DIY or hire a pro? A renovator’s guide

DIY or hire a pro? A renovator’s guide

Renovation reality shows divide the nation into two camps: those who swear they’ll never go down DIY path and those who swear they can and will do a better job than the winning duo without all those helping hands. The reality of the reno, however, can be completely different to the ‘reality’ we see on the box, so it’s a good idea to you ask yourself these five questions to weigh up the pros and cons before you make the final call.

What’s my budget?

We’ve all heard those DIY-gone-wrong horror stories that result in such high-expense fix-its you might as well have spent the extra money to start with. But as a general rule, calling in the professionals is more expensive than doing a DIY job. In some cases, doing some of the work yourself, and handing the trickier things over to the pros is a good option. If you’re really budget-conscious, then being aware of how to stay energy-efficient while renovating your home and avoiding any unnecessary extras will go a long way toward saving you money.

How much time do I have available?

If you’re going to need to take time off work to do your DIY job, the expenses saved might quickly go down the drain with the income lost. Of course, this all depends on the size of the job, the cost of the professional, and how much you earn. Do the math and weigh up your options.

Do I really have the skills?

Some jobs, such as retrofitting a Victoria-era home, are harder than others, such as applying a splash of paint and laying new flooring. Consider the scope of your job and what you realistically can achieve with your skill set. If you had to phone a friend last time a light globe went out or the kitchen sink was blocked, you might not be the DIY type. Better to accept it now and hire a pro than when you’re knee-deep in paint and plaster.

How do I feel about strangers in my house?

Never underestimate just how much of a presence workers will be in your home. They will arrive early in the morning and spend the day turning your house upside-down. Of course, in the process they will give your home the face-lift it needs, but if you hate the thought of having strangers in your house or don’t think your family can handle a major disruption, DIY might be the way to go.

Is it safe?

Some work such as painting and bench-top resurfacing – and minor demolition work such as removing floor coverings and changing flooring – are all safe and fairly simple to do yourself. When it comes to electrical or plumbing work, however, you could be legally bound to go pro to avoid problems during the process and with the final product, which you and others have to live with.

Whether you DIY or use the professionals is a big decision. But if you think carefully about your budget, skills and time you have available, you’ll end up with the right option – and a great renovation.

Once your renovation is complete, additional rooms and appliances can mean higher energy bills so it's a good time to check you're getting the best deal on your electricity and gas plan