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DIY or Hire a Pro: Top Home Improvement Projects & How to Handle Them

If you’re fairly handy, the idea of a DIY home improvement can be pretty appealing. By tackling a project on your own, you can save big on labor costs—and smaller updates can be fun, challenging, and rewarding. But some projects are definitely better left for the experts. Professional contractors can ultimately save you time, money, and a lot of headache. So, how do you know when to DIY or hire a pro?

Carpentry Projects You Can DIY… And Some Best Left to the Pros

a carpenter making home improvements

Depending on your level of experience and knowledge, as well as how much time you have to work with, you may be able to tackle some smaller projects on your own without too many hang-ups. But larger home improvements are often better left to the pros—even if you’re a whiz with a hammer.

Here’s how to know when to DIY… and when to call in a pro.

DIY: Small projects with small consequences

a couple painting the walls of their home

When deciding whether to DIY or call in an expert, your first question should be, “Could I cause serious damage to my home if I mess up?” One of the biggest dangers to DIY-ing is starting with a small project and ending with a big problem. Before starting, you want to be sure there aren’t going to be serious consequences should you run into some issues along the road.

Painting, for example, is a very straightforward project just about any DIY-er can tackle. Hanging shelving or installing tile backsplash are two more fairly small projects that can’t really cause too much damage.

DIY: Undertakings with low time investments

a new vinyl plank flooring

If you work full time, taking on a full-time home improvement project, such as a kitchen or bathroom renovation, could end up being a big hassle. If you only have a few hours a week to put into your upgrade, it might be better to hire a contractor to knock out the project in a week or two—rather than dragging it out for months.

Installing laminate or vinyl flooring is a fairly easy weekend project, as it uses a tongue-in-groove snap-together system. Hanging drywall is another DIY undertaking that doesn’t take much time to learn.

Hire a pro: Larger projects with big consequences

an electrician rewiring a wall

Any time making a change could potentially cause serious damage to your home, it’s a job best left to a pro. Reputable contractors have experience identifying and working around potential issues—such as removing load-bearing walls—and are capable of handling mishaps should they arise.

Projects that require rewiring or moving plumbing, removing walls, or replacing roofing are typically best left to a professional. Major kitchen and bathroom updates, additions, and window replacements are probably not (solely) DIY undertakings.

Hire a pro: Potentially dangerous projects

a man on a roof next to a ladder

Home improvement projects can be dangerous, particularly if they require the use of ladders, saws, or electrical wiring. For inexperienced DIY-ers, a seemingly simple project could quickly turn into a trip to the hospital. Projects that involve extensive ladder usage, precise cutting, or any type of electrical rewiring might be better left to a pro.

A reputable contractor won’t just have experience handling dangerous situations. They should also be fully insured, which protects you as the homeowner against any potential accidents or mishaps.

Hire a pro: Highly precise projects

a man measuring with a tape measure

The level of precision required for some seemingly simple projects can be overwhelming for DIY-ers. For example, kitchen countertops typically require incredibly precise measurements to ensure a perfect fit before any cutting can happen. Some contractors will even use specialty tools to ensure the surface will fit in with cabinets.

Countertops, hardwood floors, and windows often require high levels of measuring expertise. Cabinets may also be frustrating to less experienced DIY-ers.

Hire a pro: If you plan to sell

a beautifully updated kitchen

While a DIY improvement might be fine for your own tastes or if you’re working on a budget, if you plan to sell your home, it’s always best to guarantee the quality of a pro. When selling, you want to make sure your home looks its very best—so amateurish upgrades are definitely a no-no.

Hiring a professional contractor will ensure your improvement looks like an actual improvement!

Hire a pro: Any project you’re uncomfortable with

Don’t ever tackle a project you don’t feel comfortable with! It’s always better to err on the side of caution. Remember, starting a project you don’t feel you have the skills, knowledge, or time for can end up being a much bigger hassle than you bargained for. Depending on the project, it might even end up costing you more than if you’d just hired a pro in the first place!

Looking for a Pro to Tackle Your Home Improvements?

Thinking of taking on a home improvement project? We’d love to help! Contact Raleigh Woodworks today to learn more about how we can put our carpentry and construction expertise to work for you… and your dream home.

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