Weigh Your Options before a Do-it-Yourself Remodel
Homeowners are tackling more home improvement projects than ever, according to a new study from Home Advisor. What’s more, they spent an average of roughly $1,850 more on home improvement projects than ten years previous.
Home project spending is up among millennials, but less than half report always hiring a professional to help complete home improvement projects — in part because they’d have to save for or finance a home improvement, and in part because they’re uncertain they’re being charged a fair price.
Age of home and length of residence matter. Homeowners who’ve lived in their homes for less than six years spent the most on home improvement projects last year, followed by those who’ve lived in their homes longer than 11 years. Homeowners who’ve lived in their homes for six to 10 years, on the other hand, spent the least on home improvement projects.
With websites like Pinterest, and home improvement shows too numerous to count, many homeowners feel they can take on that bathroom or kitchen, but DIY remodeling isn’t always the best path to that completed remodeling project.
Without the proper training and preparation, a DIYer can and has landed in the emergency room. Unfamiliarity with new tools and techniques can lead to life-threatening accidents. Follow product directions and safety procedures and always use proper safety equipment.
A good rule of thumb for any homeowner is to avoid projects that require a license. Veteran remodelers advise against doing electrical or plumbing work on your own and avoid making structural changes to walls, roofs, and floors. You run the risk of compromising the structural integrity of your home and having a large hole in your roof or floor. Leave this work in the hands of professionals with the proper training.
Even projects that appear simple like laying floor tile can result in you stubbing your toes every time you are in that room if improperly installed.
DIYers often tackle larger projects than they can handle before the holidays so that visiting family can enjoy the updates. But when something goes wrong, there is no one to hold to the deadline. Hiring a professional will ensure that you have a contract with a completion date and that the remodeler will bring in whatever help is necessary to get the job finished on time.
Even professional remodelers sometimes need extra time on projects when they find surprises behind walls. Troubleshooting these issues often takes more time and expertise than originally planned. If timing is a priority for your weekend warrior, call a professional remodeler to get your project completed.
Purchasing new tools is exciting but consider the price of all the specialty tools used for a one-time project when they are sitting untouched in your garage for a few years.
Additionally, many of the products purchased for the DIY market, although designated by a name brand, are not always the same quality available to contractors. It is also important to verify the terms of the product warranty. Many warranties become void by improper installation.
Depending on the scale of the project, some home improvement projects can also involve compliance with local codes that require permits and inspections. In addition, older homes may have asbestos and /or lead paint. The removal of these two dangerous materials are often strictly regulated in most states. Other common DIY code violations are deck ledger fastening problems, basement bedroom egress windows, and botched electrical work.
Work that’s not up to code may be discovered by an inspector when you try and sell, putting a big damper on your plans. You may be required to fix any problems (with added expense) before a buyer will consider making an offer. And if your buyer should later discover fixes that aren’t up to code, you could be sued for repairs and damages.
Not all projects require permits and inspections. Start off by inquiring with your local building authority and discussing your project in detail.
There are some home projects that professional remodelers believe can be tackled by determined DIYers such as hanging pictures, interior painting, caulking, changing door knobs and cabinet pulls, and some aesthetic work (depending on skill level) such as installing crown molding. Just consider the safety risks, time and cost involved in a DIY project of any size.
Still think you can tackle a big remodeling project? Just remember, DIY projects should be fun and suit your skill level. If they’re not, then consider hiring a professional.
For information about hiring a remodeler, contact your local builders association or search the Directory of Professional Remodelers (www.nahb.org/remodelerdirectory) to find a professional remodeler in your area. Visit www.nahb.org/remodel for more information on remodeling. The PA Builders Association Buyers Guide has hundreds of products and services for the DIYer from all over Pennsylvania.