When to hire out and when to DIY

I’m happy to report that one of the many home repair and improvement projects around our house has finally been completed. We finally got someone to paint our Wrought Iron Gate and Basement Access Doors (known affectionately to us as our Wizard of Oz doors).

A good rule of thumb is if you hate a task, you’re probably wise to outsource it, even if the economics are questionable. Also, you can probably figure out a way to make more money. But no one can make more time.

The two biggest challenges we had were weather and finding someone to take on this small of a job.  Most painters can earn more money on bigger jobs so they were reluctant to take this one.  The other problem was the weather didn’t always co-operate.  To paint this material correctly, you have to do a lot of prep work.  It involves scraping off the rust with steel wool and then applying a coat of special primer designed for iron (this is why we decided to outsource the job).  So you need to check the weather report and make sure there is no rain forecast for at least two consecutive days.

Unfortunately for us, the first two times the job was scheduled, it unexpectedly rained that morning.  Even a little sprinkle will require putting off the project because the metal holds the water and the paint won’t adhere correctly until all the water evaporates.

The choice between doing it yourself  and hiring a contractor is more than just a matter of money. It’s a careful balancing act between a bunch of other factors: less hassle, faster results, safety, and professional-quality work.  We probably could have done the gate ourselves, but it would have taken 4 times as long and probably wouldn’t have looked as good.  Luckily I was able to find Changing Colors Inc.  After a couple of false starts, they were able to paint the door and gate and it looks great.

[Disclosure: I received no special treatment for mentioning them in this post.  I did get 10% off for being an Angie’s List member.] 
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Filed under: Weekend DIY

Tags: DIY

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