August 18, 2023

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional: Pros and Cons of Home Renovations

What Are The Pros and Cons of Home Renovations?

Tackling a Do-It-Yourself home renovation project requires more than a good eye for design and function.  It’s not just the ability to match or coordinate colors, shapes, and sizes. You also need to understand how various parts of a kitchen, bathroom, or any other room in your home fit together.  

It’s knowing how to read your original blueprints, so you know where the bearing walls are.  It’s understanding what permits must be pulled before you start the project.  It’s knowing where your water pipes and electrical wiring are. You may even have to do some math, so everything is sized correctly.  As the professional builders say, you’ll need to “measure twice, cut once.”

We know, we know.  Those attractive skinny blond women and tall handsome men with shiny, bright white smiles make a DIY project on TV look so easy.  And it’s quite entertaining too as we watch them sling sledgehammers against wallboard, rip out cabinets, and rip up carpeting without breaking a sweat. 

   

Oh, there are certainly some things an amateur DIYer can do.  Paint walls and trim, hang pictures, and maybe even do a bit of plumbing when the drain gets clogged.  But, unless you’re a trained electrician, plumber, or carpenter, you really should leave the renovations to licensed and insured professionals.

 

On top of renovation and remodeling TV shows that have suddenly become quite popular, there are endless resources, both in books, podcasts, online websites and videos that can explain “how-to.” But when it comes to anything other than minor cosmetic changes to your home, refreshing wall paint and trim, improving your landscaping, rearranging your furniture, you should really leave the renovations to an actual builder, plumber, or electrician.

When deciding whether to take on your home renovation project yourself, consider the fact that you will save money.  You’ll also have more control over your budget when you purchase your materials.  And DIY projects can allow you to have some fun and exercise some of your inner creativity.

But, if you lack expertise, experience, or training, you could create a real mess.  The results of a Do-It-Yourself renovation can quickly turn into an expensive, time-wasting disaster.  

You could drive a nail through a water pipe in a wall, leading to water damage, or here in Florida, you could create a small unnoticeable leak that results in the growth of mold.  You could rewire something incorrectly causing a fire hazard or constantly blown circuit breakers.  And you could put out a good amount of money just buying the tools you’ll need from start to finish.

Without the special know-how required to do a home renovation—even a small one—DIYers can make costly mistakes that lead to even costlier repairs and “do-overs” down the road.  Our team at Onsite Construction has no intention of casting shade on your carpentry talents or bruising your ego, but well, we’ve seen too many home projects go terribly wrong.  

We’ve had to handle DIY disasters all too often.  And that only adds more cost to the money you’ve already invested. And it takes a lot more time that your family to has to live with construction dust and debris, juggling workers that come in and out of your home, and dealing with the upset in your daily routines.

diy-pros-vs-cons

Paying A Licensed Professional Really Is Worth It

So, before you strap on your fancy new tool belt, take out your nifty auto lock tape measure, and put on your safety glasses (you do have safety glasses, don’t you?), let’s go through some salient reasons to leave your renovation projects to the pros at Onsite Construction:

  • DIY will most likely cost you less, but in the long run, it could cost you more.
  • Unless you have the carpentry skills and construction experience to renovate or remodel rooms in your home, you might make some very costly mistakes that can only be fixed by a skilled builder or carpenter.  That costs money on top of the money you’ve already put out.  Anywhere from $30 to $125 an hour in fact.  
  • And what if a contractor or builder has jobs lined up already?  Can you wait weeks or even months to get them over to your home to fix your mistakes?
  • You don’t have the equipment or tools.
  • It’s not just hammers and nails.  You’ll need an entire chest of specialty tools to get your project done.  Here’s a comprehensive list of some tools you’ll need to start your project:
  • Tape measure
  • String line
  • Chalk line
  • Level
  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  • Screwdrivers
  • Hand saw
  • Pry bar
  • Circular saw
  • Miter saw
  • Miter box
  • Drill with different sized bits
  • Table saw
  • Planer
  • Framing nail gun
  • Roofing nail gun
  • Siding nail gun
  • Finish nail gun
  • Tile saw
  • Flooring nail or glue
  • Oh yes, and safety glasses
  • Do you have the knowledge, experience, or necessary skills?
  • Where are the electrical wires? Pipes for plumbing?  Bearing walls? Heating/AC ducts?  Sewage pipes?
  • Can you read a blueprint?
  • Do you have the physical strength to do this project?
  • How’s your eyesight? Hand eye coordination?
  • Do you have the dexterity and strength?
  • Do you know and understand any of these terms?
  • Ampere
  • Joist
  • Batten
  • Bearing partition
  • Anchor bolt
  • Board foot
  • Cantilever
  • Coffered ceiling
  • Cross bracing
  • Jamb
  • Toenailing

 

If the answer is “no” or “maybe one or two”, we suggest you run to the phone and call a licensed building professional now.  And we mean NOW!

  • How much time do you have to work on this project?
  • Do you have a full-time professional career that takes concentration and accuracy?  
  • Are you planning on doing your project on the weekends?  Consider how much longer this will take and the upset your family will experience.
  • Do you have a family?  Kids?  Dogs?  Cats?  All running in and out, making demands on your time, wanting to play, needing attention.
  • Do you enjoy a social life?  Going out to dinner?  Entertaining?  Better rethink how many hours your hands will be full with your DIY renovation project then.
  • Do you enjoy “downtime?”  Very little downtime is available when you’re trying to get a project finished.  
  • Do you have travel plans?  Traveling will most likely have to go on the back burner for a while.  You have a project to finish!

 

Think about it!  Home renovation takes time.  Lots and lots of time.  You’ll have time for nothing else until the project is completed.  Think carefully about this before you commit to starting (and finishing) this venture.  We can’t tell you how many DIYers have started a renovation project, only to get bored or give up halfway through.  “Gee, it sounded like a good idea when I started the project.”

  • Permits and more permits.  Inspectors and inspections.  Who knew?
  • You can, of course, apply for your own permits before you start your renovation or remodeling project. Do you know what kind of permits you need?  
  • Contractors and builders better understand and have experience in what permits are needed, and they will most likely have an easier time navigating the inevitable bureaucracy, red tape and the city building and zoning departments.  You think waiting in line at the DMV is a pain in the you know what!

 

  • A professional builder is also better qualified to handle building inspectors. We’ve worked with them many, many time.  We know the rules and we follow them, making it easier for us to get inspectors to sign off on the project so you and your family can get back to your lives.
  • A DIY renovation or remodel could increase (or decrease) the value of your home.
  • Done poorly, a renovation or remodeling project can severely affect not only the value of your home, but its look as well. This is not something for an amateur to take on.  Uneven joints, doors that don’t fit tightly, floors that are not level, countertops that aren’t level.  These are just some of the disasters that we’ve had to repair over and over again.
  • With a professionally renovated or remodeled kitchen or bathroom, with living space made larger or walk-in closets constructed, your home can realize a return on investment of up to 78%…if done correctly.  Do you want to take a chance on losing that ROI by doing it yourself
  • What else could go wrong?
  • “Hot” wires hidden in the walls equal a fire hazard.
  • The wrong outlets used in the kitchen or bathrooms.
  • Not enough lighting or too much lighting.
  • Cheap sink faucets or door handles that easily break.
  • Exposed pipes or wires.
  • Obvious drywall seam lines.
  • Badly done intersections of countertop or door frames.
  • Visible and uneven caulk lines.
  • Badly aligned screw heads on electrical faceplates.
  • And more…

 

When it comes to home interior renovations and remodeling, including custom carpentry, floors, additions, enlargement of rooms, the options and styles are endless! When the question is: “Should I try do-it-yourself with this project?” or “should I professionally upgrade my home and increase its value?”  The answer is obvious.  

There are pros and cons to every DIY project or to having a professional complete a home renovation.  Time, cost, permits, inspections, expertise, experience.  It’s important to weigh all the benefits and the disadvantages before you make your decision.  But most of all, it’s important to honestly examine your skill set, the time you have available, and your actual ability to do what’s needed to upgrade, renovate, or remodel the rooms in your home.  In the end, you and your loved ones have to live with the decision you make.  Think about that!