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How to's and money-saving tips from resident homeowner and mortgage professional, Cathy West

Which home improvement projects should or should not be DIY

Some DIY home improvement projects are easy. Other projects seem easy but are not. If you are simply buying accessories to beautify your home, you probably don't need any expert advice. If, however, you plan on putting in a new roof or doing a complete kitchen remodel, it may be important for you to read some advice for homeowners. Knowing what you can do and want you cant can save you considerable time and money down the road. 

Some projects are easy to do and easily fall under DIY
Buying accessories and updating appliances is not the type of work you should be cautious about. These little projects are easy enough for a DIY consumer and will quickly improve the quality of your home life. According to nerdwallet, there are several stores, all of which will be offering discounts soon, that you should visit in order to get the best deals. Visit retailers like Amazon, HSN, Sears, Home Depot, Target, Kmart and Aeropostale to get significant discounts on your home fixtures, appliances and accessories.

The media outlet also advised that if you can handle bigger projects, you should do them yourself and avoid having to hire a contractor. Things like washing windows and painting could be simple enough for you to do. Other projects like replacing carpets will seem like a job for a professional, but perhaps a steam clean will achieve the desired look. Companies like RugDoctor rent carpet-cleaning machines and might be the answer for you.

Other projects are more complicated and will probably require a contractor
TribLive indicated that some home remodeling jobs require skilled craftsmanship. Experts spoke at the Pittsburgh Remodeling Expo and explained to consumers what differentiates a DIY project from one that should be done by a professional. Carl Griffiths, assistant manager at Lowe's, provided a helpful example.

"You might know all the steps it takes to put on a roof, but if you don't know all the things to keep the warranty in effect, you could be going in the wrong direction," said Griffiths, according to the news source.

Wesley Dixon, senior designer at Home Solutions also addressed homeowners and advised them to take on a professional mindset when making important decisions regarding remodeling work. He noted the example of homeowners wanting to install a new fireplace in the kitchen, pointing out that some kitchens simply do not have the space. In those instances, a professional can point the consumer to other options, such as ventless, gas fireplaces that are only 15-inches by 12-inches. If homeowners had simply proceeded with the original plan, it could have turned out disastrously. Instead, finding something that fits the cabinetry will be the best solution.

Professionals can see things that non-expert homeowners can't
Griffiths and Dixon also explained that the advantage of having a professional evaluate a job is that contractors can see potential problems and correct them before the work begins. Starting projects that are doomed to failure can be very costly and will waste significant time.

"What do you do if you are putting in cabinets and the walls aren't squared?" Griffiths asked. "Four cabinets down the line, you are an inch off and in deep trouble."

Ultimately, Griffiths and Dixon did not want DIYers to despair. There are some projects that they are fully capable of doing – even if they are not accustomed the work. A little bit of hard work and smart planning can go a long way. For other, more complicated projects, seeking professional help is best. 

"For do-it-yourselfers, these jobs might not be hard, but they are not something they do every day," added Griffiths.

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