13 Jan DI Why? in East Finchley
How’s your marriage? What about your health – are you fit and well? And are you partial to a cash bonfire? These may seem like odd questions, I mean we don’t know one another that well after all, but if you are intent on a little DIY, we’d ask you, seriously, DI Why?
People who choose to do it themselves over a builder or tradesperson tend to do so for one of two reasons: 1) because they are passionate about tinkering and self-reliance, and 2) for the vast majority, it’s because they are convinced that it will be cheaper than getting in a professional. However, this may well be the ‘fool’s gold’ of home improvement.
See if you recognise this thought process… I’ve a job that needs doing around the house, oh, I saw that being done on [insert TV show name here], I’ll just watch a few YouTube videos and I’m sure I can do it myself and save a fortune… [15 minutes later]… honey, how far are we from the hospital at this time of day?
We’ve put together our top four reasons for recognising when a job, whether a new coat of paint or a home refurbishment project, should be left to the professionals, no matter how much your ego tries to tell you that you’re up to the challenge.
There are some jobs that you would just be crazy to attempt yourself – anything involving electrics and gas comes to mind as obvious, pole position ‘don’t DIY’ tasks because the professionals go through lots of training to be able to handle them safely and one wrong move could mean serious injury or death (I’m not being melodramatic here, you’re literally playing with fire in an attempt to save a few pounds).
It’s not just playing around with boilers and fuse boards that can be dangerous – even the simplest of tasks can end in a trip to the hospital, or at the very least a painful shock. Where there’s a screwdriver or spanner there’s a chance of scrapes and slices, where there are wires and ladders there’s a chance of trips or falls, and just imagine the damage you could do to yourself with a power tool if things go wrong! I’m not suggesting that you need to defer to a professional for every job, but the bigger the task the more sensible it would be to get someone in to do it for you.
2. Unforeseen costs
When a professional takes on a job they price out every stage in the project. Years of experience means they will know every step, every piece of equipment needed, every material required and even every opportunity for an unforeseen cost to impact on the price of the job. Do you? The problem many DIYers get themselves into is identifying the obvious costs, but ignoring, or being unable to identify, the unforeseen ones, i.e. what’s behind that kitchen unit you’re looking to remove, how much stress your electric system is already under, what’s under the carpet you’re taking up, and so on.
3. Damage repair
When we get calls from those who have inadvisably attempted to do it themselves, the job is often far more costly for them than it would have been if we had been called in at the outset – DIY wallpaper stripping resulting in crumbling plaster that now needs to be reskimmed, taking a kitchen out resulting in electrical and plumbing issues, and DIY sledge hammer work to a wall resulting in structural worries, and that’s just the first three that come to mind. If you’re not careful, your little job may result in a big bill to solve the problems you’ve created.
4. Overpaying on materials
If you work in the building trade for long enough you come to discover where’s best to go for your materials and equipment, the highest quality at the lowest price, when the supplier is open for business, how difficult returns are or complaints if what you buy fails to deliver on expectations, and so on. Materials are a massive part of the overall cost of any project and if you find yourself overpaying for them because you simply don’t have the right connections in the trade, then the whole project can quickly become more expensive than the difference that would have been our labour costs.
The reality is that when you find the right builder or tradespeople the cost of work can be far lower than you might imagine and certainly often far lower than it could be if your DIY efforts go awry. There are some jobs that anyone can do, but for the rest it’s best to call in a professional.