By Candis Meredith
Saying that Andy and I are pretty self-sufficient people could be the understatement of the decade. From committing to buying old houses before we even have the funds in our pockets to figuring out how to do some of the most complex renovations ourselves, we’ve learned a lot over the years as we’ve brought one old home after another back to life with our restoration and renovation projects.
Along the way, I’ve settled pretty well into the role of general contractor for our projects, while Andy works as our project manager, doing a lot of the renovations himself with help from our sons. While we tackle most of our renovation projects ourselves, there are some that we’ve taken on that I will never do again. Sometimes, it really pays to pay a professional.
If you’re trying to learn plumbing work on your own, there’s a good chance that you’re going to get wet and stinky. If you try to learn electrical work on your own, you could get yourself electrocuted. If you have wiring issues in a house that you’re renovating or you’re looking at adding new wiring to a light fixture or anything else, you might be tempted to do it yourself. Don’t.
Electricians spend years as apprentices and journeymen before they get their master electrician’s license. That time is spent learning all there is to know about wiring and electricity, and how to do it safely. Don’t risk your life to save a few dollars on a wiring project. Call an electrician.
Asbestos or Mold Removal
This is another one where we’re talking about saving money versus saving your health (or your life). Finding black mold or asbestos insulation that’s breaking down can be a real downer because you know that you have to halt work and remove the toxic materials before you continue. With mold, you might be tempted to break out the bleach and go to town. With asbestos pipes or other insulation, you might want to grab a dust mask and start breaking it up to get it out of the house.
Both of these ideas are incredibly risky. Yes, it’s expensive to hire a pro to come out and make the house safe, but inhaling asbestos can cause cancer, and black mold can be incredibly toxic. Find room in your budget to keep yourself safe and healthy.
One-Time Jobs That Require a Lot of Knowledge, Equipment, and Skill
It’s made a lot of sense over the years for Andy and me to take on some challenging jobs that we weren’t entirely sure about. After all, when we got started, we didn’t have much cash, but we did have time, energy, and a willingness to learn.
But we chose projects that we knew we’d be doing over and over again. Some projects, like refinishing floors, removing wallpaper, and painting are going to be a part of almost every renovation you do. Others will be one-time deals that will require a lot of knowledge and equipment, not to mention skills. Taking the time to figure out how to do these things and buying the equipment you need to do them is just a waste. Save your money and energy—hire a pro to take care of it for you.
In general, if you’re worried about your safety, or you find yourself with a long list of expensive equipment and materials that you have to buy for a project, then it’s probably time to take that project off the DIY list and call a professional.