Home renovation: DIY vs. hiring a professional

IT’S a question that every homeowner or renovator asks themselves; should I DIY or call a tradie?

While there are many benefits to DIY, like saving some cash and the buzz of doing it yourself, there are equally good reasons – health and safety for one – why some jobs are best left to the pros. New Galaxy research from hipages has revealed Aussies are spending an average of $1,500 a year fixing damage caused by DIY fails, totalling to $3.53 billion cost to the economy annually.

Many tasks around the home are actually too dangerous to undertake without formal training, while others require specialised equipment not to mention expertise. The trick is to do some research about the job, so you know what rules apply where you live. And, if in doubt, best to call the experts.

This, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get your hands dirty at all. Here are a bunch of odd jobs you can tackle all on your own.

WHAT CAN I DIY?

Some of the more popular DIY jobs include:

● Painting – every renovator knows that a fresh coat or two can make all the difference.

Just make sure you do all the prep work beforehand, like washing the walls, filling holes and laying drop sheets. You can even be your own interior decorator by hanging wallpaper yourself.

● Gardening – if you’re ambitious enough, you can take on some minor landscaping jobs, like laying a footpath, building some raised garden beds or even, building a small timber deck. Before making a mess, however, it’s best to check with your local council to be sure of height and size restrictions.

● Minor repair and maintenance – if you’re fairly handy, you can easily take on minor maintenance jobs around the house, like fixing door hinges, cleaning gutters or replacing damaged tiles. You can also easily make sure your swimming pool is always sparkling by keeping the pump and filter running smoothly.

The key with any DIY task is to factor in everything before you get started on your job, specifically your time and the materials or equipment you might need. It’s also important to ensure you take safety into account. In some instances, you might find it cheaper or easier to hire a local handyman, especially if you are time poor.

WHEN MUST I HIRE A PRO?

For some jobs, such as plumbing, electrical, gas, air con or structural building work, it is actually a legal requirement to hire a professional licensed tradie.

The Galaxy research highlighted that 64 percent of Aussies will hire a licensed tradie as they themselves, lack the knowledge and skills to complete the work.

Opting to DIY any of these jobs could land you in hot water, with a fine or much worse. And if anything does go wrong with your handiwork, don’t expect your insurance policy to pay up. When critical jobs do occur, it’s reassuring to know that there are multiple ways to find the right tradie for your job. hipages, the leading tradie marketplace, has streamlined the process to save you the hassle of ringing around by instantly connecting you with up to three trusted local tradies with quotes. Over 2.5 million Aussies have already used hipages to find tradies for their homes, making it the #1 place to find the right tradie for you. All tradies are licensed professionals verified regularly by hipages.

A few jobs we recommend you use our tradies for include:

Staying safe with electrical – doing any electrical work yourself is a big no-no, given the risks that live electrical current poses. Some people overlook this potentially fatal reality, often in the hope of saving on labour costs. Beyond changing a lightbulb, you shouldn’t be attempting to work on any aspect of your homes’ electrical system no matter how straightforward it might seem. This includes installing a new powerpoint, replacing a light switch, repairing appliances or even replacing a plug on a lead.

Plumbing is pretty complicated – unlike electrical jobs, which most DIYers stay away from, plumbing is often seen as something anyone with a pair of gloves and a wrench can take on. Wrong! Your home’s plumbing, roof plumbing and drainage system need to be worked on by a licensed professional.The same applies to any gasfitting work. Note that some, not all, plumbers are also qualified to work with gas, so ask to be sure.

Best to hire a builder – thinking of knocking out an internal wall to open up a couple of rooms? Think again! Doing any building or structural work is another job best left to a licensed builder, regardless of the cost. You need their knowledge to decide if the wall is load bearing, otherwise your ceiling, or the floor above, could collapse. Depending on where you live, builders may also be required to erect larger structures like timber decks, pergolas and patio roofing.

Aircon and refrigeration – anything related to air conditioners and fridges or freezers should also be left to the pros. Why? You need special training to handle the chemical refrigerants, which is why the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) requires all installers and technicians to be licensed.

Source: DailyTelegraph