Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big Decision: Fix or Hire Someone

There comes a million times in every home owner's life, when they have to make the decision - should I try to fix this myself, or should I hire someone to do it?  If you own a house, you've been there.  Do I try to fix the broken door, or do I hire someone who knows what they are doing?

I'd credit this photo, but they seem
to do a good job all by themselves!

A good friend of mine has a theory.  She always likes to say "I'll try everything once, then it helps me to realize what I'd rather pay to have done the next time".  We are currently at that crossroads with two of our windows.

As I mentioned before, two of our windows need professional help.  The bottom sashes need to be entirely rebuilt... not something that I would feel confident to do on my own.  This I know, and it's an easy decision.  We will price out a couple of options in the spring and we will have them professionally fixed.

But the other two windows hold the reason for my question.  Being someone in the "construction field", I suppose I feel more compelled to want to do the work myself, even though I realize that I have limitations.  I don't think it's a pride thing, I think it's a "I should be able to do this" thing.  Okay, maybe it's a little bit of a pride thing.  I want to be able to strap on that tool belt and just fix what is broken with our house.

The first problem is with a window in the attic - it needs to be rebalanced.  The casing and window stops need to be removed, the sash taken out and the sash weights need to be rebalanced.  The window is on the landing of the stair, and the sill is approximately 5'-0" in the air.  Granted this is in the rarely used and minimally finished attic, where a mistake would probably not be a big deal.  If we do decide to try to fix this problem, this would be the place to start.  However, it is an awkwardly positioned window, making working on it more difficult. 

Typical Weight Pocket
Photo Credit: Link

The other "window related" problem is that the sash cord broke on the window in our dining room.  Again, the casing would have to be removed.  This time, a more ornate casing, that is painted with a paint color that is not white.  Using a crow bar to pry off the casing would be painful for me.  We would need to purchase new cord & try to not only balance the weights, but completely rehang them.

Photo Credit: Link

Many people have told me that this is an easy repair.  I even found a website that seems to be a great resource:  and I'm sure that there are a million more.  But is it something that I'm willing to try on my own?  This is what I'm not confident about.

I think we will start by asking the professionals for a price.  They will be in our house to give us a quote on the new window sashes, so why not ask?  Then we will decide if horsing around with this project on our own is worth that price.  The odds are that we would probably lose an entire day to do what they could do in a couple hours.  If we do decide to hire someone, I am prepared to watch them work and see how they do it... therefore helping me to decide if I'm willing to do it the next time. 

So I guess my outlook on this particular task is a little different than my friends; it seems that I am willing to possibly pay someone to do it once, watch, and decide if it's something I want to try in the future.  The odds are that if it's a window that I look forward to using in the future, I might just hire someone to do it!

I'm a little paranoid that I will mess this project up if I try it on my own.  Have you ever tried to fix something that you were completely paranoid to try?

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