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  • Writer's pictureVesta

Thinking DIY for Your Home Renovation? Let's Talk About It...

Between the world of HGTV, the influencers on social media, and endless resources available to help do-it-yourselfers, such as books and online videos with step-by-step instructions it’s easy to get caught up in the world of DIY…. But is doing a DIY really worth it? Follow us below as we break down what you need to consider before tackling a DIY.

The Concept

When coming up with a concept for your home renovation project can come easy or can get you stumped right off the bat. You can have plenty of ideas and inspiration, but how do you conceptualize those into an actual plan? Professionals have the tools (and the puns!) to turn ideas into realities.

The Design

People are rarely good at everything - a skilled DIYer may be a poor designer or vice versa. DIY jobs are often evident due to poor design or poor execution of the build. Experienced pros know which designs work and which don’t. Poor design work will have your ripping apart otherwise well-constructed home renovation to fix problems you could not anticipate until finished.

The Permit

Applying for a permit can be an overwhelming task - drawings need to be to scale, and include every detail of the wiring, and even the location of every light and plug. Not to mention that everything needs to be to code and understanding building code is extremely complex. While most of it is available online, it is literally thousands of pages to read and understand - trust us, it’s not a terribly exciting read! Creating the drawing and providing all the details for the permit can take days depending on the size of the project. The can cause much frustration before even lifting a tool.

Purchasing Materials and Tools

Purchasing material can be confusing and time consuming - and knowing how to select the right grade / style for your project, knowing which products will last / wear well, is not always easy to figure out.

You will need to know the right quantity of materials; predicting how many feet of wire, sheets of drywall, boxes of mud, and pails of paint, is a job for experts. A lack of experience will have you over-buying and spending time returning materials/spending too much money, and under-buying will have you making endless trips to the store. Many DIYers end-up spending much of their time in a Big Box store searching for answers from a Big Box store employee or Google. This is time you don’t budget for, and can be exasperating.

Do you know how you will transport your materials? If you don’t have a vehicle large enough you will need to borrow or rent one. And the same goes for storing them… Often the only place to store materials is where you are working, and the materials get in your way and slow you down.

While tool rentals sound like a great way to avoid buying expensive equipment, you sometimes need this equipment for extended periods of time, and the rental costs can begin to get out of control. You may think you can rent a tile saw and get your shower done in a day, but chances are you will go over the time budgeted, and have to extend the rental or go back multiple times.

Doing the work

You really need to be an expert to do big DIY home renovation projects. Many people think they can watch someone do the work on Youtube, and just do it yourself. However, there are so many things to know for each step of the process, if you don’t have the experience to overcome the many obstacles that will arise, it will show in the finished product.

Some of the best Youtube videos on mudding drywall are 3 to 4 hours long and that’s just to cover the basics. Many of the skills demonstrated require practice to perfect. You don’t want your space to be a place where you learned to do these skills - it will show. Replacing your flooring, developing your basement, or renovating your kitchen all require special skills and advanced knowledge that qualified tradespeople possess. Professionals work on homes everyday, having the skills and know the tricks to get quality results. They know that floors and walls are never perfectly flat, there will always be bumps and imperfections, but they know how to fix them.

You will need help. There are few trades that can be done alone, especially if you are not experienced. You need help carrying drywall, moving and holding walls in place, etc. Asking your neighbours or spouse of help is not reliable, and time will be wasted waiting and relying on someone to help, or your work will suffer if you try to do it alone.

Starting and stopping - You will have to dedicate many, many hours to make progress on your project. It takes time to get ready to do work. You have to change your clothes, figure-out where you left-off, get your tools out, and start working. Then, when finished, you have to shower, put tools away, clean-up your mess. There is a lot of time spend getting ready and cleaning-up. If you only have an hour per day to work, you will likely only get 30 minutes of work done (at most). To be efficient , you will need full days to work to make the set-up and clean-up times worth-it. For most people, that means working weekends and sacrificing time with family, friends, or relaxing. Renovations will also affect your day to day routine (IE kitchen or bathroom renovations), do you have the patience and time to invest the time required?

Finding pro help - there are potions of your project you won’t be able to do - for example, many people will say “I can’t do the electrical”. Good to realize what you can’t do, but the problem is finding the right person to do the job. Finding trades people to do small jobs is challenging, and the work may not be done to the standard the pro contractor can provide, they may not work on your timeline, or you may not be able to predict when you will need them.

Lastly, there is always safety to consider. Do you confidently have the skills and knowledge required to complete a job in the safest manner? Professionals are trained at length to practice the safest methods in whatever they are doing; and have the proper PPE and tools at their disposal.

Thinking of going pro now? Give us a call (or a text/email) and we would be happy to come out and discuss your home renovation project! Still going to go the DIY route? Give us a call anyway, we are always happy to look at your project and give some advice.


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