Home renovations - DIY or hire a professional?

If you have made the decision to tackle home renovation you'll want to ensure the best value for money for your home improvements. Whilst doing-it-yourself will save you a lot of money, you will need to know a fair amount of basics before you can consider tackling major home renovation.


Renovate a bathroom

Any homeowner planning a bathroom renovation should know and understand basic plumbing techniques - even though you may not be planning to do the actual plumbing work yourself. How does the water flow of your home work? Where are the pipes located? How can you relocate pipes? What needs to be done to install a shower cubicle? And so on. Do your homework on these topics before planning major improvements.

For minor improvements and cosmetic changes such as replacing tiles, installing flooring and replacing existing sanitary ware and bathroom fittings, a basic understanding of these techniques is required. Acquaint yourself with tricks and techniques for a professional tiling job by enrolling in a workshop or sourcing information via the Internet. But be careful where you source your information from; many home improvements websites are not locally based and you may find that the techniques and materials used in various projects are not relevant for our local do-it-yourself market.

Before jumping in be sure that you can obtain everything that you need for the project. Make a list of the products and materials required and put together a basic costing so that you know the cost is well within your budget. You don't want to start ripping apart the bathroom only to find that it is going to take you six months to complete the project!

Kitchen renovation

As with a bathroom renovation, acquaint yourself with the various techniques involved in renovating a kitchen. Moving electrical and plumbing fittings will require that you use the services of a qualified electrician or plumber. When knocking down interior walls you may need to hire a structural engineer to check that walls are not load-bearing and therefore an essential part of your home's structure. There may also be minor renovations where you will either need to know the specialist techniques or hire a professional, such as laying a concrete screed floor, plastering walls or ceilings, and so on.

Home additions and alterations

Knocking down, adding on and building up are building improvements that you may not want to tackle yourself unless you have fair knowledge of the processes involved. These types of home renovations invariably always require municipal approval of plans before being done. You will need to work with either a draughtsman or architect for drawings, and you may require the services of a structural engineer depending on the type of home improvement you want to do. Although these types of home improvements can be costly, when done expertly and finished professionally these are home renovations that add value to a property.

The bottom line... Research any planned home renovation or home improvement projects before you start.