As a homeowner thinking about making a change to your home, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is should I DIY this project or hire a contractor? There are a number of factors that go into making this decision. Before you start a DIY project and get in over your head, or hire a contractor for something you later wish you had done yourself, take a few minutes to think about your choice. Check out this list of things to consider when deciding between a do-it-yourself (DIY) project or hiring a contractor.
When you’re making the decision to DIY a home improvement project assessing your skills is an important first step. Do you have the skills required to do the job you’re planning to do? If not, do you have an idea about how you can acquire them?
If you have experience doing home repairs and building things you have a better chance of a successful DIY home project.
If you’re planning to learn the skills you need from books or YouTube videos consider whether that is a realistic way to learn the skills you need for your project. For some people, it might be. Especially if you have some skills to build on. But if you’re a total novice, hiring a contractor for your project might be the way to go
If you’re eager to do a DIY project but lack necessary skills, consider doing only parts of the project yourself. There may be things like demolition or paint that you can do while hiring a contractor for more complicated aspects of your project.
Many people DIY home projects because they want to save money. And a DIY project is going to be cheaper, in theory. But the reality can sometimes be different.
If you lack DIY skills, you risk having to call a contractor to fix mistakes. Doing a project twice is never going to save you money. Mistakes requiring re-dos will likely end up costing you more.
When you do your cost comparison, there are a few additional things to consider. Contractors often get supplies and materials at lower rates than you can buy them yourself. They also usually own their own tools and equipment. If you don’t, those things can add up quickly when you need to purchase or rent them for your DIY project.
Before you start a DIY home project, consider your timetable for getting it done. If you're hoping to enjoy your new DIY deck this summer and it’s closing in on the Fourth of July, do you have time to DIY?
Also, consider what other things are happening in your life. Do you have time to do a DIY project? And do you want to spend your after work time and weekends on a home project? Or do you have other commitments that make your DIY dreams unrealistic?
If your home project timeline is open-ended or you find yourself with ample free time, you’re in a better position to choose to do the work on your home yourself.
One of the biggest concerns with DIY home projects is are they safe? This goes beyond having basic building skills. There are some projects that are always better left to professionals.
In general, if you’re looking at electric, gas, or plumbing work then you need to hire a contractor. This work requires not only a special set of skills, but most work will require permits and meeting specific safety codes.
Another situation where you want to choose a professional contractor is if you plan to make structural changes to your home. Any time you might be affecting the structural integrity of your home, any mistakes could be costly. A contractor can keep your home safe. And they will know when you need to bring in an architect or structural engineer.
Before committing yourself to a DIY home repair project, consider whether it is something you genuinely want to do. Do you love getting in there, getting your hands dirty, and working on your house? A successful DIY project is uniquely satisfying and fun to show off to friends and family.
If this isn’t you, if the thought of a massive project at home makes you feel stressed, then DIY may not be for you. Consider if you have the patience for a DIY project. Do you get easily frustrated? Or stressed when things don’t go your way? Even if you love the dream of a DIY project, does the reality sound like a good time? If not, hiring a contractor may be the best choice for you.
Posted in: Hiring a contractor]]>
Every year when spring rolls around, many people start thinking about spring cleaning. This usually means decluttering, organizing and sprucing up the interior of your home. But spring is also the perfect time to think about home maintenance tasks. Take advantage of longer days and milder weather to accomplish some of the things on your home maintenance to-do list. To help you get started, check out this list of 10 home maintenance tasks to do this spring!
Keeping your gutters clean is one of the easiest ways to protect your home from weather damage. By channeling water away from your roof, gutters protect your shingles, eaves, siding, and landscaping from water and weather damage.
Gutters should be cleaned out at least twice a year. And they should definitely be part of your routine spring home maintenance.
Clear any leaves or debris from your gutters. Use a hose to wash out gunk. And check that all your downspouts are still attached and unclogged.
It’s important to inspect your roof every spring to check for damage caused by fall and winter weather. Check for missing or curled shingles, those with missing granules or any other visible signs of damage. You should also inspect the flashing around your vents, skylights, and chimneys.
While you’re inspecting your roof, check your chimney for signs of damage. Check the joints between any bricks or stones to make sure they are still watertight. You may be able to examine the exterior of the chimney yourself. But you should hire a professional chimney sweep to clean the flue and inspect the chimney overall.
Early spring is the perfect time to trim back tree and shrub overgrowth that has grown too close to your home. In early spring before the leaves fill in you can still see most of the individual branches for easier trimming.
Trim branches back at least 5 feet away from your house. This will keep them from pouring water onto your roof. And it will discourage tree and shrub dwelling squirrels and other critters from making their way into your home to build nests.
While you’re freshening things up on the outside of your home, give your house a good power wash. After pressure washing, examine the exterior of your home for chipped or peeling paint.
Exposed wood will eventually begin to rot. Apply a fresh coat of paint to any areas of your house where the paint is chipped or wearing away.
Mold, mildew and basement leaks due to poor drainage can cause extensive damage to your home. Low areas of your yard, especially those around the foundation of the house should be filled in and raised up to protect your home.
A deck is a wonderful place to enjoy spending time in the outdoors during spring and summer. To keep your deck from succumbing to rot or requiring an expensive replacement, regular resealing is important.
Sun, snow, and rain all take a toll on your deck wood. Protect your deck from the elements by restaining and sealing this spring.
Before you begin spring and summer watering of your yard and garden, check your outside faucets for damage from freezing. If when you turn on the water, the flow is less than expected or slow, you may have damaged pipes that need replacing.
It’s also a good idea to check your hoses for damage, especially if they are stored outdoors year round.
An AC unit that is regularly cleaned and serviced will operate more efficiently. Change your AC unit filters, check any hoses for leaks or damage, and make sure drain pans are draining. You’ll also want to vacuum any dust that has settled inside your AC unit.
If your unit seemed to be running at less than peak performance last summer, now is a good time to call a heating and cooling professional to service your unit.
Take the time this spring to make your lawn beautiful. Rake any leftover leaves or limbs that were missed over fall and winter. Check that your lawn mower, trimmer, and edger are in good working order. And check out your sprinkler system to make sure it’s functioning as it should.
If you want to prevent summer weeds from taking over your lawn, consider applying a weed and feed fertilizer to keep your grass looking beautiful.
With this list of home maintenance tasks to do this spring, you will get your home and yard ready for a carefree spring and summer!
Posted in: Home Repair & Maintenance]]>
If you’ve decided it’s time to start the home remodeling project or repair you’ve been thinking about, one of your first steps will be finding the right contractor. At HandyLo.com, we help you find the best contractors in your area for a variety of jobs, but sometimes hiring can still be a bit scary. Interviewing contractors is an important part of the process of starting your project and putting your mind at ease. So, what type of questions do you need to ask? Check out this list of 10 questions to ask when hiring a contractor.
Requirements for contractor licenses vary from state to state and even city to city. You’ll want to make sure your contractor is properly licensed and credentialed for the project you have planned.
If you want to check out the licensing requirements for your state or verify if your contractor is licensed, you can find that information on this site.
Hiring a contractor with the proper insurance to protect your home and property is an absolute must. Contractors should have liability insurance for the type of job you are hiring them to perform. They should also have workers’ compensation insurance. to protect you from liability if there is an injury during work on your property.
Don’t hesitate to ask your contractor to see their insurance certificate before work begins on your home.
Before a contractor begins working for you, find out if they offer a warranty on their work. You’ll want to know what that warranty covers and how long it is good for.
You should also find out if any of the materials used in your home remodel or home repair have a manufacturer's warranty. If there are warranties on materials, request a copy before work begins.
For any home repair project or remodel, it’s important to discuss the terms of payment with your contractor before work begins. You’ll want to note any specific due dates for invoices or discuss whether payment will be based on completed stages of your project.
If you’re interviewing a contractor whose work you are unfamiliar with, talking to past client references is a must! When you contact references, ask them about the quality of work, whether timelines were met, and the cleanliness and safety of the job site. And find out what their overall experience was with the company you’re planning to hire.
Many contractors have multiple jobs going at a time so it’s a good idea to find out what kind of consistency you can expect on your project. You’ll want to know if you can expect the same people every day. And if there is a project manager you’ll be working with.
With many companies, the same person who handles your estimate and initial contact regarding work on your home will also be in charge of the project. But in some cases, there are project managers or other employees your remodel or repair may be handed off to. If so, you’ll want to know how to reach that person.
It is also a wise idea to find out who you should reach out to if you have problems or concerns regarding your project both during work and after it is completed.
Once your home project is completed you should receive some paperwork. This typically includes lien releases, permit sign-offs, and any warranties on supplies, appliances, or parts. Ask in advance to make sure you will be given everything you need at the completion of your home remodel or repair.
Not all jobs will require permits or inspections, but many do. Your contractor should be knowledgeable about what permits are required. They should also be in charge of pulling the permits and dealing with inspectors.
This question is important for making sure you have realistic expectations for when your contractor will be starting and completing your job.
Ask your potential contractor if they have any other jobs in progress that might affect your schedule. And find out how they will communicate with you about delays or schedule changes.
HandyLo provides contractor profiles and reviews, but communication between you and your hired contractor is key for a successful home remodel or home repair project. A thorough interview will help you select a contractor you can trust.
Posted in: Hiring a contractor]]>