So what’s the best way to decide whether to do your next home improvement yourself? As Angie Hicks of Angie’s List puts it: “You have to determine whether you have the talent, the time and tools to do the job.”
Ask yourself these questions before opening your toolbox.
1. What are the risks?
Every year more than 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries in the United States, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Clement recommends caution when sizing up a project requiring a ladder, such as repairing damaged shingles or replacing a second-story window.
Similarly, home projects that require you to handle harsh chemicals can pose health risks, said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing at Houzz, a home remodeling and design website, so make sure you know what products you’re dealing with in advance.
And renovations that involve plumbing or electrical work are typically better suited for a licensed contractor. “If you’re doing something that could cause the house to flood or something that puts you at risk of being electrocuted, err on the side of caution,” Webb said.
2. How much do you value your time?
Labor costs can add up when using a professional contractor. “As a general rule of thumb, about one-third of what you’re paying for are the materials, and the other two-thirds are for the skills of the remodeler and their time,” Webb said.