Considerations for Do It Yourself (DIY) Projects

With money tight for everyone in today’s economy, the temptation to start a Do It Yourself (DIY) project whether it is a repair or a renovation seems to be the first choice of most homeowners.  Especially with the advent of instruction videos on YouTube for every conceivable type of

project, DIY projects seem feasible and affordable.  If you work with your hands, have a lot of common sense when it comes to using power tools, and “know your way around” construction or electrical workings, you probably have a very good chance of being able to accomplish whatever task you may have in mind.  If you are just looking to save money and do something fast and affordable, below are some not so well known facts about the pitfalls of starting a DIY project.

1.  Cost: Most jobs are priced by contractors or remodelers by materials and labor.  So, you figure you are going to “save on the labor” by buying the materials and doing it yourself.  This seems like a good prospect until you get halfway through the project and realize that you have to buy a specialized tool or rent a piece of equipment in order to complete the job. Also, the price of materials that you will buy at your local Home Depot or Lowes is sometimes 3 times what a contractor will pay.  If you are stepping into unknown territory on the DIY project, you may not know how long to expect the project to take. The rule of thumb is that the longer a project takes, the more cost is accrued.  You may end up having to rent a piece of equipment over 3 weekends instead of just once to get the job done.

2.  Safety: This is perhaps the most important consideration when taking on a DIY project, especially if you are dealing with electricity or plumbing.  There is a reason why some projects require a licensed electrician or plumber.  If you are working on an older house, you may encounter older circuit breakers and wiring, and while your intentions are good in that you are trying to upgrade that same wiring or circuit box, one wrong move with a hot circuit could land you in the hospital.  When it comes to plumbing, there is not as much of a threat of ending up in the hospital, but messing with plumbing pipes can get messy for your home.  We’ve all seen the commercials of the large trucks scooping waste out of someone’s front yard because of a back-up in the septic system, the same threat of ending up with water or waste in your home is possible if you are not absolutely sure of your plumbing skills.

3.  Time and Timing: As a DIY, you don’t work on homes for a living, so you don’t want to spend every weekend day of your life working on your project (unless you enjoy doing it as a hobby).  Sometimes, you think that your project is “not going to take that long,” and a month later, you are still looking at part of your newly remodeled kitchen cabinets partially torn out or partially installed.  Unless you are an experienced DIY’er, you may underestimate the amount of time your project will take, leaving part of your home unusable until the project is complete. Also, the longer it takes to complete your project, the more it normally ends up costing you.

DIY projects can be fun, save you money, and “educate you” on taking care of and fixing your own home.  Only you know your own abilities and limitations, so taking into account the items mentioned above will help you decide whether you should do it yourself or hire a contractor to come in and do it for you.


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