Home Improvements You Can Do Yourself, and Others You Should Leave to the Professionals
For some homeowners, the term “DIY” is how they live. They never pay a contractor to do anything if they feel like they can do it themselves.
This is a way to save some money and get yourself some valuable experience. However, disastrous home improvement projects can set you back financially, or you can hurt yourself. If the situation is worse after the project than before you started, you’ll probably have to bring in a professional, and maybe that’s what you should have done from the beginning.
Let’s look at some of the different home projects that you might consider, and determine which ones you should leave to the pros.
You might consider yourself to be a master roofer if you work construction or something similar. However, even construction workers can hurt themselves if they’re not careful. If you’re not a real expert in a particular area, you’re better off calling the pros, which certainly applies to major roofing repairs.
- You could only need to replace a couple shingles or some flashing
- You may need to do an entire tear-off if the roof is too old and damaged
Let’s say that your roof is in relatively good shape, and is between five and ten years old. In most cases, you can still get some more use from it, unless a powerful storm passed through and tore a significant chunk of it off. You notice, though, that it’s missing a few shingles.
This is the sort of thing that you can probably DIY. You can watch some YouTube videos for inspiration if you don’t know what you’re doing.
However, if you can see that the whole roof needs replacing, it’s best to call a professional roofer. You might end up paying more, but this is probably too big of a job for you to attempt.
Plumbing ( for sure, a home improvement that you can do by yourself)
Plumbing problems amount to about the same thing. Maybe you:
- Notice a leak under your kitchen sink
- See that there’s a leak just below your shower faucet
Those aren’t huge plumbing woes, and you can probably tackle them on your own or with the help of a neighbor or buddy. Leaks under the sink might mean wrapping some plumber’s tape around the offending area and tightening the pipes.
However, if you go downstairs into the basement one day during a rainstorm, and you find a flood waiting for you, then that’s a serious enough problem that you should call for a professional plumber without delay.
If you see something like discoloration in a downstairs bedroom, and you can tell that water is dripping in between the floors, that’s another time to call a pro. There could be a serious problem, and you lack the specialized knowledge to go in there and fix it.
With carpentry, it’s more or less the same thing. You might have a warped board that’s part of your backyard deck.
The wood warped on its own over a couple of years since the carpenters installed it. It’s out in the elements, so you can expect that sort of thing. You can probably handle prying off that board and replacing it.
It’s a different matter, though, if you buy a new house and have a whole warped, rotting deck. It’s unstable, and you don’t much like the rusting chain-link fence surrounding the yard.
Maybe you want to hire a carpenter to install a whole new deck and stockade-style fence. If you get the two together, it probably won’t cost you as much as getting them separately.
Since you don’t have the carpentry skills to install the whole new deck and fence yourself, this is another time the smarter move is using a professional and their team.
Then there are HVAC problems. In most cases, you’ll need a pro for that, unless you’ve trained with someone on these systems.
Without that specific knowledge, it just doesn’t make sense to open up a faulty air condition and poke around in it. It’s more ambitious than most DIY-types want to attempt.
If you need to paint a bedroom or install a new doorknob, that’s the type of thing you can do yourself. If you need to install a basement sump pump that empties through an irrigation system into the backyard, that’s probably too ambitious.
These are just some examples, and there are lots more. The point is to avoid tackling projects that you know are too much for you.
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