DIY-friendly project? Only you can judge

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ September 26, 2012

Is it a DIY project? It's a popular question these days as the trend of families performing their own home improvements and maintenance tasks continues to grow. Working on your own home can be a great way to save a little money and it's hard to beat the sense of satisfaction that enjoying the fruits of your labor can bring.

However, inquiring whether a job is DIY-friendly might not be the best way to ask the question when contemplating a project. Is the task within your abilities to complete safely and competently could be better phrasing and the bottom line is that only you can provide that answer.

What's the definition of DIY-friendly?

When it comes right down to it, there are only a few remodeling tasks that are off-limits for homeowners. They're determined by your local building code officials and usually include trades that require licensing such as working with electricity, gas, HVAC equipment, and doing major plumbing work.

Other than the jobs regulated by your local jurisdiction, whether or not a project is DIY-friendly depends solely on your abilities and experience level -- what might be a DIY project for your neighbor could be quite a bit beyond your current skill level.

Every DIYer starts somewhere

I had to chuckle when reading a recent article on stylelist.com entitled "The 10 Home Remodeling Projects You Should Not DIY." My guess is that the article was written for homeowners who would have a tough time finding a hammer if they needed to drive a nail.

I totally agree that projects such as doing electrical, plumbing, and roofing work belong on the list. However, I hardly think that installing exterior siding, putting in windows and doors, or laying driveway pavers should have made their top ten. While masonry or stucco may be beyond your skill level, even beginning DIYers shouldn't have too much of a problem with installing vinyl, fiber cement, or wood siding.

The same is true when considering a window or door upgrade to your home. You may not want to attempt the installation of a picture window in the upper section of a two-story wall, but placing replacement windows in existing openings can normally be DIY-friendly. And I have known numerous homeowners who did outstanding jobs on their paver driveways and patios -- you'd never know they weren't put in by a professional.

When wondering whether a project is DIY-friendly, take what you read or what other people have to say with a grain of salt. Be honest with yourself as to your abilities and skill level -- if you feel that you can do the project safely and competently, buckle up your tool belt.

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