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  • Writer's picturePacific Sun Technologies

Ask yourself these questions before starting a DIY project at home

Know when to bring in a pro

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.

Sameer Patel loves to DIY. He’s built a weight rack for his home gym, rebuilt a swing for his son and welded a fire pit for his backyard. So when it was time to add gutters to his home in Tucson, Arizona, he was ready to do it himself.

“I had gone to Home Depot, (HD) read a lot of posts and was determined to do this myself,” Patel says. But the numbers didn’t add up.

Patel estimated tool rentals and materials (overestimating for the inevitable mistake) would run $652, still under the $800 quoted to him by a local contractor.

But when he factored in time — the project would take an entire weekend — and the likelihood he’d reuse his newfound gutter knowledge, he called in a professional.

“Even though I’d save money with this project…I was never going to do this” again, Patel says. “I don’t plan on starting a gutter install business.”

When weighing your own DIY project, run the numbers, then ask yourself these four questions before deciding whether to invest the elbow grease or pass it off to a professional.

1. How complex is the project?

Installing a new kitchen backsplash is a relatively straightforward task. A good online tutorial will teach you the basic techniques and walk you through the supplies needed.

A top-to-bottom remodel of your kitchen is another story. You’ll need to plan for and install flooring, cabinets, countertops and appliances, and may need to move gas and plumbing lines. That’s a lot of moving parts, especially for novices.

“When it gets to be more complex, it’s always good to have someone who is overseeing the project,” says Kelly Barrett, senior vice president of home services at Home Depot. That’s when it pays to hire a professional.