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DIY vs. Hiring Pros

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So, you finally decided it’s time for replacement windows and your debating DIY vs. hiring pros for the job. If you are handy with tools, it can be tempting to tackle the job yourself.

There’s something to be said about the satisfaction of a job well done. Not to mention, the money you can save! There’s no question that keeping money in your pocket is a good thing. We won’t argue you there. On the other hand, why take the risk of botching the job and winding up needing to hire someone to rush in and rescue you from…

Well, from yourself, actually. Before you jump into the thick of things and realize you may be in over your head, take a moment to consider a few things.

Better safe than sorry

If you don’t have any knowledge and experience in construction, some things are best left to a professional. When determining if you should hire a professional or put another notch on the old do-it-yourself toolbelt, always ask yourself these questions:

Can this job actually result in death?

We’re serious about that question. For instance, if you aren’t skilled in working with electricity, you should think about hiring a professional to handle that for you. The same goes for installing windows, roofing, or even working with power tools, in general.

Can I cause major damage?

Let’s face it. It is entirely possible that some mistakes can cause major destruction to your home. Case in point, not being aware of a load-bearing wall before you demo it can have serious, even fatal, repercussions. Even digging a hole just outside your home can be a detriment if you are inexperienced using the digging equipment.

Do I need a permit for that?

A construction permit is a document guaranteeing that the job will follow compliance guidelines. It is to ensure that a job is completed correctly and safely. If your DIY project entails a construction permit, it may best be left to a professional. Mistakes can be costly, expertise is likely required, and you could even devalue your home in the long run.

Out with the old, pop in the new

Replacing your homes windows doesn’t appear to be a big deal. It’s just a matter of pulling out the old window and popping the replacement window right back in the space. Right? Sort of. Replacing windows can become more complex than it appears. And, poorly installed windows equals saying good-bye to any energy ratings. Many of us use energy efficiency ratings as one of the deciding factors for purchase! It would be a shame to render it useless.

Accurate measurements

Precision is key when taking measurements. You don’t just need to know the size of the window itself. Direct angles and frame spacing are important to ensure a proper fit. A mistake can ruin the job.

Moisture barriers

This is an essential part of the job! It’s pretty self-explanatory. If the moisture barrier is installed improperly, over time mold and wood rot set in. The damage can become extensive if left unchecked. Not to mention, costly!

Flashing

Providing further protection from moisture, properly installed flashing is an important aspect of window replacement. A storm will blow rain at your windows from every angle. Flashing deflects the rain preventing it from seeping into every nook and cranny.

Siding or brick?

A professional window installer is also practiced in the art of leaving things as they found them. No matter what the exterior of your home, when they leave it looks just like it did when they arrived. With the exception of having awesome new windows, of course!

Out of your element

There are many types of windows to think about, as well. Which should you choose? Wood, aluminum, or vinyl are all options to consider. A professional installer will guide you through the process. Working with a professional installer provides you with the assurance of a job well done. Should there be an unforeseen problem, you can take advantage of a guarantee. On your own, the cost of the initial job just inflated.

The honey-do list

Lots of DIY jobs are on a smaller scope, such as recaulking the windows or weather-stripping the doors. These types of jobs are much less costly if put on the do-it-yourself list. Studying up on the subject if you are unfamiliar with it should give you the knowledge to see the job through. There are tons of how-to videos online that take you through the process.

Again, you should determine you have the tools and supplies needed to accomplish the mission. Sometimes the little things add up and it would have been cheaper to hire someone.

Something to gauge by

The final decision as to whether you should tackle a DIY window replacement job on your own or hire a professional to handle it often comes down to dollars and sense. It makes sense to keep the dollars in your pocket rather than someone else’s. But, you want to keep it there long-term, not at the risk of incurring more expense in the long run.

Price the professional

Most, if not all, professional replacement window installers offer a free estimate or at the least charge a nominal fee. Check out a couple. Ask friends and neighbors who they would recommend. Maybe you can find a local advisor online. There are several that are nationwide, as well. And, of course, social media is an option.

What’s your bottom dollar

Figure the expense of the necessary supplies to install the replacement windows, the replacement windows themselves, your time, and permits (if needed). Subtract this cost from that of the professional and see how much money you will save. Is it worth it?

What’s it pay?

After you know both how much you will save and the amount of time involved to complete the job, divide the savings by the time. You will find out the hourly rate you will “earn” while completing the work yourself.

Accordingly, you might be surprised at how low the figure is. Whether that is the case or not, there is no shame in hiring a professional to do the job!

When it’s all said and done

If you aren’t into the do-it-yourself idea or see that the figures just aren’t adding up, you can still get your cost down to a manageable budget when hiring a professional if you do your homework. Clear communication is the ticket to success. Be clear and concise about what you want as the end result. The installer should divulge what the job will entail achieving that result. Ultimately, whether you are determined to do-it-yourself or decide to hire a professional, enjoy your new view.

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