Deciding between professional and amateur home renovation work
When faced with a program of home renovations, the overall job will usually benefit from being broken down into a number of smaller tasks. Tackling a few of the easiest of these can be a way to build confidence, as well as develop your home improvement skills. A good place to start is by making a list of the most urgent jobs that need to be tackled, and then comparing these to your budget. Always prioritise the most important jobs first. For example, aiming to keep out the weather, as well as any intruders, must come before attempting to co-ordinate your overall colour scheme.
Once you have a prioritised list of tasks, you can go through these, choosing which you think will most need professional help. So, using the examples above, keeping the weather out might involve repairing some slipped slates and a leaking gutter. These are jobs that could be tackled by an amateur. But, the work is at dangerous, requires special tools and is in a place where it is very easy to create further damage so may best be left to a professional. When it comes to keeping out intruders however, there is more scope for a competent amateur. Fitting window and door locks, and perhaps even a simple intercom, are all jobs that it should be possible to do yourself. There will be the additional expense of purchasing the tools necessary to complete the work, but these will be there for the future and it will still likely prove cheaper than hiring a professional locksmith.
As you move further down the list, some jobs will be easier to tackle than others. Repainting a bedroom can be undertaken over a weekend and, provided you are methodical, may result in a finish close to that of a professional decorator. Research can be the key to avoiding the most common pitfalls. For example, a professional painter will usually take almost as long to prepare the room as to paint it. Starting the job by emptying the room, covering the floor and masking switches and woodwork allows you to work faster and achieve a better finish. As with most renovation tasks there are rules; there is even a correct order in which to paint the various component parts of a panelled door!
Where the budget allows, it is worth considering getting the help of a professional designer. This may not work out as expensive as you might imagine. An accomplished designer should be able to give you a rough estimate of their design fee after a single consultation. They are often able to offer quite competitive rates as they can source materials more cheaply and are able to appoint skilled tradesmen at a more competitive rate.
Deciding when to hire a professional, and when to do the work yourself, is a skill in itself. And while a growing collection of tools and skills can give you a feeling of satisfaction, it is also worth remembering that staring at a bodged DIY job every day can have quite the opposite effect.