DIY or hire a pro?

DIY or hire a pro?

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DIY or hire a pro?

Photography: Sosna Total Contracting

Renovating your own home looks so easy in all those design TV shows, magazines and Instagram stories, doesn’t it? Appearances can be deceiving, though. Before you try your hand at redoing your bathroom or finishing your basement, think through a few simple questions to determine whether you will be better served by calling in a professional RenoMark renovator.

Kitchen and Main Floor renovation by Sosna Total Contracting
Kitchen and Main Floor renovation by Sosna Total Contracting

Do you have what it takes?

The first question to answer is whether you have the skills and knowledge needed for your renovation project. Can you carry out the work safely and effectively? Do you know what permits you need to obtain? When it comes to renovations involving plumbing, electrical, gas appliances, structural changes or roofing, unless you know exactly what you are doing, it’s safer to leave the work to the professionals.

Is time on your side?

If you have the skills and knowledge to tackle your renovation project, the second question to ask yourself is whether you have the time, given everything else you are doing. If the work is extensive and you don’t have enough time to devote to it, you could end up disrupting your home and your daily routine for weeks or months. A RenoMark professional, on the other hand, can give your project the time and attention it deserves.

Budget constraints

Finally, ask yourself whether your main motivation for wanting to tackle the renovation on your own is saving money. If so, talk to a RenoMark renovator before you decide. He or she may be able to suggest ways to reduce the cost of your project while still using professional services.

Buy some peace of mind

Working with a RenoMark renovator has many other benefits, too. RenoMark members commit to a Code of Conduct that requires they provide a written contract for all jobs, carry all applicable licenses and permits, offer a minimum of a two-year warranty on work, carry a minimum of $2 million in liability insurance, and work only with contractors who are properly insured.

The RenoMark Program, established in 2001 by the Toronto-based Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), identifies professional contractors who have agreed to abide by renovation-specific Code of Conduct and to provide superior level of service.

Is it worth the risk?

You may know someone who promises to do the work under the table for cheap, but working with a renovator who does not adhere to the high standards outlined in RenoMark’s Code of Conduct could cost you more in the end. For instance, if a renovator does not provide a written contract, what recourse do you have if some of the work doesn’t get done? And if a renovator is not adequately insured, who will pay in case of property damage or injuries on the work site? Hiring a RenoMark renovator gives you peace of mind that these important details are covered.

As part of our ongoing efforts to make the RenoMark program the best it can be, in 2020 we are adding a requirement that RenoMark renovators complete a certain amount of professional education every year to keep up with changes in regulations, practices and materials in the industry. You can have confidence that your RenoMark renovator is providing you with the very latest information and advice.

If you have thought through the questions I mentioned earlier and have decided to work with a RenoMark renovator for your home renovation project, look for one in your area at It’s your best start to a successful home renovation.

Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA. For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, @bildgta, or visit


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