If you thought DIY was easy, consider the reasons why pros do a better job

You may be unsure what is expected of you

It is easy to attempt a job on the assumption that you are physically and mentally competent to do the job, and yet there are circumstances where you might not be aware of the subtle mechanics and sheer technicalities that the job requires you to appreciate and understand. It would be a gross mistake to assume that you can learn the job step by step, and that things become amply clear as each step follows the other. The need of the hour is to understand the instructions thoroughly beforehand, and to attempt the job only when you appreciate the implications of simple tasks. If you do not follow this method, it is possible that you could be launching the work on a false note, only to redo the job later at much greater expense. Work always presents problems, and if we are not equipped to handle those problems, the work can get messier and complicated.

You may not be familiar with basic tools and mechanical accessories

Tools, especially power tools, need to be handled with care, and there is always the serious risk of damaging the walls, woodwork or laminate through the improper use of tools. It is possible that the working surface could get damaged beyond repair, necessitating replacement at additional cost, and there is also the risk that you could injure your body or even co-workers, maybe fatally. Unfamiliarity with working tools can result in personal injury or unsuitable work or both.

You may be going contrary to professional advice

It is possible that you may discuss the work with colleagues that are DIY competent or the familiar hardware store personnel, and you may be advised against attempting the work, but you still persist and initiate the work. This does not mean that we drop every project at the first instance of skepticism; what it implies is that we listen carefully to sane voices and professionals when it comes to attempting jobs that may demand higher mechanical skill and technical caliber. Some pertinent questions we can ask ourselves are “Is the person who is advising me well versed in the technicalities of the work?”, “Are too many people advising me to lay off the job, and why?”, “Is the guy a salesman or contractor who is likely to have a vested interest in dissuading me from doing the Job?”. To err on the side of caution, you could probably discount the advice that comes from contractors or company sale persons, as they often adopt a salesy pitch in their counter talk. But overall, it would be wise to judge each of these questions on merits before initiating the job yourself.

You happen to be constrained by time limitations

Often, the urgency of the situation could be so overwhelming that the situation forces you to attempt the job yourself, and you may be inclined to finish the job then and there to save money, time and inconvenience. In such scenarios, it would be wiser to review your own situation and commitments to your workplace, home and family before deciding to go ahead with the job. The DIY environment could turn out to become a war ravaged, debris strewn kitchen that places severe limitations on your routine work. If you answer “Yes, my personal work will be severely affected”, you are probably better off getting a pro to do the job.

The work bears the unmistakable stamp of the DIY man

You need to consider the degree of professionalism that you want to project when you initiate DIY work around the home. Some people might not bother about a shelf in their bedroom cupboard that is fixed a few inches shorter, or the wall painting that gives an uneven finish in the final run, but there are instances like a crookedly mounted kitchen shelf or an improperly closing kitchen cabinet or a badly finished counter that could catch the visitor’s eye and attract criticism we may find embarrassing. Perhaps some of us can live with such criticism, but shoddy work can affect the resale value of the home, especially when a buyer comes knocking at the front door. If you genuinely feel that the work will not affect the valuation of the home, then go ahead and finish the job.

Electrical and plumbing jobs demand specialized knowledge and skills

There are two areas – electrical and plumbing - that are vital to the smooth functioning of the home, and its numerous electrical appliances and water bearing fixtures. Shoddy or improper works in attending electrical and plumbing complaints can severely disrupt the normal functioning of the home. This kind of work involves risks that the homeowner can ill afford to take because the consequences are flooding, extensive water damage and electrical fires, impacting family health, sanitation and safety.

The higher risk of sustaining personal injury

The first things that comes to mind are roof-repairs, and breaking down of walls, lines of activity that alone contribute not less than 180,000 visits to the hospital annually relating to limb injuries sustained in falls and fractures. Repairs and renovation related to roofing, opening of electrical circuits and panels boards and internal repairs to heating appliances are problem areas where the homeowner, who is safety conscious, shouldn’t be trespassing. Such work should be left to professionals that follow building codes in conducting repair and restoration work.

The DIY manual may detail the steps to be followed but give precious little information on remedial measures if things do not proceed as planned. Similarly, for every three minute video that outlines DIY work, there are probably hours of minutiae that are omitted, and ignorance of which may cost the homeowner dearly in terms of money, time and probably lives.

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