Weekend DIY: Projects to leave to the pros

Take a vacation from your to-do list by hiring a professional to tackle certain jobs that would be disruptive to your household

By Jay Somerset

carpet cleaning

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A week’s vacation sounds pretty good right about now, especially to somewhere warm and sunny. But just because you’re taking a break from work and household chores doesn’t mean you have to “leave things be” back at the ole ranch.

While most Canadian Home Workshoppers take pride in DIY projects, sometimes it just makes sense to hire a pro to come in and do the work, especially jobs that are disruptive to daily living–jobs that can be taken care of when you’re away on vacation. With March Break right around the corner, here are some ideas to consider before you say “aloha.”

Driveway sealing

Let’s face it, fixing driveway cracks and resealing isn’t exactly fun work. Is it really worth your time standing outside for hours, cleaning the driveway, filling cracks and applying sealant. Nah. Hire a pro. And since they’re working outside, there’s no need to give them a house key. (Word of warning: this project doesn’t suit wet, cold months, so unless you’re living in a particularly temperate time zone, save this job for your summer vacation.) Similarly, other outdoor tasks, such as re-bricking patio stones, pathways and even getting your garden soil turned over are all great projects to have tackled while you’re away.

Carpet cleaning

What better time to have your carpets cleaned than when you’re away, especially in homes with wall-to-wall carpeting. Hiring a cleaner to come in and do the deed means you come back to pristine, bone-dry rugs. What’s more, you don’t have to inhale the toxic-smelling cleaners and equally putrid smell of wet rug.

Speaking of carpet, what better time to have wall-to-wall carpeting installed than when you’re away? Same goes with hardwood installation or refinishing, a job that typically takes five days of sanding and “Hey, don’t walk over there!” moments.

Chimney sweep

No matter how hard core you are about DIY projects, some things are best left to the pros, including the chimney sweep. March is a great time to get this done if you’ve been burning lots of fires this winter. What’s more, some cleaning companies, such as Super Duct in Toronto, offer cleaning services ranging from chimneys to ducts to carpeting and upholstery.

Small renos

When thinking of projects to have done while you’re away, don’t stop at simple maintenance jobs; rather, think about areas that could use some work–jobs that aren’t particularly fun, would benefit from the family being away, and aren’t particularly expensive, in time or money. For example, a laundry-room makeover: whether it’s new shelving, drywall installation (or simply repainting), or building a small stage to keep the machines up off the floor (to protect them from basement flooding), these are great jobs to have done while you’re out of the house.

As well, what about having a bathroom remodelled while you’re on vacation? After all, a job like this requires the water to be turned off for long periods, making it an ideal task for someone else to tackle while you’re waddling down a beach or skiing in the alps. So long as you’ve drawn up detailed renovation plans, there’s no worry about whether or not you’re home for the construction, especially if the job is minor (unlike, for example, a kitchen renovation).

Indoor painting

Most of us can slap on a coat of paint, so on the one hand, hiring someone to come in and paint a room might seem like a waste of money. Then again, if we’re talking bedrooms–especially kids’ bedrooms–where painting a room requires removing furniture and, let’s face it, inhaling fumes, having a pro come in during your vacation isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Quick tips before you leave

Of course, any work done inside your home requires hiring a trustworthy contractor, renovator or cleaner that can come in and work without requiring supervision. As always, check the pro’s references before hiring. And while there’s something to be said for DIY projects or even keeping an eye on the contractors at work, there’s a big difference between watching and “living through” the job.

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