The Solution

Home Renovation – DIY or Pro

In carrying out work for renovations to your home, you have the option of choosing either Do-It-Yourself or professional solutions. But your choice may not simply be one or the other; it can be a mix of both.

With Do-It-Yourself, you should be pretty competent, and execute good work in order to make the renovation worth carrying out. There is little worse than spending hundreds or thousands of dollars only to be left with an obviously amateur or, worse, malfunctioning “upgrade”.

On the other hand, professional work can end up in high cost, often higher than the estimates that were originally worked up, due to unknowns and changes.

Anyone who watched or still watches “This Old House” knows that homeowners carried out some of the work in order to have professionals do the more skill-demanding tasks, leaving the amateurs to do the time-consuming and unskilled work. Maybe this is a solution to try!

Using the Professional

One of the better reasons to get a number of estimates is that you can often get good ideas from talking to various contractors that you may not have considered yourself.

By actually taking on a contractor, you should save money on materials because pros have discount arrangements with most material suppliers. The pros should also know any special regulations and by-laws that are necessary to the project.

A big benefit of having access to a professional is that there will be very recent products and techniques that the pro has come across that may not be generally known.

Labor Equity

To save money, the homeowner can often make arrangements to carry out specific tasks. Installing such things as faucets is usually within the amateur’s scope, particularly when a professional is available to check the quality.

Kitchen and bathroom cupboards can be brought up to date by changing out or re-finishing the doors and replacing old hardware. Some show-and-tell from the contractor can enable the homeowner to save a lot of money to spend on items requiring professional work – like replacing old countertops with new ones.

If the homeowner is willing to paint trim, there are many products our there that use finger-joint or composite options to higher-priced solid wood. Once painted these options are indistinguishable from new. This also applies to interior doors, if they are needed.

To refresh aging decor or to finish renovations, it is often necessary to re-paint walls and ceilings. Sometimes power fixtures can be installed or replaced to change the look. Too, lighting fixtures can be installed without having to access the electrical circuitry. Much of this work can be relegated to the amateur.

Unless the homeowner is really competent, such things as flooring – hardwood or carpet – should perhaps be left to the professional. However, the homeowner ripping up the old carpet or flooring could save the contractor a lot of time and thus the homeowner money.

There are many more choices than are covered in this article. It just takes some discussion with the short listed contractors to see where sweat equity can be used to reduce the cost of the renovation.

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