When to DIY or Hire a Pro

Hello, friends!

It’s a brand new month – September! My favorite month out of the whole year! Not only does it boast my birthday (the 7th) and my wedding anniversary (the 9th) but it also is simply one of the best times of year. Just sayin’. The weather is still relatively nice as summer winds down but we also start to get those deliciously chilly fall days and crisp leaves. I’ve already gotten my first Pumpkin Spice Latte… guilty. I just love fall! I’m so relieved that this month is finally here. August was ridiculously busy with several family weddings and ridiculously hard with the passing of my father, but I’m turning over a new leaf this month and I’m determined to make it a good one! I’m looking forward to new blog projects and getting to know all of you a bit better!

diy or hire a pro

 

As I turn my sights towards future projects I’m planning on doing to our humble abode I’m met with the question of do I DIY certain projects (answer: absolutely) but when is it best to hire a pro? Some things are just beyond my knowledge or skill and some could be potentially dangerous if I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m sure you all feel the same way! (I mean, who really wants to climb into a creepy spider-filled crawl space to mess with electric wires? Notttttt me.) So I’ve decided to put together a little guide on when it’s a good idea to DIY and when it’s a better idea to hire a pro who’s got the tools, knowledge, and skills.

Painting

diy or hire a pro

When to DIY: Painting is usually something that is pretty low-risk and easy to do. Just grab some tape, some rollers and your favorite hue and go for it! I would say basically all interior painting is totally DIY-able (unless you have monstrous cathedral ceilings or something) and is more cost-effective than hiring a pro. Just consider the amount of time, cost of materials, and strain on your body before you open up that paint can!

When to Hire a Pro: If you are wanting to paint the exterior of your house, it’s usually easier to let a professional company handle it so you don’t have to deal with ladders, working around foliage, or spend days doing it. Though it can be pretty expensive, it might be a good option if you don’t feel able-bodied enough to be hanging on the side of your house to paint trim. Also if your house is older and has any lead paint inside or out, please call a professional and have them look at it/remove it for you. Otherwise you risk exposure to health problems!

Tile Work and Flooring

diy or hire a pro

When to DIY: Putting up backsplash and laying down flooring is becoming increasingly DIY friendly as they come up with easier to use products (snap and click floorboards, peel and stick tiles, etc.) and there are tutorials all across the web that can show you how to properly grout bathroom tile and more. If you feel confident in putting up a backsplash in your kitchen or laying down some new flooring – go for it! I’ve had lots of friends who have done both and had great results!

When to Hire a Pro: Though these kinds of installations are becoming more easy for the everyday person, there still might be times when you want to hire a pro. If you want to replace the flooring in your entire house, don’t have the time to do it yourself or your floors are uneven, bringing in a professional would make a quick job of it. Also if you want a very specific or hard-to-get-look with tile (such as special accent features or with a difficult to lay stone, etc) then your local contractor will be able to help!

Electrical Work

diy or hire a pro{don’t end up like this guy}

When to DIY: Electrical work can be verrrrrry tricky. If you are just needing simple things done like changing out switchplates or hanging a new light fixture, then generally you are safe to DIY. There are lots of tutorials on youtube on how to do simple electrical work which are in general very helpful.

When to Hire a Pro: Basically anything above switching out a light fixture is a good time to hire a pro. If you need to get things wired differently or need to add lights where there were none or anything that looks complicated or difficult, please hire someone! Messing around with electricity is extremely dangerous and unless you absolutely know what you are doing, you could get seriously hurt.

Plumbing

diy or hire a pro

When to DIY: Plumbing is another tricky thing that can go horribly if done wrong! Stick to simple fixes like changing out sink fixtures or easy fixes on your toilet. When you go to pick out your new hardware, ask an employee what the best method to install it would be. Most just involve switching off the water and using some elbow grease!

When to Hire a Pro: If you are planning on changing out things like toilets or tubs (I mean, who doesn’t want a gorgeous claw-foot tub or a spa bath?) generally it’s in your best interest to call someone for the job. This also goes for adding new piping in an addition or putting in a hot tub or water feature, etc. Never dig without having the proper permits and calling to see if you are on top of important utilities!

Demolition/Rennovations

diy or hire a pro

When to DIY: We’ve all seen shows on HGTV like Property Brothers and Flip or Flop where perfectly normal home owners participate in the demolition process in order to build up their perfect dream home. And it is in fact doable, if you know your stuff. If you are just demo-ing kitchen cabinets or tearing out the island, generally you are pretty safe at taking a sledge hammer to itΒ  (wear those safety glasses!). As long as you are careful and are sure that you aren’t going to hit any utilities, go for it. A lot of people also build their own decks, which is also totally DIY-able. Just make sure that you have the proper permits and build it right so it doesn’t fall apart down the line!

When to Hire a Pro: If you are doing any additions of any sort or are demo-ing walls or whole rooms, consider hiring a pro! There are a lot of permits and specifications that must be fulfilled when doing an addition or big projects, so having a contractor take care of it will ensure that your add-on is legal and up to code. As for demolition, having a pro do it for you will ensure you don’t accidentally hit any electrical or plumbing lines and will ensure that whatever is being demo-ed won’t affect the structural integrity of your home. From personal experience, the homeowners before us did a lot of these type of things themselves and they were either done poorly or only half done. Take the proper steps to make sure that doesn’t happen!

Yard Makeovers

diy or hire a pro

When to DIY: Yard work is just something that feels awesome when you do it yourself. Hubs and I are in the midst of redoing our backyard and it’s a good feeling when you put in some hard physical labor and see some results! Most yard projects are absolutely DIY-able and include things like planting foliage, putting in grass, adding rock features or garden beds, building a deck, etc. Just know your stuff about when to plant things or how to properly add any features you want and you are good to go!

When to Hire a Pro: If you are planning an entire yard demolition and rebuild, it might save you time and effort to hire a company to take care of it for you. If you are planting large trees or digging any holes at all for a water feature or other project, at the very least, please call your county before you dig so you don’t accidentally wipe out the power in your whole neighborhood or something! Also consider hiring a pro if your project is complicated or includes things like large heavy boulders or intricate detail work.

As always, these are just general suggestions and cautions. If you are a DIY pro and have extensive experience, you may be qualified to take on some more professional-level work and skip on hiring someone. It’s up to you whether to DIY or hire a pro. The main point is that you all are safe in all your DIY and home improvement endeavors! πŸ™‚

What is a favorite DIY project that you’ve done in your home that your proud of? Have you ever tried to do a project and realized that you needed a pro’s help? Sound off in the comments below!

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27 Comments

  • hey! we have the same birthday! πŸ™‚ hope you have a great one πŸ™‚
    My husband and I have been going back and forth about whether or not we should DIY our basement floor or hire it out… I know I CAN do it, but ughhhh maybe I just don’t feel like it. haha. I think in the end we’re going to do the self-leveling cement part ourselves and hire out the actual flooring.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Woohoo! September birthdays are the best! Particularly the 7th – I’m convinced it’s a lucky day! πŸ˜‰ I hope you have a great one, too! Yeah – it’s totally a hard decision when you know you *could* do it but the effort/time is just too much. I would be afraid to self-level cement anything – it sounds like you have more skills than I do! πŸ™‚ I know it will turn out great whatever your decision!

  • Christine says:

    This post is amazing! I love it!

  • Kristi says:

    Fantastic info girl! PS. I LOVE September too – our anniversary is the 18th!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thanks, Kristi! I hope readers will find it helpful. And YES! September weddings are the best. See, we really are just far too much alike πŸ˜‰

  • Emilee Hunter says:

    I too have a September 7th birthday, crazy! I was also going to add to your list dry wall. We have been finishing our (2000sqft) basement and my husband has been doing most of the work himself. When it came to the drywall we thought we could save a ton of money hanging it ourselves. After months of back breaking labor he was finished, we called in for bids on the taping and texturing (definitely a pro job) and time and time again we were told that the pro would have been able to hang all the drywall in 2 days for about $500 more. We nearly cried. Lesson learned!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Yay for birthday buddies, Emilee! September 7th birthdays are the best! πŸ™‚ And I TOTALLY agree. We had to have a room re-drywalled this past spring and we thought about doing it ourself at first. After calculating the cost plus the time plus knowing absolutely nothing about drywall, we decided to hire a pro! Definitely a good decision hah. I’m so sorry you had to go through all that pain and labor! But I bet you are really proud of it! πŸ™‚

  • Contractors may be expensive but with the quality they make it shouldn’t matter that much as long as they deliver.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Agreed – Contractors are definitely an excellent option, provided they get the job done right! We are using one for our kitchen renovation. But those with less money to spend shouldn’t be restricted to having non-functioning/unsightly spaces – that’s why I think it’s okay to DIY sometimes, provided you do it in a safe and proper manner πŸ™‚

  • Maintenance should be done from time to time to avoid bigger problems that you can prevent earlier. And landlords should be reminded of this.

  • Hazel Owens says:

    I like your tip to hire a professional when demolishing walls or large areas. Like you said, there can be permits for add-ons, and there can be things in the walls, like structural supports and pipes, that you don’t want to destroy. Getting a professional contractor to help you take out walls can save potential headaches in the future. Thanks for the article!

  • Westly Smith says:

    I have this question all of the time. I like how you list different project and attack each one individually. I agree with you on the plumbing section. A lot of things can go wrong with plumbing. That’s why I usually always call a professional.

  • Silas Knight says:

    A lot of people think that DIY is the only way to go. I, however, know that sometimes hiring a pro will save a lot of money in the long run. Especially with plumbing, like you said. Sometimes, when you try to fix plumbing issues yourself, things go really wrong.

  • Eamon Hurley says:

    Hey, great share……

    We are thinking of building a small deck in our backyard and we are really confused whether we should hire a pro for it or not.

    I want it to get ready before our wedding anniversary.Any suggestions??
    Thanks in advance.
    Cheers!!

  • Vivian Black says:

    I haven’t done a lot of yard maintenance myself, and I appreciated the advice in this article on when to hire a pro. You gave a good list of the kind of projects to hire a yard maintenance service for. Do you have any resources on how to do the more basic yard projects yourself?

  • Vivian Black says:

    I really appreciated your point that electrical work can be really tricky. I would definitely feel stressed about doing my own electrical work except for simple things like changing a light bulb. It makes sense to hire a pro for electrical problems since electricity, as you say, is “extremely dangerous.” Plus, if you hire someone you can be sure you don’t end up without electricity as they will know what they are doing.

  • larissa says:

    If this is not the question of my life, I don’t know what is! I am always thinking I can do certain things instead of hiring a professional and unfortunately it never seems to turn out my way! This is a nice little list to reference when I start getting into my crazy diy modes! Thanks for sharing!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      I’m in the same boat as Larissa! I like to think I can do it all, but sometimes it’s just easier (and less painful!) to just let a professional do it. Glad I could help! πŸ™‚

  • Lisa Moore says:

    great tips, I always do the diy home rather do than have a contractor, and still save is the way I want

  • Hello, awesome offer… …

    We are considering building a little deck in our patio and we are truly befuddled whether we ought to employ an ace for it or not.

    I need it to get prepared before our wedding anniversary.Any recommendations??

    Much obliged ahead of time.

    Here’s to you!!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      It depends on how much time you have and your comfort in your skill level. If you have a fair amount of free time and feel fairly comfortable with power tools like saws, nail guns, etc. then you should totally be able to do it yourself! However, if you don’t have a lot of time (sounds like it needs to be done quickly) or don’t feel comfortable with tools, then hiring a pro is the way to go! Best of luck and thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  • Hiring a painting professional is always a great idea.You can consider Doing it Yourself,but there are some risks involved when you are not an expert.Professionals always examine your home before proceeding further.They use modern techniques such as pressure washing which gives smooth touch to your walls.Consider hiring professionals to paint your home or business place.

  • Good Article to read for all homeowners. If you can DIY for any task, you should. However if you are not 100% confident you can do it, its always better to hire help. Sometimes these tasks can end up being double the work and cost if not done properly. Great Article. Thanks for Sharing!

  • Great Post. Im my mind, whatever the task, if you are confident enough to do the work “properly” yourself, you should do it. If not, the risk is experimenting is just not worth it. More often than not, it will end up costing homeowners twice the cost and time allocated. Thanks for Sharing!

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