If you’re ready to knock out a wall or build a second-story addition, you’re not alone. The National Association of Home Builders reports that millions of Americans remodel their homes every year, and for good reason. Remodeling can increase your square footage, update your style, make your home more comfortable and functional, improve energy efficiency, provide critical repair and maintenance, and boost your property value to boot.
While it’s easy to see the growing remodeling trend to spend, it doesn’t address the more important question: should you do it yourself (DIY) or ask the pros for help?
Answer two simple questions to figure out if DIY remodeling is right for you:
1. Is DIY cost effective for my project?
Tackling a home improvement project yourself appeals to many people, and the perception that it will save truckloads of money ranks as a top motivator. As you budget for your DIY project don’t forget to calculate its true costs, including your time, energy and materials.
Even if you don’t do all the work yourself, you may still need to take time off work to receive deliveries and to be onsite to coordinate subcontractors and inspections. You might end up spending more time shopping and more money paying retail prices for a limited selection of materials, too.
Experienced contractors are efficient at scheduling. They provide quality supplies and installation. They manage subs, offer warranties on materials and labor, and have access to wholesale showrooms that are off-limits to the general public. These professional perks can save you time and money in the long run.
2. Do I have the skills and tools needed to DIY?
There are many homeowners who have the skills and knowledge to complete basic improvement projects, but when it comes to a more complicated remodel it’s important to be realistic about your skill set.
If you have the time and skills to commit to the entire remodeling process, and if DIY projects energize instead of exhaust you, then tackling a DIY remodel might be a great option and personally rewarding.
But before you dive into a DIY remodel, carefully consider if you have access to the appropriate tools and materials, and a thorough understanding of scheduling, building codes, design reviews and the inspection process. Sometimes the hardest part of any DIY project is to admit when you’re in over your head. Tackling a difficult project beyond your skill set will almost always cost you more time, money and frustration in the long run, especially if you have to pay a professional to fix a mistake.
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