This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo with a guide to things you should not DIY since certain jobs need experts. Find out why.
A Complete Guide To Things You Shouldn’t DIY
Do it yourself fans want to give anything and everything a try. The lights go out and you’ve got a replacement in hand ready to go. A kitchen appliance stops working and you’re taking off the back of the plug and fitting a new fuse. There’s no reason to spend money on a professional when you can DIY things with ease. Plus, the sense of satisfaction is enormous.
What isn’t satisfying is realizing there are some things which are DIY-proof. Yep, certain jobs need leaving to the experts because they’re too dangerous. The last thing a homeowner wants to do is to flood the house or to electrocute oneself trying to implement a quick fix. It’s better to live another day dry as a bone instead. Still, it grinds because you hate the idea of submitting and admitting defeat.
However necessary it is, it’s tricky not to think it’s all a ploy so plumbers and electricians get paid. Well, it isn’t, not when you can do more damage than good. With that in mind, this post is going to take you through the process of avoiding DIY, starting with the reasons you should and moving onto the projects to bypass. Scroll down to read more.
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Knowledge Is Power
Sir Francis Bacon never about the perils of DIY even before it was a thing. That is what you call being ahead of your time. The phrase knowledge is power applies to plenty of things, and home improvements is one of them. An honest person will admit that they don’t know the first thing about a piece of piping or an electrical wire. For some projects, this is fine because you can figure it out with trial and error.
Aside from the basic things, though, there isn’t any time to work it out on the job. Imagine trying to manage a renovation. It’s one thing being handy with power tools, yet it’s another to be able to construct an outhouse in a matter of weeks. Mr. Roof understands the ins and outs because the company does it on a daily basis. Even when the construction side of the job might be fine, what about the other areas? Knocking down walls and replacing them needs someone who can budget properly and deal with outsourcers. Anyone who isn’t an excellent leader and communicator will struggle.
It’s important to be truthful and assess your skills beforehand. Anything small is okay, yet the big stuff requires expertise beyond the average household chore.
TV Is A Lie
Well, it isn’t a total lie because they do everything they say in the timeframe. Still, the big reveal makes it appear as if it happened over the course of a weekend with a couple of hammers and a wrench. Here’s a secret: it didn’t. TV shows exploit every contact possible to complete a job within the given timeframe. Producers have a bottomless (ish) budget and aren’t afraid to spend money. Best of all, they have the manpower working from dusk until dawn.
Anyone who thinks they can replicate a show on TV on their own is misinformed. Even if you can finish it to the same level, it’ll take weeks and maybe even months to complete. Some DIYers have to live in a caravan or a hotel for a year to eighteen months before they can move in fully. This isn’t supposed to scare you away but to show that movie-magic goes a long way on the big screen.
Homeowners that want to try and create a garden from the boob tube need to take this into account. Not only is there a time factor but money is one too. The longer a project takes, the more cash you’ll spend in the process. And, budgets are tight enough as it is in the beginning.
YouTube Isn’t Foolproof
“It’s fine, babe. I’ll go on YouTube and check out a video. How hard can it be?” the answer is very difficult because videos on YouTube aren’t as self-explanatory as they seem. To begin with, posters can be geeks who speak in technical terms which make the instructions impossible to understand. Or, the video might be clickbait and have no relation to your problem whatsoever. Whisper it quietly, but there are instances of vids not existing. It’s shocking but true.
Another problem is realizing that you don’t have the equipment to continue. People who post videos aren’t amateurs; they know what they are doing. As a result, these men and women have all the tools, from basic screwdrivers and hammers to drills and electricity readers. The number of DIYers that start a video and then have to stop because they don’t have the equipment is incredible.
Last but not least, there’s no way to tell if the person is a trustworthy source. He or she might have a stellar resume with years of experience, or perhaps they’re a DIY-enthusiast such as yourself. If it’s the latter, they are no different to you or your friends so their advice can be hit and miss.
Repairs To Leave To The Professionals
Now that you understand the reasons not to do it yourself, it’s wise to know which tasks to avoid. Some things are no-nos and others are no-brainers, but there are a few that are on the edge. In short, it’s best to use your common sense as well as the reasons above to decide when a repair is out of your league.
Installing a dimmer switch isn’t too tough when you have the tools and the instructions. The same goes for a plug socket, as long as you understand the wires and their colors. Everything else is a big risk if you’re not an electrician. Why? It’s because wiring a house takes skill and a hell of a lot of patience. The latter might seem insignificant yet it’s essential to concentrate when playing around with the mains.
What typically happens is that people get shocked thanks to their ignorance. And, this isn’t a cute little zap like when you put your hand on a metal rail. 250 volts flowing through your body is enough to kill a fully-grown adult. Also, there is the risk of a fire. If a spark catches a flammable material, then the entire house can go up in flames. There’s a reason qualified experts get paid hundreds of dollars an hour for a call out.
Pipes, in general, are fine as long as there is nothing too complicated involved. Take unclogging a drain. Anyone can unscrew the u-bend, drain the water into a bucket, and get their hands dirty. It’s disgusting, but it’s not rocket science. The job gets tricky when the pipes start moving. Unscrewing something which connects to the drainage system is a big deal even if the water doesn’t pour out immediately.
A leak might only be a small drip which seeps out of the pipe, yet it will soon add up. Before you know it, a wet patch will appear on the inside of the wall and it won’t go away. Even worse, mold will start to grow because the bacteria love warm, moist places. And, you won’t spot it because the leak will be too small to notice. The cost of moving pipes usually makes it worth leaving it to a pro instead.
Okay, you won’t use a bulldozer to tear down a wall, especially if it’s inside. But, you will use a sledgehammer to smash the bricks into tiny pieces. There is something cathartic about doing this which makes it appealing to everyone. So, the idea of outsourcing it to an expert seems like a terrible idea. You want the adrenaline rush.
Sadly, this is where your lack of knowledge lets you down. Because you know nothing about load bearing walls, there is no way to tell whether the ceiling will fall too. After all, the bricks and concrete might act as a foundation to keep it upright. Unless you’re sure, you should never knock down a wall without expert advice. Not only is falling debris dangerous, but the cost of repairing the ceiling is high.
Lifting Heavy Objects
Something you might not consider to be DIY is moving heavy things. It seems like an everyday job but some people specialize in the area. The reason is that there is a skill in picking up a bulky box and not hurting your body. Plus, they have insurance in case there is an incident and they are injured.
Every time you move a load, you might put your livelihood at risk. Imagine pulling a muscle or slipping a disk and not being able to work for six months. Even worse, there is no insurance policy so you won’t earn a penny for the entire time. As well as that, there’s a chance you’ll damage the materials and the renovation will be ruined. Only avoid lifting the super-heavy stuff because everything else is manageable. But, marble tabletops and wall mirrors are a no-no.
Although you might not agree, are you happy with leaving some repairs to the pros? Do you see the method behind the madness?
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.