(Family Features) Do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects continue to be popular. After all, it can save money and be very satisfying. But not all projects should be DIY. There are a number of things to consider before picking up a tool belt.
Home improvement experts recommend that you ask yourself these questions:
Do I really have the skills and knowledge to take on this project? You may be able to install a light fixture, but that doesn’t mean you can put up drywall if you’ve never done it before.
Can I do a quality job? Some projects require more skill and experience than others. Make sure you feel confident in your ability to do a job you can be proud of. Poor quality work not only detracts from the look of a home, it can actually hurt the value.
Do I have the time to do this? Experts recommend that DIYers double the amount of time a project is supposed to take. Do you have that kind of time to invest?
Will I actually finish the project? Many homeowners start a project with great enthusiasm. But as time goes on and problems arise, the project gets overwhelming and often gets left unfinished.
Can I do this by myself? If your project calls for more than one person, do you have a ready assistant who has the time and the skills to help?
If the project requires permits, can I get them on my own? Some projects – or parts of projects – may require building permits. Call your local building authority to find out exactly what permits are required and how to get them. They can also tell you which aspects of the project require a licensed professional.
Do I have the right tools? If not, can you borrow or rent them at a reasonable rate. Trying to make-do with the wrong tools will hurt the quality of your project, and could hurt you.
What’s the real cost of doing it myself? It’s about more than just the supplies on a project list. Take into consideration things like gloves, safety goggles, tools you don’t own and your time. You may also want to figure in the damage factor – what it costs to do things over or repair damage done in the process. Will it really save you money?
Is it safe for me to do this? Lack of knowledge, experience and the right safety equipment can raise the risk of injury. If your home is older, it might contain hazardous materials like asbestos or lead-based paint. You should always have a professional do that kind of removal work.
Cosmetic changes such as painting, putting up wallpaper or paneling, and installing flooring are ideal DIY projects – if you can answer yes to most of these questions. But structural changes – foundation or system changes, major framing – are best left to the pros.
And if you answer no to most of these questions, call a professional. The money you spend on expert help will save you time, hassle, money and regret in the long run.