Some people are born problem-solvers around the home. They're the ones who can rig up a movie projector from an aluminum can and some duct tape, or the ones who can fix the car with sheer force of will. But there's a difference between being handy and being a trained contractor who can safely finish major home renovations. Before you jump into a project that may end up being more trouble than it's worth, keep the following tips in mind.
Threat of Injury
Garage doors, roof eaves, and wiring can be some of the most hazardous aspects of a home. Too many homeowners learn this the hard way when they decide to upgrade or repair a flaw they may not fully understand. Too many homeowners vastly underestimate the dangers of these components and discount the need for formal training. One slip on a ladder could land someone in the hospital for a month. One mistake with a gas pipe can end up causing either an explosion or a release of deadly (odorless) carbon monoxide.
Homeowners may want to consider committing themselves to the easy prep work that will make a project easier (and less expensive) in the case they choose to hire a professional. For example, clearing out a room before the pros get there. Typically, you'll be charged the same amount for every task they do, whether they're hanging off the side of the house or just priming a wall.
Threat of Fines
Some neighborhoods are much more involved when it comes to what homeowners are doing, and officials may have detailed rules about what an amateur is allowed to do. This is because a home repair isn't always as isolated as it seems. A plumbing mishap can cause spillover damage that affects the whole block. Small underground water leaks can end up wreaking havoc on the water system for years before it's finally discovered.
For major jobs, a homeowner may either need to get the appropriate permits to finish the job or be required to hire a professional. In Ontario, for example, homeowners may need an engineer to provide plans as well as get a building permit. Canada tends to be somewhat lax on restrictions for property owners, but homeowners shouldn't assume anything until they know for sure.
Threat of Losing Money
The idea of DIY is to save money, learn new skills, and improve a homeowner's sense of independence. But the reality of DIY can mean throwing away money on supplies for repairs that will need to be redone by a professional sooner or later. Even a simple window repair may cost a lot in the long run because they require calibrated tools to get the leveling right.
Too often, people find videos and tutorials of someone claiming how easy a particular job is, only to find that their particular Sunset Ridge house has quirks that stop the whole project dead in its tracks. Shopping around can go a long way when it comes to understanding the local market for repairs and renovations. A contractor may even be able to give a homeowner helpful advice about whether or not they're better off trying to fix a home themselves.
There's nothing wrong with hiring a professional rather than fixing a problem on your own. Homeowners can use the project as a chance to learn more about their home by asking contractors questions about how they're handling each challenge as it arises.