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Choosing a Contractor

“The Highs and Lows of the 3 Most Popular DIY projects for your Remodel”

DIY, or Do-It-Yourself, is a popular approach that is sweeping the renovating industry. Like most things, DIY projects have their positive highs and the negative lows. The DIY trend is motivating and encouraging many homeowners to take action and improve their homes for the better all on their own. However, for the unexperienced “DIY-er” certain projects can quickly become overwhelming nightmares. To avoid the frustration many homeowners decide to hire a General Contractor, GC, to worry about the bigger project while handling some of the smaller DIY tasks on their own.

GC’s frequently encounter the same three DIY requests; DIY Demo, DIY paint and DIY GC.

1. Demolition is an obvious first choice. It seems like a no brainier to rip those cabinets out yourself. But demo is far more complicated than one might think! If done incorrectly or left partially demoed, what started as an easy demo could lead to an unexpected change order from your contractor at the very start of your project.

DIY highs:

  • Destruction; Smashing & Breaking things!
  • Savings on hired labor
  • The pride of getting your project started on your own.

DIY lows:

  • Accidently demoing a needed structural component
  • Accidently demoing a pipe or electrical wiring.
  • Missing lead paint or asbestos.
  • Dust!!

2. Painting can be expensive and it’s an easy thing to try and tackle on your own. However, much like the biggest organ in the body, the skin, your paint job covers your “body,” the walls, ceiling and trim, it is a huge part of your project! So if you are not an experienced painter, you might be better off leaving this one to the pros.

DIY highs:

  • Savings on labor
  • A sense of accomplishment from contributing to your project

DIY lows:

  • Prepping your walls for paint
  • Slowing down your project in the middle to paint
  • Dealing with drips and smudges
  • The potential of having a finished product with a sub-par appearance

 

3. GC-ing for part of your project can be a tempting way to save money. If you have a family member or friends in the industry, such as an uncle who is a plumber, it can be tempting to bring them in to do part of your project at a lower cost but keep in mind that General contractors have strong relationships with their sub-contractors. To get the most out of your GC relationship give them the freedom to work comfortably with their “team”. If the best outcome for your project is your top priority, think twice before hiring outside sub-contractors.

 

DIY highs:

  • Saving money on mark up and overhead
  • Bringing in someone you know and trust on a personal level

DIY lows:

  • Disrupting your GC’s schedule and possibly slowing down your project
  • Risking the quality of your project
  • Possibly voiding party of your projects warranty (look into this carefully)

Tackling a remodel is daunting and can be even more overwhelming if you decide to take on elements of the project on your own. So makes sure to weigh the highs and lows of any DIY projects you are thinking of undertaking. If you are using a GC consult with them, their expertise is why you hired them. Find out how much you will be saving and how it will affect your schedule.

If you do decide to DIY part or all of your project don’t let if frustrate you. Things are never as easy as they appear on TV or the internet so mentally prepare and know that going in. Take your time and remember anything worth doing is worth doing right! If you need to, don’t hesitate to contact a pro for help.

Written by Addie Merrick-Phang
Director of Administration
Merrick Design and Build Inc.