By Debbie Carlson

Chicago Tribune

Summer chores: DIY or outsource? How you decide what tasks to take on and what to delegate depends on several factors — cost and time involved, safety concerns and personal preference.

After all, one person’s chore is another person’s relaxation.

Liza Hausman, vice president of industry solutions for Houzz, said that if you’re on the fence about whether to tackle a chore yourself or outsource, especially a bigger task, ask a professional.

“(Most) professionals are certainly open to talking about the pros and the pitfalls of taking on a project because most of them have probably come in and rescued homeowners when they got in over their heads,” she said.

Here are some chores you can do by yourself with little issue.

1. Lawn mowing. This is the top summer chore to do yourself, said Dan DiClerico, smart home strategist for HomeAdvisor.

“It’s fairly foolproof. You get exercise, fresh air, and you can really save a pretty good chunk of change,” he says.

Lawn mowers start around $100 for machines like the manual Earthwise 20-inch five-blade Reel Push Lawn Mower ($99.99 www.menards.com) or the Black+Decker 15-inch 10-Amp Corded Electric Push Lawn Mower ($129, www.menards.com.)

2. Painting/staining. Tackle small projects like painting doors, fences, decks and other ground-level jobs yourself, DiClerico said.

“It’s pretty easy to do; it doesn’t require a lot of tools, although there is a little investment there,” he said.

Most of the time spent painting is for preparation work, as the actual painting can go quickly.

Paint prices vary depending on type and quality, but a popular exterior paint from Sherwin Williams starts around $45 a gallon.

Decks and porches should be finished and resealed or stained annually or biennially, and DiClerico said the savings to do it yourself can be significant.

A gallon of a popular sealer costs around $12.

The one possible exception, when it comes to painting, is an entire house exterior.

Here’s where time and safety concerns, like climbing ladders, come into play.

HomeAdvisor estimates the cost of a professional house-painting job averages around $2,700.

“If they do the job right, you’re not going to have to do it again for 10 years. So it doesn’t really make sense to put yourself through all the work to do it,” he said.

3. Pool maintenance: Pools can be a lot of work — opening and closing for the season, plus weekly cleaning. Regular maintenance can keep problems at bay.

You’ll need to invest in several pieces of equipment, like skimmers, vacuums and brushes.

Battery-operated vacuums cost as little as $100.

21012758