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DIY renovations – better than hiring the professionals?

9th June, 2016

What are the factors to consider?

Under the right circumstances, do it yourself, also known as DIY renovations can be a good way to save money. The right circumstances being completely up to you to create. You need to be completely prepared, organised and ready for things to go wrong. Because during DIY renovations, they often do. To do most jobs within a renovation there is at least some skill and knowledge required, so overestimating your own can be extremely risky. Time on the other hand, should not be underestimated in anyway. For DIY renovations – it is said that if you double your estimated time to finish, then that is how much time you should allow to finish each job. There are important factors that must be considered before deciding to do it yourself. If you do have the time, skill and knowledge required then DIY renovations can be much cheaper, not to mention rewarding! Things can be done completely to your own schedule, and how you want them. With a DIY job you have total control. Also, knowing the fact that you were in charge of that awesome new kitchen in your home can be a great feeling. For those who would rather roll out there renovations slowly; room by room, DIY can be a good way to go, because again – everything is done in your own time and you are in total control. We have come up with a list of tips for anyone considering beginning a DIY renovation project:

  • Don’t take on too much

    Know your budget and time frame and understand exactly how much you can afford to finish. The key word being finish. Often with DIY jobs, people will end up with a half finished kitchen for months and months because they run out of either time or money. It is worth waiting an extra few months to save up, or have the time off work and be able to finish the job completely!

  • Don’t take short cuts

    This is so important. It may seem fine now, and it might be – but in the long run short cuts are never a good idea. Aside from the fact that things may fall apart, not work properly or even be a safety hazard, a sub par standard job will diminish the resale price of your home.

  • Know exactly what you are getting yourself into

    This works alongside with the first two tips. If you don’t know exactly what you are getting yourself into, you may take on too much and either not finish the job or decide to take short cuts to save time or money. So do your research, and be prepared!

  • Know the risks

    Asbestos is a huge risk amongst DIYers. Many people do not even realise they are at risk. If you are not sure – get a professional in to check your house. Hats for houses does this and would be happy to help you keep yourself and your family safe. If you want to know more about the risks of asbestos you can click here to read our blog post about it, or you can visit the asbestos awareness website for more information. Other risks are associated with doing electrical or plumbing work that you are not qualified to do.

  • Remember that some things do need a professional

    As mentioned above, certain plumbing and electrical work is actually dangerous (and illegal) for a non-professional to do. If its a light bulb or washer change – go for it, but anything much more advanced we wouldn’t recommend doing yourself. Even if the materials are accessible at places like Bunnings, it may not be a good idea for you to install. Fines can be dealt and your insurance won’t cover any damage that is caused by any faulty workmanship.

  • Stay safe

    Lift heavy items the correct way (click here for details), wear closed in shoes and the appropriate gear when carrying out construction projects. The Brisbane City Council has put together a list of potential renovation hazards here.

  • Be careful of money savers

    Make sure you calculate whether the cheaper way is actually the way with the most value. If option 1 costs $100 and option 2 costs $250, and option 1 lasts 6 months while option 2 lasts 5 years- then option 2 is by far the highest value of the two! Because renovations are such long term investments – this is especially important.

  • Don’t assume you can get materials cheaper

    As construction companies, we do get a trade discount! We also probably have more contacts in the industry than you – unless you are a tradesman yourself too of course.

  • Break the whole project into small tasks

    Do one room or aspect at a time and finish it before starting the next.

  • Be prepared

    If it is a big job, we would recommend moving out for the duration of the job. Don’t go without a kitchen for 6 months! You may think that moving out for that time would be too expensive – but so is eating out every day, especially if you have a family of 5.

A conclusion of all the points mentioned in this blog is that if you are going to DIY – make sure you know what you are doing. Otherwise it may turn out to take much longer, be more stressful, cost more than it needs to and most importantly – not turn out the way you planned or even worse not get finished at all. If you don’t know what you are doing or don’t have the time or knowledge for DIY renovations  – it is well worth getting the professionals in. It will be an important investment into your home that will show its worth if you ever resell as well as ensure you have a beautiful, safe home to live in. Hiring professionals will often be much quicker than DIY renovations and will be of a higher quality (most of the time).

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