Obviously, we love all things DIY! But some home projects are just not worth doing on your own: Whether for time, cost or safety reasons. I asked Jeff Kaliner, co-founder of the Power Home Remodeling Group (the fourth largest home remodeling company in the nation) for his opinion on what should be left to the pros.
- Roof Repair.
Not only can you hurt yourself if you attempt to fix your roof on your own, but you can also damage your roof and end up in need of even more costly repairs from a pro. Limit your interaction with your roof to seasonal check ups to remove debris from gutters and check for cracked or broken shingles. Since most roof systems can last for up to 20 years, this is definitely a case where you should leave it to the pros.
- Window replacement.
Installing new windows is a great way to save energy and in turn, lower your monthly energy bills. However, from the specialized tools required to form exterior cladding, removal of lead-based paint, and the time it takes to master the art of working with aluminum, there are several elements of this project that make it best left to a pro. While new windows can be pricey, by having them properly installed you'll save that money (and likely more) in the long run on energy bills and tax credits.
- Exterior painting.
Paint and preparation vary depending on the surface, but no matter the material, several steps of power washing, sanding, paint scraping and caulking must be completed...and that's before you even begin to prime the surface. The goal of many DIY projects is to save time, but this one is a definite time suck that requires a good deal of expensive tools and materials. Do yourself (and your neighbors) a favor and avoid making a mistake the whole block will have to suffer along with you. Hire a pro and stick with painting the interior of the home. Please also keep in mind that older homes likely have lead-based paint issues, which can be hazardous to your health if not handled with care and costly if not disposed of properly.
Unless you're performing a relatively simple task like installing a programmable thermostat to save energy, most HVAC projects require the help of a professional because very few homeowners know more than just the basics of air ventilation and circulation. In addition, keep in mind that your family's safety could be at risk if your home's ventilation is not working properly. The multiple steps involved, from creating a frame for ductwork to sealing and insulating the ductwork and finding the proper locations for return vents, mean these projects can take a novice much longer than a weekend to complete.
- Attic Insulation.
If your attic is easily accessible, it can be tempting to attempt to insulate your attic on your own, but think twice before buying fiberglass insulation materials to install. In order to achieve the energy savings you're looking for, an attic must be sealed prior to installation of insulation. A licensed contractor will use specialized diagnostic tools to find and repair leaks, and if you are not completely thorough with this step, the insulation will not make the difference you are looking for.
- Structural changes.
While most homeowners know to keep away from loadbearing walls, some forget to also avoid walls that contain water or gas pipes, electrical wires and ductwork. Hiring a professional can save you the time you'd spend with the guesswork involved in figuring out what walls can go and what must stay.
- Gutter repair.
The installation of new gutters can add great value to a home, but keep in mind that it's difficult to near impossible to repair gutters without impacting your roof. Instead of risking injury by repairing downtrodden gutters on your own, look into the cost of having a professional replace them first. It will likely pay off in the amount of time you save and equity you add to your home.
- Installing decking.
In most municipalities, homeowners must secure a permit when building a deck higher than 18 inches off the ground. Building codes will also affect your build and how far you'll need to dig before installation of footings. Add to the fact that most deck material companies offer installations at a discount when purchasing materials, and this is a project best left to the pros.
- Basement Waterproofing.
Do your homework before attempting to solve your water problems. While minor issues can be temporarily fixed with waterproofing paint, the results are sure to fade after one or two heavy rainstorms. For a permanent solution, look to professionals who can waterproof the foundation of your home and ensure proper water management that will keep your basement dry.
- Tree Removal.
Forget that you'll need to figure out what to do with the tree once you've knocked it down and consider the time you'll spend measuring and preparing for the fall. There are a lot of factors at play here that a professional tree remover will be much better equipped to handle, oftentimes at a relatively low cost.
So, what do you think? Would you ever attempt these home projects on your own?
And for DIY home projects that you SHOULD do, check out...
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