Thinking of a kitchen upgrade this year?
Most likely, the first question on your mind right now is “Should I go DIY or call in a professional contractor?”. And we get why. Both have their pros and cons, and the decision can be a little tricky.
For starters, there are a number of factors in terms of cost, the time limit, the available resources, the desired result and even your confidence at tackling your share of remodeling to factor in. You have to base your decision on all these factors before you decide to go either way.
But here’s some good news: There is no dearth of resources on the internet to help you ease your way into the DIY mode. Even if you are a rookie, chances are that you can take care of things like wall paint or assembling Ready-to-Assemble cabinets.
At the same time, there is a limit to what you can achieve as a DIYer. If you aren’t careful, the work can turn out to be quite shabby. And, you might end up spending more on fixing those mistakes than what even professional services would have cost you. And then there’s a time limit to consider. None of us have multiple kitchens in the house and need the work done as soon as possible. (Read: Mistakes with Your Kitchen Remodel Design You Must Avoid in 2020)
So how do you make a call?
The idea is that unless you have the right skill sets for the right job, you may be taking on more than you can chew. This is where the professionals come in. There are many fields in the kitchen remodeling project that are best filled in by the professionals. Yet, there are also some areas you can contribute to and save some bucks.
Here we list down different tenets of kitchen remodeling and the expertise required for each. You can then decide which ones you can tackle on your own and where you can play the architect.
1. Painting the Walls of the Kitchen
This is a big hit with all the DIYers out there. And why not?
It is easy and you can easily be creative with it. It doesn’t require many tools either. After all, it is not every day that you get the chance of showing your creativity in your house. Some homeowners even like to paint over their textured wallpaper on the walls so that the texture peeps out in between the new shade. It creates an amazing optical impact and lets you show your edge too. There are hundreds of tutorials and styles that you can explore as a DIYer too.
Our Recommendation: Go ahead and paint your canvas in your own style. You certainly don’t need professionals to do this job for you. You will be saving a lot of money as you indulge in it yourself. However, if you are hard-pressed for time, you know what you have to do.
2. Installing the Hardware/Accessories/Appliances
This one is easy and something that you can manage yourself. All you need is basic training in the installation process.
In fact, there are many manufacturers who make it a cakewalk for the homeowners. All you have to do is read their manual or watch an online tutorial. In most cases, it takes very little time and is relatively simple.
Our Recommendation: Go DIY. You can buy these accessories online or in-person (most times with free delivery), but you don’t really need to pay extra for installation. If you can’t figure it out, you can always reach out to a professional after a few attempts.
3. Updating and Installing Cabinets
If you are looking at painting your cabinets, it is quite simple. You can use paint or gel stain to update the look in accordance with the new kitchen trends. Even small accessories like handles, pulls, etc can be installed with a home toolkit.
But, this DIY thing only makes sense if you are not changing your storage. In fact, installing the cabinets is a different story altogether. It requires precision and can go awry even with small miscalculations.
Our Recommendation: Many like to handle the installation of cabinets themselves, however, this is best left to the professionals. A contractor is adept at taking unbelievably precise measurements that can drive an average person crazy. Feel free to play around with your existing cabinetry, though, if you are not buying a new one. That is relatively easy to do…and stakes are much lower too.
4. Changing the Layout of the Kitchen
This means structural changes in most kitchens. HVAC lines or gas lines will most likely also need to be changed if the basic shape of the kitchen undergoes a change. You may need to also demolish or build a new wall, or move heavy objects around. Most layout changes involve a change in how the countertop is placed, and/or an addition of a kitchen island. This is all seriously complicated work that you don’t want to get your hands on.
Our Recommendation: Steer clear from doing this yourself at all costs. Not only can it wreck your kitchen, but it also raises safety concerns. Heavy and meticulous tasks like countertop replacement, the addition of an island, or change in gas lines should always be done by trained professionals.
Small adjustments or fixes to your home are something you can probably handle yourself without spending a bomb on professionals. This applies only if the job is within your scope of knowledge, though.
The other side of the story is that hiring a professional can help you avoid errors and give you long time results. Also, these experts can spot unexpected problems, such as mold or polybutylene piping and fix the problem there and then. Additionally, hiring a plumbing contractor for your plumbing and installations or replacements will guarantee that connections are done properly and correctly.
Our Recommendation: Given that certain types of HVAC repair may also require special licenses, it is best to leave this to a professional. You don’t want to do a shabby job and flood your new kitchen. Besides, a professional plumber will have the complete knowledge of the needed permits and the building codes for your area. This can help you avoid trouble with the law.
6. Installing Flooring
Installing flooring yourself can be almost therapeutic. Of course, not every flooring can be a DIYer’s forte but there are certain floorings that you can have fun with. For instance, installing laminate flooring is a great DIYer project that can be done over a weekend. There is no need to hire a contractor for this part of remodeling.
However, if your taste runs into solid hardwood, then remember this is out and out a skilled professional’s domain and requires specialized tools.
Our Recommendation: Select the flooring material first. Chances are that if you go for something heavy like a concrete or granite tile, you will certainly need a professional. When you buy, ask your supplier about it or read about it on the internet. Be wary of choosing materials that may not last, just because they can be installed easily. You want to base the decision on your preferences and long term goals.
In most cases, this is best handled by the experts as countertops involve specific tenets from measuring to installing, especially if you are using a high-end countertop material. For instance, a material like soapstone can break, in case it is not installed properly. Even concrete requires pouring that is best left to professionals.
There are some light countertop materials that you can easily install yourself, though. Plastic and laminate are light and can be installed over a DIY weekend. But this task does require some prior DIY experience and is not recommended for a rookie.
Our Recommendation: We suggest getting long-lasting materials and not cutting corners here. Chances are, most of these durable materials will require professional installation too. Since professional remodeling companies have the required tools like a belt sander, scribing tool, sealants, drills, etc.to meet the diverse needs, you will need to give them a call.
8. Installing Electric Wiring
There are some things that we feel must not be compromised with. Playing around with the electric wiring during kitchen remodeling happens to be one of them.
It may be fun and you may pride yourself in knowing a lot about DIY; however, it is advised to leave at least the intricate parts to the skilled personnel. Trained electricians have the right knowledge and experience and can also deal with unforeseen problems. In any case, why spend hours doing stuff which may turn out to be extremely risky? They can do it much quicker and much more efficiently than you can in most cases.
Our recommendation: Given the expertise required and the safety concerns involved, we don’t recommend anyone to do this themselves. Besides, there are the permits to be considered including the inspector’s visit. Hiring a professional makes it their responsibility and not yours to see the permits through, and can make your life much easier.
Adding a kitchen backsplash is really fun. There are wallpapers that can be simply rolled across the wall, for instance. Designs as faux brick, subway tile, florals, and abstract geometric designs are quite popular for these. If you like the look of natural stone, you can also try out tile decals that look almost real. Other than this, you have vinyl and self- stick material that is hot with DIYers for kitchen backsplash.
Our Recommendation: This can be tackled on your own in most cases. If you are working with solid materials like marble, ceramic tiles etc, however, you should call in a professional.