Professional Installation vs Do It Yourself

Okay, you’ve sketched out what you want on that wall – some half cabinets, a workbench, some shelving, some drawers, and a pegboard for a few tools.  You’ve looked in catalogs or even window shopped at your local home improvement store.  You know what you want.

You even know where to get it all.  Now comes the question.  Do I buy all (or most) the garage cabinets from a single source AND buy installation as part of the bundle?  Or do you buy installation separately?   Or do you do the job yourself?

Assuming you are a reasonably competent handyman or handywoman (otherwise, hire someone!), what should you consider before deciding whether to do-it-yourself?

Cost, Quality and Time – Pick Any Two Out Of Three

There’s a famous saying that all projects have three dimensions: cost, quality and time.  And you can optimize for any two of them, at the expense of the third.  Some examples:

  • If you need it fast and good, it will be expensive.
  • Taking your time saves money.
  • If you do it fast and cheap, it won’t be good.

So, if you have the time and the tools, you can probably do just fine.  After all, with an appropriate amount of time, you can learn what you need to know and even do it over if you must.

Room Light Control
Creative Commons Licensecredit: mrbill

The actual “how to” courses are beyond the scope of this page, but, basically, installing cabinets is no more complicated than attaching the cabinets firmly the wall (or overhead) when needed. Those cabinets that simply sit on the floor require virtually no installation. The only difference is that some garage cabinets will carry much heavier weights than, e.g., kitchen cabinets).

Metal garage cabinets may require a wrench set and most cabinet suppliers will happily point out the need for anything special – if only so they can sell you what you’ll need.

The only other considerations other than time, money, your skill, special tools and whether installation is bundled with the purchase price of the cabinets is liability for mistakes. If you damage the cabinets during a botched installation, likely you have voided any warranties. And if improper installation causes injury (e.g., a cabinet pulls loose from the wall and falls on someone), you could be liable.

But installing cabinets is not rocket surgery either – most experienced handymen/women can get the job done adequately, within a reasonable time, and without having to buy or learn any exotic new tools or installation methods.

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