Do-It-Yourself vs Do-It-for-Me

Hiring a professional comes with the cost of labor, which can cost nearly 40% more than doing the project yourself.1 With a DIY project, you only have to pay for the materials needed. Cost shouldn’t be the only factor when deciding to hire a pro2,3 – also consider the risks and level of difficulty.


DIY: Installing tile, carpet squares or engineered hardwood2 HIRE A PRO: Difficult-to-find stone, managing tricky corners, installing special accents2


DIY: Covering interior walls, covering exterior areas such as a front door or deck, and handling touch-ups2 HIRE A PRO: Covering elevated surfaces, such as cathedral ceilings or shutters2


DIY: Changing light plate switches, hanging a light fixture2,3 HIRE A PRO: Rewiring, adding new lighting, grounding outlets2,3


DIY: Unclogging drains, replacing kitchen faucets, repairing a toilet flush valve2,3 HIRE A PRO: Installing tubs and toilets, repairing pipes hidden in walls and flooring2,3


DIY:Ripping out old cabinets, removing carpeting2,3 HIRE A PRO: Removing walls, changing the layout of a room, performing structural repairs2,3

1 DIY or Hire?, Lowes, 2017. 2 Home Improvement Projects: DIY or Hire a Pro?, Zillow, 2015. 3 DIY vs. Professional Renovation: What to Tackle Yourself and What to Leave to the Pros, Curbed, 2018.

When it comes to DIY projects for home improvement, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment that comes from a job well done. Taking on a DIY home improvement project can also help you save money on labor. However, cost shouldn’t be the only factor to keep in mind.

Many common home repairs aren’t without risk, both with regard to your own safety as well as the integrity of your home. Before you pull out your toolbox and begin hammering away, there are several factors you should consider, including your level of training and the project’s level of difficulty. For example, while you may know how to prep your home for an exterior paint job, you may want to hire a fully trained, certified professional as a safety precaution if there are difficult-to-reach areas.

When it comes to working with your home’s electrical system, even a minor mistake could cause safety concerns. While changing light plates or hanging light fixtures are both DIY home improvements that many homeowners are comfortable tackling solo, any major electrical work should be saved for a trained professional. This includes rewiring, adding new lighting or grounding outlets.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t try things at home if:

  • You aren’t sure how to use the necessary tools
  • The project involves major electrical or plumbing work
  • A professional in the business or a contractor advises you hire a pro
  • Serious injury or damage is a possibility if something goes wrong

Before beginning any DIY project, do your research and follow all recommended safety measures. Hire a certified professional for more difficult projects to give you peace of mind.

When shopping for a new home, learn to detect telltale signs of botched DIY projects to ensure you’re not the one paying for a previous homeowner’s mistakes.