Bad DIY Projects to Avoid


Home upkeep is certainly costly. A seemingly tiny plumbing leak or a fallen gutter may cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repairs, especially if the problem isn’t addressed quickly. So it’s no wonder that many homeowners are keen to DIY their own home repairs whenever feasible, not just to save money but also to gain a sense of accomplishment when the project is completed. The only issue? Handling those house repairs yourself isn’t always a good idea—and it might even be deadly in some situations. With the assistance of renowned home improvement pros, we’ve compiled a list of home tasks you should never attempt to DIY.

Removing a little chipped paint from your baseboards may appear to be an easy task, but if you’re not careful, it might lead to major health problems. If your house was constructed before 1978, even if it’s been extensively modified, there’s a significant possibility it contains lead-based paint, which may be dangerous when consumed or breathed.

“A professional educated in lead paint management may be your best option,” says Mark Scott, president of Mark IV Builders, Inc., given the “severe health concerns involved with dealing with lead-based paint,” as well as the preventive measures needed to execute this project safely.

You might be able to fix a leaking sink or running toilet on your own, but don’t try to dismantle and rebuild your bathroom plumbing without the help of a professional. “The plumbing and electrical in a bathroom makeover are so close together that it’s critical to have the proper person with the experience,” Scott adds. If you need any more proof that tackling this home improvement job on your own is a terrible idea, Scott adds there is the possibility for “disastrous” outcomes like as electrocution and floods.

While it may appear like tacking together a few missing shingles yourself isn’t a huge concern, doing it incorrectly might lead to serious inside damage. A poor DIY effort, according to home inspector Andrew Walton, proprietor of Common Concerns Home Inspections, can result in “leaks into the attic, water draining behind siding instead of into the gutter, and will void any manufacturer warranty.”

Although online guides make installing new light fixtures appear simple, there are enough hazards involved that you’re better off hiring a professional for this as well.

“Even if you turn the switch off, there might still be active wire in the box,” explains Sean Dore, owner of two Neighborly enterprises in Louisiana, Mr. Electric of Lafayette and Mr. Electric of East Baton Rouge.

While having the proper electrical panel to meet your home’s energy demands may lower your chance of a house fire, installing a new panel on your own is never a wise idea. Dore points out that improper DIY wiring installations pose dangers of electrocution, code violations, and safety problems, such as electrical fires. This delicate process is best left to licensed specialists.

Even if you believe you can remove an outlet or junction box securely on your own, employing a certified electrician will benefit you in the long run. A competent specialist will assist you evaluate what can and cannot be done before you start taking things out, says John Judd, Jr., co-owner of Judd Builders in Asheville, North Carolina.

Do you believe you have what it takes to drywall a room since you have the requisite time and tools? Consider again. “Hanging drywall and skim coating is difficult and nasty,” Judd says. He advises that do-it-yourself projects sometimes lack the gloss of expert labor.

Hanging a TV stand appears to be a simple task—until you find yourself faced with a considerably larger repair. “You may not realize that cables and pipes run on the back of your wall while drilling for installation,” explains Harry H. Knowles, a home safety specialist with Fantastic Services. He claims that if amateurs are not careful, they can electrocute themselves, rupture a pipe, or even create a gas leak.

Just because you’re capable of installing a window air conditioner doesn’t imply you’re qualified to remodel your central HVAC system. Because your HVAC system contains chemical refrigerants, “even the tiniest miscalculation can discharge dangerous chemicals into the air of your house or workplace,” warns Knowles, who also mentions electrical shocks as a big concern with DIY HVAC tasks.

Even if you believe yourself to be rather handy or have some building expertise, you should leave the implementation of that vast basement makeover to the professionals. However, a contractor is required to do more than merely guarantee that everything is up to code. “It’s critical that basement additions are done correctly to avoid water from snow and severe storms from flooding the space,” Scott says.