Deciding what home improvement projects you can tackle

Deciding what home improvement projects you can tackle
And how to tell if you are in over your head

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Adding your own style to your home with a remodeling project can be very satisfying.  There is nothing like seeing an improvement and being able to say, “I did that!”  However there are times when you might end up creating an eyesore more than an embellishment.  Worse, it can be downright dangerous to attempt certain projects on your own.

Factors to weigh.  Experts at The Spruce suggest asking yourself these questions when deciding on whether to do an improvement yourself:

  • Long-term motivation.  Are you someone who will persevere through a lengthy project, or do instant-gratification projects suit you better?  If you are more inclined toward the latter, stick with quick improvements, such as painting one wall or hanging a new shelf. 
  • People in your home.  How do you feel about having strangers in your house?  Work crews may arrive early and stay most of the day, and what they do and how they do it may bother you. 
  • Evaluate your skills.  Can you do the work?  Take a hard look at what your abilities are.  If you are pretty handy and pick things up quickly you might be fine.  If you struggle with making things level and what kind of screwdriver to use, you probably are better off with a pro.
  • Timelines and energy.  Do you have time?  If you are trying to squeeze in a major remodel after work hours and before the kids’ ballgames, you might not accomplish your goal very quickly.  Decide if you would be okay spending months doing the project yourself or if you would rather a contractor finished it in a few days. 
  • Money.  Do you have the money?  Financial considerations are a driving force for many do-it-yourselfers.  Weigh the satisfaction of doing it yourself and the benefits of hiring it done. 

Home Advisor figures the average cost to remodel a kitchen in San Antonio is between $10,049 and $21,050 and takes around five weeks.  Doing it yourself might save some money, but it may cost you several months of aggravation instead.

Safety.  According to some experts, certain types of projects are always better handled by a trained professional.  Here are some examples:

  • Electrical projects.  Electricity must be handled correctly or it can be very dangerous.  If you are installing new lights where there were none before, grounding outlets, or doing anything beyond the most basic work you should hire a professional.
  • Plumbing.  Installing new bathtubs, showers or toilets are best done by professionals.
  • Demolition.  Removing walls can be tricky, especially if wiring or plumbing are involved.  Also, according to some professionals load-bearing walls have their own intricacies.  Consider hiring a professional if you are thinking about demolition. 
  • Building codes.  Some areas have building codes and require permits.  Some experts advise hiring a professional if you are uncomfortable with how to go about ensuring your work meets standards.

Are you going for it?  If you decide to take on a hefty remodel, here are some important tips to bear in mind:

  • Wear appropriate clothing.  Loose fitting garments and jewelry can catch in moving parts. 
  • Know how to use your hand and power tools.  Some home improvement centers have tutorials and classes that can help.
  • Wear protective gear.  Depending on the details of your project you may need to wear protective gear.  Gloves, a mask, hardhat and steel-toed boots are examples. 

Your home your way.  Before starting an improvement project, ask yourself if it’s something that is appropriate for you to do or if you should hire an experienced professional.  Weigh the factors and safety concerns.  If you decide to go for it, dress appropriately and get comfortable with your tools.  By choosing carefully, improving your home will feel great whether you do the work yourself or hire a pro.