The title to this article might be misleading. Just about any DIY project in the world can be—shockingly enough—done by yourself with a bag of the applicable tools. But there are a few projects you should go into with the know-how first.
Its best to be 100% confident with your abilities before you attempt these on your own; when in doubt, these bad boys are well worth calling in the professionals for. Many of these jobs require a permit and you should know that building codes for tiny houses are being revised because of their special needs.
Yes, all electrical work counts as one project. Electrical work can be incredibly dangerous and its best to avoid it altogether when possible if you dont have the experience. Electricians are trained to work with live wires, and even they have had more than their fair share of electrical shocks.
Electricity is not something to mess around with—a wrong move while youre trying to re-wire a socket or install a new ceiling fan could cause you unnecessary pain, stress, and/or an electrical fire that could put your home and life in danger.
Feel free to replace outlet covers and flip breakers, but when it comes to working with the power itself dont think you can do it yourself without taking necessary precautions or consulting the professionals.
Besides, almost all municipalities require a permit, city inspections, and a licensed electrician for these jobs. Sidestepping the building code might void your homeowners insurance where the item modified is concerned; now, wouldnt that be a bad move?
Installing a Bathtub
Simple plumbing work like fixing a leaky faucet, switching out a shower head, or unclogging a toilet is probably within anyones area of expertise, but other more complicated plumbing jobss arent so deceptively simple.
Installing a bathtub just happens to be one of them. Just because you managed to install your own toilet and flange last week doesnt mean that a bathtub will be as simple. In fact, its not.
Its a complicated procedure that involves elements of both construction and plumbing, requires applying mortar and making sure the tub is level…and its all done in a tight, cramped space.
If youre at all hesitant, call in the professionals. They have been trained to do this, have many similar projects under their belts, and it will take them a fraction of the time it would take you to complete the same work.
Drain Cleaning and Repairs
Some methods of cleaning clogged bathroom and kitchen drains will work the first time, such as homemade drain cleaners and plungers. But what about when none of the simple methods work?
Rather than taking apart the plumbing system under the sink to locate the issue, call the plumber. Working with water is always tricky, and seemingly small issues can lead to big problems. Clogged drains can be caused by any number of things, including cold weather and items inadvertently dropped in, which can be the basis for a clotting blob to form.
So this winter, especially if you live somewhere cold like Northern Idaho or Calgary, proper and periodic drain cleaning is essential to keep your plumbing functional.
Whats more, plumbers will notice other issues that you dont know to look for if youre doing the work yourself, such as pipes corroding from the inside.
Corroding pipes are good candidates to burst in severe cold, and if youre doing all your plumbing work yourself, you may not notice the warning signs like a seasoned plumber would.
Roofing, especially on second-story houses, is dangerous for the DIY enthusiast. It might be tempting to crawl up the ladder and replace a few missing shingles or patch up a leak, but one wrong step could mean a long fall and unnecessary hospital (or funeral) bills.
Roof repair isnt for the amateur, and because roofing doesnt need to be repaired often in any event, its best to hire someone who knows what theyre doing and can do it in a safe manner.
Also, you should know that locating the source of a leak is not an exact science; it takes years of experience to develop the requisite intuition. As an example, the leak may manifest in your bedroom, but it might actually originate somewhere near the ridge vent where the water travels down a roof truss until gravity compels the drops to fall on the ceiling. Very deceptive.
Removing a Wall
A little bit of demolition might sound like fun, especially to teenagers grumbling about being roped into helping with home improvement projects.
But think twice before you start knocking down that wall to open up the kitchen—its usually more complicated than taking a few swings with a hammer like the Property Brothers are so famous for doing on TV. There is trim to take off, studs to carefully remove, and unavoidably a massive mess to clean up afterwards.
More importantly, there are usually electrical wires, PEX tubing or water pipes, and sometimes gas pipes to work around, and if anything goes wrong you could end up with a very dangerous (or expensive) situation.
Its always better to be safe when you dont know whats inside the wall—play it safe and call in the professionals who have the tools, experience, and know-how to work around potential hazards.
It is also prudent to consider that it might be a load-bearing wall where the ceiling joists will need to be supported during renovation and then a header will need to be installed.
Rule of Thumb: If youre at all hesitant about a project youre facing, dont do it. More difficult projects will take you much more time and stress than theyre worth. Some mistakes are easily fixed—others can cost you a lot of money in additional repairs if theyre done wrong.
Other projects can be dangerous. So when you dont feel completely confident in your own abilities, put down the tools and pick up the phone. The professionals are worth it. Know which maintenance projects you might not want to DIY and which ones you can.