Today more than ever, people are excited about doing things on their own. There’s so much information out there, and complex tasks have become more accessible thanks to well-produced instructional content. In many cases, the DIY approach is more expensive than hiring a professional — but for some people, the pride and satisfaction of completing a project yourself is worth it.

The problem with this DIY trend is that people sometimes become overconfident in the kinds of projects they undertake. With the amount of instructional content out there, it’s easy to believe you’ll never need a professional’s help again. This is, of course, a risky frame of mind. When you’re talking about important aspects of your home, or projects that add up to thousands of dollars, making mistakes can be very costly indeed.

So how does masonry “stack up” to other types of work? Is it possible (or plausible) for the average homeowner to undertake masonry work without professional help?

In order to find the correct answer to that question, we need a clear understanding of what masonry is. This is an ancient technique for building houses, walls and other structures. It involves some type of brick or stone, and an element of mortar which helps hold the individual bricks and stones together.

In terms of doing masonry on your own, without any experience of professional training, it really depends on how big and extensive the project is — and what’s at stake. A simple retaining wall in the garden might be a fun and rewarding project. Even if it doesn’t work out as planned, and you end up having to knock the wall down and start over, your losses won’t be all that much.

On the other hand, if you’re renovating a major aspect of your home with masonry, or repairing existing masonry in an important location (such as the chimney), you’ll want to think very carefully before rolling up your sleeves and diving in. The quality of your final results can have a big impact on things like property value and curb appeal — not to mention the fact that the work can be dangerous.

A qualified mason or masonry specialist will be able to perform all kind of masonry work, from the simplest to the most complex projects. They can also help you decide whether or not you really need professional help for a given project. Obviously, there are companies out there who will discourage people from doing any type of masonry work themselves, because this cuts into their business. The reality is that very simple and low-risk masonry projects can be a fun and rewarding undertaking. But when masonry is highly visible or structurally important, the best option (and sometimes the only legal one) is leaving it to the professionals.

Find a high-quality mason by blending online research with phone calls and conversations with people you know. There are companies out there who do excellent work without overcharging or overselling, and their reputations should be noticeable as you look around.