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To DIY or not to DIY? When to call in general contractors

DIY projects are a great way to improve the look and feel of your home: it keeps you active and is a great way to save a few pennies. They key is to understand which projects are worth the manual labour and which ones should be left to a general contractor. The next time you pick up a hammer, ask yourself these questions and find out which jobs are too dangerous for the untrained eye.

More and more people are opting to undertake DIY renovations around the house. Where’s the evidence? Crawl through our website to find some amazing DIY project ideas inspired by some of our favourite DIY experts, including Kristina’s bar cart and Amanda’s PVC pipe book rack. But they’ve been at it for quite a while and know their limitations. Do you?

Find out if you’re ready for a DIY

Before you tackle any project, you want to ask yourself these questions to find out if you’re truly prepared or the hard work:

  1. Do you enjoy physical work?
  2. Are you patient?
  3. Are you reliable? When you start the project, will you actually finish it?
  4. Do you have all the tools you need?
  5. Are you familiar with local building codes?
  6. Are you undertaking this DIY for financial reasons? Have you received quotes for the project from a professional?
  7. Do you know all of the steps involved in the project?
  8. Are you prepared to handle the stress associated with the job?

If you’ve answered NO to any of these questions, then it may be in your best interest to use our extensive directory and bring in a professional. They’re trained and will know how to turn your vision into a reality without the risk of violating building codes and using the wrong tools.


Not sure how to find the right contractor or handyman to complete that project that’s on your mind? We have some tips to help you out. Check out our story on hiring the right contractor for your renovation.

What DIY projects to AVOID

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then congrats to you! You’re a pro who knows what they’re doing. Still, DIY projects aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Don’t turn to the television for inspiration, either. The shows on TV put forth information that’s pretty appealing to viewers, but remain skeptical about the following:

DIYs are inexpensive

Some, absolutely! But when you’re watching an entire home get gutted and renovated for $40,000, chances are good that price tag isn’t real. Material and labour is likely donated to the show in an effort for contractors to get exposure.

Before you decide to DIY, do some research! It doesn’t hurt to contact one of our general contractors or kitchen renovators to get a quote on your proposed project. One you get the numbers, you can evaluate the following:

  1. Are there cost-savings in doing it yourself?
  2. Do the cost-savings outweigh the convenience of having a trained professional do the project for me?

This expert will guide you in what’s the best decision:

DIYs are fast

I’m guilty of watching almost every DIY show seen on television. My favourite part is watching the reveal, which is great because most shows are half an hour anyway! But if you’re watching a DIY project unfold on TV, you’ll see the entire process within a span of 3 weeks. In reality, they take much longer to complete, whether you’re heading up the project yourself or working with a professional.

If you’re working with a contractor on a project, be realistic about timelines and express your concerns about timing. Draw up a schedule together that works for both of you to keep the reno moving smoothly. More importantly, enjoy the process! You’re working on perfecting your home, so what’s the rush?

Here’s an example of a master suite renovation. The before and after is incredible, but it took time to get there.

DIYs look easy

The whole point of a DIY project is for it to be easy for the average consumer to do themselves! Projects that require small tools are easy to manage, but wielding saws, hammers and more requires both strength and persistence. More importantly, time management is key. You have to be committed and willing to finish the project once you start it. Otherwise, your home will be left in limbo with a half wall, dust all over the place and an unhappy home.

If you decide to do some work on your own, invite a friend to help you out, preferably someone who has experience with heavy tools. With experience on your side, you’ll get the project done safely and efficiently.

This is such a neat project for your next backyard BBQ! The best part? It doesn’t require heavy tools!

We love DIYs, but these projects should be left to the pros

Know your limit, DIY within it! That’s our motto here, and that’s why we want to inform you about the dangers of doing these DIY projects:

  • Tree trimming. You can never be sure which way that branch is going to fall. Not only that, but that beautiful greenery can also pose a hazard to your home. Contact one of our professional arborists for your next outdoor project.
  • Asbestos removal. We’ve all heard about the dangers of asbestos, so why would we want to get near it? Mould and asbestos professionals are trained to handle the material and have the right equipment to deal with it. Best to leave this project to them.
  • Roof repair. There’s one asphalt shingle that’s broken or sticking up on your roof and it’s driving you crazy. Don’t put yourself at risk by climbing up a ladder to fix it yourself. It could cause more damage than that darn shingle. Instead, contact a roofing pro. They have the right tools and materials to get the job done right safely!
  • Appliance repairs. Blue, green, red wires. One wrong cut and you could cause a gas leak in your own home. These appliance repair specialists are experts in the field and will know exactly how to fix the problem.

A healthy home is a happy home. Take advantage of your free time buy doing easy and fun DIY projects, but leave the heavy lifting and structural work to the professionals! We have an extensive directory of general contractors, kitchen renovators and handyman specialists. They’ll work with your ideas and your budget to make it happen.

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