In today’s world, DIY is everything. From fixer-uppers to small home projects, everyone likes the feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing a DIY project. But be careful. Sometimes hiring a professional is still the best option. Here are 10 common DIY projects that you should leave to the pros.
1.Fixing the Roof
While replacing a few shingles on your roof may seem simple, that’s where the simplicity ends. Roof repairs are not only dangerous but can be very complicated as well. Without the right expertise, roof repairs gone wrong can have a serious negative impact on your home. Trying to save a few bucks can lead to major problems such as water damage, mold, fire hazards, and loss of insulation, which can, in turn, cost you thousands down the road.
2. Foundation Work
The stability of your entire home relies on its foundation. A foundation that is cracked or crumbing is not a repair job you should attempt on your own. What looks like an easy fix may just be the tip of the problem – and that problem could require an architect, contractor, or even a structural engineer. A professional will know what the problem is and how to fix it, without affecting your home’s structural stability.
3. Additions and Major Remodeling
The desire for the “open floor plan” has pushed many homeowners into doing major home remodels. This is definitely something you do not want to try on your own, since removing walls and adding extensions are not as easy as they seem. Some walls are load-bearing, meaning they are the main support walls of your house. Start messing with one of these and you can cause thousands of dollars of damage. Then there’s the underlying factor of plumbing and electrical. There’s nothing worse than starting to tear down a wall only to find that plumbing and electrical systems inside that now need to be re-routed. Long story short; don’t try this at home.
4. Mold and Asbestos
The first thought here is, of course, the infamous popcorn ceilings. Nowadays, popcorn ceilings are usually one of the first things to go in a home project. While it seems easy, removing popcorn ceilings is a very messy job with many steps involved. You run the risk of damaging your ceiling with scrapes and divots. Another culprit? Mold. If your basement or bathroom develops mold, it too seems like a no-brainer – it needs to go. With mold, if it is not removed properly, there is the chance that it will keep coming back. Not to mention, the health risk involved. Both mold and asbestos can be harmful to your health, especially if inhaled, but a professional will make sure both are completely removed properly and safely.
5. Installing Carpet or Hardwood
From first glance, flooring seems like a simple DIY project. But don’t let looks fool you. Carpet, hardwood, and even tile all have several steps that if not done correctly could mean starting all over from scratch. Then, from the minute you start tearing out the old flooring, there are dozens of scenarios that may unfold. For example, you may have previous flooring material that may be warped or damaged. You may find that the sub-floor is cracked or rotten. Or, you may get all the way to the finishing touches only to learn that your hardwood floor now squeaks with every step you take. All of these problems can be avoided if you just leave it to the pros.
6. Window Upgrades
It seems easy – just put a new window where the old one was. Right? Wrong. About 40-50% of a home’s heating and cooling through windows and doors. This number increases with any slight gap or weak seals. Replacing your windows is a precise art. Each window has to be measured exactly right, fit into its spot perfectly, and properly sealed. If any of these aspects is off even by the slightest bit, you run the risk not only of loss of heat/cooling, but also water coming in during a storm and the potential for mold. A professional will have the right tools to make sure all of these potential problems are avoided.
7. Electrical Work
The electrical system is complicated, and doing any sort of work with it is not easy if you’re not a professional. The most well-known risk is, of course, the risk of shocks or even electrocution. But there is more than that. If you are working on your electrical system, there is a risk you could change the polarity of the wires which results in losing power throughout your entire home. And the list goes on! Electrical work, when done incorrectly, can lead to popping breakers, sparking outlets, fried electronics/appliances, fire, etc. There is also a mixture of low voltage and high voltage wires running through your home, making it an even more complicated job for the average Joe. It’s better just to stay safe and call the pros.
8. Plumbing Repair
While a cleaning a clogged sink or bathroom drain is an easy fix for homeowners, anything more than that should not be a DIY project. A home’s plumbing is a delicate system with many pieces that need to fit precisely as one. You should never try and fix the main pipe or install appliances (like a toilet, shower, or dishwasher) by yourself. Even a small leak can result in mold or water damage. And that would actually be the better problem to have. If a pipe bursts, you may be faced with flooding and structural damage that could require getting to the plumbing inside your walls or even your foundation. It’s better to play it on the safe side, and let the professionals do the work.
9. Gas Appliance Installation/Repair
These days, many of our main household appliances run on gas. This includes water heaters, ovens, and clothes dryers. Don’t make the mistake of trying to fix or install one of these appliances on your own. It could prove to be deadly. A single loose connection in the gas line could result in the build-up of gas in your home. In the US, more than 400 people die of carbon monoxide poisoning every year. If that doesn’t get you, the build-up of gas can be ignited with a single spark, and cause fire or even an explosion. This should be a no-brainer when deciding to call the professionals.
10. Tree Removal
While removing small trees is manageable for some, the larger the tree, the harder the removal. Trimming or removing large trees is something you should never try to DIY, as there are many things that can go wrong. A professional tree trimmer will have the right equipment to reach those tall branches, and the right know-how to remove the tree bit by bit. Without the right knowledge or equipment, there is a chance that falling branches – or even the falling tree as a whole – can do damage to your house, your car, or even your neighbor’s property. In addition, digging up the stumps without the proper know-how can cause the roots to damage underlying water and electrical lines. One wrong move when removing a tree can cause thousands of dollars of damage.
If you are thinking about selling your home and have questions about home improvements, we are here to answers them.