Something magical happens the first time that you strap on a tool belt and a pair of safety goggles. The instant you take out your 2-pound hammer and begin knocking out the old bathroom sheetrock, you gain admission to the ancient and noble order of Do-it-Yourselfers.
There are no secret handshakes or membership dues, but the members of this global association have no problem recognizing one another when they are out and about; the neighbor with the 4-by-8 sheet of plywood tied to the top of his car, the young couple with the cedar posts and sacks of quick-dry concrete in the back of their pickup, and the guy spreading PVC sprinkler pipe, valves and risers around his lawn.
The adherents of the creed of DIY roam the aisles of the big box home improvement stores and their local hardware and flooring stores. They share tips, gather information, compare price and value, and seek inspiration and professional guidance. In fact, these trips are a weekend ritual for millions of Americans looking to improve their homes.
Having said that, one big question comes to mind for those who are thinking about dipping their toes into the DIY pond: Have I got what it takes to hang an interior door, install a new faucet, or cut 45-degree angles on crown molding?
They continue to question themselves: Can I afford the tools and materials, and what about the risk I run of messing up the project, or even ruining the expensive materials I have to purchase? Those concerns lead to the biggest question of all: Rather than taking on all the risk myself, should I just hire a pro to do the work for me?
Those are important questions. The best way to answer is to advise that you begin with small projects. That way you can begin to build your tool box and sharpen your new DIY skills.
As your skills increase and your confidence grows (and it will with each successful job!), you can begin to tackle bigger, more complex jobs.
There will always be places where professional contractors should be consulted, including some plumbing and electrical jobs, as well as things like finish carpentry, tricky hardwood floor installations, and detailed tile work.
The best advice I can give DIY newbies is this: Don’t be afraid of what could go wrong. Instead, think of what could go right. So, pick up that hammer. And, welcome to the club!
Robbie Benjamin specializes in tile, wood and carpet floors at Rick Bent Flooring on Hilton Head Island. rickbentflooring.com