Five Home Improvement Projects You Should Never DIY
If you own a home, you’ve probably tackled a DIY project before. And when a project turns out successful, it can be a wonderful feeling. But when you’re halfway through a project and realize you’re in way over your head, the feeling can approach that of sheer dread.
1. Anything but the most basic electrical projects. So, we’re not just talking about changing a lightbulb or installing a dimmer switch here. We’re talking anything that would require switching off breakers or removing fuses. The simple reason for this is the danger electrical projects present. There’s the danger of electrocution, of course — that you could be hurt or even killed if you inadvertently touch a live wire. But there’s also the lurking danger of a short that could cause a fire sometime in the future. So, if you’re thinking about wiring or rewiring anything in your home, it is best to call an electrical contractor.
2. Anything but the most basic plumbing projects. We mentioned fixing a running toilet earlier. That’s something you should be able to fix on your own. And a leaky faucet, too, should be a relatively simple fix for the average homeowner. But when it comes to adding new plumbing fixtures or replacing pipes, even the slightest mistake can result in leaks that can cause serious issues either immediately or later on. And let’s not forget that where there’s moisture in a home, there’s always the danger of mold. So, yes, successful plumbing projects require the kind of experience you don’t get by simply watching a couple of YouTube videos.
3. Taking down a Tree. You’ve got a chainsaw. You’ve cut up firewood. You may have even climbed a ladder and trimmed a few low-hanging limbs. But if you’re thinking of felling an entire tree, you need to call a certified arborist. First, they’ll be able to tell if your tree actually needs to be removed or if, in fact, it can be saved. Second, if they determine the tree requires removal, they’ll be able to do it so that there is no damage to your property or your neighbor’s. You see, most people have trouble “eyeballing” how tall a tree actually is. And it’s common for someone to misjudge a tree’s height only to have it fall onto a neighbor’s roof or car.
4. Window or skylight replacement. This is another project where you might watch a couple of tutorial videos and say, “How hard can it be?” Well, the answer is “pretty hard, actually.” That’s because windows must seal out cold and warm air to keep your utility bills as low as possible. More importantly, windows — and skylights, especially — need to keep out the rain during periods of inclement weather. A poorly installed window or skylight can lead to higher energy bills and leaks that cause floorboards to rot and mold to spread.
5. Foundation repairs. OK, this is a biggie. If your home has sagging or gapping floors, you may be tempted to head down to the basement with some shims or, worse, a bottle jack and some 2x4s, with the notion of shoring up your home’s joists. Take it from us; don’t. Just… don’t. This is your home we’re talking about. Your family. Your stuff. Your adorable labradoodle, Mabel. Everything you love rests on your home’s foundation. Fixing it yourself would be like… doing surgery on yourself instead of going to a doctor. Because if it goes wrong (and it’ll likely go wrong), it can be catastrophic. The best bet is to call a foundation repair contractor. (Don’t call a general contractor or a handyman here; you need a real expert.) They’ll be able to inspect your home and tell you exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it. Not only will this save you a lot of aggravation and stress, but it will also prevent you from losing a big chunk of the proceeds when it comes time to sell your home.
So, yes, do the little projects around the house that you can handle yourself. Maybe even graduate to slightly larger ones as you grow more confident, and your toolbox grows fuller. But leave the big projects to the pros — especially anything foundation-related. By the way, this goes double if you’re considering tackling a home improvement project with your spouse or partner. Nothing will strain a relationship to its breaking point like a good old-fashioned DIY home improvement project!