In an era where many of us are following online tutorials to make our home improvement dreams come true, it’s important to know when a DIY will turn into a living nightmare. Unless you’re a professional, you can run into a heap of trouble, risking your home, health, and safety. Before you grab your tools and roll up your sleeves, be aware of these home improvement no-no’s.
Handling asbestos. If you own a home build prior to 1980, chances are it contains asbestos. The asbestos would be in the form of ceiling texture, siding, insulation, or adhesives. Asbestos becomes dangerous when it’s disturbed and you can breathe it in, at which point it could damage lung tissue. The experts at Redfin explain that if you do a remodel or renovation, you will need to budget for a professional to handle asbestos remediation.
Removing mold. Homeowners are sometimes confused about mold, since most of us remove mold in places like bathrooms on a routine basis. However it’s important to understand some forms of mold are dangerous for you to remove yourself. According to HouseLogic, mold spores found growing on studs, drywall, or subflooring could be hazardous, and you should hire a professional to manage the removal.
Plumbing. Leaking showers and dishwasher installations indicate you should call a plumber. Any time you feel pipes need to be disassembled or assembled, some experts warn you are in over your head. Pipes are actually complex and require specialized expertise, so don’t DIY plumbing-related projects.
Wall removal. Open floor plans are all the rage, but you better think twice before tearing out a wall. If the wall is load-bearing, removing it could cause your ceiling to collapse and potentially endanger you and other members of the household.
Roof repairs. Replacing a few shingles or fixing a leaky roof may not sound like a big deal, but if you don’t do it correctly you can exacerbate your problem. Roof leaks and repairs are more complicated than they seem, and you need to be able to accurately locate where damage occurred in order to fix it properly. Besides, lots of homeowners fall off roofs in an attempt to save a few bucks. Call in a contractor before creating more headaches or a trip to the emergency room.
Electrical issues. If you don’t handle electricity properly, you risk a house fire or electrocuting yourself. Unless you have necessary skill and knowledge, you shouldn’t install your own light fixtures. Even more dangerous is tampering with your electrical panel. As HGTV explains, repairing or changing your electrical panel is not only hazardous, it requires a special permit. Hire a certified electrician to navigate electrical additions and repairs.
Waterproofing a foundation. Wet basements are difficult and costly to fix, so sometimes homeowners try to save money doing the work themselves. However the job is a major undertaking, involving removing the soil around your home’s foundation and installing a special membrane and drainage tiles, and sometimes a sump pump is required. This isn’t a job to skimp on; look for a waterproofing contractor that offers a 15- to 25-year warranty on the work.
Tree removal. Working on trees is hazardous in many ways. Climbing can leave you open to a dangerous fall, decaying trees can crumble unexpectedly, and limbs can fall on people or structures nearby, so some professionals recommend hiring a tree removal service instead of attempting the work yourself.
Don’t DIY. You may enjoy doing certain home improvements yourself, but it’s vital not to get in over your head. When the job exceeds your ability and knowledge, you can create more problems or risk health and safety. Recognize your limits and know when to call in a pro.