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Should You DIY or PTE?

Written by Posted On Monday, 17 March 2014 10:50

When you watch home improvement shows, the professionals make it look so easy to tear out a wall, replace a roof, or set new tile in the bath.

Yes, you save a lot of money when you do-it-yourself (DIY), but in some situations, you're better off paying the expert (PTE). According to Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, some jobs aren't as simple or as safe to do as they look.

In a recent interview, Hicks pointed out that some DIY jobs end in disaster. More than 136,000 DIY injuries require medical attention annually. As many as 35,000 injuries were from nail guns.

Forbes Magazine reports that workshop injuries are even higher - 400,000 annually. Most injuries are caused by pilot error -- an operator who fails to respect safety rules. Wear goggles, use clamps where needed, check electrical cords for fraying, and keep your tools clean and sharp. Be sure to always use the correct tool for the job.

And let's not forget errors of judgment. Don't work while you're tired, or under the influence of a drug or alcohol. And definitely don't tackle a job beyond your knowledge.

Before you begin a DIY project, Angie recommends that you ask yourself three questions:

Do you have the right training and experience?
Do you have the time to do the job right?
Do you have the correct tools?

When Angie's List members were polled about DIY mistakes, 30 percent of respondents said that they saved money, but 10 percent said they were injured on the project, such as falling off a ladder.

Sometimes, there are so many issues and costs to do a job, that you might be better off hiring a contractor.

Let's say you want to paint a room. You're willing to give up a weekend. First you measure your room so you'll know how much paint to buy. Do you know what kind of paint to buy, and will one coat cover the color you're painting over? And what about the trim? Latex or oil-base? There's also painter's tape, plastic for the furniture, brushes and rollers, sandpaper, and other supplies.

When you total all that, you might be better off hiring a painting contractor. You'll be paying retail, while a professional painter gets the same items wholesale.

If you do want to DIY, Angie recommends starting with a small job, like replacing kitchen drawer knobs and stay away from jobs that require a license, such as those held by electricians or plumbers.

Home improvement expert Don Vanderwort suggests that you should avoid doing jobs yourself that may be "dangerous, particularly difficult, or where a mistake can be quite costly. Some jobs simply are not worth the risk."

He says to think twice before attempting roofing, removing or pouring concrete, siding work requiring scaffolding higher than two stories, or work where there may be "hidden mysteries."

The bottom line is you want a professional-looking result. If you don't think you can do job well, it's time to hire the expert.

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