Bought 1st home. DIY vs Seek professional help list.


Bought my 1st home which is a 4 bedroom house with backyard and front yard.14 year old house so I am learning to fill settlement cracks, sanding , painting etc. wondering if I can get inputs on what are the tasks you do by yourself and for which tasks you seek professional and electrician are 2 I can think of.

PS : I don't have experience in fixing things but I can follow youtube steps without stuffing up.


  • +2

    It really depends on your skills as a handyman, some people are good, and others have two left thumbs!

    Youtube has a wealth of DIY advice, it's alway handy to watch somebody else tackle a job before you give it a go.

    Most projects or repairs that don't involve Electricity are things that the average person can do. For bigger jobs like a Concrete Driveway, I definitely leave that to the professionals.

  • +1

    Painting is great for DIY and can freshen up the place. Tiling is not too difficult if you are that way inclined.

    • +6

      Every DIY tiling job I've ever seen has looked awful. You just can't substitute qualifications and experience.

      • I agree, although I've seen some pretty terrible professional jobs too. Like with anything, worth getting a recommendation from someone who's had a good job done.

  • +1

    Plumber for anything more than washer replacement, sometimes the tap need reseating which you can do yourself with a tool from the hardware shop if you like. We try to do most things oursleves though.

  • +4

    I went to Bunnings to get the cheapest paint and paint brushes to have the house painted. Endless cursing due to drips, broken bristles and bad preparation work; I learnt.

    Cheap brushes = broken paint bristles over paint
    Cheap paint = drips everywhere as its a lot thinner
    Thinking I'll DIY it'll be cheaper = Bad finish because got lazy cleaning/undercoating/sanding surface

    Moral of the story:
    DIY isn't always cheaper. If you are buying tools, understand quality and buy suitable tools for the trade. If you are work, do it right the first time. No point having the job done cheaply when another tradie needs to fix it.

    • +5

      Sounds like the moral of the story is buying cheap materials and tools is a bad idea …

      • and halfarseing prep is never a good idea. Painting is hard work and the tools are expensive (less if you can sell them after the job is done).

        • Disagree. Painting is not really hard work and half decent tools are good enough for most jobs.

          Do agree that doing a good job with painting is a bit of an art. The prep is the key though and that does take some effort, depending on what the existing surface is like.

  • Always get the right person for the job, unless you want to do it yourself, then regret it later, and still need to get the right person for job after you stuffed it up.

    • +5

      Sometimes you need the right person for the job after the tradie stuffs up.

      OP, no one knows your skill level. Your question can only be answered along the lines of what's legal and what isn't.

      • -3

        if you get a bad tradie, then its your own fault for not doing enough research getting references beforehand.

        • +3

          So the licensing board is useless then?

          So what's the point of the trades being protected and us paying more for that privilege when none exist?

          • +2

            @tshow: Of course its useless, pretty much anyone can get a license these days, you just need to apprentice for enough time.

            Someone can be qualified but still do a terrible job, tradies like that are a dime a dozen.

            • +2

              @garetz: Until they deregulate tradies which would organically reduce the cost of contracting tradies (from natural supply increase), it isn't the fault of a homeowner that a tradie is terrible.

              There are standards in place and it is entirely the regulating boards job to ensure is the absolute minimum outcome.

              As homeowners, we surrender our rights to work on certain things, even if we are fully capable, in the interest of societal safety/benefit, ie. less malpractice = less medical burden. This in turn creates a protected trade which increases the cost.

              Even though as end user, we are ultimately the ones living with whatever shoddy work a crap tradie does, legally and on principle, it is "not our own fault".

  • +4

    I get tradies in for most jobs because I don't want to spend (a lot of) money on tools and waste my entire weekend by driving around to get stuff and doing all the jobs with a very average result. I'm not handy and hate doing DIY. If you like doing it and don't mind investing in good tools, you should do DIY. For stuff on the roof and tree pruning etc. I'm not even going to take the risk of having an accident.

    If you have a good trady, he comes in with the right tools, skills and materials. He does the job a lot faster with a far better result and you'll have your weekend back.

    • How do you get a good trady? I've been wondering if I need to look in the yellow pages, gumtree, airtasker,local maccas, postie to find a good trady that won't half ass a job or charge hourly and not be done a week later.

      • +2

        Word of mouth. Ask around, check with colleagues and neighbours. Some tradies put up a sign on their job site, so check the neighbourhood.
        My local (not Bunnings but more specialized) garden centre, timber store, pool shop, paint shop etc have business cards from local tradies so check those stores. I also found tradies via other tradies, just ask them if they know someone. Quite often they work together on jobs (my sparky renovates kitchens with my carpenter).

      • I agree with Marty above, go to a trade specific store and ask them for a recommendation on a good tradie. They'll generally only recommend someone who they know is good.

  • Despite earlier comment I'd leave tiling alone

    • It's not a terribly hard thing. It's just made exponentially harder with every sloppy inclusion from the foundational work.

  • Roof matters you might be able to do it yourself but I wouldnt want to risk falling off when I could pay a handman peanuts to replace some tiles/grouting.

  • +2

    If you're dedicated and don't cheap out, pretty much everything to do with aesthetics you can do yourself, floors, garden, paint, cabinetry, tiling, furniture, shelving etc etc. The only stuff I won't touch is plumbing/electrical. A lot of others are complaining about losing their weekends etc, but I doubt they would be doing anything better anyway, and you can't put a price on the sense of accomplishment and skills learned for the future when doing it yourself.

  • +1

    DIY will save you money but cost you time. I hate paying others to do what I can do, but that also means things take longer to get done. You need to have handy skills, be willing to buy tools and equipment and do the occasional substandard job.

    If you are keen you will learn new skills and then push the boundaries. I started with painting and building some shelves etc when I helped dad as a kid. our current house has had 2 rooms turned into 3 involving moving walls, installing spanning beams, doors, plastering etc. very satisfying and probably saved around $50-60k (but took 18mths instead of maybe 2-3). Only got professionals in for velux windows in the roofing, carpet layers and electrician for installs (but moved a couple of power points with same wiring)

    Plumbing and electrical are two things you should be very careful about. I don’t do new installs but will repair or replace some items. Typically they aren’t hard to do but there is a big risk of it going horribly wrong. I learnt some about wiring from my grandfather who was a sparky.

    I quit my job late last year thinking I’d have heaps of time to complete a bunch of projects around the house. Virtually none of them have been done becuase I kept getting work and now working full time again.

  • +1

    Those of you having trouble getting good tradies' in, just go up to one in Bunnings and ask, they usually have a contact list they work with, like a referral list, where they can nominate who's a good plasterer/painter etc

    I've been in plumbing shops and got referrals this way, I stuffed up the Gyprock, who do you suggest? Sometimes though, you'll get the odd tradie who has no other human contact, doesn't have a clue who to contact/get in. Really helps if the tradesmen work across civil construction/building sites and home servicing. So you end up with cash only work but the job gets done.

  • I have the same query re building shelves. New house, new build, so don't want to mess up the walls.

  • +1

    Make up a list of all the things you think you probably would/could do over the next 5 years or so. If there's enough things on that list to justify buying all the tools needed, sawhorses etc and it's something you think you could treat as a hobby and would do regularly enough to retain the skills. Then yeah, go for it.

    If not, just pay someone else. It'll be quicker and you won't have to store a bunch of expensive tools that don't get used enough to justify buying them.

    And be realistic. If your partner doesn't support you doing it, then you won't ever find yourself with the time or encouragement to have a go.

  • Whatever you are able to do I suggest you do it, too many dodgy tradies around and not even a license can guarantee a quality job

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