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When to Hire a Pro for Home Improvement Projects

Guest article written by Ray Flynn from

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It’s tempting to save money on home improvement by doing the work yourself. However, in many cases, you waste time and money if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Some projects require little skill, but others can be deceptively challenging — and even dangerous — if you’ve never done them before. Below, learn about a few situations where it’s probably in your best interest to hire a professional to do the job for you. 

You Don’t Have the Skills 

For some people, it’s easy to do just about any odd job around the house, but for others, even the thought of changing out a light switch cover is overwhelming. It’s important to take your experience into account before starting any projects on your own. 

Retiling a bathroom floor or shower is one example of a job that most people aren’t comfortable doing alone. Ceramic tiles cost $0.50 to $35 per square foot to install, while porcelain can cost more, starting at $3 and going up to $35 per square foot — and you can also expect to pay $2 per square foot to have the old surface removed. Ceramic is a softer, less durable material, so it generally costs less. But in any case, you wouldn’t want to waste money damaging materials due to your inexperience. 

You Don’t Have the Tools 

Even if you’re experienced, it can be extremely costly to buy all of the tools needed to complete a project. That’s especially true if you don’t plan to use those particular tools again in the future. While it’s possible to rent certain equipment, you’re sometimes better off hiring a professional who already has everything they need. 

Putting in new floors, for example, requires numerous tools to do the job right, and the average homeowner doesn’t just have these laying around. It costs between $3 to $14 per square foot to have a pro put in new hardwood flooring, but it ultimately depends on the materials you pick. If you want to save money on a reflooring job, consider doing some of the prep work yourself. This might include taking out the carpeting or even just clearing the room of furniture. 

The Job Will Take Too Long 

Many homeowners underestimate how long it will take to complete a project. Kitchen remodels, for example, are one of the most sought-after renovations. However, they can take much longer than you think. HGTV says that the average kitchen renovation takes anywhere from six weeks to five months to finish, depending on the scope of the project. 

Most homeowners can’t devote that much time to a DIY job. However, you can ensure things stay on schedule by setting a realistic budget and ordering materials ahead of time.  

A DIY Job Won’t Cut It

If you’re doing repairs to appease a home inspector, it’s even more important to get the job done right. Inspectors are going to look at certain components closely to make sure they have been fixed correctly, and a quick DIY job is sure to stand out like a sore thumb. If you have leaky pipes or faucets, for example, you shouldn’t mess around with them when you don’t know what you’re doing. Hiring a professional to repair a plumbing leak only costs an average of $300.    

The Project Is Dangerous 

Any repair or renovation that deals with gas, plumbing, electrical components or hazardous materials should always be left to a professional with the required training and credentials. Say you’re dealing with extensive mold damage, which can trigger allergies and lead to numerous other health complications. Without the proper equipment and training, you can expose yourself to harmful spores. You’ll spend anywhere from $500 to $6,000 for professional mold remediation, but it’s well worth the cost.   

DIY home improvement projects are extremely popular, and in many cases, they’re cost-saving endeavors. However, certain jobs are too dangerous or labor-intensive for the average person to take on alone. Misjudging what should be a DIY project can end up costing more if you need to repair your mistakes, so it’s important to recognize when a professional is required. 

About the author

Ray Flynn’s first DIY project came at age 10 when he built a treehouse, complete with an (ill-advised) homemade zipline exit, in the woods behind his best friend’s house.

When he’s not working as a civil engineer, Ray Flynn spends his time dreaming up new DIY projects that promote green living. Visit his site at

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