Should You Do It On Your Own? When To DIY Or Hire A Contractor

“Can I complete this project on my own or should I hire a contractor?”

It’s a question that a lot of homeowners ask themselves. The main reason that most homeowners turn to DIY home renovations is to save money. Sure, doing your own home renovation may save you a lot of money. But if you don’t know what you’re doing you can end up spending a lot more money than you would have if you had hired a contractor in the first place.

So what jobs are suitable for DIY and what projects should be left to a professional contractor? There are a lot of factors to consider before you decide to do-it-yourself. I’ll go over common renovation projects and let you know which ones you can tackle and for which ones you will need to hire a professional tradesperson.

The first thing to consider is whether or not it is legal for you to take on a specific renovation project. In most cases as long as you have all the needed permits and inspections you can do any type of renovation on your own home. But in those same municipalities, it is illegal for you to do the same renovations on someone else’s home.

If you aren’t able to roof your neighbour’s house, should you really be doing it to your own home? There are safety measures and licensing boards in place for a reason after all. Municipal licensing for renovations is usually needed for the following projects:

  • Roofing
  • Drywalling
  • Bricklaying
  • Siding
  • Waterproofing a foundation

Maybe you have experience with one of the above and are confident that you can complete the job safely in your home. But if you aren’t licensed, you should still hire a contractor to ensure the job is being done correctly.

There are other jobs that require a licensed tradesperson that you should never attempt to DIY unless you are licensed in that trade. These include:

  • Electrical - moving or installing new electrical elements
  • Plumbing - installing a new tub or shower
  • HVAC as well as gas repairs and installation
  • Structural changes

A good way to determine if you should be doing a renovation on your own, ask yourself these three questions.

  1. Could it kill you?
  2. Could you destroy your home?
  3. Does it require a permit?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should hire a professional contractor or tradesperson to complete the job.

There are a lot of home renovation projects you can take on yourself that will help you save money, spruce up your home and not leave you in a lurch if something goes wrong including:

  • Installing fixtures
  • Replacing a toilet
  • Hanging doors
  • Installing a vanity
  • Painting
  • Replacing hardware on cabinets and doors

When considering a home renovation DIY project, always remember to ask yourself before you being is this dangerous, could I severely damage my home and will it require a permit? If you answer yes, instead of picking up a hammer, pick up a phone and call a professional instead.