Hire a contractor or DIY?

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Posted by: from Edmonton
12/7/2015 at 3:10:11 PM

Hi there,

I have done a house inspection on the half-duplex with a basement suite that I just bought and below is a list of items that the inspector has come up with:

- Paint fascia sanding

- Replace the basement fan

- Gfi plug outside

- No combustion air to furnace

- Double drywall in furnace room (fire break)

- Add extension pipe on hot water tank

- Replace the smoke detectors up and down

- Replace roof on the one-car detached garage

I am by no means a handyman but can do some basic repairs and follow instructions. I wanted to get your feedback on the complexity of the above repairs and how much it could cost to hire a contractor to do it all?

Additional information:

The furnace and the hot water tank are both located in a small closed room in the basement. It currently has a single layer of drywall and requires a second layer in case of fire.

Thanks for your help and suggestions.

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Date/Time12/7/2015 at 6:29:50 PM


If you're already unsure of your abilities, then hire a contractor. Plain and simple.


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Matthew from Matt of All Trades in Kitchener
Date/Time12/7/2015 at 7:11:05 PM

Now might be a great time to learn some new skills if that is what you are wanting to do.

Most of the list is handyman type work. I suggest leaving the roof work and the furnace air issue to the pros, but the rest is pretty straight forward. The GFI maybe check your network of friends and see if they have an electrician friend that can help you out.

Some handyman contractors are willing to work with clients to teach them on small projects like this. In some cases its easier and cheaper for contracted person to do it, but we all need to learn some how!

Good luck!

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Date/Time12/7/2015 at 7:22:21 PM


With the list you have, I'd break it down to what YOU feel comfortable with. The furnace and water tank are jobs for qualified plumbing/heating people ... for safety sake don't take chances. Much of the remaining can be done by you but if you haven't done it before or just don't feel comfortable, hire someone else. It's all about safety and meeting safety codes.

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Date/Time12/12/2015 at 11:13:35 AM

I think Mike in the first post nailed it. A couple of things to consider; as the majority of us are tradesmen, our version of DIY might be different than yours as most of us with either do it ourselves or have the experience to know that even if we can do it, it is better for another tradesmen to do it for us.

Anything related to the furnace / water tank likely needs to be done by a gas fitter for insurance purposes. The smoke detectors and Bathroom fan are likely plug and play . If you turn the power off to the GFCI that is a pretty simple home-owner maintenance task. The last items left are pretty straight forward items if you have the tools and equipment. Do you have ladders, drywall knives, mixing blades, paint trays, etc? The last question is, do you have the time?


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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