By Andy Meredith
Candis and I love to accept new challenges. We are pretty handy around the house and like to think we can take our skills to the next level when it comes time to renovate or rehab real estate. However, after a couple of harrowing incidents, we have learned to temper our enthusiasm for DIY projects. Here are some tips about DIY projects that you really should leave to the pros.
Steer Clear of Electrical Work
Electricians will tell you that house fires are started with alarming frequency by inexperienced individuals who try to fix electrical problems. Rewiring is a good example, and a chore I have always turned over to a professional. Safety codes need to be followed, and although certain rewiring jobs seem pretty simple, they could pose a big safety hazard if done incorrectly.
Resist Knocking Down Walls
I thought that removing the wall between our kitchen and dining room would be a fairly easy task, but I finally turned the job over to a contractor when I stopped to consider these issues:
• The wall might be load bearing and therefore critical to the stability of, say, the second floor
• Plumbing pipes might be located within the wall
• Electrical wiring might also be found within the wall
Taking out a wall might be a big mistake and very expensive. I recommend reconsidering making this a DIY project.
Take Care with Popcorn Ceiling Removal
I learned about this from my aunt and uncle whose home was built in 1976 and featured popcorn ceilings. Popcorn was the term given to a flocked acoustic ceiling popular at the time, but it was found that this type of material sometimes contained asbestos. The thing to do is to take a sample of this kind of ceiling and send it to a lab to be tested. If the sample tests positive, a certified asbestos abatement company can safely remove the rest of the ceiling and replace it.
Leave Roof Problems to the Roofers
I am not afraid of climbing ladders, and I admit that I’ve been on my roof, mainly to clear away heavy storm debris. I draw the line at fixing serious roof problems, though. In the first place, most roof issues take time to fix and I know I’m not experienced enough to finish such a project without exposing the home’s interior to the elements. Secondly, roof work is dangerous. Professionals are insured and trained to deal with any roof problem far better than I am.
Call in the Tree Experts
I live in an area with very tall trees, and it is not unusual for an oak or maple to grow too close to the house, or for a tree of any kind to fall toward the house during a storm. I have a chain saw and I’ve used it on limbs of a certain size, at a certain height. Removing high limbs, however, is not a DIY project, and neither is cutting down a tree of any size. I advise you to leave these tasks to the pros who have the proper equipment and who are used to working at a high distance from the ground.
When it comes to DIY projects, be sure you know the ins and outs of what you are doing before you begin. These tips should help you narrow down your basic skills to see if a DIY is right for you. Successful restoration comes from knowing when to do it yourself, and when to hire the expert.