Should you DIY or hire an expert?

Private Property South Africa
Veronica Logan

Homeowners often use the December break to tackle home improvement projects, but which should you tackle yourself and which should you leave to the experts?

With December holidays around the corner, homeowners often kick-off the holiday season by attending to all the home improvement projects that fell by the wayside during the busy year. While the notion of doing something yourself does have a certain appeal to it (not to mention the rands and cents that could be saved!), some projects are simply better left to the professionals. Below is a list of common home improvement projects along with our suggestion as to whether you should go the DIY route or rather consider hiring an expert.

-DIY IT-

Painting

While painting can be a tedious and onerous task, it is definitely one of the simplest home improvements one can undertake without the help of an expert. The trickiest part is often deciding what colour to go for, so be sure to stock up on samples and try them out before you get going. You can also easily give rooms a new lease on life by sanding down and repainting the existing cabinets, cupboards and even furniture – no need for an expert there either!

Redoing the décor

Sometimes you know your own tastes and preference better than anyone else and are therefore all the expert you need! DIY re-decorating is the perfect way to give your home an upgrade without having to renovate or break the bank, plus the internet is full of clever and simple tips and projects for you to try for yourself

Replacing or adding fixtures

Attending to fixtures is often the easiest of home projects to undertake. It is often also the most rewarding as changing up your fixtures or adding in some new ones can make the world of difference to your space without having to undertake any costly renovations. Furthermore, you don’t always need to call on an expert to assist with these types of jobs. Just be sure that the size of the fixture you are replacing your current one with fits before getting to work!

Installing laminate flooring

Though the thought of DIY flooring might seem daunting, installing laminate flooring is actually not as difficult as it sounds, and can definitely be done yourself. Depending on how handy and dedicated you are, as well as the state of your current floor, it is possible to change up your flooring over the course of a weekend without any outside help. Be sure to do your research however to ensure that you get it right the first time.

-LEAVE TO THE EXPERTS-

Plumbing, gas and electrical installations or repairs

There are some household jobs that no homeowners should touch – plumbing, gas and electrical jobs are no exception. Not only do they often require a licensed or qualified contractor by law, but trying to take matters into your own hands and do the job yourself could ultimately endanger the lives of you and your family as well as be a costly exercise to fix. Furthermore, hiring an expert is advisable as they know the ins and outs of what’s required far better than you will, so it’s best to hand these types of home projects over to the professionals.

Structural changes or demolition before renovating

Undertaking any structural changes such as removing or adding walls as well as doing any structural repairs is strongly discouraged from a DIY perspective. Without knowing which walls are load-bearing, for example, you could do you and your home a great and dangerous disservice. Similarly, taking out old kitchen cupboards or removing a bath or shower could lead to future problems once renovations begin.

Installing cabinets, cupboards and countertops

It might be tempting to try and install cupboards or counters yourself to save time and/or money but doing so is often an incredibly complicated job to undertake. These types of installations typically require specialised tools and know-how that you as a homeowner won’t naturally be aware of. The margin for error can therefore be great if you aren’t completely sure of what you’re doing or how to do it. Rather leave this one to the experts to ensure any installations are done correctly and won’t need to be redone at a later stage.

Hazardous jobs

It’s not worth compromising on the safety of you or your family when it comes to dealing with any home jobs that involve hazardous situations. Issues such as mould, lead paint, asbestos or other concerns should never be undertaken by anyone other than an expert in that field. By the same token, any job that requires work on the exterior of your home or roof often requires safety equipment and experience, so it’s not worth taking the risk to save a few bucks at the end of the day.

When all's said and done, knowing when to DIY or when to call in an expert is key to getting your home improvements done right the first time without compromising on safety or wisdom. So before grabbing your toolbox and getting to it, rather start small and see how you go with one or two simple DIY jobs before diving in to bigger and more complex projects – your bank balance and sanity will thank you in the end!

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