Why DIY Doesn’t Always Save You Money

Posted by Richard on December 5, 2018

It’s tempting to watch those home remodeling shows and think it’s easy to complete a major project in a weekend. Whether it’s a new shower or a kitchen makeover, everything looks so doable on TV.

It seems like a Do-It-Yourself project would save money, too. After all, everyone knows the materials are inexpensive but it’s the labor that’s costly, right?

Not so fast.

Before you start ripping things apart, do the math. Consider whether the money saved is worth it — and whether you’ll even save money at all. Often, it’s worth it to pay a pro, who can finish a job a lot faster, which means less time with your house torn up. Time is money, and it’s important to consider whether your time would be better spent doing something else.

It’s also important to be realistic about your skill set. Can you really side your own house or install tile in the bathroom? A mistake on either of those projects could cost you a lot more money in the long run, not to mention the risk of injury involved. Many jobs, especially those involving electric or plumbing, are best left to the pros.

Many remodeling projects, especially outdoor projects, involve permitting, which means time spent in town hall and more expense.

It’s a good idea to spend some time online with videos or descriptions of a project so you can see what you need and what the potential problems are with a project.

Even if you have done similar projects before, expect the worst-case scenario. Worst-case for a roof: a nasty fall or a botched job that results in leaks and damage to other parts of the house.

Some DIY projects seem big but easy. One good example is installing snap-together laminate. If you already have the right tools, the job doesn’t seem difficult. But, the project will be much more complicated if the room isn’t square or the subfloor isn’t smooth.

Smaller projects like painting or landscaping are always suitable for the DIYer. They can legitimately be done in a weekend, and any mistakes are much easier to overcome.

Just remember to be realistic and have fun — and leave the serious jobs to the pros.