These days, there are so many amazing ways to improve your home yourself. From easy-to-install flooring options to ready-to-assemble cabinets that don’t require a carpenter, you can seriously refresh your space with less dough and more elbow grease. With that being said, home improvement specialists are still required for a good chunk of home repairs and upgrades, especially if you want to do it the right way. After all, they’re trained professionals and they know how to do something right the first time. Here are some major home repairs that should only be tackled by a pro.
- Natural Stone Flooring – Although laying tile is one of the more approachable flooring options, certain materials are more DIY-friendly than others. In general, you need heavier-duty and more complicated equipment to cut natural stone like marble or granite, including a wet tile saw. That means you probably want to leave it to a professional. Stick to easier-to-work with materials, such as click-together vinyl flooring or large-format ceramic tiles if you want to do it yourself.
- Hardwood Flooring – Although wood-look tile and vinyl are becoming more popular than ever, nothing compares to the real deal of solid hardwood flooring. This stuff lasts forever and can be sanded down and refinished many times over decades. The tradeoff, of course, is that hardwood is a bit complicated to install and really requires the work of a flooring professional. Prefinished hardwood is a great way for contractors and DIY’ers alike to simplify the process, however.
- Concrete or Driveway Repair – A little bit of concrete work here and there—such as when installing a fence or something similar—is perfectly fine to the average DIY’er. With that said, more complex jobs like pouring a concrete patio or repairing a driveway should be done by professionals who have heavy-duty machinery such as a concrete mixer and a jackhammer and know how to properly use them.
- Major Remodels and Additions – Leave anything that involves a permit or special license to the professionals. The fact is that they’re insured for this type of work and they know how to do it right. Big remodeling jobs and additions involve a ton of moving parts—plumbing, electricity, foundational work, roofing, siding, and so much more. This is often one of those “bit-off-more-than-you-could-chew” types of projects, even for the professional doing his own work on the weekends.
- Mold and Asbestos Removal – Mold and asbestos are dangerous materials that are surprisingly common in our homes, primarily those built before the 1980s. Asbestos in particular—a natural mineral and carcinogen which causes mesothelioma—is hidden throughout old homes in the form of old ceiling and floor tiles, paint, boilers, roofing shingles, and more. Those who are licensed and rained in the removal of mold and asbestos know how to carefully handle the material without breathing it in. They also have special apparel and equipment to safely remove the waste without it going back into the environment or our bodies.
- Countertop Installation – DIY countertop installation is similar to DIY flooring in that some materials are more DIY-friendly than others. With that said, if you prefer high-end or more luxurious materials like granite or marble countertops, you really should leave things to the professionals. Not only are the materials a lot more costly than others—and, therefore, mistakes could be financially devastating—but they require more complicated machinery and supplies.
- Foundational Work – Foundational work can be costly and time-consuming, and you really want to leave it up to the professionals who have a strong understanding of structural engineering. A crack in the wrong place or a poorly supported beam could seriously compromise the integrity of your house and leave you in a very risky position. Always leave any foundational repairs to the professionals.
- Complex Electrical Work – It’s the same deal here! Complicated rewiring needs to be done with the help of a licensed electrician because a shoddy job could lead to devastating and dangerous complications. Always make sure to have an electrician on hand who you trust to tackle any big jobs, whether it is wiring new lighting or running lines for a new appliance or outlet.
- Gas Appliance Repair – Some appliances are relatively straightforward in design, which can be appealing to those who prefer to make fixes themselves. But no matter how straightforward the repair may seem, gas-powered appliances should never be messed with by amateurs. These appliances emit natural gas, and a gas leak could put you at risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Breathing in the fuel emitted by a broken appliance could cause headache, confusion, upset stomach, weakness, blurred vision and dizziness. Importantly, gas-powered appliances also emit … well … gas. This means they’re highly flammable and even a little bit of heat or an open flame could cause an explosion or fire. Leave it to the pros and make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order!
- Roof and Chimney Repair – Anytime you need to make a repair at heights, such as on the roof or chimney, you want to make sure you enlist the help of a professional who’s used to getting things done up above. They have specialized safety gear and know-how to properly maneuver around the roof safely in harnesses. Additionally, professionals are better equipped to spot hidden vulnerabilities and concerns, such as weak points in the roof and openings for bugs and critters.
The fact of the matter is that the pros are pros for a reason. They know how to do things the right way the first time, saving you a whole lot of time and hassle. While it may seem appealing to take a stab at it yourself, this often results in expensive fix jobs. In many cases, sticking with a professional installer also means a safer, less risky installation or repair, which is imperative if you’ve got kids and pets. Make sure you keep certain jobs to the pros for the safest and best results!