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Home Remodeling: Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?

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DIY Home Remodeling vs. Hiring a Contractor

With so much information about how to perform home improvement projects available on the Internet, more homeowners are doing DIY home remodeling than ever before. Whether you need to remodel an attic, a basement, or any space in-between, you can find plans for doing it yourself. But do they come from a professional remodeler? Could you do a professional job?

Flying Solo Compared to Hiring a Pro             

Doing your own remodeling can be personally satisfying and potentially cost less than hiring a home remodeling contractor. But when the work goes wrong, satisfaction flies out the window, and making things right can cost more than if you had hired a contractor in the beginning.

Before you embark on DIY home remodeling, consider whether doing the work yourself is a good option based on everything that’s involved. Here are six important things to consider:

1. Credibility of the Work Plan

When people decide to perform DIY home remodeling, they usually do so because they have professional remodeling experience, or because they believe that they are using information provided by someone who does.

However, the website of a professional home remodeling contractor rarely tells people how to perform work that the contractor is paid to do. This is why many homeowners perform DIY home remodeling using questionable information that comes from home improvement web forums and websites that publish DIY home improvement articles.

Because credentials of forum members and authors are often unverified, it’s frequently hard to tell if the information comes from a licensed contractor with professional remodeling experience. Unless you know the source is legit, using the information is a gamble that may not turn out in your favor.   

2. Proficiency at Skilled Trades

Let’s assume the information for your DIY home remodeling plan comes from a legitimate source. Even if that’s the case, it doesn’t mean you’re prepared for the work.

For example, if your remodeling plan involves replacing light fixtures, it also involves working with elements of your home’s electrical system. If it entails replacing plumbing fixtures, it also entails working with elements of the plumbing system.

Homeowners who plan to perform DIY projects often view the work from a superficial perspective. They envision the changes they plan to make independent of the systems and technology that are essential to understand before changes are made.

If you aren’t proficient at tasks that a skilled tradesman would perform if you hired a home remodeling contractor instead, you could do more than botch the job. You could put yourself in danger.

3. Proficiency at Specific Tasks

Proficiency at a trade doesn’t equate to proficiency at all tasks of the trade. For example, flooring installation is a trade, but it is not uncommon to find an installer of wood flooring in all types of wood and finishes that does not install concrete flooring of all consistencies and patinas of color, or vice versa.

Consider your proficiency at how a general trade is specifically rendered within the context of your project. Wood joinery techniques for cabinet construction, weatherizing newly installed windows for energy efficiency, and creating unique surface finishes in plaster and lathe construction are examples of tasks that are best performed by specialists of the trade.   

4. Guarantee of Workmanship  

Let’s take things a hypothetical step further, and assume that your remodeling plan is based on information from a credible source, and you have proficiency at skilled trades — as well as specific tasks within the trades — that the plan requires. Can you now offer what a home remodeling contractor would? Yes and no.

You can perform the work with a comparable level of expertise, but you can’t guarantee the work will be made right, at no cost to you, if something goes wrong and needs redoing.

When you hire a reputable contractor, you receive a guarantee of quality workmanship. If human error compromises the work — as occasionally happens with even the best contractors — it will be corrected for free, according to contract. If your own work is faulty, you repair it at your own expense, and the cost could be high.

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5. Quality Grade of Materials

In addition to quality of workmanship, you also need to consider the quality of materials. In preparation for DIY home remodeling, homeowners generally acquire products from big box retailers that cater to DIY home improvement. In many cases, these are residential-grade products that lack the quality of commercial-grade or industrial-grade products that contractors use to ensure quality workmanship that lasts.  

Home remodeling contractors acquire these products from business-to-business (B2B) companies that supply contractors and not the general public. This is another important aspect of how using a professional home remodeling contractor can be necessary for achieving professional results.

6. Fallout from Improper Work

Some of the most unfortunate results of amateur workmanship are revealed weeks, months, or even years after a DIY home remodeling project is complete. For example, improper electrical work that causes a fire or poor plumbing work that causes a flood often does so somewhere down the line, not immediately following the shoddy work.

Improper workmanship that starts to look bad at the seams, so to speak, is not the worst that could happen. Worse are outcomes, such as fires and floods, that put your safety and the value of your home in jeopardy. Experienced contractors should always perform work that could have tragic results if performed improperly.

Need Help With Remodeling?

If any of these considerations apply to a remodeling job you plan to do yourself, it’s a sign that a contractor should do the work instead. As the customer, you’re always in control of the project. You decide what is done; the contractor simply ensures that it’s done to the highest standard.

If you have a DIY home remodeling project on tap that should be placed in professional hands, A-List builders is here to help. We can work with you closely, consulting you about anything you wish, whenever you wish, every step of the way. We handle home renovations of all sizes and scopes. To get started on your remodeling project, contact us today for a consultation.

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