Should You DIY or Hire a Pro?

Projects await, but should you do the work yourself or hire it out? Here's what to consider.

By Jan Soults Walker

If you're trying to decide whether you should tackle a home improvement task on your own or hire a pro to do the work, weigh these realities.

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Joseph A. Giorgi, Jr.


What experience do you have in undertaking the planned project? Painting or other minor cosmetic changes as well as some demolition (removing old cabinets or flooring), for example, are tasks most novices can accomplish with good results. Bone up on some DIY information and easily learn how to install a new faucet or backsplash; watch videos online, read some how-to books or articles on the topic, and chat with the experts at your home improvement store to gain enough knowledge to pull it off.

When safety and your home's value are at stake, hire a pro. In addition to cosmetic fixes, such as intricate tile installation, more complicated tasks that typically call for a professional's expertise include structural, roofing, electrical, and plumbing work.

Additionally, more complex work often requires permits, and it's necessary to check with local laws before starting a project. Here's another area in which hiring a pro contractor can really benefit the homeowner. You'll have confidence that the job is done properly and complies with the law, and you'll also have proof of compliance should you decide to sell your house at some point.


Do you have the strength and stamina to do the job? If you have trouble with your knees or back, for example, tiling the bathroom floor or installing drywall yourself may not be doable.


Many tasks require specific tools. If you don't own a tile cutter and other tools needed for laying tile, for instance, investigate rental costs versus buying the tools or hiring a pro.


Remodeling projects takes time, so be realistic about your schedule. While some jobs require only a few hours or possibly a weekend or two, others demand a significant sacrifice in leisure hours.


While doing some jobs yourself can yield notable savings, you can easily waste money if you have to redo a failed attempt. Keep in mind that a professional can also save you money by offering solutions and products you may not know about, and may sometimes get materials at lower rates, too.

For more home design ideas and advice, take a look at:

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