Remodeling your garage is an excellent way to increase your home’s value. A garage remodel can benefit you with a return of up to 84% of the initial cost according to Remodeling Magazine, when you undergo either a garage addition or garage door replacement. Different from an actual garage construction project, a remodel is generally done on a smaller scale and involves the renovation of your existing garage’s interior.
You may take great pride in tackling DIY projects around the house and a garage remodel is one way to let your creative side loose. However, it takes skill, patience, access to special tools, and plenty of time. There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional for your garage remodel. Hiring a contractor or professional will save you time and hassle, but it can also be more expensive depending on the scope of your remodel. Before choosing to DIY or hire a professional, look to these elements that may impact your decision.
DIY – If you’re a hands-on worker who likes a challenge, the DIY approach could be for you. Depending on your desired project within your garage remodel, the time and skill involved will vary. If you’re just looking to clean up the space, organize it, or add a tool bench and shelving, it could be simply done on your own. If you’re looking to convert the garage into a finished workshop, mechanic’s space, or playroom, this may require expert help. To handle a larger-scale project, you’ll have to add blocking and framing, reroute wiring, add outlets, provide ventilation and insulation, weather strip all doors and windows, add drywall and paint, lay down carpeting, and finish it up with décor. This is a lot to take on by yourself and may be outside your realm of skilled knowledge. If you’re not familiar with drywall, and you’re not a licensed electrician, you’ll probably want to outsource this job simply due to the high skill level involved in all phases.
Pro – If you don’t know a stud from a socket, hiring a professional is the way to go. Your contractor can handle all aspects of your garage remodeling project, hiring subcontractors as needed for things like plumbing and electrical. There are a few tasks the basic homeowner should never attempt on their own unless they have lots of building experience:
- Electrical work: You may be able to install a simple fan but when it comes to major wiring, this job can be too dangerous for you to take on yourself. You could get electrocuted, start a fire, or do the job all wrong and have to hire a professional in the end anyway. Remember that it’s imperative that electrical components be built up to code.
- Plumbing: Putting in a sink or adding water lines to a new washer and dryer should be left to your contractor. If you don’t do it correctly, you can cause water damage that can quickly spiral out of control, costing you unwanted expenses to fix later. Water leaks can create serious damage as well as make for expensive water bills.
- Wall demolition: Don’t attempt to remove walls on your own, especially if you’re unsure whether they’re load-bearing or not. It can also be hard to determine what is exactly behind those walls, such as wiring and pipes that may cause issues in your renovation, which should be left to a professional to deal with.
- Insulation removal: Old insulation in homes built prior to 1960 can contain asbestos, which if disturbed can release tiny fibers into the air. Breathe these in your lungs and you could put yourself at risk for mesothelioma or asbestosis. Asbestos inspection and removal also require trained specialists and government-regulated disposal methods.
DIY – A limited budget is conducive to a DIY garage remodeling project. For a standard garage remodel, you can be looking at a cost of a couple thousand dollars just for materials, from insulation and sheetrock to flooring and lighting. If you have to hire a garage remodeler, these expenses can be doubled or more for labor of the same project.
Pro – You may end up doubling your budget when you hire a garage remodeler, but you will get peace of mind knowing the job is done right and is up to code. Paying labor costs now is more cost effective than botching a DIY job then having to pay a professional anyway to redo where you went wrong. Read more on what to include in your garage remodeling budget to understand how hiring a professional can keep you on budget.
DIY – When considering a DIY garage remodeling project, ask yourself whether this makeover will take up more of your time than you are willing to spare. If you answered yes, let a pro do the job. A garage remodel is not a weekend project or something that can be easily fit in between sports practices, work, school and family commitments. But if you’re in no rush and enjoy taking your time, then by all means a DIY project is for you. However, once you factor in just how much time the remodel will take, you may find that you just don’t have the time or patience to devote to it.
Pro – There’s a lot of work that goes into a garage remodel. Consider all the tasks, from designs and measurements to shopping for all the materials. Just the drywall alone involves removing the old wall, finding studs, screwing the drywall, cutting holes, taping and mudding the joints, applying skim coats, sanding the walls and adding metal trim. Hiring a pro means you can go about your business without worrying about these cumbersome and highly skilled tasks.
If you’re altering the space through construction such as knocking down a wall or adding electrical wiring, you will need to obtain necessary local permits. This will protect the resale value of your house should you ever sell it, as the buyer will ask to see proof of permit for the remodeling work. Having a permit shows that your building is up to code, allowing you to avoid penalties and fees. A simple garage remodel that involves a coat of paint, addition of shelving and reorganization does not need a permit.
When deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional for your garage remodel, take into consideration exactly what type of renovation you are looking to do. Being aware of all the tasks that go into a garage remodel, as well as what is easy to complete on your own will help you determine which method is best for you. Start scrapbooking your project on Porch to begin planning your garage remodel.
Top Image Credit: Schock Construction Inc