DIY Tasks: Hire Professionals or Do It Yourself?

When it comes to building at home, there are some jobs that seem too big to take on yourself. Sure, it’s easy to change a light bulb – but what about remodelling your garden? Do you take up the sledgehammer to bash out the paving slabs yourself, or hire a machine to take the burden away from you?

While the spirit of DIY might make you feel like you can accomplish anything, there’s a limit to what you can do by yourself. Here, we’ve investigated some tasks you might try around your home and worked out whether it’s worth doing them yourself or hiring heavy duty equipment.

Interior painting

Painting your house is a task that can seem like a chore – but might be worth it. A typical painter and decorator will charge between £190-425 to paint a room depending on the size of it.  Completion times can vary between 1-3 days – so if you’re getting multiple rooms, painted expect to have a decorator in for a week.

Doing it yourself means taking longer, but materials are cheap enough to warrant the effort. To achieve the same quality, you’ll need to make sure you’re painting in good light (using 300 watt light bulbs can help you avoid mistakes). You’ll need painting materials and good quality paint, which could set you back around £100. Then you need patience and attention to detail – as painting can be tough for the inexperienced.

Alternatively, you could hire a paint spray system – which will set you back around £50 for one day’s hire and then £28 per day afterwards. This kind of tool will significantly cut down your time painting, but you’ll need to make sure it’s suitable for your walls.

Remodelling a garden

Landscape gardeners take the frustration out of clearing your own garden, which can be a hard bit of physical labour for even the fittest person. A typical garden remodel begins by clearing the ground – which will include smashing out any pre-existing concrete. For that you’ll need a pickaxe or sledgehammer, which is less than £20. However, you’ll also need endurance – as swinging tools around is a full body activity that will burn lots of calories.

You’ll also need to consider safety, so pick up some goggles or safety specs to avoid shards hitting your eyes. From here, you’ll need to dig up the earth and hire a skip to get rid of it. This will cost £250 or up depending on skip size. Presuming you’ve got free days to do the work yourself, this initial clearance phase can take weeks rather than days.

After you’ve finished, you’ll then need to resurface your garden depending on what you want. Block paving requires sand, cement and slabs which are expensive but low maintenance.

Conversely, hiring a professional means paying a higher fee – typically prices start at around £7,000. However, if you do go it alone, one way to take the bulk of the labour out of the equation is by hiring your own digger. This will help you complete the task quicker – with average rental prices between £60-95 per day or £350-400 for a week. You’ll still need to put down the new materials yourself, however. Perhaps this is a job best left to experts… or those with lots of time on their hands!

Trimming tall trees

If you’ve got large trees or hedgerows in your garden, getting up high to tackle them can be tough and time-consuming. Using a traditional stepladder and trimmer is dangerous, but fairly cheap. However, getting the cuts right isn’t just a case of having a go. In fact, the USA had 580 deaths due to tree trimming accidents between 2009 and 2015.

Hiring an arborist to carry out the work can be expensive – traders can price differently around the country and depending on the work carried out. Branch thickness, how much waste needs to be removed following the work and the area all affect the price. Rates start from around £250 per day for a team of two surgeons.

Alternatively, you could hire your own cherry picker or access platform to reach high-up trees in a far safer environment. Obviously this only applies to tall trees, but can considerably reduce the risk of accidents. With self-drive hire available from £99 per day and up, this is an option worth considering – although some companies ask for certification.

Of course, this is just a sample of the work you could take on in your home. From retiling a bathroom to building an extension, you can technically accomplish anything on your own. However, as we’ve shown above, it’s tough to balance the time and effort with any potential cost saving. While DIY is often cheaper, it’s not usually the best choice.

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