East Bridgewater: Should you DIY or Hire a Pro?

May was National Home Improvement Month. And in honor of that Almar Building & Remodeling CoInc offers homeowners advice before they tackle their spring projects: namely,  whether to do-it-yourself (DIY) or hire a professional during the busy
remodeling season.

According to a consumer poll from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry
(NARI) Website NARI.org, the largest determining factor for deciding to DIY or
hire a professional was cost, at 40 percent. Thirty percent of respondents
placed project type and know-how as the second most important factor, and level
of difficulty was close behind at 25 percent. Safety and length of time
required to complete the project were last, with 2 and 3 percent respectively.

According to Terry QuinnAlmar frequently gets call to come in and fix or finish a
project that a homeowner had thought they could DIY. But once they get in to it
find that they don’t have the time or skills to get it done quickly and looking
right. And unfortunately in most cases this attempt to do it yourself and save
a few dollars costs you a lot more in time money and stress to your personal
relations ships.”

In reality, the home improvement process—though varied across project type—can be
very costly and involved for anyone, not to mention a beginner. That’s why it’s
important to weigh all considerations before you begin work to prevent a DIY
disaster.

Quinn says “Homeowners need to consider if they have they the necessary skills to do the project – will doing it yourself help or hurt your home’s value? Do they have the time? When you work all day long do you want to come home and start a construction project when you could be spending quality time with your family? What’s the true cost savings to doing
it myself? We find in most cases none. And if you need to call a professional
in after the fact it will cost you twice what you initially thought.

The most important considerations for homeowners have to do with physical ability,
skills, time and understanding of what needs to be.

Quinn says that homeowners should have basic skills when it comes to using tools or
knowing which tools are necessary, measuring, installing and following product
manufacturer instructions.
Quinn also says that homeowners should plan the process from beginning to end to ensure they have time to complete.

And then homeowners should consider the costs. Permits, materials, time and costs
associated with correcting mistakes must be factored into the total cost.

Most homeowners can handle routine maintenance projects and cosmetic touch-ups, but
it’s recommended they consult with qualified professionals for larger
remodeling jobs and major changes to the home’s structure. Visit the NARI
Website to access a DIY quiz, designed to help you decide whether you are going to need to hire a professional.

If you find out that you do need to hire a professional, hiring someone who is
qualified and competent to do the work is just as important as preventing a DIY
disaster. Make sure you do your homework, hiring an unlicensed untrained
contractor because he’s the lowest price can be worse than taking on a project
yourself that you can’t handle. Get copies of licensees and insurance, choose a
NARI contractor, make sure you are comfortable with the paperwork. Both the
Almar (www.almarbuilding.com and NARI (www.nari.org) websites is a great place
to find more tips on choosing the best professional.

As of April 22, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency passed new regulations
to address a lead safety concern in homes built before 1978. The Renovation,
Repair and Painting (RRP) rule is designed to train professional remodelers how
to minimize lead dust in the home to reduce exposure to children under 6 years
and pregnant women. Remodel-ready homeowners should make themselves aware of lead-safe practices in their homes during a remodel, either by a professional or as a
do-it-yourself practitioner, to keep their families safe. Please learn more at www.nari.org/leadsafety