Home Renovation: Should You DIY or Hire the Expert?

Your home is your castle, but the castle needs some sprucing up. The moat is overflowing, the dungeon is leaking, and the siding? Forget about it. Plus, your kingdom’s coffers are running a bit low. Can or should you tackle the job yourself or do you need to hire a contractor? Before you decide which home renovation path to take, you need to consider a few factors.


You need to consider how much fix-it ability you have. Even the rawest novice can handle some jobs with the help of a YouTube video and a large dose of patience, but if you have literally never picked up a screwdriver before, you will need to begin with a modest task, such as changing out your rusted bathroom faucet or hanging a new curtain rod. If you have a little DIY home improvement experience, you can tackle progressively larger jobs, like replacing your living room carpet and adding new doors to your kitchen cabinets. Recognize that your limited experience makes installing a new bathtub or building a deck a bad idea. Think failed Pinterest birthday cake on a larger scale.

Time and Cost

Although some people truly love DIY work around the house, most people only attempt it because it saves so much money. Professional contractors are expensive, and many people simply can’t afford to hire one. On the other hand, major home improvement projects, such as finishing your basement, take a huge time commitment for DIYers. Before you tackle a project, make a schedule reflecting how much time you are going to spend on it during nights, weekends, and vacations. If you have the time and the knowledge, then go for it. You will save thousands of dollars while increasing the value of your home.


Some jobs should never be attempted by an amateur. Experts warn not to try any job that could actually kill you. Untrained homeowners should stay well away from electrical jobs, for instance. If you make a mistake with your wiring, the best thing that could happen is still a bad thing.

For some people, climbing on the roof and replacing a few shingles is manageable. With a little experience, you may be able to reshingle the entire roof. For others, using a ladder to reach the gutters is a dangerous idea. You have to assess your abilities honestly before you tackle a job.


If your home improvement job requires a permit, you probably need the help of a contractor. Every community has its own standards and figuring out what job requires a permit can be difficult. Usually, any construction that changes the basic structure of your home requires one. Also, jobs that are complex enough to require a permit are often above the amateur skill level.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and some homeowners have done enough renovation work to qualify them for these more difficult jobs. Still, if you are in doubt, hire a professional.

When the palace gets shabby, don’t hesitate to put yourself to work on the problems you can handle, and you can probably handle much more than you think. Just assess your skills, time and money and make the decision that best fits your lifestyle. If you have friends skilled in the art of home improvement, pick their brains. Over time, you may become the neighborhood “go-to” person for home renovation advice.

Do you have any DIY projects that you have done? Share them in the comments!

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