I bought a house and immediately became DIY-obsessed. I thought: Why hire a contractor to convert that coat closet into shelved storage when I can buy a saw and do it myself? With the internet at my fingertips, I can look up how to do basically anything around my home, which means I can save a crazy amount of money and get the home updates I crave.
Unfortunately, that mindset didn’t last long. I quickly discovered that plenty of projects around the home simply aren’t DIY-able because they require special expertise and tools — which I cannot simply acquire by skimming through a quick how-to post online. If you want to avoid doing serious damage to your home, you should trust me and never attempt to DIY the following types of home improvement projects:
Water damage is not something you want to worry about. When water seeps out into spaces it isn’t supposed to be, it ruins almost every material in its path and encourages the growth of various types of mold that put your health at risk. Worse, water damage isn’t usually a noticeable deluge; in most homes, water damage is slow and sinister, causing problems behind-the-scenes for days or months before you notice and stop it.
Because the risk of incurring water damage is so high whenever you work with plumbing, it is a good idea to leave anything pipe- and faucet-related to the experts. Any small mistake you make (and there are hundreds of possible mistakes) could result in a drip that causes under-the-surface water damage. Even seemingly small projects like fixing a drip or installing a new faucet can go horribly wrong, so I found it safer to call in a trusted Jersey faucet repair service for all my plumbing troubles.
As if water damage weren’t bad enough, the results of a poorly worked electrical system are dire. Everyone has experienced a small shock, maybe from static electricity or an electric appliance on the fritz. However, you don’t ever want to feel 1800 watts of electricity coursing through your body. Every year, more than 4,000 Americans find themselves in the emergency room due to mishaps with electricity, and hundreds more never make it to the hospital. If you don’t take every single safety precaution when you work with your electrical system, you open yourself up to the risk of electrical shock.
Even if you do avoid shocking yourself, electrical problems are one of the most prominent causes of house fires. This is because stray or frayed wires can arc with nearby metal, setting flammable materials like drywall, insulation and furniture aflame. My father is an electrical engineer, and even he hires professionals for jobs like installing light fixtures and outlets because the risks of shock and fire are just too great.
I’m not talking about toasters and stand mixers. Rather, you shouldn’t try to DIY install your major home appliances, like your water heater, dishwasher, refrigerator and range. There are two major reasons for this prohibition: first, that most appliances require you to tinker with either the electrical system or the plumbing, which we’ve already learned is a no-no; secondly, that these appliances tend to be a bit too large and unwieldy for you to maneuver around your home unassisted. It’s much safer and speedier to allow the retailer of your appliances to install them upon delivery.
Demolition seems easy — aren’t you just using a comically large sledgehammer to turn elements of your home into rubble? In truth, demolition is a complex process, and done wrong, it can devastate your home. I’m not talking about all those times the wrecking ball and bulldozer hit the wrong house; rather, you can be demolishing the wall you intend to take out and still make mistakes that compromise your home’s integrity. If you begin demolition without understanding what components run around and through various parts of your home, you could disconnect power, disrupt plumbing and perhaps even remove a load-bearing wall, causing your roof to buckle. It’s okay to participate in demolition processes, as long as you are guided by a professional who can tell you where to strike and when.
There are a few other good indications for when DIY isn’t a good idea, such as when you remain confused after rereading instructions or when you are pressed for time and trying to rush a project to completion. Home renovation is more complicated than the TV shows make it look, so you might want to have professionals on hand for most major upgrades, just in case.