Doing home improvement projects yourself, or “DIY,” is all the rage. There are websites, magazines, and even a television channel or two dedicated to DIY projects. Maybe you’re an enthusiast yourself, and why not? Doing a project yourself can give you a deep sense of pride and accomplishment, allow for the ultimate in customization, and even save you money.
But when it comes to home improvement, there are the jobs you can totally DIY and some that should always be left for the pros—especially if you’re new at this whole do-it-yourself thing. “Ask yourself, ‘Am I going to injure myself? How much is it going to cost if I screw up? And do I need a permit?” says Brittany Bailey, a licensed contractor in North Carolina and blogger at Pretty Handy Girl
. If you get hurt, cause damage, or don’t meet building codes, she cautions, “you may end up paying more.” Below, some other DIY home project warnings.
Sanding Floors Takes an Experienced Touch
There are things that take a skill that can only be developed over time. Sanding floors is one of those things. It’s too easy to over- or under-sand various areas of your floors and trying out your skill on your first flooring shouldn’t be attempted on your home’s actual floor. Amateur work is instantly recognizable and might well detract from your home’s value. Skip the lumps and bumps and hire a pro.
Don’t Go Too Far with Plumbing Projects
When you do your own plumbing, it can be easy to violate plumbing code without even knowing, which can lead to city fines. Simple mistakes can be made, such as improper venting which can hinder your drains from draining properly, or even worse, water contamination due to backflow issues. A professional licensed plumbing technician has a deep understanding of plumbing codes and stays up-to-date as they change, so their installations will be up to code every time.
Plumbers have years of training and experience in the field, meaning they possess well-developed skills and knowledge that the average homeowner does not. They solve a wide range of plumbing problems on a daily basis. So when they look at a complicated problem, they are able to come up with a solution right away and perform the solution without error. They also have a variety of specialized tools, some of which aren’t even sold in hardware stores, and they know exactly how to install a correctly sized pipe with the correct connections, material, and pitch to maximize flow and minimize problems.
Plumbing is tricky and difficult. While you might save a little money in the short-term by choosing to do your plumbing yourself, you might do something improperly and cause numerous problems down the road.
Let the Pros Install That Murphy bed
It is critical to have your Murphy bed installed by technicians who have been trained and certified. The safety of both the installer and the end-user are at stake here. Murphy beds use springs and mechanisms to operate which can cause injury if not handled correctly. Additionally, the bed will not function properly unless the cabinet is perfectly square which is contingent on correct installation. Any wall-bed must be correctly aligned and securely anchored to the wall during installation. They are not freestanding items like furniture. You want your new wall-bed to fit correctly and function smoothly, for years to come. Proper installation by a trained expert assures this.
Know your Boundaries Around Electrical Wiring
If you’re feeling confident, go ahead and install a dimmer switch or swap out a light fixture. But if you didn’t get an A in shop class—and then go on to become a licensed electrician—leave the rest of the wiring to a pro. Shocking yourself or starting a fire is all too common, and a danger worth avoiding.
Electricians are trained and complete apprenticeship hours to perfect their craft and adhere to safety protocols. They also must pass a licensing test in order to work as an electrician. To become an electrician, an individual needs to complete 600 hours of in-class instruction covering safety, electrical circuits, and blueprint reading. Electricians will then complete on-the-job training under the supervision of a licensed electrician.
These requirements for becoming an electrician illustrate that working with electrical components and wiring is risky and difficult. It’s work that shouldn’t be taken lightly no matter how many online tutorials someone watches.
It may seem like turning off the power to complete electrical repairs is all that is necessary, but when the power comes back on the wiring may cause safety problems. Electricians are trained to learn how to minimize immediate and long-term safety risks. They know what kind of component and wiring needs to be installed, why, and where. As an untrained DIYer, these safety protocols and electrical component knowledge are too complicated to always follow properly. If you want to keep your electrical components and homes safe, then focus on general work every homeowner can do.