Which home improvement tasks do you ‘DIY’ and which do you leave to a pro?

Which tasks could be done by a layperson (albeit with some research and perhaps an extra pairs of hands) and which really should be left to a professional?

This will vary a lot according to how handy you are - where's *your* line?


  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,916 Forumite
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    This will vary a lot according to how handy you are - where's *your* line?

    Not just that - its also about having the necessary tools, and sometimes whether you have the experience to be able to get a satisfactory result.

    E.g. Anyone can plaster - but professional plasterers have the skill to produce consistently good results. So sometimes it is better to get a plasterer in and be happy with the finish, rather than DIY and always regret those lumps and bumps.

    My line is where I think someone will do a better job than I can do myself.  And also where there is a regulatory/legal aspect to the work and having it done by a professional is the only realistic option (e.g. gas work)
  • maisie_cat
    We do virtually everything ourselves except that which requires certification that we do not have.
    We recently had a new biomass stove installed but we installed all the rads and the heating loop.
    Hubby has part P so electrics are easy enough and between us we can do most other things. We have acquired tools over the years justified by the savings.
    At the moment we have had to redesign the kitchen (biomass access) and I've built the solid wood cabinets, painted them and hubby had done the plumbing. The materials have cost £1200 for what would cost £5000 bought, but we are time rich cash poor(er).
    A couple of weeks ago I built a stud wall as the plumbers had to remove the old one to fit the thermal store.
  • phoebe1989seb
    phoebe1989seb Posts: 4,452 Forumite
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    edited 20 September 2021 at 12:15PM
    As both the above answers, really....

    DH and I both have design backgrounds (although whilst DH's is in interiors and bathrooms including managing large projects, mine is in fashion) and we've therefore always been very design-led and hands on when it comes to our house(s).

    Before I met DH he was extremely fortunate to be taught to plaster by a proper craftsman who did all kinds of ceiling cornicing and ornamental stuff, so whilst this has never been his job, he has always been able to do any plastering required at home over the years 😃

    We've restored several period houses purchased as *wrecks* (current place is a 400 year old, non-listed, detached mill bought as a repossession) and done all the carpentry, kitchen fitting, general building work and more decorative stuff (wallpaper, paint effects, tiling, upholstery etc) as well as exterior landscaping ourselves.

    At a previous house we built an extension - getting the pros in for structural calcs, electrics and heating etc - and we're doing similar here, having completely reconfigured the property layout - including moving walls/doors/relocating kitchen and bathroom, all DIY.

    More recently, DH - who was previously running an online business centred on antiques/interiors - has set up a small house renovations/project management business with a plumber friend, as - since moving to Wales - he's found his acquired skills/designer's eye for detail in great demand 😉

    Mortgage-free for fourteen years!

    Over £40,000 mis-sold PPI reclaimed
  • EssexExile
    EssexExile Posts: 6,165 Forumite
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    I've built extensions in the past. Someone qualified fitted the boilers, the father-in-law did the plastering and the builder down the road helped me lift the heavy steels into place. Other than that it all my own work!
    Tall, dark & handsome. Well two out of three ain't bad.
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 8,091 Forumite
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    edited 20 September 2021 at 2:07PM
    Plastering, electrics and gas. Plastering is an art form, and electrics and gas have particular safety issues. I will do basic electrical work such as changing sockets, switched and light fittings, but anything else is left to the professionals. 

    I've done pretty much everything else including roofing upto single storey height. My partner won't let me go higher, which is probably a good thing.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • onomatopoeia99
    I won't do plastering as I can't produce a decent finish.  I'll take on almost anything else except brickwork and gas, though I don't much like working with water (plumbing, drains). 
    Proud member of the wokerati, though I don't eat tofu.Home is where my books are.Solar PV 5.2kWp system, SE facing, >1% shading, installed March 2019.Mortgage free July 2023
  • Rosa_Damascena
    I know my skills and limitations - so everything other than home decor gets commissioned out. It makes better financial sense for me to do what I am good at to fund professional trades.
    No man is worth crawling on this earth.

    So much to read, so little time.
  • casper_gutman
    I'll have a go at most things, with the following exceptions:
    • Anything gas-related;
    • Anything involving adding a new electrical circuit (but I will have a go at minor electrical work e.g. like-for-like swaps or adding a socket as a spur off the ring main);
    • Anything involving mains water where there isn't an easy way of isolating the pipe locally (I don't want to flood the house!);
    • Anything which will take too long (though I'm happy to use leave from work for something that seems like an interesting challenge - e.g. building a log cabin last summer);
    • And finally, anything which needs specific tools or equipment which will cost more than I can reasonably foresee having to pay for someone else.
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