Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor or Doing It Yourself

The decision as to whether to hire a contractor for some, or all, of your remodeling project is dependent on several factors. Early in the planning process you need to think about each stage of your project and take into consideration the following factors and how they will affect your decision as to who will do the work.

Time Factors Do you have time to complete the project? If you can only work on it a few hours a week, do you have the patience to live with it for months?

What is your time worth? It may take you twice or three times as long as a skilled professional to complete a job. Would it be easier, and possible, for you to spend your extra time earning the extra money and just pay a contractor? Or do you want the satisfaction of learning a new skill and completing the job yourself? These are all valid considerations.

Are there weather considerations where you will need to get the project closed in before bad weather sets in?

Technical Factors Although there are many remodeling skills that can be learned quickly, some require skilled craftsmanship that is acquired over several years.

Complicated plumbing, heating or electrical installations may require at least the guidance of a trained technician.

Some jobs can be completed in a tenth of the time or less with the right tools or equipment. Some jobs can’t be accomplished at all without the right tool. You may be able to rent or borrow or buy used tools to do the job. In some cases it may actually cost less to hire someone who has the tools to just do the job for you.

Risk Factors Are you able to do the job right the first time or are you going to have to spend extra on materials to get it right?

Do you have the physical stamina to do the work? If you are not in good shape you may have difficulty working more than a few hours a day. If I haven’t been doing a lot of the physical work for a period of time it takes me about three weeks to work back up to being able to handle a full day’s remodeling work.

Do you have good health insurance? This may sound like a funny question but although I seldom get sick or see a doctor I have taken a few trips to the emergency room for things such as getting an inch long sliver in my hand, or having a stack of drywall fall on me or trying to cut my thumb off with a table saw. Although I can look back and laugh at myself now, working with power tools and heavy materials is no laughing matter. Your health and safety should always be a major consideration in deciding how to take on a remodeling project.

Five Great Home Improvement Ideas

Home improvement covers everything from replacing old bathroom fixtures to putting up insulation in your yard. I the summer, particularly, remodeling is very much on people’s minds. But sometimes there seem to be too many possible ideas to choose from. A number of low-cost home improvements not only make your house look better, but they help save money over time due to energy savings. Here’s a brief list of ideas to help get you started with some low-cost improvements.

1) Why not do a cosmetic makeover of your living space? Sure, it seems simple, but the psychological lift can be immense. Painting and redecorating in soothing colors can help you relax and enjoy your home more. After all, if you’re going to be in your home, you might as well enjoy it, right? Sometimes a cosmetic makeover can help you feel as if you’re in a relaxing spa.

2) Put in new insulation. Making your home well-insulated is an investment in future energy savings in the form of lower electric bills. A well insulated home keeps the cool, air conditioned air inside in the summer and keeps the warm air in in the winter.

3) Make your house “greener.” It seems that everyone is trying to save money right now, and it also seems that everyone is interested in making their lives more eco friendly. That’s why installing green technology in your home right now is very popular. Making your home greener could mean installing windmills and solar panels, or it could mean using more environmentally friendly cleaning products or replacing your old central heating and air system. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs may seem costly, but the savings in energy bills will more than outweigh the initial cost. Windmills are fairly low tech items, and some people build their own windmills. Another great side effect of going green is that  many “green” technologies like solar panels help you qualify for a sizeble tax credit. Taken together, the savings on energy bills plus the big tax break can save you big money over the long term.

4) Use a programmable thermostat. This may seem so small as to be insignificant, but it really isn’t. When you install a programmable thermostat, you’ll save money on your electric bills. You program it so that you don’t have the heating and air conditioning on all day while nobody is home. By cutting usage of the central heating and air system so that it’s just on when there are people at home, it keeps the system from running when it isn’t necessary, saving you money on electric bills.

5) Install a patio in your back yard. While this may be an expensive home improvement project (even if you’re big into DIY), it can be a very worthwhile project. By making your backyard more inviting and relaxing, you’ll spend less time having to go places for entertainment. Cookouts with neighbors can be a very fun and sociable evening. Or you could put up a telescope if you like stargazing. Sometimes a hammock is just the thing on a warm afternoon. The payback from a patio won’t necessarily be monetary, but the relaxation it can provide you and your family is priceless.

Whatever home improvement ideas you pursue, the payoff will make up for the cost eventually. Maybe these ideas aren’t your cup of tea, but there are endless home improvement ideas you can pursue.