In the age of YouTube and online blogging, you can learn how to tackle almost any home improvement project you could ever want. But just because you can watch somebody do something on a five-minute video, doesn’t mean you should do it yourself.
Stay Away From These 5 Tasks
As beautiful and innocent as your house looks, there are actually some powerful and potentially dangerous systems running behind the drywall, under the floor, and above your head. Left to professionals, these systems will continue to operate in a safe and smooth fashion. But handled without proper care, they can become damaging and deadly.
With all of that being said, here are some home improvement tasks you should never attempt to do yourself:
- Extensive Electrical Work
Electricity is, well, electricity – it’s dangerous! If you don’t have any experience working with electrical wires, breakers, and components, you don’t want to learn on the job. One failed experiment can lead to a deadly shock, fire, or extensive damage to the system.
If you have some understanding of how the wiring works, there are some simple jobs you can do (within reason). For example, replacing or moving an outlet is straightforward. However, you should never do extensive electrical work – like replacing a breaker, running cable, or rewiring part of the system.
- Gas Line/Appliance Jobs
Gas is no joke. Whether it’s a gas furnace, range, or fireplace, never try to replace gas connectors, install a new gas line, or do anything that could possibly cause gas to leak into the home. (On a related note, every homeowner should be able to locate the gas main valve so that it can be switched off in an emergency.)
- Garage Door Repairs
The garage door is the largest moving system in your house. Though it may seem simple and innocuous, it should never be touched by anyone other than a certified professional. Torsion springs are tightly wound in order to generate enough torque to lift up the door. Should these be manipulated in an improper fashion, they can quickly unwind and cause serious damage – including lacerations, broken bones, and concussions.
- Foundation Work
Your home’s foundation creates stability for every other system in your home. If your foundation is compromised, your floors, walls, and roof will eventually suffer. If you notice signs of foundation damage, call in a professional to take a look.
- Major Basement Renovations
If you have an unfinished or neglected basement, you may have dreams of sprucing it up and creating some extra living space. However, the basement can be tricky. Because it’s below ground, there must be a strategy for preventing moisture and properly ceiling up floors and walls. It’s best to call in a professional to do this work for you.
Don’t Underestimate Yourself
While we’ve just gone through a list of tasks you should never try on your own, don’t let this discourage you from being a handyman around the house. For every home improvement or repair that you shouldn’t do, there is a handful that you can do. Examples include:
- Upgrading light fixtures
- Installing a backsplash
- Replacing kitchen hardware
- Laying vinyl flooring
- Painting walls
- Installing crown molding
- Staining the deck
Before doing any project – whether small or large – remember to do some online research, speak with an expert at your local home improvement store, and have all of the right tools on hand. You also constantly need to be thinking about the scope of the project.
If you’re careless, it’s easy for a small task to turn into a big project. Any time you cut something, take a system apart or swing a hammer, be thinking about how that action will impact the surrounding environment.
For example, you might be using your hammer to pull a nail out of the floor and accidentally use the wall for leverage. If you aren’t careful, this could poke a hole in the drywall, which requires you to patch the hole. And if you patch the hole, you have to paint it. And if you don’t properly prepare your work area, the paint could drip and stain the carpet – at which point you have to get the carpet professionally cleaned. Do you see how easy it is for things to get out of control?
You can do far more than you realize, but never put yourself in a situation where you’re doing something that could be dangerous or cause further complications. Discernment is a key trait of a successful homeowner.