Kitchen renovations are expensive, lengthy, disruptive, and stressful. Many people try to side step some of the negative aspects of remodeling a kitchen by taking on some of the work themselves. This is a great idea, assuming you have the right tools, the right experience, and enough time to complete the job. However, a full kitchen installation goes far beyond the scope of even the handiest homeowner.
Doing work around your own home can save you money on contractor bills, plus it can help instill a sense of pride in where you live. However, certain jobs should not be attempted by amateurs. To help you figure out where you should and shouldn't jump in, here is a list of when to DIY and when to call the pros.
Call the Pros If It Could Cause a Medical Emergency
Let's get this one out of the way up front. If you are inexperienced with electrical wiring, do not attempt any electrical work on your home. If you are not extremely familiar with operating power tools, don't do it. If a job requires you to balance precariously on a ladder, or to lift something extremely heavy, or to work with an open flame, stop and be very honest with yourself about whether or not you can handle this.
DIY injuries can range from a blackened fingernail, all the way up to a broken neck. Don't risk it.
Call the Pros If a Mistake Could Seriously Damage Your Home
Are you absolutely certain that wall you are about to rip out isn't loadbearing? Could a wrong move damage your plumbing and require extensive repairs? In other words, if something goes wrong with the project you are about to take on, will you be paying a repair person to rush in and fix it? If the job you're doing could result in permanent and expensive damage to your home, call the pros.
Call the Pros If the Job Requires Permits
So you got a great deal on some affordable kitchen cabinets, and you can't wait to get started on your kitchen renovation. Not so fast. Many homeowners are not aware of the fact that even something as simple as moving your sink over by a few feet could require permits from your township or city. A professional contractor will be very familiar with how to obtain these permits, and the fact that they are licensed, bonded, and insured means that the city is more likely to grant them that permit.
DIY If It's a Manageable Job, and You Already Have the Right Tools
A well prepared and experienced homeowner can tackle larger jobs. If you already have everything you need, there's no reason you can't get started. Homeowners sometimes overlook the expense that will be required to obtain new power tools or raw materials. If you already have these things on hand, doing the work yourself will be a great money-saving measure.
Call the Pros If it's an Extensive and Complicated Repair
Unless you are retired and have a crew of friends willing to help you for a few months, very large and complicated projects are best left to the pros. Homeowners can sometimes misjudge the amount of time that will be required, and find they often need much more than just a few free weekends. If you want it done quickly, get the professionals.
DIY If You Have Plenty of Experience With This Work
If you've been installing tile or swapping out ceiling fans for years, there's no reason you can't continue doing that work on your own home. If you have masonry or carpentry experience, you can absolutely put that to great use around your house. If you feel comfortable taking on the work, you can do it for a lot less than the contractor could.
DIY If You Can Handle Parts of the Job to Save Money
A compromise for many DIY enthusiasts is to split up the job responsibilities between themselves and the professionals. If you have experience with demolition, you can handle the demo of your kitchen to save money. If you feel comfortable enough doing the painting, laying the floor, or even just cleaning up from the job, each of these things could knock hundreds or thousands of dollars off of your final bill.
Being able to jump in and work on your own home is a wonderful thing, but only if you can be sure that you are not causing more problems than you are solving. It's simply a matter of being honest about your limits. Let the pros (and their insurance) handle the dangerous or complicated work, while you handle the everyday stuff you've been doing for years.