For over a decade now, we have had shows like The Block and House Rules on our television screens. Along with attracting audiences in the millions every year, they have also convinced many Australians about the merits of do it yourself (DIY) home renovations.
But before you head off to Bunnings this weekend, when should you take the plunge and start a DIY renovation, and when should you leave it to the professionals?
The DIY Experience…
The DIY option comes with some fairly compelling arguments in its favour. First of all, there is the obvious cost advantage that comes from leaving a host of skilled tradespeople and contractors out of the process.
It is a common theme among renovators that projects cost more than first budgeted for and when dealing with professionals the bills can quickly add up. This makes the DIY option particularly appealing, especially when the renovator can bring some useful skills or past experience to the job.
There is also the intangible sense of satisfaction that comes from looking over a job that you have completed with your own hands. There are some things, after all, that money cannot buy.
However, doing things yourself can also result in negative consequences, especially if a job has to be redone by a professional after your attempt.
… Or the Professional Touch?
The biggest factor in favour of hiring a pro is safety. Whenever electrical or plumbing work is required, it is always better to have a licenced professional do the job on your behalf. If a job is not done 100% right then it is not just your safety that you are risking, but that of your family as well.
For complex work, it is also better to get an expert in so that the job can be done right the first time. For example, tiling is a labour-intensive and intricate job that requires specialist tools, experience and planning to get right. Despite this, the simple appearance of tiling jobs has lured many DIY renovators in, often resulting in costly repair jobs.
To find professionals in any area, the Australian website Hi Pages, has built up an impressive directory of tradespeople and set up a system where the local tradies bid competitively for your job once you post the details. This means you simply review their bids and experience, rather than calling a dozen businesses trying to get a quote.
The Third Way
As with most things, there is a third way that gives you the best of both worlds. Preparing the groundwork before the professionals come in is an easy way to get your hands dirty and also save on costs.
Simple things like stripping paint, removing garden waste or minor demolition work like removing cabinets are all within reach of the DIY renovator.
Ultimately, deciding whether to do a DIY renovation or call in the professionals is influenced strongly by your personal circumstances and skills. But remember, time, effort, site management and safety are all factors to consider alongside cost, so make sure you weigh all of them up before making a decision.