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It’s always a good feeling knowing that you’ve accomplished something on your own, especially when it comes to home improvements or renovations. But often these seemingly easy tasks become more tedious than we initially thought and we end up botching it.
And that’s when we need to call in the professionals.
From electrical work to plumbing needs, pro paint jobs and roof or shingle replacements — these are all projects better left to the professionals unless you have confidence in your own expertise or have experience working with these tasks.
There are a number of things you should ask yourself before trying to tackle a DIY home project:
A study done in 2012 evaluated the rising popularity of DIY-ing home improvement projects. They found that 70% of people in their 50s – 60s had taken on a DIY project that they typically would’ve paid a professional to tackle. And of that number, 42% said they’re handling little repairs around the house (like fixing leaky faucets), 36% are doing their own yard work, and 18% have started major remodeling projects. The participants noted that these activities were “zen” and calming, and gave them a sense of accomplishment.
But it’s not always wise to do these things. A few reasons: firstly, it can actually cost MORE to DIY a project than to pay a professional. You also run the risk of hurting yourself if you are inexperienced, and also run into bumps in the road if you make mistakes, making your project take much longer than it would have if a professional took on the job.
Below we’re compiled a list of some of the most popular complaints our customers come to us with after they’ve discovered they can’t achieve fixing what they want to fix. We also gathered statistics from experts. If you’ve found yourself in this tricky situation, don’t hesitate to come to us! We have a master list of premium recommended local contractors and professionals who can help you with any job.
1. Two-story or higher work or scaffolding. Attempting to scale heights when you are not trained or used to it can be a challenge. You run a huge risk of falling, which can be easily avoided if you simply call a professional.
2. Altering or re-wiring electrical lines. Hopefully this one is common sense. If you have no experience working with electricity, it is best to just keep away. Calling an electrician is a much better choice since they are educated on the dangers posed by electrical work and in turn you avoid possibly electrocuting yourself or causing a fire hazard in your home due to a mistake.
3. Removing lead paint. Older homes often contain lead paint and when renovating it is necessary to remove it and re-do the paint job. It’s important to take precautions with lead paint, though, as it can cause many health problems such as respiratory issues, nausea, headache, and even more serious problems like kidney damage and anemia. Removal also takes complicated equipment and careful attention. This is a DIY project you should almost never attempt if you have no experience, however it is fine if you be proactive and use a lead testing kit like the ones we sell (here and here) to see if your home contains it or not.
4. Complicated plumbing and heating jobs. It takes a lot of training to know how to install, provide maintenance, and repairs on major plumbing or heating projects. If you do not have experience in working with gas or propane piping, call a professional. It’s also a good idea to get them in for general plumbing work too such as installing tubs or toilets to ensure it’s done right the first time.
5. Installing or replacing roof coverings, such as tiles, shingles, and other structural elements. It is always in your best interest to hire the appropriate professional for these type of exterior jobs, not just because of their expertise, but for your safety too. Generally you would call a roofer for these matters, but general contractors often have the know-how as well.
6. Large-scale painting and decorating jobs. At BRBS we actually have our own paint and decorating specialists who can come straight to your house for a consultation. These people are specifically trained in color theory, decor placement, room design, and more. They handle paint, cabinets, flooring, window treatments, and can help you build the home of your design dreams. Sometimes it is fun to do this as a DIY, but trust us when we say collaborating with a professional will give you a better outcome. You as the client always have a say-so, but these specialists are there to tackle all the tedious tasks.
7. Repairing major leaks in ceilings or walls. That bucket and pot are a good quick fix, but leaving something like this long-term, or worse, messing up your structural integrity from water damage, is not going to be pretty in the end. You may think you can patch it easily with drywall or epoxy, but these DIY fixes aren’t really fixes. They only mask the problem. Hiring a professional to get to the root of the issue and repair it from the foundation makes all the difference.
8. And finally… any work that requires a license or permit. Many of the jobs we mentioned above require this too, but this is a big red flag waving DO NOT DIY. Leave it to the professionals, no matter how much you want to try to be handy-man (or woman)! Trying to do work that requires permits can leave your house damaged, poses a risk for you hurting yourself, and more detailed problems down the line. Rule of thumb: stick to the DIY crafts.