DIY Survival – Home Improvement Projects to Leave to the Pros

August 4, 2016
Posted: Xpert Team
Categories: Blog


Weekend home improvement projects can be fun and satisfying to see the progress and what you have accomplished.  There are many projects appropriate for DIY that don’t require extra skills, tools or knowledge.  Then, there are other projects where one needs some technical skills to remain safe.  Knowing which projects fit it which categories will save you time and money.  Not to mention the humbling experience of having to re-do it using a pro.


Replacing a light fixture or changing out a ceiling fan is within most DIY skill levels.  After all, the wire is in place, one just has to remove the old fixture and install the new using the same wires. 

On the other hand, running wiring for an entire room should be left to a professional.  Electricity can be dangerous when you don’t know what you are doing.  You can get shocked or change the polarity of wires.  This could lead to losing power in some outlets or creating a surge.  Incorrect wiring can also pose a fire hazard to the home.  When in doubt of your skills do not take on a large electrical project, hire a pro to remain safe.


While fixing a simple leak or replacing a washer is within most homeowners’ skill level, many other plumbing issues are not.  If a leak is repaired incorrectly, it could slowly continue to leak, perhaps inside a wall or in a place that is not noticeable.  This can lead to rot, structural and mold issues that can lead to major repair expenses and compromise your family’s health.  Similarly, installing new plumbing in an addition or remodeled space should be left to a professional who knows what they are doing.


Many towns require permits before improvements can be made to your home.  Knowing which permits are required and getting the correct permit can be tricky for the average homeowner.  Not having the proper permits can lead to fines or issues when you go to sell the home.  A pro also knows how to handle inspections and any changes required to pass the inspections.  The permit process and improvements requiring a permit vary from state to state and even town to town.  If it requires a permit, leave it to the pros.


Projects that involve propane or natural gas are best left to the pros.  Obviously, doing this wrong can severely damage the home and cause injury or tragedy.  Let a pro hook up the new gas appliance or fireplace.  It just isn’t worth the risk to your property and your family’s safety.


Generally, leave roofing replacement and repairs to the pros.  While replacing a shingle is not that hard, stopping a leak in a valley or replacing the roof is beyond most DIY.  A crew of roofers make the job look easy.  The typical homeowner is not accustomed to climbing around on the roof and one small miscalculation can be deadly.  The time required for a DIY compared to a professional crew will leave your roof at the mercy of the weather.  A bad roof repair or replacement will leave your home a soggy mess.  The single most important item to the longevity of your home is keeping it dry.  Your roof is your first line of defense.

Knocking Down Walls

Open floor plans have been popular for decades now.  While many older houses can be remodeled to open up some interior space, one cannot just start tearing down walls.  Removing a load bearing wall will compromise the integrity of the house and can prove very dangerous.  If you don’t know if a wall is load bearing then you don’t know enough to remove it. Additionally, removing a wall that contains electrical or plumbing components can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.  Consult with a professional before continuing with the project. 

Asbestos or Lead Paint Removal

These items are dangerous that is why you want them removed.  Why take the chance with your health and safety of your family by exposing them.  Pros have the proper safety equipment, think hazmat suit, and know the proper procedure. 

Time Trade Off

There are other projects which are safe for a DIY but may require more time and inconvenience to complete.  You must consider how much doing it yourself will save in the overall cost and how long it will take you to complete as compared to a pro.  For example, refinishing hard wood flooring can be accomplished by a homeowner but it may take more than one weekend and deprive your family the use of the space and create lot of dust.  The pros make using a sander look simple but for the inexperienced it can be unwieldly.  Pets and children can complicate the project with footprints and dust in the finish.  A professional crew can complete the job quicker with less inconvenience and typically superior results. 

Bathroom and kitchen remodels can also fall into this category.  Unless you have more than just weekends to take on large projects, it is best to leave it to a pro.  Nothing is worse than having the house a mess for months on end due to a never completed home improvement project.

Alternatively, contract with a pro for part of the project, like hooking up the plumbing for a bathroom remodel.  This leaves the demo and finishing for you to complete.  Performing only items in your skill set and contracting with a pro for advanced tasks will provide safety and insurance of a job well done while  allowing you the satisfaction of participating in the final outcome.

Home improvement takes patience and skill.  Knowing which jobs you can tackle and more importantly which ones you can’t, will keep you and your family safe and provide satisfying results.  Some tasks, like painting are well within most people’s skill set.  The key to a good paint job is the preparation.  However, where access is difficult, like exteriors requiring scaffolding, it is best to leave it to the pros.  Home improvements which require extensive tools also require the skill to use those tools.  The more tools required, the more likely you should leave it to the pros.  Use your labor and money wisely by doing it right the first time. 

If you need help with your home improvement project, contact Xpert Home Services.  Our pros get the job done right the first time.  We are your all in one home improvement company for the Outer Banks.