Your Place: When to attempt a DIY, and when to call the pros

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

The results of a fourth quarter 2015 survey by the Home Projects Council, a group of home-improvement experts, suggests that homeowners interested in reducing the costs of projects around the house should replace "do-it-for-me" habits with improved do-it-yourself skills.

The online survey of 514 homeowners with at least one project completed on their houses in the last two years found that DIY homeowners spent less financially doing their own work than did homeowners using professionals.

The survey also indicated that a homeowner’s home-improvement skill level was directly related to the size, complexity, and spending on a project.

"There is a clear correlation between a homeowner’s capabilities and the DIY home-improvement projects they’re comfortable attempting," said Frank Owens, vice president of marketing for Quikrete Cos., manufacturer of packaged concrete.

"The more advanced their skills, the greater number and variety of projects they can complete without a professional," Owens said.

According to the survey, 53 percent of all DIY homeowners did their last projects because that was less expensive than hiring professionals.

However, homeowners who hired professionals are driven by distinctly different criteria based on skill level when considering a home-improvement project, the survey showed.

Though cost was the overwhelming factor for DIY homeowners, the survey indicates that hiring professionals will continue for more complex projects.

In fact, 53 percent of homeowners contended that no amount of financial savings would have compelled them to do their last home-improvement projects without the paid services of a professional.

Here’s my experience, for what it’s worth: I have done plumbing and electricity. I prefer to hire licensed professionals because these things are too important to be done by even educated amateurs.

I do my own painting because I am extremely picky, even if it takes me longer to complete the job.

I take on projects — building things — that give me personal satisfaction, even if it costs me more than buying or hiring a professional.