Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects can save you money and offer a sense of accomplishment. However, it's crucial to know your limits and recognise when it's best to leave certain tasks to the experts. In this comprehensive article, we'll guide you through what you can realistically tackle on your own and when it's wise to call in professionals.
What the Experts Say
“As a pre-purchase building inspector, DIY renovations by novice home owners are usually very obvious, and they raise an instant red flag to me, and therefore to potential future buyers of your property. If you don’t have the skills, don’t attempt the DIY work. It will cost you in sales value and that cost can be very significant.” Said veteran Brisbane Building Inspector, Andrew Mackintosh
DIY Projects You Can Tackle Yourself
1. Certain types of flooring
While you will want to search “concrete removal Melbourne” if you need to remove a concrete slab, there are certain flooring projects you can handle yourself. For example, it’s surprisingly easy to install hardwood, laminate, vinyl, or tile with a click-and-lock system. Indeed, this can be a rewarding DIY project, especially for smaller areas like bedrooms or hallways.
Tip: Ensure the subfloor is level and in good condition before laying new flooring. Follow manufacturer instructions carefully to achieve a smooth and durable finish.
Painting is one of the most accessible DIY home improvement projects. With proper preparation and the right tools, almost anyone can achieve professional-looking results.
Tip: Invest in quality paint, brushes, and rollers, and take your time with surface preparation, including cleaning, sanding, and priming, for a flawless finish.
3. Crown moulding and decorative trim
Adding crown moulding, baseboards, or decorative trim to your walls can enhance the aesthetics of a room. These projects typically involve measuring, cutting, and attaching the trim pieces. With the right tools and a steady hand, you can achieve a polished look.
Tip: Invest in a mitre saw for precise angle cuts, and use a high-quality adhesive to secure the trim in place.
4. Minor plumbing fixes
You may be able to handle minor plumbing issues such as replacing faucets, showerheads, or toilet components. Just be sure to turn off the water supply and follow installation instructions carefully.
What the Experts Say: While changing a washer may seem like a simple task, it’s when that simple task goes wrong that you could be costing yourself a lot of money. I can’t count the number of times a small plumbing DIY fix has turned to expensive problems, water hammer, leaks and even major structural damage. Be very cautious doing any DIY plumbing work.” Said veteran Sydney Plumber, Joe Rantino.
Tip: Invest in a quality set of plumbing tools, including a pipe wrench and Teflon tape.
Reno Projects Best Left to the Experts
1. Electrical work
Electrical work is not only complex but also dangerous if not done correctly. A minor mistake can lead to electrical hazards or even fires, so leave all electrical work to the experts.
Tip: Always hire a certified electrician who can ensure your home's safety and compliance with local codes.
2. Structural changes
Any renovation that involves altering the structure of your home, such as removing walls or changing the roofline, should be handled by a professional to ensure your home's stability and safety.
Tip: Obtain any necessary permits and consult with an architect or engineer to plan structural changes properly.
3. Major plumbing work
While minor plumbing fixes are manageable for DIYers, major plumbing overhauls, such as repiping your entire home or relocating plumbing fixtures, are best left to licensed plumbers.
What the Experts Say: “Major plumbing work like drainage, roof plumbing, installations and renovations – these are all far more complex than they appear. People assume because it’s not gas or electricity, how dangerous or difficult could it be? The fact is, water that can’t flow becomes a VERY expensive problem, very quickly. Which can turn to electrocutions and major structural damage. For a little investment in a professional plumber you’re saving a lot of risk later.” Said John Salmon, Expert Plumber Brisbane.
Tip: Always hire a professional plumber for major plumbing projects to avoid costly water damage and potential health hazards.
4. Roof repairs
Whether you need to repair leaks, replace shingles, or install a new roof, the expertise of a roofing contractor is essential for safety and quality.
Tip: Regularly inspect your roof for signs of damage or wear and schedule professional roof maintenance as needed to prolong its lifespan.
5. Gas line work
Gas leaks can pose severe risks if not addressed properly. So always call a licensed gas technician for any gas-related work.
What the Experts Say: “Even if you’re not tapping into Sydney’s aged gas infrastructure, a single rookie mistake on a refillable gas tank could put your family, your home and even your neighbours in grave danger. This is a hard no. You should ALWAYS bring in a professional plumber to deal with gas. It’s not negotiable.” Said Sydney Gas Plumber, Joe Rantino.
Tip: If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, evacuate your home immediately and call the gas company or emergency services.
By recognising your limits and prioritising safety, you can successfully navigate your home improvement projects and create a space you love.
What the Experts Say: “It’s a fallacy that all paint jobs can be done by the owner. Sure they can be done but painting is a trade and the end result of work by a professional patiner, vs a home owner, is unfortunately very noticeable. What you notice is the room doesn’t feel “quite right”. If it’s anything beyond a simple wall, getting a professional painter will create a completely different feel in your home.” Said Stephen Cochrane, Expert Painter Perth