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7 Home Improvement Projects You Should Avoid

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7 Home Improvement Projects You Should Avoid
4 min. read

Image: Zivica Kerkez / Shutterstock.com

We all have a bit of a DIY streak in us, and it can be very tempting to dedicate a weekend or a quiet afternoon to doing some improvements around the house. Yet there are some jobs that are always best left to professionals, lest a seemingly inoffensive, money-saving fix turns into a costly repair job.

Electrical repairs

Replacing your electrical panel, swapping an old plug for a new one, or installing a ground fault circuit interrupter; these are all jobs that are best left to a licensed electrician. Electrical repairs aren’t made safe by simply turning off the power at the fuse box and wearing rubber gloves. There’s always the risk of electrocution, short circuits, and even electrical fires, which most homes don’t have the immediate means to put out. The dangers associated with a bad DIY wiring job far outweigh the money you would be saving, so always hire a professional for help.

Gas line repairs

As a rule of thumb, anything concerning gas should be left to the experts. If you notice the smell of gas in your kitchen, don’t try to seal any leaks in the pipe yourself. Instead, get on the phone to a gas company professional immediately. Another DIY job that may seem tempting and easy is swapping an electrical oven for a gas one, which is a combo of bad ideas, as it combines gas and electrical work that you should never attempt yourself. Just like electrical repairs, any work on your gas lines or the appliances connected to them that is not strictly done by a professional can have life-threatening consequences.

Major plumbing repairs

A worn or leaky faucet, a clogged kitchen drain, or a running toilet bowl are beginner-friendly jobs that you can take care of over the course of an afternoon. However, anything that requires dismantling pipes is best left to experts, especially if you’re dealing with something that might require breaking walls and tiles. Improper pipe insulation or loose fixtures can lead to water leaks, resulting in property damage that will end up costing you more than having a plumber come take a look at them.

Installing large appliances

Some appliances are fairly self-explanatory, and while connecting a washing machine to the water mains is something you can easily do yourself, other large home appliances are best left to professionals to install. Anything that requires air extraction, such as an HVAC system or a cooker hood and extractor fan, also calls for not just correct positioning but also drilling large holes in the wall, and proper fixtures to keep them securely in place. Dishwashers, ovens, hobs and any other built-in appliances also make the list. Trying to fit these in yourself can lead not just to improper functioning, but it can also damage the appliance and invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.

Roof repairs

Whether we’re talking a few missing shingles or a blocked gutter, it can be very tempting to pull out the ladder and get up on the roof, trying to fix it yourself. Yet the roof is just another part of the house that should be off-limits for eager DIY-ers. It’s not just about the dangers of falling off the ladder, but also about creating more damage to the roof due to amateurish work, which can result in leaks and water damage to the walls and ceiling later on. The roof is one of the most important structural aspects of your home, so always leave it to the professionals.

Replacing or installing windows

From switching to double-pane windows to installing a skylight, anything that revolves around windows exceeds the abilities of most DIY-ers. Breaking the glass pane and cutting yourself is a part of the worst case scenario. Window installation requires exact measurements, maneuvering around electrical wiring, breaking the wall, making sure that the insulation is properly in place, and in some cases, you might even need a permit for the job. All in all, it’s the sort of project where it’s best to save yourself the hassle rather than the cost, so just hire a professional from the get-go.

Asbestos and lead removal

While Popcorn ceilings are out of fashion, and it can be very tempting to just have a go at them with a wall scraper, they’re also often riddled with asbestos. This is far from a job that only takes a pair of goggles, a mask, and a spare afternoon. Luckily, there aren’t many homes in the U.S. that still have lead or asbestos in the walls, but if your home is on the list, you should never attempt to remove these yourself. In some places, you are legally required to have the removal done by qualified asbestos abatement professionals. And with both asbestos and lead paint removal, the health risks involved are simply not worth it.

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