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The Home Depot

DIY or Hire a Pro?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Handyman > DIY or Hire a Pro?
DIY or Hire a Pro?

The type of DIY projects you can undertake depends on your skill levels. But keep in mind that it’s easy to bite of more than you can chew. Overconfidence is one of the biggest reasons why many DIY projects end up in a mess. Knowing which jobs fall under the DIY category and which are DIFM is something every homeowner must understand. When unsure about your abilities to complete a job, calling in a pro is always the better option. If you need help with any repairs or modifications for your home, you will find information on professionals in your area online via a simple Internet search. Here are some examples of projects that should be done by professionals and those which are within the scope of that average homeowner.

  1. 1.Room Additions

    As families grow and their needs increase, room additions often become necessary. Room additions are very complex jobs that require expert designing and construction skills. Along with this is the issue of the equipment that will be needed- heavy machinery that the average home owner will not have. Of course, you can usually rent the equipment you need, but unless you have experience in using it, you could find yourself in all kinds of problems. And remember that you are making structural modifications to the house and anything that damages the building’s integrity can have disastrous consequences. This job is best left to pros.

  2. 2.Foundation Repairs

    The safety of your house depends on the strength of the foundation. Cracks in the foundation or sinking into the ground are major issues and these should be handled by experts. Foundation repair can be a major project that involves load calculations and major modification to the existing foundation if it is found to be unstable. Heavy equipment is often required and this is a labor intensive job that is beyond the scope of a single individual. Leave it to a professional.

  3. 3.Major Electrical Rewiring

    As a house becomes old and the wiring ages, short circuits and other electrical problems become increasingly common. At some point keeping on with short terms fixes becomes just too much of a headache and rewiring the house is the only solution. This is not as simple as running wires from point A to point B. Electrical loads for each circuit breaker need to be calculated and the right capacity ones installed. The right type of wiring must be used for different applications and walls will have to be opened up to run the wires. Care needs to be taken that the insulation is never cut or broken and conduits may be required in some places. And every connection will have to be perfect. All this may sound like something that is within the grasp of anyone familiar with electricity, but it is the sheer volume of work that causes problems. And electrical fire cause billions of dollars of property damage each year. It is more prudent to call in a skilled electrical wiring pro who does this for a living.

  5. 4.HVAC Ducting

    After having spent a large amount of money on an air conditioning and heating system for your home, the idea of saving money by doing the ducting yourself is tempting. But ducting is a very technical matter where the size of the ducts, bends in them and length all affect the air flow and this can determine how well the system works. In addition, fitting the grilles and diffusers at places where they will be most effective requires and understanding of air flow. And fabricating the ducting and installing it, usually behind walls, is a very labor intensive task. This is not something that is recommended for the average DIY project.

  6. 5.Boiler Repair

    A boiler produces heat and to do this is need fire. And fire can be very dangerous – it is one of the leading causes of property loss in the country. And gas and oil are very flammable – that is why they are the most common fuels for boilers. Because a boiler is located in the basement of some other part of the house which is not visited often and runs without any supervision and operates even when the house is empty, it needs to work flawlessly. Most states have regulations about boiler fitment and repair and who is qualified to undertake this work. Treating boiler problems as DIY projects is dangerous and not recommended.

  7. 6.Painting

    Painting is one of the most common of DIY projects. Begin by checking the condition of your walls and fix and cracks, hole or dents that may be found. If you are staying with the same color and the old paint is not peeling, a little sanding to prepare the surface to accept the new coat is all that is required in the way of preparation. If you are going for a lighter shade or the old paint is in bad condition, scraping it all away before applying the new color will be necessary.

  8. 7.Linoleum Flooring

    Laying new linoleum flooring is not difficult as long as the old flooring is not damaged. If the surface is smooth and even, the linoleum can be rolled over the old floor after it has been cleaned and the adhesive applied. Just be sure that the unrolling is done in straight lines and that there are no gaps between the strips.

  10. 8.Hanging Kitchen Cabinets

    Installing kitchen cabinets can be more complex that it seems but it is something that the average home handyman can do himself. The important thing to keep in mind is that the mounting is strong enough – the cabinets will be filled with heavy items and can weigh more than is normally presumed. In addition care must be taken to ensure that they are level or the doors will not close properly and things can roll out when the cabinets are opened.

  11. 9.Installing a Shower

    Pre fab shower units are designed for easy installation. As long as you are comfortable with plumbing work, there is no reason why you can’t do this yourself. Before you begin check the dimensions of your bathroom and the area where the shower is to be installed so that you buy a unit that is the right size. Some of the work could require a second pair of hands so asking a friend or neighbor to give you a hand may be all that you should do.

  12. 10.Wall Mounting a Flat Screen TV

    Flat screen TVs come with wall mounting brackets and instructions on how the TV is to be fitted. No special tools are required and all you need to do its follow the instructions carefully and ensure that all the measurements are done correctly so that the TV is not tilting to one side. There is not any reason why you can’t do this yourself.


    Badly done repairs and modifications do not just cause problems in the future. They can escalate and cause problems that were not there initially to arise. And the resulting repairs bills can be much larger than the cost of calling in a pro in the beginning. Only undertake a DIY project if you are sure that you can do it without any compromises or risk of causing other damage while on the job. That being said, a well-executed DIY project is a money saver and a source of pride.

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