Owning a home can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling adventure. But if there’s one thing that books, movies, and video games tell us, it’s that you can’t really enjoy a great adventure without a few twists and turns. And home improvement projects can certainly dish up their fair share of those.
Whether you’re hiring professionals or going the DIY route, home improvement projects can seem daunting, and both options come with their own headaches.
Finding the right professionals for the job can be a challenge in and of itself. You’ll need to find quality pros who understand what you’re trying to accomplish and can work within your budget, and that can be a pretty tall order at times.
Knowing this, some of you might opt to cut out the middleman and do it yourself instead. This can save you money, you’ll learn things you likely never would’ve known otherwise, and you can have some fun in the process, too. But DIY home improvement projects can be a time consuming, costly, and even potentially dangerous endeavor, one where even the smallest mistake could set you back further than you were when you started.
Which option is best for you surely comes down to a great many factors that vary from one individual to the next. But we’re going to be focusing on one factor, in particular, today, one that every homeowner will take into consideration: costs.
Are DIY Home Improvement Projects Cheaper than Hiring Professionals?
Without any data in front of you, it seems DIY projects would save you considerable amounts of money. After all, you’re doing all of the actual labor, and you know you’re not paying someone to sip their coffee and chuckle at funny cat memes on the Internet. You can also shop around and pick your materials yourself, rather than relying on someone else who might not be as frugal or as concerned about finding the best sales.
DIY does seem pretty easy these days, too. You can find a Youtube video explaining how to do just about anything and everything you can think of. From putting on a fresh coat of paint to installing light fixtures, tutorials are pretty abundant on the web. And we’ve all seen those house flipping shows. They make it look so easy, don’t they? You can do what they’re doing … right?
But what do the real numbers say? According to a 2018 NerdWallet survey, DIY is definitely cheaper than hiring a professional. Even taking into consideration that some projects may require a few do-overs, DIY is going to save the average homeowner considerably on their home improvement projects.
DIY by the Numbers
Let’s look at some actual numbers, shall we? Hiring a professional to renovate a bedroom or build an addition to one can be pretty expensive, costing the average homeowner around $23,000 for a full renovation project. But the average DIY rates for that same room are so low they border on absurd, with the average cost sitting at just $2000.
That’s a mind-boggling difference of $21,000. And it might seem like an extreme one, given that bedrooms don’t typically require massive overhauls like some other rooms. Things like heated flooring can really drive costs up considerably when hiring professionals, but it’s rather strange that these rooms end up costing five figures for renovations.
The gap between professional and DIY home improvement projects is a little steeper when it comes to kitchens, where cabinet doors (if not all new kitchen cabinets), tile backsplashes, and other features can come with heftier price tags.
On average, kitchen additions and renovations come with approximately $30,000 in costs when working with professionals, versus just $8,000 for DIY projects. That’s a difference of $22,000 — slightly more than average bedroom renovation costs. Simpler kitchen remodeling projects tend to cost less, though; $10,000 when working with a professional, and only $3,000 when you do it yourself.
Near the lower end of the cost spectrum, hiring professionals to renovate your bathroom will run you around $10,000 on average, versus $4,000 if you do it yourself. It’s still a pretty big cost difference — $6,000 in all — but it’s less fiscally painful than bedrooms and kitchens.
Replacing windows, doors, flooring, and fencing, and other general landscaping upgrades all tend to cost under $3,000. They can be done DIY for under $1,000, and the DIY savings are all $1,000 or more. And given these largely fall into the “easy DIY” category, they might be good home improvement projects to consider for beginners.
The Hidden Costs of DIY
Home improvement shows on TV and tutorial videos you come across on the web all make DIY home improvement projects look easy. But it’s important for us to stress here that old adage of “results varying,” because they most certainly can and will.
If you decide to give DIY a go, you should definitely start with smaller, easier projects just to test the waters. Accidents can and will happen, and you wouldn’t want to make one that sets you back more than hiring a professional would have.
If you’re patient, careful, and provide yourself with a financial buffer in case of mistakes, DIY projects can be highly rewarding, and not only in terms of how much money you can save. It’s one thing to look at your new crown molding or open shelving and think it looks nice. It’s a whole other thing to feel pride in knowing you did those things yourself.
If you start small, do your homework, ask experienced friends or family for advice or even help, and apply the mantra of “measure twice, cut once” wherever you can, DIY projects can be memorably fun. And there’s frankly no comparison in terms of cost, either: if you’re capable, DIY will definitely save you money on most fronts.