After years of do-it-yourself shows and independent hardware stores popping up, both are on the decline as the average person realizes they can’t do more than rewire an electrical outlet. Videos on the internet and tool kits aren’t enough for most people to properly handle a variety of tasks.
However, there are projects that you shouldn’t do even if you can find salespeople and online personalities trying to tell you that you can. Here are 7 home repairs and projects you should never DIY.
Electrical work is dangerous. It is true that there are DIY electrical repairs you could do like replacing light bulbs, putting in a ceiling fan, and replacing a light switch. However, even these tasks require safety measures like turning off the power before you work and testing the circuit with a voltmeter before you turn things on.
Every other electrical project should be done by a professional electrician. This is often necessary just to be allowed to get the permit for work like extending and replacing circuits. They want to know that the work is done right so that you don’t burn down your house or die of an electrical shock.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, the house won’t be up to building code, and that can prevent you from selling your house. And if the city has to turn off your power for work to be done, they often won’t turn it back on until you prove the work was done by a professional.
The average do-it-yourselfer is capable of minor repairs like replacing a faucet or changing a showerhead. If you have a tight seal and the right tools, installing a new toilet or snaking a lightly clogged drain can be a DIY job. However, no DIY aficionado should try to modify its plumbing system.
For example, leave it to the professionals to extend your hot water line or reroute a sewer line. This is true even if you aren’t trying to weld copper pipes. While plumbing work isn’t as dangerous as electrical work, a mistake will create a wet, expensive and often smelly mess.
The same applies to DIY remodeling jobs. While you can do some basic things like regrouting your tiles or even installing them if you have the skills, you should think twice about reconfiguring your bathroom, even if you feel you have the experience.
Accidents happen too often, and you might have to deal with major flooding issues if things aren’t done correctly. If anything, make sure that you consult a pro beforehand, and consider working together instead of doing everything on your own if you want to avoid issues.
Most Appliance Repairs
A surprising number of appliance repairs are inappropriate for DIY work. For example, no one except a qualified professional should work with gas appliances. This includes gas-powered water heaters, clothes dryers, ovens, and furnaces. Even when you take precautions like turning off the gas and carefully performing the repair, you could cause a gas leak. This can cause health problems like carbon monoxide poisoning. It also creates the risk of a fire or explosion.
Heating and air conditioning repair should only be done by professionals as well since they involve a lot of technical skills and electrical work. Nor do you want to make the mistake of buying and incorrectly installing a new HVAC system. In this case, you want to contact a professional service.
Companies like Semper Solaris, for instance, cover the whole of Southern California and have some of the best heating and air conditioning units on the market. These units are more efficient than average, but proper HVAC maintenance can improve the efficiency of existing units as well as extend the life of newer equipment.
Another device that’s surprisingly dangerous to repair is your garage door opener. Don’t try to replace the coil springs in your garage door. These springs are coiled very tightly, and if you don’t do things right, it could hurt you if it comes free. Furthermore, someone could get hurt when the garage door crashes down.
Roof repairs are best left to a professional because it is a dangerous task and so prone to mistakes. In fact, a third of construction fatalities are due to falls from a roof, and these are accidents by the professionals.
If you have a single-family house where the roof slope is less than twenty degrees, then minor shingle repairs and gutter work can be a do-it-yourself project. However, even this situation calls for assistance in the form of a spotter to hold the ladder as you climb it.
In every other case, it should be left to the professionals. You don’t want to take the risk of slipping and falling off a second-story roof. And the risk of injury is higher for DIY enthusiasts since you’re more likely to get tired working alone or have to make multiple trips bringing up tools and supplies.
Yet you’re still at risk of making a mistake that leaves you with a leaking roof and more expensive water damage. For example, too many people try to seal the leak with caulk instead of proper roofing materials. That’s why it is worth hiring a professional to do roof repairs.
Major Basement Renovations
To many people, the basement seems perfect for a do-it-yourself renovation project. For example, the basement is not in the main part of the house, so little mistakes are considered invisible. In reality, renovations that go beyond throwing down a rug and dropping off some furniture should involve a licensed contractor. For example, basement renovations should include safety measures like fire blocking and vapor barriers.
On the flipside, digging out the basement to make it lower can cause the entire house to collapse. And forget doing any type of room extension or addition on your own. You could end up making mistakes that could be both costly and dangerous. Which brings us to our next point…
Structural work should always be left to a professional. While TV shows may make it seem like everyone is ripping their homes apart, a do-it-yourselfer is more prone to knocking out a load-bearing wall or some other important structural element. If you’re lucky, the second story will start to sag.
If you are unlucky, the whole house could collapse. Let the professionals support the weight of the roof or upper story while removing walls that carry weight if that is actually necessary.
Concrete work typically isn’t dangerous, but the cost of fixing mistakes is huge unless you’re tiling. If you mess up the pouring of new concrete, you’ll have to pay someone to take it out and then redo it, and that is expensive. Tiling is safer for DIY fans, since you can remove the tiles you got wonky. But even then, you have to factor in the risk of making mistakes, and the cost of fixing it.
Life isn’t a home repair TV show, and very few of us have the skills to do DIY projects right. However, there are a number of projects best left to the pros because it isn’t worth taking the risk of making a mistake.
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