Avoid disaster by never DIY’ing these home renovations yourself

It can be exciting to work on some projects during the renovation of your home. Some tasks however, need the professionals to take over. Know when to DIY, and when to let someone else take the reins.

If you are wondering where to begin your home renovations and how much DIY you can do, we have some handy tips for avoiding disaster. It’s true that doing some of the basic renovation works yourself may save you money. However, there are some jobs that are best left to the professionals – keeping in mind quality of work, expertise, safety and timeliness.

What part of the renovations can you do yourself?

It is important that you are honest with yourself on what your DIY skills are. A number of tasks seem easy considering there are several online tutorials to guide you through it – but you have to know where to draw the line. Is painting or wallpapering a skill you have? Are your skills in carpentry good enough to build a deck or just to do the skirting? Each task requires expertise not just to execute the job, but also to think on your feet should unexpected hiccups arise. If you’re unsure of your DIY skill levels, ask your spouse or a sibling for full and complete honesty.

When faced with any task, what most people tend to forget is the amount of time you need to dedicate to it. If you are working a full time job and looking to DIY renovation tasks, it may take you much longer than it would a professional. Ask yourself, if that is something you are willing to deal with and, most importantly, will you have the patience to complete the job every weekend and holiday until it’s done? Keep in mind that if you take on tasks that you have not done before, there is a learning curve that you will have to go through, and you may have to start from scratch on them several times over.

Another aspect to consider is whether you have all the tools needed for the task. Investing in a set of tools and equipment that you may not use again is perhaps not the most feasible way forward, especially if it’s specialised gear.

These all require some skill, patience and knowledge, but some of the simpler tasks you can do yourself include:

  • Painting a room
  • Wallpapering a room
  • General maintenance such as cleaning the grout from tiles and clearing spouting

Some tasks are best left to the pros

There are some tasks that absolutely must be left to the pros. When it comes to the installing electrical, plumbing, anything to do with HVAC, skylights and fireplaces, you need to have the professionals come in and take charge. The same advice goes strongly for anything to do with your gas-line and the upgradation of any sort related to in-floor heating.

If you are making any structural changes, you must get in the professionals. You need to ensure that you’re not removing any vital pieces of the building, and that all the work is done correctly. If work is done to the exterior of the house, especially skylights, it must be done correctly to avoid water ingress.

Electrical, gas, fireplace installation and HVAC work must be completed by a trained professional and a code of compliance signed off. This is important as there is risk of fire or harm to people if completed incorrectly.

Plumbing is another area where people incorrectly assume they can do it themselves. Water needs only a tiny ingress and over the course of years it can cause huge, expensive damage. Don’t risk it. Plumbing also may need council approval—if you move your toilet even 10cm away from its original point, it will need building consent.

Why get professionals involved?

The professionals get access to a range of discounts due to their bulk buying. While you may think you can buy it cheaper on special, it’s doubtful you’ll save any money. If you buy the wrong thing, then you have wasted a lot of money and resources.

Professional tradesmen also ensure that you never have to worry about shoddy work that could result in dangerous leaks, collapses and damage to your property. Some DIY’ers may consider working in tandem with a professional, but even the benefit of this is doubtful. If the work the homeowner does has to be re-done, it’s extra time and money to fix it.

Getting work professionally done also ensures that your home insurance is still valid. In the case of claims, if a job that should have been done by a professional has be done by you, chances are your insurance will be void.

Renovating a home is no simple task. Of course, the excitement of being able to show off your skills may be there, but it’s best to evaluate, understand your constraints and then make a realistic choice. With certain aspects of renovation there can be no compromise on bringing in professionals, it is for the safety of the family and of your home.

How to start a home renovation

The first thing you need to do is call the experts. Builders may also seem expensive, but the savings they can make by finishing tasks quickly, correctly, and using years of knowledge in the industry, make them a far more cost effective option than doing it yourself. They’ll apply for resource consent if you need it, they know building laws and regulations, and they’ll get it done right, first time, every time. The biggest benefit though is that you never have to ‘get around to it’. Keep your weekends and evenings for golf, movies, and relaxing.