Do It Yourself Projects You Shouldn't Do Yourself

Injured Worker

We Canadians pride ourselves on independence. We're not afraid of tackling home improvement projects, and it shows when you listen to commercials from The Home Depot and Lowes Home Improvement. We're all about doing! But how can you tell if a home improvement project is a do-it-yourselfer? Are there some projects that are automatic DIY no-no's?

4 DIY Indicators

Nice weather has a universal effect on homeowners. Instead of spring-cleaning fever, we get home improvement fervor. Cooling temperatures and mild breezes put us in the mood to tackle the home projects we've put off all summer long. And suddenly, we're willing to dive into things we were triple thinking a few months ago.

Before you jump headlong into a project, it's best to take a moment to reflect. That project needs to be assessed. You need to determine if you can handle it on your own before biting off more than you can chew. Consider:

  1. Inspections and Codes: Will your project require inspection? Does it need to meet city or county codes? If the answer is yes or maybe, it's best to assess the project further. No matter how motivated you may be, codes are tricky. One wrong move can turn your do-it-yourselfer into a thousand dollar project requiring changes—sometimes enormous ones—just to pass inspection.
  2. Technical Knowledge: Is technical knowledge a must for the project? For example, electricians and plumbers have technical knowledge. Not only must they know local codes, but also how to safely and properly wire or plumb a residence. Sometimes it's safer and wiser to leave wiring and plumbing projects to the pros.
  3. Expertise: If a home improvement project falls outside of your realm of expertise, it's best to call on a pro. The determined do-it-yourselfer will likely try to expand their expertise. If you're such an individual, we applaud your go-getter attitude. Nevertheless, always consider your limitations.
  4. Limitations: If a project is beyond your tool supply, consider why you lack those tools. Will purchasing them be money better spent on an experienced professional? Can you safely operate them if you do purchase them? Always consider your limitations. If a project pushes past them, it's probably not a good do-it-yourselfer.

If a project doesn't require inspection, technical knowledge, expertise you lack, and doesn't exceed your limitations, it's likely safe to tackle on your own. But before you strike out, consider the eight home projects that are DIY no-no's:

Tree Removal: Cutting down an entire tree—even just removing branches—is a dangerous task. It requires climbing and operation of sharp tools at dangerous heights. It may appear to be a simple task, but it's best left to an experienced professional.

Structural Changes: Knocking out a wall or two to expand the living space of your home may sound simple enough, but structural changes are fraught with peril. The walls you're looking to remove could be load bearing or contain electrical wiring, gas pipes, or plumbing.

Driveway Paving: How hard can it be, right? Paving stones are a great look, and they appear deceptively easy. Picture a jigsaw puzzle on steroids, and you're looking at a driveway-paving project. Measuring and positioning paving stones is a time-consuming, meticulous task. Pros can do it in a day, depending on the driveway size. It could take you or me several days.

Electrical Work: Flipping a fuse switch is easy. Rewiring is hard. Faulty wiring repair is not an easy task, and it's fraught with danger. If you lack knowledge and proper precautions, it can even be deadly.

Plumbing Work: Fixing or unclogging a drain is one thing, messing with the plumbing is a completely different bear. Tampering with the pipes can result in an uncontained burst, overflow, or flood. Save your water and your frustration by hiring a plumber.

Roof Repair: The roof is the highest elevation of your home. Working up there is risky. All it takes is a loss of footing or a simple misstep, and you're in for a ride. Improper roof repair can also compromise the structure of your home. If you suspect a roofing issue, contacting a contractor is a good idea.

Siding Installation: When installed correctly, siding can last for years. However, if you make it a DIY project with no experience, you'll be calling a pro within a year. Siding must be properly secured and capable of withstanding the weather. It must also be sealed to ensure nothing seeps underneath, causing harm to your home's frame.

Window Projects: Whether adding or replacing a window, specialized tools and methods are required. The window needs to be well insulated and secured. Yes, a professional is costly. But they'll save interior and exterior damage risks.

Finding a Pro

If that do-it-yourselfer is looking a little more monstrous than originally thought, it's time to find a pro. Be sure to check out our contractor hiring tips. And don't forget to share your contractor experience by writing a review.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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