Should You DIY That? A Guide to Popular Remodeling Projects

By Paul Denikin

DIY home improvements can be super rewarding. Not only do you save money on remodeling projects, but you improve the look of your living space and gain new skills while doing it. However, taking on too much could waste time and money and cause serious damage to your home. How do you know what’s appropriate to DIY and what to leave to the pros? This guide walks you through some of the most popular remodeling projects.

Kitchen Renovations

The price tag of a typical kitchen remodel is enough to inspire many homeowners to brush up their DIY skills. According to Bankrate, most homeowners spend between $12,594 and $33,118 on kitchen remodeling, with an average expense of $21,751. These are some of the costliest jobs:

  • Appliances: As long as you’re not changing their location in the kitchen, replacing appliances is a straightforward task. However, you’ll need help getting the new appliances to your home and removing old appliances for disposal after the job is done. If you’re moving a gas stove, vented range hood, or dishwasher to a new position in your kitchen, hire pros to move plumbing, ventilation and gas lines.
  • Cabinets: If you value your sanity and evenly hung cabinets, don’t try to install new cabinets yourself. However, homeowners can paint or resurface old cabinets and install new cabinet hardware for a fresh look.
  • Countertops: If you’re installing new granite slab countertops, protect your investment by letting a contractor do the heavy lifting. However, you can manage other countertop face-lifts on your own, like installing granite tiles, creating butcher block countertops or applying modern laminate.

Bathroom Renovations

Do you want a fresh look for an out-of-the-way half bathroom, or are you planning a full remodel of your master bath? This is only one of the considerations when you’re planning a bathroom remodel, as doing it yourself could leave this important room out of commission for weeks. These are the biggest jobs in a bathroom remodel:

  • Plumbing Fixtures: It’s possible to install a new prefabricated shower or tub yourself, but it’s a labor-intensive project that may not be suitable for novices. If you’re dreaming of a custom shower or tub, you’re better off hiring the job out. Replacing a toilet, on the other hand, is a quick and easy way to save.
  • Vanities: If you’re not changing the plumbing, installing a new bathroom vanity is perfectly doable. However, if you’re moving the sink or changing a single-sink vanity to a double, you’ll need a plumber.
  • Flooring: Replacing outdated peel-and-stick vinyl is one of the best ways to improve a bathroom’s appearance. If you’re opting to do it yourself, choose vinyl plank, vinyl tile, or another easy-install option. To minimize frustration and maximize results, leave detailed tiling work to someone more experienced.

Landscape Renovations

Everyone wants great curb appeal, and luckily, outdoor projects are some of the most forgiving for DIYers. These three projects can turn a simple backyard into a true outdoor living space:

  • Fences: Vinyl fence panels make it easy to erect a fence as long as you have a helper. If you’re installing a safety fence around a swimming pool, make sure it adheres to local codes. You can find information on swimming pool codes at the National Swimming Pool Foundation.
  • Landscape Plants: Planting flowers, shrubs, or ornamental trees is an approachable project for homeowners of all skill levels, but select plants carefully to understand their soil, sunlight, and irrigation needs. For tree removals, hire a tree service to prevent injury or damage.
  • Patios: Some patio styles are easier to DIY than others. A stone or brick patio is a great project for a sunny weekend, but for best results, hire someone else to pour concrete patios.


Sometimes the decision to DIY isn’t a matter of safety or function, but rather about achieving the desired results. For example, while anyone can paint a wall, inexperienced homeowners could end up with a botched paint job. If you’re set on DIYing a certain project, practice in a non-permanent way before doing the real thing. If you dive right into changing a major feature of your home without practice, you may not be pleased with the results.


Image via Unsplash


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