With the ever-expanding internet resources on do it yourself projects, you might feel like you can tackle any home improvement project on your to-do list. However, there are many projects that can be dangerous if undertaken without the proper knowledge and professional help. Accidents from DIY accidents often result in serious injuries that can add up to serious medical bills and time off from work. A DIY project gone wrong can cause damage to your home that could be costly and difficult to repair. Follow these tips to ensure you don’t turn a DIY project into a “What did I do?” project.
QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK YOURSELF
Before taking on a renovation project, ask yourself these questions that might help make this decision easier.
IS THERE A POSSIBILITY YOU’LL SEVERELY HURT YOURSELF OR SEVERELY DAMAGE YOUR HOME?
Professionals are trained to safely handle those big jobs, so let them do the job. Saving a few bucks is not worth your own safety and health.
DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
This might be the most important question to ask yourself. By simply hiring a pro rather than fixing a major mistake yourself, you can save yourself a lot of money.
WILL THE POSSIBLE HEADACHE BE WORTH THE MONEY SAVED?
Always think of your time as money and evaluate what your time means to you. DIY projects are time intensive and should not be rushed.
1) FLOOR REFINISHING
If you have lovely hardwood floors in your home, they may have been tarnished from years of wear. The original wood can be salvaged by resurfacing, sanding down, and then refinishing the floor.
However this is a messy process producing a huge amount of dust, irregular sanding marks, and exposing nail heads that shred the sandpaper. You can rent a sanding machine, but you’ll find it difficult working on your knees while wrestling with the sander. These machines typically require the right touch by a professional who does this job day in and day out. After all, these are mostly likely original hardwood floors that should be preserved with the right amount of attention to detail and experience. Bite the bullet and get the job done right and all at once by hiring a pro.
2) TREE REMOVAL
While you may not fully recognize the danger of tree removal, unless you have the right experience, it’s best to leave this job to the professionals. Falling trees are unpredictable. Browsing the internet you’ll find homeowners trying to remove trees then end up causing extensive damage to their home, vehicles, or surrounding power lines. If you don’t know what you’re doing, the tree is just as likely to fall on your house, as it is to fall in the direction you want it to. Professional tree trimmers have the right equipment, the right training, and countless of hours of experience to do the job safely and properly.
Low-level branches that can be easily trimmed off of bushes or small trees and reached with a ladder to cut with hedge trimmers, is an okay DIY project. Between coordinating a cut that doesn’t cause a tree falling into your dining room, renting or acquiring the tools necessary to cut it down, and finding a way to dispose of the tree altogether, you would have saved yourself time, money, safety and a headache.
3) ELECTRICAL WORK
It’s one thing to flip a fuse switch to the power in your home on or off, but another to attempt to repair faulty wiring or any other electrical issues without professional help. Working with electrical wires can be deadly and the proper precautions and knowledge are crucial.
Not only is it dangerous to fiddle with electric lines, in most municipalities, it’s illegal. You need special licensing, permits and knowledge of local building code requirements before working with electricity. Even without the legalities involved, you probably won’t have the expertise required for most electrical work. A single mistake could cause a fire. Shoddy electrical work is one of the most common causes of house fires.
Electrical work requires special expertise that the average homeowner won’t have. Additionally, electrical work can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. A single mistake can cause catastrophic electrical problems for your whole home. Even worse, you can be seriously injured or killed. If you have electrical work that needs doing, hire an electrician.
4) PLUMBING REPAIR
Any plumbing work beyond simple fixes such as unclogging a drain, replacing a faucet or shower head, should be left to an experienced plumber. Plumbing repairs can do extensive harm if not done correctly; one wrong move and you can end up with some serious flooding on your hands. Leaks can cause great structural problems and often times need tools that are not in an average home toolbox.
Professionals are equipped to handle copper piping (which requires welding), and other major pipe reconstruction or replacement in the most efficient way possible. If in doubt about what you can do on your own, hire a plumber at the outset rather than hiring a plumber to fix the thousands of dollars in damages you caused trying to save a few bucks.
5) STRUCTURAL CHANGES
When doing a major remodel, some homeowners opt to do the demolition stage themselves. There’s something therapeutic about taking a sledge hammer to that wall you’ve always wanted gone. But once again, this is a job best left to the professionals. Tearing down a load-bearing wall can have catastrophic consequences. Behind those walls are gas pipes, electrical wires, plumbing, etc.
Before you pick up your sledge hammer and affect the structural integrity of your home, better call in a contractor. You don’t want to start tearing down a wall only to find out that there is electrical wires or plumbing behind it. Also, the average homeowner doesn’t know the difference between a load-bearing wall and a non-load-bearing wall, which could leave a room caving in on you without this support.
Roof work requires special training, the right tools, and years of experience if you want to do the job right. You may think if you’ve repaired damaged shingles or cleaned your gutters, you are a roof expert. However, major roof repair should never be attempted by a homeowner without experience. Besides the fact that working on top of a roof is very risky because one could easily lose their footing and slip, it can also be detrimental to your home’s structure if you don’t know the proper way to install or repair roofing. If you have a warranty on your roof, avoid doing roof repairs that could void your warranty.
Overall, a good rule of thumb for DIY projects: Anything requiring a permit and/or professional license, you should leave to the pros!