While it’s fun to take on DIY projects at home, not all tasks are suitable for a do-it-yourself approach. While painting furniture or grouting tile can be manageable, there are specific projects that professionals recommend leaving to the experts due to their complexity and safety considerations.
Here are some projects that experts advise against attempting on your own:
Structural Changes or Repairs
If you’re thinking about knocking down a wall or making significant structural changes, it’s crucial to involve a licensed structural engineer. Mariya Snisar, head of interior design at Renowell, emphasises the importance of professional involvement in such projects, as errors can lead to disastrous outcomes.
DIYing electrical work poses significant safety risks and is best left to licensed electricians. Tatyana Dimitrova, PR specialist for Fantastic Handyman, highlights the dangers associated with tasks like wiring, circuit installations, and panel upgrades. To ensure safety and compliance with building codes, it’s advisable to hire a professional electrician rather than attempting these tasks on your own.
When it comes to window installation, Julee Ireland, an interior design architect and founder of Home Renovation School, emphasises that while it may not involve the same risks as electrical work or structural changes, improper installation can lead to significant issues. Poorly installed windows can result in drafts, impacting your heating bill, and potential leaks can lead to water intrusion and mould problems. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure proper and watertight installation.
As for roof repairs or replacement, Tatyana Dimitrova advises against DIY attempts, even for those who consider themselves handy. Roofing is a physically demanding and hazardous task that requires specific skills to guarantee a watertight and durable outcome. Professional roofers possess the necessary knowledge to assess roof conditions, recommend appropriate materials, and carry out repairs or replacements with proper safety measures.
When it comes to HVAC installation, Tatyana Dimitrova highlights the complexity of these systems, emphasising the need for specialised knowledge. Consulting an HVAC professional is crucial for understanding your home’s heating and cooling requirements, determining the appropriate equipment, and ensuring a proper installation. Improper HVAC work can lead to inefficiencies, compromised indoor air quality, and potential safety hazards.
Asbestos and Mold Removal
Dealing with asbestos or mould requires caution. Mariya Snisar advises against attempting removal on your own due to the associated health risks. Certified professionals equipped with the proper safety gear and knowledge of correct procedures are essential for handling these harmful substances safely.
Major Plumbing Maintenance
While some plumbing tasks are DIY-friendly, major projects like pipe replacement or relocating fixtures should be entrusted to licensed plumbers, according to Dimitrova. Licensed plumbers can navigate plumbing codes, address potential issues, such as leaks or improper installation, and ensure the proper functioning of the plumbing system.
Refinishing your hardwood floors by renting equipment may seem like a reasonable idea initially—after all, you’re just removing the top layer of wood, right? However, according to Sadura, a carpenter, even he, with his carpentry expertise, avoids sanding his floors. Why? Because using sanding machines requires a specific touch that comes from regular, hands-on experience.
Despite watching instructional videos, grasping the feel of the machine is challenging without hands-on practice. Sanding a spot for just a few seconds too long can leave drum marks on the floor that are incredibly difficult to conceal.
So, the perceived cost savings may not be worth it in the end.
Tree removal is best left to professionals, cautions Snisar, as it requires skill to prevent property damage or personal injury. Always hire a pro to cut down a tree. However, once the tree is down, removing the stump is a task suitable for a DIY approach.
‘Permit needed’ work
If you’re unsure about obtaining a permit for a DIY project, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Understanding the requirements for permits is crucial before tackling a project. Some DIYers skip permits, but this poses the risk of being shut down by an inspector or reported by a disgruntled neighbour.
Clement emphasises that the consequences could be more than just inconvenience—they might affect the sale of your house. Disclosing unpermitted work during a sale could deter potential buyers, as they may be unwilling to take on a property with potentially unsafe modifications. Additionally, financing may become challenging due to the unauthorised alterations.
As a general guideline, simple projects like painting, built-ins, or adding a chandelier usually don’t require permits. However, if you’re changing the house’s footprint, updating wiring, or adding fences, permits are typically necessary. In such cases, it’s advisable to consult a contractor promptly.
While many home improvement projects lend themselves to a do-it-yourself approach, it’s crucial to recognise the limitations and potential risks associated with certain tasks.
Entrusting these tasks to professionals ensures not only a successful outcome but also safeguards against potential hazards and health risks. Prioritising safety and seeking professional assistance for complex projects is a wise decision, ultimately contributing to the long-term well-being and functionality of your home.