For every DIY success story, there is an equal and opposite horror story — the unsittable chair, the unclosable door, the custom-built shed that fell in on itself after a strong breeze hit. They all started out with the best intentions, but sometimes it’s just better (and way less stressful) to just let a professional handle it. But where to draw the line? How do you decide when a home improvement project is OK to tackle by yourself or is just beyond your level of expertise? By following these three easy steps, you just might avoid biting off more DIY than you can chew.
When the First Time Is the Only Time
There are typically two reasons why you might decide to do it yourself: You want to save a money or you want to learn a new skill. The first reason is always understandable, but the second is a little more complicated. The DIY approach can be a great when you want to try out something new, like building furniture — you can always use a new chair, desk or end table, and if your first stab at it comes out terrible, it’s not that tragic.
But if you only plan on doing a project once, then it might be best to leave it to a professional. Take pool installation, for example. If you have experience and you trust your skills, go for it. But seeing as your pool is likely to be the first and last pool you’ll ever install, if there’s any doubt, go with a pro. Or, meet in the middle and use an on-site installation assistance program.
When the Clock Is Ticking
When something breaks or you need to finish a project under a strict deadline, go with a pro. Is water gushing out of a cracked pipe or through a hole in your roof? Well, then it’s probably not the best time to be perusing the aisles of your local book store for the best “How To” guide for first-time plumbers or shingle installers.
When you’re learning to do it yourself, you want to have the freedom to make mistakes, and you don’t have that luxury when water is flooding your basement. Here’s an idea: Buy a DIY book and read it while the professional fixes your leak. That way you can be ready for next time.
When ‘You’ Aren’t Enough
Rarely does “Do It Yourself” mean doing it alone. Most projects require a team to complete, even if it’s just one guy who can hand you the correct tool. And as anyone who’s tackled a big project knows, it can be really hard to come across even one reliable person who can help you on a regular basis. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up owing everyone in your neighborhood a favor in return for a few hours of help on the weekend. Plus, a helpful neighbor is very different from a skilled neighbor.
Not only does a professional know what he or she is doing, but they also know a lot of other skilled individuals who also know what they’re doing. The project is going to be completed quickly and efficiently and the quality of the work will be guaranteed. Sure, it’s going to cost you extra money, but at least it won’t cost you your sanity.