Do It Yourself, Or Not
by Broderick Perkins
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Do you enjoy physical work?
Are you persistent and patient?
Do you have reliable work habits - meaning that once the project is started, will it get finished?
A few more "nos" to questions like these and it's probably time to call a contractor.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) has devised a 17-point quiz, "Home Improvement Projects: Do It Yourself Or Hire A Professional?" to help you take the guess work out of the decision.
The test covers a lot of ground, but too often do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) only consider three factors when making the decisions - cost of a project, project type and know-how and level of difficulty, according to a recent study by NARI.
“Many believe that if they do-it-yourself, the cost will be greatly reduced. And most people also believe that the learning curve for home improvement is lower than it actually is,” said NARI National President Dean Herriges with Urban Herriges & Sons Inc., in Mukwonago, WI.
But by the time you remove a couple panels of sheet rock, it's too late.
Among the many home improvement projects, large and small, the variables can surprise you and become both involved and costly - especially if you wreck the job and are forced to hire a professional.
"If you are doing the project yourself for financial reasons, you need to consider what it would take to correct mistakes that cause damage," Herriges said.
According to survey, 40 percent said the deciding DIY-or-hire-a-pro factor was cost, 30 percent said project type and know-how and 25 percent said the level of difficulty. Safety and length of time required to complete the project were last, with 2 percent and 3 percent respectively.
NARI says there's much more to consider.
Physical capabilities, skills, time and understanding the job are more important than those selected in the survey. The strength and agility necessary to lift and control heavy objects and when an extra person is needed for the job are often underestimated and that can cause injuries.
DIYers should know which set of tools to use for a given job and have the skills to use them. On the job home improvement tools training without a teacher is foolhardy and dangerous.
Fully planning the process is necessary to ensure you've have ample time to complete the project without disrupting the household is also key.
"If you're working on a bathroom, you need to map out a good time for you to be without a bathroom and how long those critical steps will take so you know when you will have a bathroom again," says Herriges.
Permits, materials and time aren't the only cost factors you must consider.
"Fixing a project is usually more expensive than hiring a professional to do the project the first time through, so it's wise for homeowners to know what they are getting into and if the risk is worthwhile," Herriges said.
And don't rely solely upon tips in this story to make the decision.
Take the test.
And, no cheating.
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