Part of being a homeowner is knowing how to tackle common home repair projects on your own, tasks that fall somewhere between changing a light bulb and wiring a light fixture. In the age of COVID-19, perhaps the biggest reason to improve your DIY skills is to reduce the number of people entering your home. If you can master basic home repair skills, you can be self-reliant and keep you and your family safe.
It is often said; “If you want the job done right, then do it yourself.” This is not always the case. Homeowners do not always have the right skills or correct tools for a project. If you must buy $500 of tools for a $400 job, you are not saving any money. Do not forget your own hourly rate either. If you spend hours watching YouTube videos and then several more getting the job done, you might be better off hiring someone else to do the work.
When planning a project, be realistic about what you can do yourself. Replacing sheetrock is an example of something that many people can do themselves. However, it is best to stay away from anything structural, as an engineer might need to be involved. As a home inspector it is often easy to spot improvements or renovations done by the homeowner. The following are just a few things you might want to steer clear of.
DIY electrical work can be nerve-wracking. A wrong decision could result in a house fire or even worse, serious injury or death. In addition, when it is time to sell your home an inspector may find that your DIY work is not up to code. This could decrease the value of your home or cost a lot to repair.
Being up on a roof is dangerous. That is why it is best to leave roof replacement or repair to a professional roofing contractor. Not only are they experienced, they possess the proper tools for the task – when you’re replacing your roof, you not only need the materials for the new roof, you need the tools to be able to complete the task itself. In addition, most home warranties require that a certified roofer perform repairs.
Hiring a professional to install a fence in your yard, rather than doing it yourself, could be the difference between enhanced your homes curb and disaster. Installing a fence is a lot more time consuming and expensive than typically perceived. You need to be able to dig holes for your posts and install a fence that rises and dips with the contours of your lawn. Also, most municipalities require permits. Oftentimes, this is a job for a professional rather than a DIY weekend project. Instead of wasting your time on installing a poor fence, consider hiring a reputable company.
There is a lot of knowledge and expertise that goes into this line of work. From broken pipes and leaks to installing a water heater, toilet, or disposal, you’ll want a professional to do the job for you. It can be easy to start a plumbing DIY project believing all you have to do is tighten a fitting or install a gasket and end up causing water damage, and then still end up hiring a plumber. Much like electrical work, your plumbing also must follow codes to ensure everything works properly. Not only will a professional plumber know the current codes, they will know the correct size of pipes, connections, and valves for all the different places and purposes of water use in your home.
Whether adding on or changing the existing structure of your home hire a professional, structural work is no easy feat. Before you start swinging a sledgehammer, you should know that demolishing a load-bearing wall could compromise the structural integrity of your home.
A professional contractor will be aware of any electrical wiring, gas or plumbing in the walls of your home prior to beginning any demolition. Contractors will be aware of specific building permits you may need to obtain before you make any structural changes to your home. A general contractor will also know which sub-contractors will be needed for your job. It may be tempting to engage in this type of DIY project to add to your home’s resale value. However, a project of this magnitude may compromise the structural integrity of your house and expensive consequences. To avoid any future problems with the framing or foundation of your home, contact an engineer or a certified contractor before you remove a wall or add a room to your house.
As stated earlier, most inspectors will be able to spot poorly done DIY projects. This can lead to more expense and time invested in your home in the long run. These types of issues can lead to postponing a sale or even a cancelled contract.
By Rick Jacquemard, Flatirons Home Inspections. For more information on home inspections contact Rick Jacquemard, at 720.280.3544, e-mail [email protected] or visit flatironshi.com.