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Do-It-Yourself or Don’t? When to Hire a Professional

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, there’s much more than cost to keep in mind. 

Do-it-yourself vs. do-it-for-me

Sure, you can save money by tackling a home improvement job yourself. For example, at about $65 per hour, labor averages 50% of the total project price for a bathroom remodel.1 But there’s a lot more than cost involved. Consider the time you would have to spend, your experience and the difficulty of the job.

Tile and flooring

DIY: Installing tile, carpet squares or engineered hardwoods2

Hire a Pro: Difficult-to-find stones, managing tricky corners, installing special accents2


DIY: Painting interior walls, painting exterior areas such as a front door or deck, and handling touch-ups2

Hire a Pro: Painting elevated surfaces, such as cathedral ceilings or shutters2

Electrical Work

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 cabinets, removing carpeting2,3

Hire a Pro: Removing walls, changing the layout of a room, performing structural repairs2,3

Many common home repairs aren’t without risk when it comes to your own safety, as well as the integrity of your home. Before you pull out your toolbox and begin hammering away, consider your level of training and the project’s 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 problems. 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 to 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.

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1 How Much Does It Cost To Remodel A Bathroom? Home Advisor, 2022.
2 Home Improvement Projects: To 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.

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