When to Call the Contractor

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By Sunshine Menefee
Staff Writer


In a world where Pinterest is king and there are a plethora of DIY shows, it’s easy to get swept up in the idea that you too can tackle any home remodel. But sadly, that isn’t always the case. For every one pin, there are a hundred fails. Those shows also have a trained staff on hand and ready to help. Believe it or not, you cannot possibly remodel your entire bathroom in 24 hours. It simply isn’t possible or advisable. There are also intricate systems in your house that you shouldn’t touch unless you’re a trained professional. If you’re planning on tackling some home improvement projects, read on to know when you should hire a professional.

Contractors are good at their jobs. They have one speciality and they do it well. The longer they’ve been in business, the more hiccups they’ve seen and overcome. While the cost might seem steep, you’re paying for their expertise and precision. Plus, if you mess something up, you’ll end up calling them anyway and paying more for them to fix your mistake. Save the trouble and make the call in the following situations.

1. Anything Electrical

Take this one from a pro. I personally do not touch anything that could zap me. Even handy-people should stay away from electricity. You’re playing with fire. Literally. A well meaning and very skilled man “fixed” a connection in his breaker box, never mind the fact that his son-in-law is an electrician. When the son-in-law stopped by to check it out, he found the breaker box smoking. The whole house could have gone up in smoke.

Most electrical work is required to be done by licensed contractors, too. Bypass any future misfortune by calling an electrician. They’ll be glad to help and will make sure things are done properly and to code so that you don’t have to worry when you go to sleep at night.

2. Plumbing

Anything more than installing a faucet requires work by licensed professional. Today’s plumbing and sanitation systems rely on pressure and vents. You have to have the right amount of both to get the water flowing properly. If connections are not made properly, leaks will develop and could end up costing thousands of dollars to repair. If the insurance company finds out the work wasn’t licensed, you might find yourself in hot water. (Pun intended!)

3. HVAC

Once again, a specialty area. This one requires special tools and knowledge that most of us don’t possess. Unless the only tool you need is a screwdriver, just bypass this system all together and get a professional on the phone. They can also help you determine if your system needs cleaning or updating. There’s no sense in reworking your A/C lines if they aren’t running efficiently.

4. When it has to be perfect

If you’re a perfectionist, you might want to consider hiring a contractor for anything that is going to be readily visible. There are plenty of DIY projects in your skill set, but it you are always finding flaws in your finished projects, go ahead and make the call. The point of your home is to be comfortable and a place of relaxation. Stressing about your mistakes will not create a serene environment.

5. If it’s dangerous

 Climbing on the roof won’t save you money if you end up in the hospital. The  American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that between 1990 and 2005, ladders sent 2.1 million people to the hospital due to home projects. Contractors know the risks and are well-trained to avoid them. They also have plenty of insurance if something goes wrong. They don’t an accident anymore than you do. What makes it easier for them is the training and tools they have available.

There are plenty of times when DIY projects are appropriate, and the DIW (do it wrong) stories are so much fun to tell and hear. But know your limits and when you should make the call to get help. You’ll be happy in the end and might actually save money in the long run.

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