If some building works needs doing around the home, I always try and do it myself where possible. After all, hiring a contractor for every little task can become expensive, fast. Plus I truly believe that it’s worth trying to tackle all manner of DIY tasks around your home – if only to see what you’re good at, and what is best left to the pros.
So I wanted to write this article and discuss five key benefits of ‘doing it yourself’, compared to hiring a contractor.
Benefit #1 – You Learn Valuable Skills (This Is Especially Useful Out Of Hours!)
While doing DIY around your home might seem daunting at first, you quickly learn what you’re comfortable doing – and you might even be found renovating your kitchen before too long!
Even if you don’t get to that level, though, it’s still good to learn a range of basic DIY skills around your home:
- How to change a light, or wall socket.
- Get a basic knowledge of plumbing, if only to know how to stop a sudden water leak.
- How to patch up some drywall, after your children put a big dent in it. Again.
- Putting up shelving and curtain poles.
- How to paint or touch up a wall, and make it look good (or at least, decent).
- How to tile a floor or wall area.
The list is almost endless, but in my opinion there’s nothing worse than having to call out a friend – or pay a contractor – whenever you want to put up a shelf, or fix up something small around your home.
Plus if something bad (like a water leak) happens over the weekend, or in the middle of the night, having some basic DIY knowledge might allow you fix the leak, or at least cap off the pipe – allowing you to call a plumber during working hours. Otherwise you could face costly out-of-hours call out charges.
Benefit #2 – Good For Your Health (Both Physical And Mental Health)
Some DIY tasks can be a great workout, especially tiling with large tiles, renovating a kitchen (worktops are heavy!) or just painting – since you are constantly moving around.
I find that a couple of hours of DIY is much better than hitting the gym. It is a more natural workout, plus you actually achieve something around your home – no more nagging from… whoever else you live with!
I would also argue that DIY can be great for your mental health. Firstly, it brings you into the present – stopping you dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future. DIY is basically a form of mindfulness – at least for me! But you also get a sense of pride when you finish a DIY job, which is always helpful for self esteem.
Side Note: Of course, not everyone enjoys DIY. If you find most DIY tasks stressful and boring, you probably won’t get any health benefits from it. So your mileage may vary!
Benefit #3 – You Save Time And Money
You know what I always hate about hiring a contractor? Getting them to come out and quote. Plus it’s always recommended to get multiple quotes: meaning each DIY job will require contacting multiple contractors, and hoping that they turn up when they say they will.
Then they tell you that they’ll get back to you in a few days with the quote… but they don’t. So you have to chase them. Eventually they give you a price, and oof: it’s expensive!
You can skip all these headaches by just doing it yourself (assuming that it’s a task you’re able to do, of course!). There’s nothing worse than having a whole in your drywall for a few weeks while you chase down a series of contractors to come and fix it.
As long as you know how to fix it yourself, you will save lots of time, money – and stress!
Benefit #4 – You Care More
Before I learnt basic plumbing, I had a small water leak from a pipe – and this was causing our furnace to have issues. So we called out a plumbing contractor, and explained the issue (making clear that there was a leaking pipe, and this was causing the furnace to have problems).
I then had to dash to a quick work meeting, so I left the contractor get on with things. I came back to a $100 bill – which wasn’t too expensive, I guess. They also left me a voicemail, explaining that they checked over the furnace and it all seemed to be working fine.
No mention of the leaking pipe though, which I found odd. So I checked the pipe. It was still leaking.
Later that day, of course, the furnace carried on having issues. The plumbing contractor hadn’t really fixed anything – they must have only been half listening to me, and assumed that as long as the furnace was ‘fine’ when they left, their work was done.
This was down to one simple reason: it wasn’t the contractor’s own home! Yes they should have been more professional (and many are, to be fair). But you will always care more about your own home, than a random contractor will.
I have hired dozens of contractors over the last decade (but less in recent years, since I have grown in confidence and skill with a range of DIY jobs). I would say that close to half of these contractors were unprofessional in some way.
If you can, doing it yourself will be better because you care more.
Benefit #5 – More Choice Of Materials And Finishes
Some contractors are… fussy. They really, really dislike certain brands. Whether that’s a brand of paint, wall socket, wire (“Romex is best, don’t use anything else!!”) or even tiling cementboards.
I have had contractors refuse to do certain work because they didn’t like the paint I had purchased, or even the make of wall socket.
Not all contractors are like this, of course, but some can be quite opiniated and tell you that you must only buy a specific company’s materials or finishes. One downside here is that you end up having less choice.
If that one company doesn’t sell a certain product or finish, or maybe they only sell certain colors that you dislike, you are out of luck. You either have to get another contractor, or choose a product/finish that you don’t really like.
When doing it yourself, you can educate yourself online (so that you avoid really bad quality brands), and then crack on with the job. No worrying about whether a contractor had a bad experience with one company’s products a decade ago!
Related Reading: Why Window Sills Are Angled (It’s More Than Decorative!)