When should I DIY and when should I call a pro?

Key tips to remember

  • DIY may seem cheaper, but can be more expensive if the project doesn’t go as planned.
  • If a DIY project endangers your health or safety, call a professional instead.
  • Home protection plans can help you save serious money while covering repairs and replacements.
  • Make sure your back-up plan makes sense and doesn’t add to the inconvenience.
  • If you’re ever unsure about your abilities to safely and effectively complete a project, call a pro.
DIY

To DIY or not to DIY? That is the question. Of course, it’s tempting to give any project your best shot when the pros on TV make it look so easy. (Spoiler alert: They have whole teams to help!)

Have a room you want to paint and wallpaper? Is there an electrical issue you think can be easily fixed? Or maybe you’re ready to take a sledgehammer to those cracked cement stairs at the back entrance?

Since you probably don’t have quite the same crew or budget that comes with those home-improvement TV shows, here are a few things to consider to help you figure out when doing it yourself is the way to go.

The cost

Price is a major reason why many people set out to tackle projects on their own. If the supplies are affordable and there will be relatively minimal impact if things don’t go as planned (like painting the walls or replacing a light fixture), you likely have a great DIY candidate on your hands. Of course, don’t forget to check out the rest of the factors below and call a professional if you have any remaining uncertainty.

On the other hand, if the project is pricey or has the chance of ruining something expensive (like installing an appliance or demo’ing a wall to create an open-concept area), you’re likely better off calling a pro. While some people try to skip professional fees to tackle fixes on their own, accidentally making a problem worse or needing to call for backup comes at an additional cost. In those cases, calling a pro from the get-go can help you save time and money in the long run.

The risk

Is the project dangerous? If so, it’s a no-go. Don’t spontaneously attempt any project that could put your health or safety at risk. It’s best to skip things like working on the roof and dealing with electrical wiring or dangerous tools unless you have proper training, adequate safety measures in place and additional help around in case you need it. While a big repair might come with a hefty price tag, hospital bills are far worse.

The coverage

You might not need to open the toolbox! If you have a home protection plan from Cinch (or a similar plan) your major home systems and/or appliances might be covered in the event of a breakdown. Home protection plans are great because they provide you with peace of mind against the unpredictable.

In terms of DIY, it’s important to remember that if you attempt a repair yourself and tamper with the workings of an appliance or system, there’s a chance you could void the item’s warranty and only cause more trouble. But even if you don’t have a project in mind, the best time to get a plan is when you don’t yet need one so you can enjoy the confidence of knowing you’re covered in the future.

The backup plan

If the repair doesn’t go as planned the first time around, what’s your next move? If your plan B comes at a much higher cost, you might be better off taking the professional route the first time around. But if it’s something you could retry without too much added pain or risk, DIY could be worth a try — as long as it’s safe! Taking on a project yourself always assumes some risk, so it’s best to be realistic and err on the safe side.

The certainty

Still on the fence about whether or not to call a pro? Then it’s time to rely on the professionals. Take it from us — it’s just not worth risking your safety, budget or frustration on a project when experts are available to help. We also recommend looking into a home protection plan for all the home systems and appliances you use most to help save serious time and money on expert repairs and replacements.

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The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.