Contractors and emergency room nurses agree — professionals should only do some home improvement projects. From pouring concrete to rewiring the bathroom, here are the top 10 jobs you should think about twice before doing them yourself.
Building an Addition
Additions are ideal solutions to cramped spaces, but beyond the expertise it takes to make major structural changes to your home safely, adding square footage alters the floor plan, requiring permits and strict adherence to local building codes. Whether it’s to save money or just because you didn’t know, failing to ensure your addition meets zoning and safety requirements can result in a failed home inspection at sale time or worse — to tear down your mother-in-law’s new suite.
DIY videos make pouring concrete look easy — just follow the recipe, right?. But any good cook will tell you it takes practice to do it well. From understanding how to best reinforce a concrete foundation to making sure a floor is laid smoothly, hiring an experienced professional is your best bet for completing a concrete project that holds up over time and looks like Michelangelo the artist, not the Ninja Turtle, did it. If you want to try working with concrete, stick to small projects like reinforcing a mailbox post or building a birdbath. In a pinch, you can use ready-mixed concrete to simplify the process. It is inexpensive and easy to use.
The best deals on dishwashers usually don’t come with installation, but paying a professional to do the job can be a bargain. Appliances that use water require painstaking setup to avoid leaks that could cause thousands in damage. From troubleshooting irregular piping schemes to ensuring your new kitchen helper works as efficiently as possible, a licensed plumber has the best tools and expertise for the job.
The Tree Care Industry Association looked at 42 tree-related accidents involving homeowners in 2017, 24 of which were fatal. Not surprisingly, most of these were the result of human error. Chainsaw injuries, falling limbs, and electrical shocks due to trees hitting power lines were among the top issues, and most were directly attributable to a lack of training or improper equipment. Experts point out that trees, especially if they are damaged, can behave unexpectedly, creating hazards inexperienced homeowners may not recognize. Licensed tree care professionals are trained to evaluate hazardous sites and mitigate the potential danger to both people and the surrounding structures.
Mold is more than a nuisance; it can impact your health and damage your home’s structure. Certain strains are toxic and can cause severe respiratory illness while quietly ruining wood, drywall, and flooring. Do-it-yourself remediation kits, including chemicals and personal protective equipment, are available, but mold can be sneaky, often hiding in places where homeowners don’t think to look, like heating and air conditioning ducts that can spread spores throughout the home. Mold removal professionals not only have the equipment to remove mold safely and efficiently, but they know where to look for it and how to keep it from coming back.
Hiring an electrician can be costly, but it is not worth your safety to play with wires yourself. Projects that were simple a decade ago, like replacing an outlet, are more complicated today due to both local codes and changes in technology. One wrong move could cause an electrical injury or create conditions that lead to a house fire. A qualified electrician will obtain the proper permits and ensure your home’s wiring meets the most advanced safety standards. Electricity can kill, so don’t cut corners.
In most cases, homeowners can capably tackle simple plumbing projects like installing a new faucet, but for larger issues, hiring a professional plumber has perks. Your home’s plumbing includes several systems that work together and independently, requiring extensive knowledge of electrical, heating, and cooling applications as well as high- and low-pressure water issues. Professional plumbers have the right skills to troubleshoot the entire system, not just an isolated problem, and they get the job done quickly so that your family isn’t without water for long.
Saving money on home improvement projects with DIY demolition is a bad idea. What could go wrong? Plenty! From ripping out wires that could cost thousands to replace to tearing down a load-bearing wall that supports the roof, breaking out the sledgehammers to get the open concept living room you always wanted might send you to the poor house — or the emergency room — instead. Before taking out your frustrations on the purple tile you hate, call a contractor. Chances are professional demolition is only a fraction of the cost you expect.
Repairing or replacing a roof is not complicated, but it takes the right equipment to do safely, and in most cases, a professional roofer can get it done more cost-effectively. How? It is true that most of the cost of a new roof comes down to labor, not materials, but the cost of doing it yourself can be surprisingly high when you factor in the cost of renting equipment like scaffolding and hauling away hundreds of pounds of old shingles.
Restoring Kitchen Cabinets
Trying to restore your kitchen cabinets is not as easy as putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Without the right know-how, the results can be heartbreaking. Kitchen cabinets live in a unique environment with grease and moisture. They may appear clean but have more surface imperfections than drywall, and that means paint or stain that is not correctly applied can run, leaving drips that spoil their look. From proper surface preparation to using tools designed just for smooth surfaces, paint professionals have the right skills and equipment to give your expensive cabinetry a factory finish.
Saving money on home improvements by doing them yourself is tempting, but only when it is cost-effective and safe. If it is not going to improve your bottom line or give you the expert results you want, then stay safe and hire a professional.