When to call the contractor vs what to DIY
Whether you’re planning a complete makeover or want to get a few little tasks done over a long weekend, taking on jobs around the house yourself is a tempting prospect. Unleashing your inner DIY-er on those home projects can mean the difference between saving big bucks and blowing the budget - but if you take on the wrong job, you risk spending more in the long run. Your personal skill levels will vary, and keep in mind that tradies have honed their practice over many years of hard work. We unpack the details behind when you should call in the experts and when you can hightail it to the hardware store.
Things like repainting indoors and out and refinishing timber floors are easy. So long as you do your research and properly prepare all surfaces for the new finish, you’ll make a big impact for a minimum spend. Easy! However, make sure you take any recommended safety precautions during sanding and using chemicals - such as gloves, goggles and masks. It’s not worth risking your health to save a few bucks.
In the bathroom, a new showerhead can instantly add polish, and is often quick to install. When it comes to hardware, switching over cupboard door knobs and handles in both the kitchen and bathroom can also make a big difference - and a fresh coat of paint of tired old cabinetry is a simple task.
If you’re tackling a bigger job, such as replacing cabinetry or benches yourself, or even re-tiling the bathroom, make sure you measure everything properly - twice. The last thing you need is a custom-made marble benchtop arriving in the wrong size!
Things to leave to the experts are usually specialist jobs, potentially dangerous tasks and things that will potentially affect your and your neighbours home in the long term.
Waterproofing is a no-go for DIYers - it can take years for a leak to show up, and by then the damage has already been done. Keep this in mind in apartments especially, as you’ll be liable for any damage in their place if it’s from your leaky bathroom. And don’t try to mess with the plumbing - anything that interacts with the installation of drinking water and wastewater requires a licensed plumber.
While it’s tempting to take on hard labouring and demolition yourself, take a step back and consider whether your home may contain asbestos - these materials are dangerous when disturbed, so obtain an asbestos survey before diving in with a sledgehammer - and if the tests come back positive, don’t even think about removing the offending materials yourself. For the sake of yours and your family’s health, leave it to the experts.
You’ll be in for a shock if you try to mess with your home’s electricity - literally! Professional electricians train for years to hone their craft - and it’s actually illegal for an unlicensed person to install electrical fittings. This is an issue that, if done incorrectly, can affect not only you but your family.
DIY renovation work can be both fun and satisfying, but if the jobs you need to be completed require professional attention, consider taking out a loan to ensure it’s done right.