10 Home Improvement Projects You Should Never DIY
Tackling your own home repair or renovation projects is a good way to save money, and there’s no arguing that having a bit of DIY enthusiasm is generally healthy.
But, when it comes to some home improvement projects, it’s very easy to run into unexpected costs and problems. There are certain tasks you should always leave to the professionals.
Replacing the Roof
Damaged roofing materials, broken shingles, holes, and leaks are common roof problems, so you will encounter them sooner or later. Even if there are just a few damaged or missing shingles, you should stay away from the roof.
You are setting your house up for major interior damage if you don’t have much experience with replacing shingles. Aside from voiding any warranty from the manufacturer, poor DIY roofing can cause the water to drain behind the siding or leak into the attic. The potential cost savings are not worth the risk.
Installing a Skylight
A skylight can brighten any room, but it can also ruin it. Skylights require perfect installation and the roof is the least practical place for a window. If you do a poor job of installing a skylight, you will almost certainly face rot, leaks, and mold issues.
Not only should you avoid doing this yourself, but you should be extra careful when hiring a professional to install a skylight in your home. Make sure that there’s a warranty on the contractor’s labor as well as the skylight.
Upgrading or Repairing Your HVAC Unit
It’s one thing to set up a portable air conditioner, it’s another to try to repair your central HVAC unit. HVAC systems use chemical refrigerants. When inhaled, refrigerants such as Freon and ammonia are poisonous.
Even the smallest mistake can lead to refrigerant leaks. And since freon is a relatively odorless and colorless gas, you may not notice straight away that something is wrong.
You may deal with major expenses down the line if you make an error while replacing your windows. While an amateur window installation may look fine, it can easily lead to much higher energy bills.
Moreover, even the tiniest gap between the wall, the framing, and the window can set you up for mold damage and water leaks.
Servicing or Repairing the Electrical Panel
Obviously, you run the risk of electrocuting yourself and setting your house on fire when tackling serious home electrical improvements—not a very rewarding DIY experience.
Even if you are certain you have the skills to do it, you need to pull an electrical permit anytime you want to modify the panel. You won’t be able to get an ESA certificate if you do any panel work without a permit. This is something you will need in order to pass a home inspection.
When it comes to home electrical repairs, fixing loose outlets (except for the ones that are in the kitchen, bathroom, or outside) is more or less the only thing you can safely do yourself. And even then, you need to turn off the power for the circuit, wear insulated gloves, and use a voltage tester a couple of times to make sure there’s no electricity running to the outlet.
Waterproofing the Foundation
At a glance, foundation waterproofing seems to be a pretty straightforward endeavor. But, there’s more to it than digging up the ground around the foundation and installing a waterproof membrane.
You may need to use a sump pump to ensure proper drainage, and there should be weeping tile at the bottom. Hiring a specialized company is expensive, for sure. But you should get a 15-to-25-year labor and materials warranty.
Redoing Bathroom Plumbing
Repairing a running toilet or fixing a leaky sink is a great DIY project. As for everything else, you should leave it to the professionals.
It’s imperative to have the right person redo your bathroom plumbing because the electrical wiring and the pipes in your bathroom are very close in proximity. When it comes to bathroom plumbing repairs, flooding and electrocution are serious risks.
Drilling Into Walls
Something as simple as hanging a TV stand can lead to much more work. You may not know what pipes and wires run on the back of your wall when you are drilling for installation. If you don’t know where the pipes and the wires are exactly, you can cause a gas leak, burst a pipe, or even electrocute yourself.
You may have the time and tools to drywall a room, but it’s best to find another DIY home improvement project. Hanging drywall is messy work that requires skill and extraordinary patience.
You can easily misalign holes, drive screws too far, and over-sand the drywall paper. Because of this, DIY drywalling and skim coating jobs often lack professional touches—and it really shows.
Installing a Gas Stove
If you are in the market for a gas stove, be prepared to pay for a contractor fee as well as the appliance. Improper installation and assembly of a gas stove can easily result in a gas accident.
Additional real estate resources
Frederick Franks has written a short but important post about repairs to make before selling your home. These are all easy to DYI so don't worry.
Vicki Moore shows readers that it doesn't always take major renovations and lots of money to make a difference in your home. She goes over three easy home improvements that buyers will love to see in your home.
Brian Davis and Tara Scott have put an awesome article on their website with DIY ideas for the house during Covid. Some of these home-improvement projects can be done in 20 minutes and some may take a few days but all will make your home look better.
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Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on PlainHelp.