The Do it Yourself movement has made a major comeback since the last recession, driven further by home repair shows that feature people not just fixing little issues but renovating everything in a fixer-upper house. The reality is that it isn’t as easy as they make it out to be on reality TV, and there are projects that are far too risky to try doing yourself. Here are three DIY renovation projects you should never do yourself.
The Risks that Come with Electrical Work Are Shocking
Electrical power line installers working for the utility companies make around sixty thousand dollars a year, despite having only a high school degree and apprenticeship training because of the risk. Residential and commercial electricians earn thirty thousand a year to start, while those with specialized experience can earn up to eighty thousand dollars a year. The high cost of an electrician leads some to consider trying to rewire a room themselves.
However, bad electrical connections, incorrect wiring and improper techniques mean the do-it-yourselfer risks personal injury at worst, constant electrical shorts and damaged electronics at best, and a fire hazard that no one wants to live with. Don’t try to rewire anything yourself unless you’re only plugging into an existing plug, but if you’re breaking out the multi-plug extension strips regularly, you may want to consult with an electrician anyway.
That Road Work Doesn’t Look Hard
Asphalt may be used as waterproofing for the roof or as a paving material. It seems straightforward enough to use asphalt to fix cracks in the sidewalk, fill in the gaps in the driveway or attempt other repairs. Asphalt itself is made from crude oil, but the solvents used to make it easier to apply are downright dangerous to your health. Most people don’t own the protective gear to make it safe to apply themselves, and if they make a mistake, it takes a pro to clean up the mess. You should leave asphalt work to professionals and call a company like Magic Seal instead of trying to do asphalt work yourself.
Plumbing is one of those areas where the very small projects can be a do it yourself project. Many people can replace older showerheads with low flow models, install upscale plumbing fixtures like faucets and even replace a leaking toilet if they know how to handle the seal. Anything bigger or more involved should involve a professional. When you don’t know how plumbing systems are designed, you could miss the air gaps that prevent sewer gas from entering your home or plumbing pieces that prevent cavitation and eventual failure.
Even fixing little drips yourself can be a problem, since a do it yourselfer may apply patches and miss the fact that the entire network of pipes is leaking – a warning that all the pipes need to be replaced. Fix the leak in the wall you detect, but miss the root cause, and other leaks continue damaging the rest of your home until you’re faced with a catastrophic failure and equally horrific repair bills. Likewise, fixing the first toilet backup could be done yourself, but repeated instances suggest a bigger problem the pros need to address. Never try to add on to existing plumbing systems yourself, since the additional demand on the system alters the hydraulics of the entire thing.
Never try to do any type of electrical work beyond replacing a light bulb or outlet cover; the risks to your safety in the short term and long term are too high. Asphalt work looks easy, but repairing your mistakes is so hard you’ll wish you called in the pros the first time. Do it yourself plumbing repairs may be DIY in the case of minor hardware replacements, but any new plumbing or major issues need to be installed by the professionals.