DIY projects are typically win-win situations for crafty homeowners these days. Most people enjoy the great sense of accomplishment they get out of making a home repair or finishing a remodeling project, themselves. And, of course, there’s the savings. Who doesn’t like saving a bunch of money on a contractor?
But there are some areas of home repair and renovation that even the handiest of homeowners should simply leave to the pros. Trained, and in some cases licensed, contractors in a number of fields work for years to understand the technical nuances and dangers involved in repair and maintenance in their field, and they do that for a reason. Some stuff you simply don’t want to go tinkering around with. Not only are some areas of household repair extremely costly when done wrong, they can downright kill you.
Here are five of our top Don’t-Do-it-Yourself projects you should definitely leave to the pros.
Toxic Substance Removal: You know those movies where there’s been some toxic spill and the guys in the big white trucks suddenly rush onto the scene with those bulky hazmat suits spraying everything in sight? The reason it always looks so ominous is because it IS. Toxic substances like mold, lead and asbestos can cause incalculable harm to the human body and exposure may yield health problems for years to come. Professionals are trained to deal with these substances. Don’t risk your family’s health and safety. Leave it to the pros.
Repairing/Replacing Broken Pipes: Pipes that burst or leak are no fun replacing. While there’s sure to be a thrill of accomplishment should you do the job well, the amount of danger involved make this a job best left to an experienced, licensed plumber. The act of replacing damaged pipes is not so much the problem here as the fact that you have to use a propane torch in the process. Without a solid understanding of how to use one, you could be taking your life into your own hands just to save money. Not a good bargain in my book. Replacing broken pipes not only endangers your safety. It also threatens further, even more serious repairs if you goof the project. This isn’t something a home renovation enthusiast should take on.
Know your limits. Unless you are certified and licensed in the plumbing trade, this is quite possibly one of them.
Roof Repair: It goes without saying that unless you have mastered the fine art of defying gravity, you probably should not attempt any roof repair projects on your own. But I’ll go ahead and say it anyway: You probably should not attempt any roof repair projects on your own. Professional roofers have tons of war stories about how they’ve taken a dive or two off a steep roof here and there. And they have the training and tools to do the job on a daily basis. So when it comes to the rooftop, leave the heavy lifting to the pros. The money you spend hiring a professional to do the job right will be well worth it considering a solid roofing system lasts on average 17-20 years. And you get to stay on the ground the whole time.
Gas Line Repair: There are SO many reasons why attempting to repair your gas line yourself is such a bad idea, but the best one I can give you is you could blow up your home in the process. Make one wrong move and you could flood your home with gas, after which a good spark here or there and there goes the neighborhood, literally. Additionally, your furnace emits dangerous carbon monoxide fumes that are not detectable by sight or smell. You definitely don’t want to take a chance with that stuff. Call a pro who can deal with the situation with professional precautions and the skill and experience necessary to get the job done without casualties.
Electrical: If gas and propane tanks are Stranger Dangers in the world of DIY home improvement, electricity is that creepy looking guy they show on the nightly news that just escaped from a maximum security prison in Texas. You definitely do not want to mess with him. Electrical work is the mother of all home improvement work. It’s intricate, complex and dangerous. Understanding the capacity of specific wiring, getting to the root of complex wiring system issues, these are all things best left to the professionals.
The U.S. Fire Administration reports that 280 Americans die each year in electrical fires. Many are due to incorrectly installed wiring systems and overloaded circuits. You don’t want to be the next casualty just because you wanted to save some cash on a reno. Stay safe and call an expert who has a proven track record of happy customers to speak for their work. After all, they’ve trained to be able to properly wire and repair the electrical systems within your home. Why not use that training an experience to your advantage?
Making DIY repairs and renovations can be an incredibly creative and engaging way to enjoy your home. Shaping one’s own environment has always enticed us from the early beginnings of our country. And who can resist the urge to put your own thumbprint on your space while saving a bunch of cash in the process?
But like all things, balance should be generously applied to those efforts. It’s not worth the savings if you ruin your home’s plumbing or do more damage to to your roof than was there to begin with. And it certainly isn’t worth it of you loose your life in the process.
So look at the costs but also the risks involved when taking on any home improvement projects. If you find you may be biting off more than you can chew, don’t be afraid to call in a pro to get the job done and keep you on track and in one piece.