DIY - Home Improvement

Should you Call in a Pro for that Home Improvement?

The ability to improve your own property is one of the biggest draws of homeownership for many. When you own the house, you can do whatever you want to it to make it into the home of your dreams — paint it, add a deck, put up a fence, redo the kitchen, finish the basement — and, as long as you follow local building codes, no one can tell you not to. 

Lots of homeowners aim to get a nice home for a lower price by buying a fixer-upper and doing the fixing up themselves. Still, others just get tired of outdated looks and worn fixtures, or just have one or two things about a home they want to change in order to feel comfortable in it. Doing home improvements yourself can save you a lot of money, but it’s not worth it if you’re going to get hurt or damage your home in the process. And while many home improvement projects may not necessarily be dangerous, they could take a long time to complete or just won’t come out as nice if you do them yourself.  Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether to tackle a home improvement job on your own or call in the pros. 

Is Job Dangerous?

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If there’s a chance that you could hurt or kill yourself or someone else while doing a home improvement job, you should call in a pro who has the training and equipment to cope with the dangers involved. Need a new roof? Installing new wiring or rewiring an existing structure? Those are examples of jobs that are too dangerous for the average homeowner to do on his or her own. 

You should also consider whether there’s a potential to do significant damage to your home if you botch the job. Moving plumbing fixtures or installing new plumbing pipes could lead to significant water damage if you don’t have the skills to install pipes that you know won’t leak. A slow leak from the join of two plumbing pipes could slowly saturate the floors or walls of your home and eventually cause structural collapse. Working on gas pipes could cause a fire or explosion that could harm both you and your home. When the job is risky, call in a licensed, qualified professional to do the work for you. At least, if something goes wrong, they’ll be responsible for the damage. To find someone locally with the right credentials and experience, you can go online to

Does It Require a Permit?

Before you undertake a home improvement project, you should check with your city government to make sure the job doesn’t require permits. Larger, more complex home improvements often require permits to make sure the finished product adheres to local building codes. Unless you’re a contractor yourself, you probably don’t even know what those codes are, and might not be able to jump through the hoops necessary to get a permit. Let a professional take the wheel here.

Can You Learn the Required Skills Quickly?

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Even if you’re a complete novice at home improvement and repairs, there are still simple jobs you can take on yourself to build skills and confidence. If the job is suitable for you, you’ll be able to learn the skills quickly with the help of resources like home repair books or online tutorials. Or, you’ll already have most or all of the skills you’ll need to handle it. If you can’t pick up the skills you need easily, you’ll be out of your depth.

How Fast Do You Need the Job Done?

Doing home improvement jobs yourself takes a long time, both because you often can’t drop everything else in your life to work on the project full-time and because you won’t have the experience and skills to work as quickly as a professional would. If you’re willing to spend your nights and weekends on a job for however long it takes, even if that’s months, more power to you. But if you want the job done quickly, you should hire a pro.

Similarly, you might also decide that a job is just too labor-intensive to do on your own. Sure, you can technically install your own paver patio with no skills or experience, but do you want to? If you’re not willing to take on the labor of a job, that’s okay.

Is Perfection Important to You?

Doing a job yourself will mean making lots of mistakes, and you’ll need the patience to work through them. It’ll also likely mean that the finished product won’t be as nice as it would if you’d hired someone. Do you want the job to look perfect when it’s done? If so, you probably want to hire a pro.

Doing your own home improvements might be cheaper than hiring someone, but there’s often a reason why contractors are so expensive. Before you leap into a DIY home improvement project, make sure you’re not taking on more than you can handle. It’s cheaper to hire a pro from the start, rather than having to get your mistakes fixed before the job can be redone right.

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