America has gone DIY crazy in recent years. From contemporary home improvements to creative décor trends, everyone has become craftier and handier these days. It seems that the driving force behind the DIY boom has been an effort to cut home improvement costs. A few trips to the hardware store or craft store will have you spending less than paying contractors and interior designers. However, there are STILL certain projects that should be left to the pros. Here are seven that you definitely shouldn’t do on your own:

Painting Your Home’s Exterior

painting

About seven years ago, I bought a drab, blue-gray bungalow that I had professionally repainted. I actually envisioned my dad and I tackling the huge project since our house wasn’t very tall. I came to my senses when I realized that everything had to be taped and primed!

Painting a house can be a dangerous and massive undertaking. Not only do you work on scaffolding, but you have to deal with a significant amount of chemical fumes from the paint, primer, solvent and sealer you’ll be using.

When considering the high cost of renting scaffolding, ladders and paint sprayers, I realized that I faced a bigger job than I thought. Even if you really love to paint, consider that a significant amount of time and precision is required for such a task.

Trimming Large Trees

tree trimming

Ever see the home insurance TV commercial where a guy is trimming a tree in his yard, the branch falls and smashes his neighbor’s car? Don’t be that guy. If you have a dead or broken tree limb in your yard that needs trimming, you may want to leave it to the experts if you lack experience or the safety know-how required.

You may need power tools, heavy equipment and an aerial lift to access high branches. If you need large limbs removed urgently after a storm, professionals can swiftly maneuver around power lines and rooftops. Although professional tree trimmers charge between $50 and $200 per hour depending on the tree’s height and size, it could be money well spent.

Replacing Your Garage Door

garage

At first glance, replacing a garage door doesn’t seem like a tall order if you have some helping hands available. But, the size and weight of a garage door can pose a major risk to an inexperienced installer.

Moreover, installing a garage door requires replacing torsion springs, which can be dangerous since the steel springs are so tightly wound. Replacing or repairing a garage door requires specific tools and parts that are often hard to find. You can avoid injury by hiring a contractor.

Electrical Work

electrical wires

You run the risk of shocking yourself or damaging wires if you opt to take on an electrical project yourself. You could lose power due to a surge, or an outlet could malfunction. More importantly, most home insurance companies require that a licensed electrician perform such tasks.

Working with live electrical wires can be deadly if you don’t take proper precautions. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 400 people are electrocuted every year; roughly 70 of those are fatal. Additionally, more than 360,000 residential fires happen yearly – the main cause being electrical malfunctions. Those blazes resulted in nearly 2,500 deaths. Needless to say, the stakes are high when taking on DIY electrical projects. Please be careful.

Carpet Installation

Bare feet on carpet

While it’s tempting to save money by tackling your own carpeting project, it may not be as cost effective as you think. Carpet installation requires precise room measuring and laying sub-flooring, which can be tedious. This is all before you have to properly lay tack strips, use a carpet stretcher and a staple gun.

Novice carpet layers can compromise the appearance and integrity of the product with incorrect cuts and improper stretching. This could result in a waste of carpeting and money.

Roof Repairs

roof

Even small roof repairs can pose a serious safety hazard because of the unevenness and height of your roof. Big and small projects can also require hauling heavy equipment around the roof. If roofing is improperly installed, it could result in leaks, mildew and wall damage to the house’s interior.

Above all, most home warranties require that a certified roofer perform repairs. If you’re performing the job, it could void your warranty. Hire a contractor with the appropriate skills, equipment and expertise.

Home Addition

Adding an addition

There’s more work than meets the eye with most home additions – electrical wiring, gas lines, plumbing, window installation and more. Projects like expanding a bathroom or finishing a basement can involve a heavy workload of pouring concrete, wall framing and roofing. Such high-maintenance tasks require project management skills and professional contractor experience. It may be wise to consult a reputable contractor before beginning a project.

There is a long list of home improvement projects too dangerous or complicated to be DIY. If you’re unsure that you have the skills to complete a renovation, play it safe and consult a professional. If you have safety tips regarding DIY projects, please leave them below.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. When the door is close,the garage door spring tension is high,when the door is open, the pressure drops. If you have one broken spring, both door springs should be replaced, otherwise the other spring, already worn, is likely to fail.

  2. As a Journeyman Electrician for twenty years or so, the DIY electrical work seems to be the most common problem area I see, as far as unsafe electrical practices. The worst one is when someone hires a friend, which more than likely, worked in the trade for a couple of months and thinks he knows it all and offers the homeowner a discount for hiring them rather than a licensed and insured contractor. The homeowner doesn’t know the difference between it “works” and it’s “safe”, in most cases. My advice to everyone is always the same, If you’re not qualified, call someone that is. Most importantly research the person you call to make sure you’re getting the right advice and/or work and if the person is up to date with the most recent version of NEC code book. Its revised every three years and requires what we call “code update courses”. Trust me, code changes every three years and interpretation is key to its proper application. Stay safe.

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