Check out this site before starting on your next home improvement project.

By Ashley Tate
Updated October 11, 2010

Say one day you’re feeling particularly frugal—or ambitious—so you decide to install a garbage disposal yourself instead of hiring a plumber. It seems like a great idea…until the water starts gushing from below the sink. Avoid such catastrophes by perusing the website, run by DIY veterans Gene and Katie Hamilton, who have written a syndicated newspaper column on the subject for more than 20 years. Their free Web tool or mobile app allows you to search for a project and find out the relative cost (specific to your ZIP code) and the time it would take to do it yourself compared with hiring a professional. The site’s database also provides information for more than 300 home projects, like repainting cabinets and installing a dimmer switch. And it offers basic instructions and a list of the supplies you’ll need if you decide to tackle the task on your own.