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Home Remodeling: When DIY Just Won't Do

Are you thinking of doing a DIY home remodel? Think it might save you time and money? For single-trade projects or simple changes to your home, DIY might be a cost-effective way to go.

But if you’re looking at complex remodels or large-scale transformations,  there’s no substitute for expertise and experience to keep costs and project duration under control.  Here’s __ reasons why:

1. DIYs Often Underestimate Cost

Most DIYers drastically underestimate the cost of their project: both in terms or materials and personal time that they will need to expend. Unless you’re a highly experienced retired remodeler, it’s impossible to appreciate the scope of a design project at the outset and it’s even harder to quantify things accurately.


Experienced professionals can look at a design spec and predict what they will need, both labor, material and time-wise with impressive levels of accuracy. Professionals will give you a quote that includes everything they’re going to need. If they’ve estimated incorrectly, they may even swallow a few unforeseen costs.  These are things that you will eat when you do it yourself!

As a DIY remodeler, you will not have years of experience at that, so take time to work through your project up front, so that you have a good grasp on...

  • What quantities you will need? Lumber, plywood, paint, pipes, flooring, nails, glue, grout, varnish, etc. Professional remodelers will order the correct materials and quantities and get them delivered at the optimal time. DIYers may waste hours going back and forth with many trips to the hardware store, Lowes and Home cart at lowes.jpg
    • How much will the project cost? Count everything in, all in all, to the penny, plus add a percentage for contingencies (and a buffer since is likely that there will be some omissions  in your estimate).
    Which skills will you need? Plumbing, electrical, carpentry, tiling, roofing and more. Do you have sufficient skills to be proficient, safe, and compliant in all these areas?
  • 2 Under estimating Duration

      • Which permits will you need to apply for, how and when? These can be fiddly to obtain. Experienced remodelers know what hoops to jump through and how to avoid red-tape delays.
      How long will your remodel take from beginning to end? Professional remodelers  have a pool of tradespopel that they work with regularly.  They have a mutually symbiotic relatioship which makes them able to work together regularly and plan time iwth one another.  They are used to working togehter.  A good tradesperson already has a lot on their plate and may not be available when you want them, if at all.
    • wil try not to let projects drag on and on because it delays their own cash flow and productivity and profitDelays from not having the right materials.

    Balancing  Time, Budget and Project Quality

    Expert remodelers tread that tricky triangle between completing projects on budget, on time, and to a promised quality level. Ask any homeowner who’s taken on their own remodel, large or small, and they’ll tell you how at least one of these elements got way out of hand.

    Even the most diligent and detail-focused DIYers either run out of money or get something wrong and have to rip it out and redo it – usually at great expense. And almost all of them will tell you how much longer the project took than they expected it would.

    Man's foot coming through ceiling as part of DIY remodeling error

    Home remodeling experts, on the other hand, are planners by nature and by profession. They anticipate commonly occurring pitfalls, because they’ve seen them a dozen times. They even expect a few unexpected problems but they are well prepared to deal with them if and when they do arise. Professionals preempt and solve most problems before they even materialize on site. Clients probably never even know about most of the trouble-shooting contractors do.

    Builders stand behind their work with strong field service followup - and a written limited warranty that you can count on. They have a pool of people who count on them for other work, that are happy to run over to a project they have worked on whenever there is the slightest post project issue.  You'll have to chase these people and they will more likely to charge you than the contractor who butters their bread.


    Getting Trades to You for You

    Jack-of-all-trades & Master of None?

    So you have a shed full of tools, right? Saws, hammers, drills, chisels, and so on? Fine, but what about those specialty tools like sliding chop saws, Fein multi-tools, angle grinders, toe-kick saws, or diamond-bladed wet saws? Using high quality specialty tools makes short work of some otherwise lengthy tasks.iStock-471644811.jpgThe most impressive remodels come from the skilled hands of master tradesmen. Most DIYers don’t have all the diverse skill sets of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tile installers, masons, or even project managers. Even if you plan to cut a few corners and leave out some of the fanciest details of your remodel design, you may be compromising on the final result if you do it all yourself. 

    It may be near impossible to get subcontracts to work for you, or when you need them.

    Insufficient skills and experience make accidents more likely to happen on a building site. Construction is dangerous work, often resulting in serious injuries and occasional fatalities. You’ve probably banged your thumb with a hammer a hundred times. But what if you set your ladder on uneven ground and fell? What if you forgot to turn off the gas or electricity before going in to work on an appliance? You might incorrectly support the ceiling or precariously set up scaffolding. Is the risk of explosions, burns, shocks, gas leaks, and collapses, worth it to you and your family?Man falling off ladder on DIY home improvement project.

    Remodeling professionals handle power supplies, power tools, and structural supports every day; health and safety is a way of life for them. They have the right training, safety gear, and know-how to protect themselves and clients like you from injury.

    You’ll Pay More for Lower Quality Materials

    Finally, tradesmen not only have easier access to the latest, highest quality materials but also they pay much less than the average Joe. Homespun remodelers have to buy everything they need at the big DIY chains or smaller stores, which can bring its own hassles. For example, items like tiles, hardwood plank flooring and countertops are packaged in smaller batches and there can be noticeable inconsistency in color, finish or texture. Mismatched materials don’t make for a great look for your new kitchen backsplash or master bath floor.

    Contractors have buying power and get signficant discounts on everything from cabinets to lumber, which means that they can offer good value to you.iStock_000003231649XSmall.jpg


    But keep in mind, despite all the problems we’ve outlined here, DIY might be a smart and cost-effective way to gofor single-trade projects or simple changes to your home. But for complex remodels or large-scale transformations, enlist the skills, knowledge, experience and equipment of a professional remodeler. You and your home deserve every guarantee of safety, quality, value for money – and a finished result you’re 100% satisfied with for years to come.

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