By Pamela A. Keene
With all the YouTube videos and websites that show people how to do everything from making a pot roast to building a deck, is it smart to do home repairs and remodeling projects yourself?
“It really depends on the difficulty of the project and your confidence in your abilities,” says Jacqueline Crouse, owner of Peachtree Interiors Inc., an interior contracting company that’s been in business for more than 25 years. “You can save money if you know how to paint, but if it’s a chore, it’s better to hire a professional.”
The same holds true for other remodeling jobs. For instance, installing a tile backsplash in the kitchen can be fairly easy if you’re handy, but when it comes to replacing laminate countertops with granite or stone, hiring a professional can, in the long run, save money.
“As an interior contractor, I enjoy working with clients to help them do remodeling projects more affordably,” Crouse says. “Many times, even if you find a countertop material or tiles that you like, we can beat the price for the materials. We can also provide estimates that will include materials and the labor.”
Assessing the degree of difficulty and your skill set is the best place to start. Be honest about your own capabilities and your tolerance for frustration or unknown issues. Some jobs require extensive excavation before putting in new materials, such as flooring or bathroom repairs. Ask yourself if you’re committed to all aspects of the work before you begin.
“A professional will take all of this into consideration in the bid,” she says. “Because of their experience, they will be able to anticipate possible stumbling blocks that a DIYer wouldn’t.”
Simple tile projects without complex designs can easily be done by do-it-yourselfers, as long as there are no electrical components, such as outlets or light fixtures to consider. “Some of the newer glass tiles or stone components require special tools that most homeowners don’t own,” Crouse says. “And if the design uses a mix of materials, a professional is a better choice.”
Think about whether you have a fluid timeline or need the job completed by a specific date. Are you willing to give up your own evenings and weekends to get the job done? If not, consider hiring a professional.
If you are planning structural changes, the best route is working with a professional. Say you want to open the space between the kitchen and a living area. “Professionals can assess whether the wall can be moved and will know the best way to accomplish this if it can,” she says. “Because some walls support the rest of the house, they can’t be moved.”
Plumbing project can pose the biggest challenges. “A shower remodel can open a number of problems. From using the right materials to complete the job to ensuring that the shower is waterproofed, the biggest failure in plumbing projects is water leaks.”
From a safety standpoint, projects that involve plumbing or electricity are best left to professionals. “Licensed contractors know to anticipate problems before they are evident,” she says. “And when a pro does the work, you know it will be done right.”
Crouse suggests talking with several professionals before making a commitment. Check references and ask to speak with some current clients. “You want someone who will stand behind their work,” she says. “You’ll have more peace of mind knowing that if an issue arises, the contractor will come back and take care of it.”
For more information, call Peachtree Interiors Inc., at 912-266-1979.