Do-it-yourselfers, empowered by YouTube videos and well-produced cable TV shows, have no doubt saved themselves serious money by tackling home-improvement projects. But some jobs are better left to the professionals.
A good rule of thumb: If you don’t own most of the necessary equipment or you need a permit to do the work, you should hire a pro. In the end, you’ll save time, trouble and costly repairs to fix DIY mistakes.
Roofing. Roof repairs seem so simple — just climb up there and nail down a few shingles, right? Not so fast. Making a roof truly waterproof takes more experience and know-how than you might think. And then there’s the business of going up and down a ladder and across your roof with all your equipment. The risk of falling and being seriously injured is too great.
Major plumbing. Updating faucets and showerheads and connecting toilets, sinks, and washing machines are relatively easy projects that most DIYers can handle. But major plumbing installations require the expertise of a professional plumber. DIY-ers should not attempt to expand or modify a home’s water supply lines or hot water heating system. Soldering fittings with a propane torch is not for amateurs. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could easily start a flood or fire. Water damage from leaks or mistakes can be more expensive to repair than calling a plumber to fix the original problem.
Major electrical. Replacing existing light fixtures and upgrading light switches are relatively simple DIY projects. As long as the electrical wiring is already in place and you shut off the electricity first, go for it. But if you’re planning on adding new outlets, moving them, expanding electrical circuits, or making repairs, hire a licensed electrician who will do the work according to code. If these tasks are performed improperly, you’re risking electrical shock or a possible fire.