Even if only for some advise, pricing, and a second opinion, consider calling in a contractor for a free discussion about the next big home renovation project.
Fix It Up column by Morgan Jensen
We all know the saying "Measure twice, cut once."
Well, sometimes it's better to have someone else do the cutting. Sometimes it's just simply smarter and safer to have someone else do all of the work.
One of the questions I am asked on a regular basis by homeowners is about when to call in a professional to do home repairs and renovations rather than do those things themselves.
There is no easy answer that will apply to everyone, but there are some guidelines to follow:
1. What is the skill level of the homeowner and what tools are available?
2. When does this have to be done?
3. Is the homeowner's employment going to be impacted, or are they retired?
4. What is the size and scope of the job?
5. Will permits, design drawings, or engineering be required, or are there any other technical issues?
6. Last, and most important, can the homeowner's relationship with family and friends survive a "do-it-yourself" project?
The last question, of course, is meant to be in jest, but, many marriages and other relationships have suffered during renovation disasters and it is more common than many people realize.
I've seen the results when I've been called in after things have gone sideways, and it's not pretty.
So, when do you call in the professionals?
Basically you should always call in someone no matter what the repair or renovation is. There is never any good reason not to when you think about it.
First, most contractors, tradespeople, and other repair companies will provide at least one free visit to the home to assess the job, offer advice and quotes, and answer questions.
Why not take advantage of free advice and get an idea of the real costs?
Over the years I've come across dozens of cases where the homeowner, trying to save money and time, has tried to do a repair or renovation and then discovered that having a pro do it actually cost less and saved time, as well.
Here are a couple of cases that will help illustrate that:
1. The homeowner wanted to change the gutters and downpipes on the home and went to the hardware store for materials. There they discovered that the gutters come in specific, and limited, lengths, there are limited colours available, a lot of parts and pieces, and a requirement for specific tools. Once a local gutter company was called in they had continuous gutters installed, in a custom colour, and it cost less than it would have if they had bought all the parts, and tools, and spent the time installing them.
2. A homeowner wanted to install a new bath fan in an upstairs bathroom. They thought it would be as easy as buying a fan, cutting a hole in the ceiling, and then installing it following the instructions. What they found, however, was that, for the fan to function properly and safely, specific ducting and venting had to be installed. Cutting a hole in their roof was not something that they felt comfortable doing, and they had no idea how to run the right ducting in the attic. The attic was also a scary place to crawl around in. A roofer was called in to install the roof vent, thus protecting their roofing warranty, and a contractor installed the fan and ducting safely and properly.
Please note that I'm not saying every homeowner should have someone else do the work, or that many hundreds of families haven't completed repairs and renovations properly and safely.
I'm just suggesting that, in many instances, it can be a smart and easy step to first call in some free advice and a second pair of eyes.
Take care and take your time when doing anything in and around your home, it's one of your biggest investments in life.
Handyman Morgan Jensen will answer your home improvement questions. Visit his website at www.jbshomeimprovement.ca or send your questions to email@example.com.