the frame, or the foundation. Licensed professionals are trained to work with these systems.
As much as you would love to lay that new floor, have bragging rights on fixing the roof, or build that awesome patio you’ve always wanted, you need to understand when projects will take more time, more money, more expertise, and even more danger than you want to assume.