Doing your own home remodeling can be fun and rewarding, and it can also help you save money. Some projects are easy for a novice homeowner to tackle while others should be left to a professional. So how do you decide which ones to do yourself and which ones to hire out? Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you get started.
Make safety your top priority for all home improvement projects. Any remodeling job that puts you in harm's way is probably not worth trying. In general you'll want to stay away from extreme heights, electrical work, anything near a gas line and large projects that require building permits. Unless you have experience or special skills in these areas, it is best to leave it to a professional.
Time is Money
Yes, doing a project yourself tends to mean less money out of your pocket. But also consider how much your time is worth. Do you want to spend all of your free time fixing your house? Or is it more valuable to have that time available for something else? Keep this in mind as you think through your options.
DIY - Give it a Try
There are a number of basic home remodeling projects that most homeowners can accomplish with little to no experience. If you've evaluated your safety and your time and you've decided to try a project, the ones below are a good place to start.
A Fresh Coat of Paint
Just about anyone can successfully apply a fresh coat of paint. New paint can provide a room with a much needed makeover that is inexpensive and relatively quick and easy. But do take your time selecting the right paint for the room. There are free online tools available to help you virtually test out different colors and styles. Once you've selected one or two colors, buy samples and test them at home. Things like lighting can really change the look of paint. Starting with a sample and verifying that it looks good before you start in on the entire project can save you headaches down the road. Also invest in tools like paint brushes, drop cloths and painter's tape. Do-it-yourself does not mean cutting corners.
Unclogging a Drain
If you encounter a drain clog, there are a few options to try before reaching out to a professional. Plungers are highly effective and can be used on toilets as well as shower or sink drains. Professional-grade drain cleaning products also can be purchased by regular consumers. Just be sure to follow the directions carefully, as drain cleaner products can be very strong. If a clog occurs in your main water pipe between your house and the city water line, it is probably best to call a professional plumber.
Replacing Cabinet Hardware
Kitchen remodels are a huge undertaking. But sometimes things like a simple hardware upgrade can be enough to make the whole room look new again. Replacing cabinet handles and knobs is a great DIY project. First you'll want to remove all of the current hardware. If your new hardware is a different shape or size, you can fill in any holes left by the old hardware with wood putty. Wood putty is available in many colors to perfectly match your cabinets. Simply apply a small amount to the holes, remove any excess and let it dry completely. You can also touch it up with wood stain. The next step is measuring and marking the new holes. It's important to measure prior to drilling or making any cuts. Once you are done marking the locations of the new holes, you can then drill them and screw in your new hardware.
Nearly every homeowner will be faced with the option of hiring a professional or trying a home improvement project themselves. Many projects can be accomplished by a homeowner with the right attitude, tools and time. But when it comes to extensive remodeling or projects that require skilled labor, it may be best to leave it to the professionals. When in doubt, seek advice at your local home improvement store or by asking for professional project estimates.