February 4th, 2019 11:07 AM by Katelyn Mountjoy
Everyone (almost), gets the idea in their head at some point that they can take on a home improvement project by themselves. I know I have… and I also know that I can be a bit over-confident sometimes. In some cases, fixing something yourself can honestly be a great way to cut costs on a project. BUT, often times, this over-confidence can just lead to putting yourself in a dangerous situation or even setting you back further than when starting. No matter how many YouTube videos you watch on ‘DIY how to’ do this or that, there are some home projects that are just a “DIY Don’t.”
DON’T SKIP THE PERMIT PART
Did you know that there are permit regulations when conducting electrical, heating, air work or plumbing? Depending on the location, there are requirements needing to be met about standards of quality, according to Michael Flanagan- heating, ventilation, and air conditioning manager for Michael & Son Services in Richmond, VA. Typically to get the permits there is a fee, but it is worth the small price rather than risking getting caught doing it without a permit or even doing the work wrong (which is something I would do). ______________________________________________________________
EXPOSED WIRES = NOT GOOD
Obviously, exposed wires are not a good thing. At all. At my home we recently had an issue with our dryer – it stopped working unexpectedly. We had no idea how old it was or why it wasn’t working so we scheduled a professional to come look at it just in case. You would be amazed at what was found underneath the machine! Apparently, the people that lived there before tried to solve a dryer issue themselves (most likely) & had an issue with the duct connection so LEFT it unconnected to the base of the dryer underneath. Not only that, but once inside the bottom of the machine, there were tons of exposed wires, lint & dirt all over. It was filthy, and we were shocked at how nasty it was. The man taking it apart literally stopped during this process, looked up and said, “You are SO lucky this hasn’t caught on fire… I don’t know HOW it hasn’t caught fire…” Wow… that’s settling. Do yourself and the next person a favor and get your improvement projects done right! It’s worth it. Especially ones involving wires.
_______________________________________________________________ ELECTRICAL FIXES ARE HARDER THAN YOU THINK
When I have seen people come put light fixtures up in our home, I remember thinking… ‘that looks kinda easy I bet I could of done it.’ HA. There are so many dangers to working with circuits. The main worry being blowing a fuse. Dave Geradine, the owner of Expert Home Repairs in Hollywood, FL, says electrical work is most sensitive because of all the variations a connection can have. The flaws may not be apparent until it’s too late. He says, “If you don’t make your connections properly, you can have…an electrical fire caused by an arcing of the two wires that aren’t tightly connected.”_____________________________________________________________________
DON’T CLOSE THE VENTS
Okay am I the only one that has closed vents in my house to make the air go to a different room? Oops. Apparently this is a huge No-No. Closing vents to force more air to a different part of the house actually slowly but surely destroys the efficiency and shortens the life of the equipment dramatically. _______________________________________________________________
NEW FLOORING ON-TOP OF THE OLD ONE
I love a brand spankin’ new floor. It’s a fabulous way to freshen up a room and make it feel new again. However, you should always always remove the old material, such as linoleum or tile, before starting on the new flooring. If you choose not to, you will most likely run into problems like an uneven surface, or problems under the original flooring that will be even more difficult to get to. Then you will have to go through the process and replace it yet again. “You always want to go down to the bare wood or concrete surface when you do new flooring,” says Geradine… and if you don’t, “What’s underneath your new flooring fails, & then your tile comes up.” __________________________________________________
PLACING OUTLETS NEAR A SINK OR TUB
You don’t have to be a genius to know that water and electricity don’t mix. When you are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, it is crucial to use the ground-fault circuit interrupter near any area with water. A GFCI is that funky outlet with the buttons on it that you have to press in order to make your blow-dryer turn back on when it’s not working. If your appliance is plugged into the GFCI outlet and falls into water, the outlet will trip the electricity, so it cuts off. This is such a great invention. I’m all for preventing electrocution so I highly recommend these outlets. ________________________________________________________________
USING TAPES AND ‘ALL PURPOSE’ GLUES
Unfortunately, duct tape isn’t as effective as most people think it is, and neither are the fancy glues and tapes that supposedly will make your boat still float when its cracked in half (yeah right). Flanagan claims that when it comes to gluing or taping something together, there’s typically a specific adhesive needed that will be most effective and least likely to cause problems in the future. For example, he says air and heating professionals use foil tape. _________________________________________________________________
NAILS ON DECK
Did you know that when you are building a deck, you are supposed to use sturdier & bigger bolts depending on how many people the deck will be holding? Home inspectors frequently see decks attached to homes with nails, when the builder SHOULD have secured the wood with specific bolts. Frank Lesh, the executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors, claims “every year a deck collapses because a guy just used a whole bunch of nails to attach it to the house."______________________________________________
PAINTING WALLS PREVIOUSLY PAINTED OR WALL PAPERED
If you take on this project at home, you surely want to take all the right steps. It is a popular idea that simply painting several coats of paint over a wall can have it looking brand new, but it is super important to get the surface clean and smooth before starting these steps. This is especially for getting rid of old wallpaper or chipped paint. If wallpaper is left on the wall before a paint job, the wallpaper will moisten and start to bubble. Then you will have to deal with this whole other issue of popping bubbles on your wall and I don’t think anyone wants to do that. Instead of having to re-trace your steps, just take the extra time to do it right and get the surface smooth and clean first.
REPLACING OLD PIPES WITHOUT HAVING THEM CHECKED FIRST
Okay this one was a shocker for me. TLC is greatly needed for many older homes out there, but it is super critical to be on your toes about the dangers lurking beneath the surface. Especially with piping. There is a chance that old plumbing materials could contain asbestos. Obviously, that’s not good. You don’t want asbestos to get into the air because it could contain hazardous material. And no, a dust mask won’t help. The fibers are microscopic and can SERIOUSLY injure you long term. With this job, you should seek an experienced professional to make sure particles aren’t left in the air when the job is finished.
In summary, if you are *at all* unsure about a project, don’t hesitate to just call a professional for advice, if not to do the job for you. “With the trades- plumbing, heating, air and electrical – there may be five ways to do it right, but there’s a thousand ways to do it wrong. And people tend to find those thousand ways before they find the five ways. So if you’re not quite confident and competent in what you’re doing, you should just call a professional.” Flanagan says.