Nearly a third of all professional remodeling projects are the result of a botched DIY remodel. Many homeowners emboldened by television shows that make it look easy undertake remodeling projects that are beyond their abilities. While the goal is to save money, this almost always results in the project costing even more since a pro is most likely going to end up coming in to fix the mistakes or simply start over. If you’re considering a DIY remodeling project, here are four questions you need to ask yourself first.
Am I allowed to do it?
This is a great question to start with and it’s usually a pretty easy one to answer. If the project you’re considering requires a license to do it, then you shouldn’t do it. This rules out plumbing and electrical work, as well as roofing work. It most likely includes any remodeling project that would involve changing the structure of your home. If a job requires a license it’s because it’s potentially dangerous for the untrained and it needs to be completed to a certain standard.
Do I have the tools and experience to do it safely?
Even if you are technically allowed to do a certain job without a license, that doesn’t mean you should. Many remodeling projects will require very specific tools and training to do it right. Trying to cut corners by not purchasing the necessary equipment or educating yourself is sure to result in failure.
How long will it take and am I fully committed to completing it?
Make sure you fully understand the scope of the project before you begin. If you go into the project with unrealistic expectations about how long it will take and how difficult it will be, you’ll grow frustrated quickly and most likely be forced to call in help partway through. If you fully understand the scope then you may decide to call in a pro from the start or you may decide to proceed but at least you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into.
What will be the total cost?
Homeowners have a tendency to estimate the lowest possible cost and go off of that. That’s a recipe for disaster. Remember to include the cost of any tools you might need for the project since many only include the cost of materials. Once you’ve got a realistic number, add another 15% for contingencies. Depending on what tools you need, it may be cheaper to just higher a pro who already has them.
If after answering these four questions, you decide the project isn’t of the DIY variety, you can select something that is. You can upgrade your light fixtures or swap out cabinet hardware. You can install baseboard radiator covers or repaint your bathroom. Whatever you do, just make sure it’s something within your abilities.