DIY Gone Wrong: When to Call a Professional


Some DIY projects need a professional touch.

It seemed so easy. Why pay a professional when you could just do it yourself and save a bunch of money? But all too quickly, DIY projects can get out of control as new problems are discovered or mistakes are made. When it’s all said and done, you may even end up spending more money than you would have if you just called a professional in the first place.

How do you know when it’s time to throw in the towel and call a professional to finish the job? Here are some guidelines – and ways to preserve as much of your hard-earned cash as possible, even when professionals become necessary.

Professional contractors ensure that work gets done right.

Assessing Your Skills

If your project involves something you’ve never done before and it could cause permanent damage to the home if it is done wrong, you’re probably better off not attempting it. Plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry are professions that people study for years to learn. The chances of making a mistake when you’ve never done that kind of work before are pretty good, and water and electrical damage are often expensive to repair.

Furthermore, you might be able to complete the project without damaging anything, but will it be a professional quality job that will look good and stand up to wear and tear over time? If you have to fix the same thing again next year because your repair doesn’t hold up, will you still be saving money? How about if you have to fix it every year? And what if you cut materials to the wrong size and have to re-purchase them?

Assessing the Risks

Besides causing possible damage to your home, it’s also important to determine if any aspects of the project might be dangerous to those doing the work. Using power tools like saws and drills could be risky for people who haven’t used them before. Working on the roof is another risk that you may not want to take without careful consideration.

One way to lessen the risks of doing work you don’t have much experience with is to find a friend who can help you. Even if your friend can’t be on site during the whole project, it may still be valuable to have access via phone or online so you can contact your friend for advice or to consult with you when you aren’t sure how to proceed.

Being Realistic

Most experienced DIYers will tell you to double your expected budget and time frame for any project. Doing this gives you a more realistic picture of what to expect, and can help make a more informed decision about how much you will really save, compared to getting professional help. There may be ways to do part of the work, like demolition before a renovation or painting once drywall has been installed, and save some money on a project.

The bottom line: any time you feel like the situation is out of control and you aren’t sure what to do next, it’s probably time to think about getting professional help. Moonworks offers professional home improvement services. You can contact them at 1-800-975-6666.

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