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With the success of home and garden shows, armchair do-it-yourselfers feel they can tackle anything, from simple redecorating to major home renovations. But how do you determine whether your kitchen remodel should be a do-it-yourself (DIY) project or left to the professionals?

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Time Vs. Money
Conventional wisdom suggests that if you have more time than money, then do it yourself. First you must ask:

  • How much time will a kitchen remodel really take?
  • How much time do you really have?

Be realistic when considering your home renovation. Are you prepared to devote up to a year to project management? Will you only be available evenings and weekends, or do you have a chunk of time to devote? Do you need to figure in a steep learning curve, or do you already have strong DIY skills?

Being without a functional kitchen can take a huge toll, so if time is tight, then hiring design/build experts who can stay on top of every step is probably best. If you take on a project beyond the scope of your abilities, you will be wasting time and money if the work must be redone by professionals.

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Set Realistic Expectations
Many DIYers begin with unrealistic expectations, so careful planning is essential. If you decide to DIY, be sure to have a backup plan in case your project becomes overwhelming or life gets in the way.

Safety should always be top priority. Be sure you know what you’re doing and have access to proper equipment before you begin. Quality workmanship and proper installation is essential for protecting both your home and your family.

When you decide on a professional home renovation, you should expect that all work will be done by licensed and insured trade workers matched to the job. Companies should provide warranties on work done, offering invaluable peace of mind. In addition, professionals know local regulations. Within a large metropolitan area like Chicago, the ordinances and required permits vary from community to community; professional renovators know the differences between what’s required in Naperville or Wilmette, versus Chicago proper.

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Type of Project
Think in terms of scope when evaluating your home remodel. Large interior remodels for instance, that affect multiple areas of the house are usually best left to professionals, while small or self-contained projects are often good DIY choices. While many factors will go into the decision, here are some examples of kitchen renovations and whether to DIY or hire professionals:

Go PRO –
Complete gut and remodel
Re-configuring kitchen layout
Rewiring or upgrading electric
Plumbing upgrades or major repairs
Room additions or structural changes
………….DIY –
Fixture swap outs
Refacing cabinets
Replacing dated light fixtures
Installing new faucets
Cosmetic changes

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Here are a few ways that hiring professionals can save both time and money on a kitchen remodel:

  • Knowing local ordinances and pulling the appropriate permits
  • Evaluating the best way to reconfigure your space
  • Hiring licensed subcontractors to complete the job safely and efficiently
  • Understanding local market conditions and the best way to invest your home renovation dollars
  • Providing service and warranties on workmanship after the project is completed

DIY projects can be cost efficient and rewarding, as long as you are well prepared. Do your homework, know your limits, and hire professionals when necessary.