General advice says that you can save some money by taking on some of your home improvement projects yourself. HGTV tells you that there is nothing you cannot do to improve your home. That may be true of projects like painting, pressure washing, and gutter cleaning. However, there are home improvement projects that are better left to the professionals.
Check out five home improvements that are not just not DIY friendly, but can actually be more expensive when you do them yourself.
1. Anything You Need a Permit For
There are a substantial number of home improvement projects that require permits from the city, and the full list often depends on the ordinances in your local area. Generally speaking, anytime you need to break or move ground, you require a permit.
Too many DIY-lovers skip the permit stage altogether, and that gets expensive if a neighbor tattles on your or an inspect happens to notice. It is also problematic if the work is being done to help sell your house. Homeowners are required to list unpermitted work upon selling. Not getting that permit can negate the money you saved on doing yourself in costs later. Basically, if your project requires you to apply for a permit, seek a professional to get the right permits and do the work for you.
Roofing is a relatively easy project, especially compared to plumbing or electrical work. Nailing asphalt shingles to a flat surface does not require a huge amount of technical know-how. However, roofing is best left to the professionals simply because of the sheer scale of the project.
Think about it. You have been standing on your roof, and working hard for several hours. It is hot, and you are tired. You are also not completely confident when walking on the roof. Not only is it more likely that it will take you substantially longer to re-roof your house than a professional, but you are also more likely to fall and injure yourself during the project. Any work requiring more than nailing a few shingles down should be handed over to the professionals. It will cost more upfront, but generally speaking, a roofing contractor costs less money than an orthopedic surgeon.
2. Removing a Wall
Open living plans are all the rage in modern home architecture, and homeowners with older properties are often tempted to remove some of the seemingly needless walls to make their home feel bigger and brighter. Tempting as that may be, do not do it.
Some of the walls in your home may be blocking light from reaching dark corners, but they may also be load bearing walls that support the ceiling in your home. Knocking down a load bearing wall without replacing the support ends in disaster. There is no question that your ceiling will come crashing down. Rather, it is just a question of when it will happen. When it does, it will cost more to fix than asking a professional which wall is suitable to remove.
4. Plumbing Projects
Anyone who has tried to remodel a kitchen or bathroom knows that plumbing can be prohibitively expensive for any project. Most of those people have also weighed the costs of doing the plumbing work themselves. Replacing the showerhead, hooking up a sink, and installing a washing machine are all jobs that you can complete on your own with the right tools and a good instruction manual. However, any time you need to touch a water supply line, or move a pipe to install an appliance, you need to call a plumber.
Not knowing what you are doing can result in small mistakes that quickly result in huge disasters. Even creating a small leak in a pipe can cause a huge amount of water damage to your home if you do not have the experience to notice, not to mention the fact that a big mistake can result in a fire or flood.
5. Gas Related Projects
Installing a new gas stove is one of those project that should always, always, always be done by a professional. Connecting a stove to a gas pipe seems simple enough. You need a wrench, a pipe, and two thunks to get it done. But, use the wrong materials, or even under-tighten one of the nuts, and you can cause a gas leak. Gas leaks are dangerous because not only are you breathing in gas, but gas leaks often result in explosions, which can kill you and anyone in the general area.
All homeowners should have essential DIY skills for saving extra cash on small projects. Part of this knowledge includes knowing when to call in the cavalry and get professional work done for projects that are not DIY friendly.
Featured photo credit: Scott Lewis via flickr.com