Home Improvement: What NOT to DIY




With the rise of social media sharing sites like Pinterest and YouTube, the internet is filled with how-to videos showing DIY life hacks for just about anything. In just a few minutes, you can learn how to knit a scarf, build a bed, build a rocket ship, train your act, turn your hoodie into a popcorn bowl. So when it comes to making home improvements on your home, no doubt, your first thought might be to Google it and DIY the project.

In fact, that's exactly what I did after clogging my disposal with potato peelings. I Googled "clogged potato skins in disposal", and found a YouTube video to fix it myself along with a list of things that you should never put in your disposal, including potato peelings.

Even though, at one point, I removed the wrong section of pipe and had wet potato skins blasting me in the face, there was definitely a lot of pride and satisfaction in doing the job myself. I was lucky to walk away with a disposal that worked like new while saving a little bit of money too. But as you know, that's not always the case when it comes to do-it-yourself projects. Sometimes they end up costing you even more money when they don't turn out and you have to hire a professional to do the job anyway. And if you end up damaging your home more or causing yourself any injuries, the costs can add up really fast.

With this in mind, here are five home improvement projects you should never DIY.

Number one, removing trees.

Believe it or not, trees are heavy, they fall, and they crush things. Gravity is always on their side. You, on the other hand, are working against gravity, high up off the ground in unstable conditions with dangerous tools that could leave you cutting off one of your own limbs in the event of a fall. The cost of having a professional remove a tree depends on the size of the tree. But in general, the bigger the tree, the bigger the cost. But that also means the bigger the risk and all the more reason to leave it to a professional.

Number two, electrical work.

Now in Colorado, as with many states, electricians are required to have a license. This fact alone should be enough to keep you from attempting to do the work yourself, but if it's not, consider that home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly 500 deaths, and $1.3 billion in property damage.

Leave your electrical work to a licensed professional to make sure it's done not only to code, but done to ensure the long-term safety of you and your home.

Number three, plumbing.

Now I know I just told you that I fixed my disposal to save myself a few dollars, but I was lucky and the situation was pretty low risk. Tackling a clogged toilet or even fixing a leaky faucet might be worth the DIY road, but anytime you're installing new pipes, sinks, tubs, you have issues with your water heater or septic tank, or you're dealing with new construction where permits might be required, you definitely want to engage a licensed plumber.

Number four, roof repairs.

Now this falls under the just because you can doesn't mean you should category. There's a reason that roofers continue to make the top 10 list of most deadliest jobs in America, and it's not from hammering their fingers or forgetting the sunscreen. Approximately 47 deaths per 100,000 workers occur each year. Chances are, you don't have the right safety equipment to be walking around on your roof anyway. And even if you do, a seemingly repaired roof can hide water leaks and energy loss, which can only compound the problems you initially had and cost you a lot more money in the long run.

Number five, window installation.

New windows can be expensive, but they typically yield at least a 70% or more return on investment. Not only do they update the look of your home, but they can help you conserve energy and maintain temperature in your home too. That is, when they're installed correctly. Installing a window isn't as simple as fitting a square peg in a square box. It requires a lot of special equipment and skill to ensure they're installed properly so no air or water gets through.

Making the decision to improve your home is wise and can ultimately yield a higher return when it comes time to sell your home. If you don't have the right tools or skills, or if there's any chance you could end up in the ER or destroy your house, you might want to leave the DIY projects to the Pinterest and YouTube experts and hire a professional.

Wondering what home improvements yield the biggest return on investment?

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As always, I enjoy hearing from you. Call or text with your real estate questions or to buy or sell your next home. Thank you for listening. I'm your Realtor, Milena Joy. I know changing where you live can change how you live.