Contractor or DIY?

Home Improvement Jobs Best Suited for a Contractor

Homeowners can save money when they work on home improvement jobs themselves. With moderate skills, you can complete many projects without much difficulty. You also must keep in mind that some work is best left to a contractor or professional.

Skills and safety

The first thing to do is be honest with yourself. Think about whether you really have the skills required to complete a home improvement project correctly. Having someone else come in to fix your mistakes will cost more in the long run. You also want to make sure you can do the work safely and have the tools required.

License and permits

Many projects will require a building permit from the city or county where you live. You do need to obtain this information. Inspections may also be required. Taking short cuts can devalue your home and be dangerous. A license may be needed for many jobs including major electrical or HVAC work.


You can most likely change your own light fixtures or install a ceiling fan. Adding an extra outlet may also be in your skill range. When it comes to running new circuits or upgrading a service panel, a contractor is really needed. A license is probably required and your personal safety could be in jeopardy. Your insurance will also not cover a fire caused by improper work.

Gas and plumbing

Installing a new toilet or bathroom fixtures is not difficult. Changing your home's plumbing lines is. Most water companies will also not allow you to work on a meter system; this requires a contractor. When it comes to gas lines, your safety and the potential for fire is not worth the money you might save doing the work yourself.


Major changes to the structure of your home need engineering approval. While you might want to enlarge a room, if you remove a load-bearing wall, you can have structural failure. Consult a contractor when you want major renovations.

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