Do It Yourself Does Not Have to Mean Going It Alone
So many DIY projects go south because the intrepid handy person decided they didn’t want any help. Their self image of rugged independence drives them to do hard things by themselves so that they can boast to others and feel good about the fact that they did it all by themselves. Many people recovering in hospitals right now felt the same way 24 hr. ago. They will be wearing a cast for the next 12 weeks as a reminder of how ill-advised that way of thinking really is.
Let us also recognize the fact that there are things that should simply never be done on a DIY basis. Consider this checklist as a way of determining if you should even attempt a given project:
- The job requires specialty knowledge and experience you don’t have.
- The job tends to require a crew of experienced workers to which you have no access.
- The project will likely cost more money than you have set aside.
- The project usually takes more time than you can reasonably budget.
- The risk of doing the project yourself is greater than the potential gain.
If any of these things are true for your project, you should stop now and call in a pro. However, if you insist on forging ahead, here are a few projects to which you should probably give a little more thought
Before you head off to that home improvement store and pick up a bunch of painting supplies you don’t really know how to use, consider the fact that they make it look easier on their commercials than it really is. What they don’t want to tell you is that for this job, you might be better off asking Siri to find painters near me.
At the very least, talk to a few friends who have tackled a big painting project, especially outdoor painting. You might need to set aside some extra time because they have some nightmare stories to tell. You can visit the house of friends who thought they did a pretty good job and see for yourself that they really didn’t.
If you are going to sell that home, you don’t want the potential buyers to see your handiwork. You want them to see what an experienced professional can do. You can lose serious value by doing that particular job yourself.
So you think you’re ready to replace a roof. How are you when it comes to ladders and heights? How sloped is your roof? Is it two or more stories high? If you are a little shaky with any of the above, you shouldn’t even be thinking about it.
The consequences of getting it wrong are dire. Never mind the possibility of falling down and breaking your back. There is the danger of you completing the project without knowing about the little mistakes you made. Those mistakes can become leaks you are not aware of that cost you thousands of dollars in damage. There could also be weakness in the connections. Combine that with a material that is too heavy for your structure and you could be looking at a partial or total collapse. Unless you have some experience in construction, give that project a little more thought. Then call in a pro.
I don’t have to tell you about the dangers of playing with fire. Electricity is an order of magnitude more dangerous. It is most likely okay for you to carefully follow instructions for putting in a ceiling fan or light switch. Those tasks are not overly difficult.
Don’t mistake that for meaning the task is trivial. It is not. And in some cases, you are definitely going to want to call an electrician for that ceiling fan install. If there is already a light fixture where you want the fan, you should be able to do it yourself. If not, there is a lot more to the job. Make the right call. That call would be to an electrician.
We love the DIY culture. We love independent types who are willing to try new things and master new skills. We also want people to be safe. When it comes to painting, roofing, and electrical, don’t just consider the upside. Think about what you have to lose.