Sanity savers: Should you outsource or DIY?

To knock some home fixes off your to-do list, you’ll have to decide whether to do them yourself or outsource. But what can you safely DIY, and what’s best left to the experts?

While painting and plastering your home might be simple enough, what about restumping?

You can unblock your sink with bicarb and vinegar, but don’t even think about messing about with the sewerage system.

And while it only takes one person to change a light bulb (despite what the jokes say), when it comes to wiring, you’re definitely best to call an electrician.

Here are some factors to consider when you’re deciding whether to outsource or DIY.


As keen as you may be to fit that new oven or knock out that pesky dividing wall, your enthusiasm must be matched with a permit.

While laws differ from state to state, generally speaking, major renovations to a home’s structure should only be done by a qualified licenced builder, electrical work by a licenced electrician, and leave anything to do with gas to a licenced gasfitter (who may also be a plumber).


The laws above are put in place with safety in mind, but even when you’re not required by law to hire a tradesperson, be realistic about what you can do.

Even climbing a ladder has risks, let alone the job you’re climbing the ladder to do – a study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health in 2016 found that every year approximately 5000 people land in hospital with ladder-related injuries.

If you decide to tackle the job, what can’t hurt is doing a bit of a risk analysis beforehand.

It doesn’t have to be complex – simply consider the danger factor involved.

If the biggest risk is getting paint on your best pair of pants, proceed (in your tattiest clothes, with windows open to reduce fumes).

But if there’s, for example, a possibility of getting electrocuted, call in a pro.


One of the most appealing aspects of doing it yourself is that it’s cheaper than hiring a professional.

But if you’re out of your depth, you could end up wasting money, such as making a mistake that reduces your property’s value and turns off buyers (think dodgy renos) and then having to get it fixed anyway.

You might also need to buy or hire special tools and materials for the job, such as a floor sander or welder.

You may need a permit to do the work, another expense to consider.

Then there’s the time factor – how quickly you can complete the job compared with a professional.

If you’re paying to shower at the local gym while your bathroom renovation drags on, that may have been money better spent on an expert.

All this home renovating may make you a tad stressed. Get a helping hand with our guide on how to create your own stress reduction toolkit.

Written by Samantha Allemann.