If you are thinking about building a house on a plot of land, you might be tempted to dig out your own basement and foundation. After all, it’s just a big hole, right? And it’s possible to rent a digger, which would save you money on labor. If you choose to attempt this on your own, no one is going to stop you. However, there is so much more than digging a hole.
First and foremost, you need to get the proper permits, and be aware of local environmental codes. You also need to build a house on a plot of land that is above the water table, to prevent flooding. Architectural drawings will need to be followed to a tee, in order to make sure everything is structurally sound. With so much that can go wrong, it’s best to hire professionals who know what they’re doing. One bad rainstorm could completely derail your project, and you would have ti hire professionals to come in to fix it. After digging the basement, you also have to waterproof the foundation, which is usually a job that needs to be done by an entire time.
Removing a tree is a very dangerous job, even when you have some past experience. One false move, and the tree could fall on your house, or even kill someone. When a tree falls, it also needs to be cut up with a chainsaw. If you don’t have a fireplace or a place to store wood, you will need to rent a wood chipper. Unfortunately, people have been known to lose limbs or even die because they tried using a wood chipper without enough experience. Needless to say, this is not a job for amateurs.
The price of removing a tree changes depending on how large it is, but it’s always in the ballpark of a few hundred dollars. If more than one tree needs to be taken down, you can usually get a package price. When a tree falls, you also need to worry about removing the stump. This is an additional expense from taking the tree down, and it requires heavy equipment to pull the stump out of the earth.
When you’re choosing to fix the exterior of your home, you will have to decide what kind of siding you want to install. A lot of people go for the standard vinyl siding, but stucco can be a great option, because it lasts years longer. At first glance, you would think that stucco would be very easy to do on your own. However, it’s easy to accidentally crack, which will completely ruin insulating your house and protecting it from insects and drafts.
If you have a two-story home, you will also need scaffolding, or risk standing on a ladder for several hours at a time. Without experience, you could accidentally fall and hurt yourself. If you have never spent hours balancing yourself on a ladder before, you have no idea how difficult is truly is. A stucco job is also massive, and it usually requires a team to get done in one weekend. If you try to do this on your own, you could be going through the process for several weeks without it getting done.
When you buy a dishwasher from somewhere like Home Depot or Lowes, you can usually get a free or discounted installation, which means that you never have to worry about doing this on your own. However, a lot of people might get a used dishwasher from Craigslist for their home, or one of their friends. They hope that instead of paying money to hire a pro, they can get a few friends together and install it on their own. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as the pros make it look.
In order to install a dishwasher, you need to drill into your existing cabinets to create holes for the water and electrical lines. There are also a lot of other complicated steps in setting it up, like installing drainage lines. With so many moving parts, there is a lot that can go wrong. It’s always best to hire a professional to get the job done.
HVAC stands for “Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.” It comes standard in a new American home, and if you want it to be installed in an older house, it costs tens of thousands of dollars. Repairs also cost a lot of money, so some people feel tempted to try to get this work done on their own. However, this is one of those jobs you should definitely steer clear of.
In order to get certified in HVAC work, people need to go through an apprenticeship and take tests before they can qualify to do the work on a home. Just like becoming a plumber, it takes a very long time to learn those skills. So, to think of an amateur jumping straight into a project is pretty unrealistic. It’s best to leave it to the pros.
For anyone who has moved into a house with a vintage porcelain bathtub, you may feel tempted to refinish the tub on your own. There are a lot of tutorials on YouTube about how you can do this, and there are also tub refinishing kits that you can buy online if you’re feeling brave. However, after reviewing these tutorial videos, there were so many steps along the way where there were warnings about how careful you must be, otherwise, the project will fail. Not only is this a nerve-wracking process, but it’s very time-consuming.
Even after successfully refinishing a bathtub, DIY advocates will even admit that after about two years, refinishing paint begins to stain. It also can’t handle abrasive cleaners, otherwise the paint will begin to peel off. This is why it’s actually a lot more permanent to get a tub overlay installed by a professional, or have it completely replaced with something new.
The process of installing a shower can be a great home upgrade but it is not easy. If you choose to try to do this yourself, you will have to invest in all of the necessary tools. However, once you tear away the old bath or shower, you might discover that there is leaky plumbing or a rotting subfloor underneath that needs to be replaced. Or, what’s worse- those problems could go unnoticed to an untrained eye.
Hiring a contractor also means that you are guaranteed a polished, professional looking shower. People who do a DIY project tend to make small mistakes that can become an eyesore. If you hire a contractor and you see something you don’t like, you can ask for them to fix the mistake. Another advantage to hiring a pro is time. When you’re doing a DIY shower install, most people take several weeks to get it done, which means their bathroom is out of commission for an extended period of time. Professionals can get it done in one weekend, so you and your family can get on with your lives.
Choosing to refinish your hardwood floors is a common DIY project that a lot of home owners try to tackle on their own. However, if it’s your first time sanding floors at home, you could run into a lot of trouble. Firstly, you will need to rent a sander from somewhere like Home Depot or Lowes. However, before you actually dive into sanding, you need to know whether the wooden floors in your home can handle it or not. Every time floors are sanded, it makes the boards thinner and thinner, until it completely damages them.
After sanding the floors with the machine, you also need to stain them properly. This takes a set of skills that need to be taught to someone who has done it before. Yes, there are tutorials on YouTube, but troubleshooting is often difficult when there is no one there to look at your particular situation to help you. On average, it costs $350 to $900 to hire a professional, but it would be worth it to get it done properly the first time.
For some people, they might see a video of people installing countertops and think that they could do it too. In reality, installing countertops is one of those skills that people specialize in. These countertops can be very heavy, too. It usually takes multiple people to carry the countertop and lift it up onto the kitchen island. In order to make custom countertops, you need huge expensive saws and tools that are capable of cutting marble or stone.
Even if you wanted to do this project yourself, chances are that you don’t even have the equipment or man power to do it properly. And if it was installed incorrectly, there is a chance that you could potentially cause leaks to damage the wood of your countertops and so much more. Make sure you find a reputable countertop installer in your local area. Remember that unlike repairs, this is a one-time expense. This is something that is worth putting the money into so that you have a beautiful kitchen to last the rest of your life.
If one of your major appliances like a dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer stops working, you really have no choice but to call in a professional. The thing about major appliances is that no two brands are alike. Even if you find a tutorial on YouTube, there is no guarantee that you will find the same exact model number that you own at home. Most likely, a part will have to be ordered online in order to fix your machine. The appliance repair person will have to come to your home and take some machine apart. This is a job that could take several hours to complete, even for a professional.
All of these appliances require you to shut off the plumbing and electricity before the project get started. There is so much that can go wrong, an amateur might make the issue worse. When you buy a major appliance, make sure it comes with a warranty. If you have a warranty still intact, you may be able to get the repairs done for free or have the machine completely replaced by the manufacturer. In fact, if they catch you doing a DIY repair, it voids the warranty! So don’t do anything yourself if the warranty is still there. Even if your warranty has expired, it’s still worth the cost. At the end of the day, repair costs are usually much cheaper than buying a brand new machine.
It’s very common for people to paint the inside of their house room by room. However, you should avoid painting the outside of your house if you can. Most professional painters have scaffolding or a cherry picker to help them reach the height of the second or third story. They will be able to paint the outside of your house quickly and efficiently without getting hurt.
If you were to try to paint the outside of your house on your own, the chance of injuring yourself is incredibly high. You also might not have the equipment available to get yourself up there. Even if you own a ladder, this would be excruciating for you to paint the entire exterior by yourself on a ladder that may not be completely stable. And if you are a novice, chances are that you might make a mistake. It’s much better to pay the professionals to paint the outside of your house so that it gets done quickly.
If your driveway needs to be repaved, you always need to hire a professional to help you. They bring in machines that are very expensive in order to lay down the tar or cement. It’s also easy to mess up leveling the driveway, which is why a professional should always come in to do it. When you pay for a project like this, you’re also guaranteed that they will do a good job. If not, you can ask them to fix something before they get paid.
On the flip side, if you want to have a stone driveway, this can be done on your own. However, if you plan to do your own driveway, this will take a very long time. Last summer, my family and I redid the stone driveway on our own. We wanted to use beach pebbles, so it took a couple months of re-ordering the supplies in bulk in order to find enough. I also had to buy a landscaping blow torch to remove all of the grass and seeds so that our driveway could be in a perfect U shape.
If you know that you have termites in your house, you should always call the professionals for help. Unfortunately, I have first-hand experience with this. We had a termite infestation for a couple years at my house. At first, we bought every product on the market in order to try to get rid of the termites on our own. We were determined to not have to pay the huge cost of bringing in a professional exterminator. However, after spending a couple hundred dollars on products that didn’t work and watching YouTube videos that gave us false promises, we still had termites.
First and foremost, we had to identify where the water was leaking into the house. Termites are attracted to wet wood. But even after making repairs, the dampness can still attract the critters even after the leaks are gone. When the professional termite exterminator arrived, he had to drill holes into the cement foundation around our house. Then he filled it with the termite poison and had to fill the holes back in. He knew exactly how to do it correctly so that we wouldn’t have the issue again. The longer you wait to get help from a professional, the more the termites are going to eat away at the wood that is holding your house together. This can be incredibly dangerous and ruin the structural Integrity of your home.
I have seen several videos on the internet explaining how to replace your exterior siding on your own. This might be possible if you have just a few pieces that need to be replaced. However, if the siding on your entire house needs to be replaced, you really need to hire a professional. In older homes, a lot of exterior siding was made of asbestos. The only way to handle this is to encase it in new siding. Or, you would have to have it removed by certified professionals. Either way, it’s best to hire a team to get the job done for you in a few days.
Down the road from where I live, there was a family who purchased a fixer upper. The first thing they decided to do was encase the asbestos siding with new vinyl. They even purchased scaffolding to do the job. However, they were still learning how to do siding, so they worked very slowly. After two months of work, they didn’t get the job done in time. Now, it’s winter. There have been several storms beating down on their half-completed house, and no one can move in yet. All of this wasted time means that they are paying for a mortgage and taxes without even being able to live in the house yet. Any amount of money they were trying to save by doing it themselves is probably canceling itself out with the amount of wasted time and money that they are now dealing with.
A lot of people will do a DIY project of installing brand new insulation into a newly constructed building, tiny house, or van build. This is fine, because brand new insulation is typically safe. However, removing old insulation is a totally different story. Over time, the fiberglass can break apart and particles will fly in the air. Same goes with older insulation that could potentially be asbestos. These particles can fly into the air and get into your lungs. They will permanently stay there and potentially cause cancer later in life.
Because of the danger of what lies inside of insulation, you should always hire a professional. They will show up with the proper protection and equipment necessary in order to remove it without hurting themselves or your family. On top of that, this is simply a dirty job. It’s not a pleasant thing to experience. Some people have even had the unpleasant experience of finding wasps or bees in their attic insulation, too. It would be better for you to pay a professional to get it done instead of going through it on your own.
A lot of people dream of having a finished basement. This can be a great way to add additional square footage to your home, especially if it’s not possible to build upwards. Most people use their basements as a cinema room, gaming room for the kids, a downstairs bar, or an extra bedroom space. All of this might seem easy enough, but you should never start a basement finishing project without consulting a professional first.
Basements need to be waterproofed and insulated, especially if your house is below sea level. If the water table is too high, you may not even be able to do everything you hoped for in the basement. Always consult a professional to come and inspect the property, because they will let you know what’s possible, and how to get it done correctly. If the basement ever floods, you can run the risk of mold growing, or you could lose everything that’s down there.
Installing a new door might not seem like a big deal, but it can actually be a huge project. We recently had a new front door installed in our house. Our goal was to replace an antique door that was originally on the property, but it had no insulation. My parents decided to turn this into a DIY project, but it became a nightmare. The size of the old door was small compared to the new door that they purchased. So my dad had to knock out both sides of the wall in order to get the new door to fit.
When the door arrived in the mail, the sealants of the door were broken. We called the manufacturer to have them replaced, but the replacements arrived broken as well. Even now, there is still a draft coming through that door because my dad couldn’t install it properly. All of this hassle could have been avoided if they just paid a couple hundred dollars to a professional door company to install everything. If they purchase a door that was the exact same size as the previous door, maybe it wouldn’t have been such a hassle. But it’s hard to imagine installing a door on my own after seeing what my parents went through.
For some people, the idea of replacing a toilet seems easy enough. They want to do it on their own without hiring a professional. However, there was a lot that can go wrong with toilet replacement. If you don’t install it properly with a ring and make sure that everything is sealed in place, it can leak and lead to mold. This can also cause water damage in the floor, which damages the underflooring. Wobbly seating are the least of your problems if you make a mistake installing a toilet.
Personally, I have replaced toilets and rings on my own with the help of family members. However, these projects never worked out as planned. We ended up having wobbly toilets and other issues that didn’t work out properly. In the future, I would always hire a professional to replace a toilet. Even if it costs a couple hundred dollars to get the project done, it’s worth knowing that you can sit down on the toilet seat without worrying if it’s going to crash through the floor.
Whenever a furniture leg breaks, one of two things usually happen. Either the person throws away that furniture, or they come up with a weird DIY solution like putting a stack of magazines where the missing leg used to be. If the furniture was under $100 to begin with, it might make for financial sense to simply get rid of it, and buy something new. However, if you have an expensive piece of wooden furniture that costs closer to $1,000, it would be worth the money to have it repaired.
Carpenters need to use special tools in order to recreate the legs of your furniture to fit perfectly. This isn’t something that you can accurately accomplish with a weekend DIY project. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be too expensive for you to hire a local carpenter to work on the project for you. It’s best to find a small mom-and-pop style business in your town. This can’t be done somewhere like Home Depot or Lowes. Alternately, you can try to find replacement legs on the manufacturer website, or eBay.
Sometimes, we find a great piece of vintage furniture that would look amazing, if only we could reupholster the fabric and stuffing. While it may seem tempting to tackle on your own, it might be too difficult for most people. My aunt has a reupholstery business in her home, and her entire basement is filled with the proper equipment in order to get it done correctly. You need an industrial sewing machine, electric saws to cut foam, button pushers, tools to remove pins, sanders, and so much more.
During quarantine, my mom decided to reupholster her couch on her own. Since she and my dad had both learned a little bit from my aunt, they weren’t total novices. However, my mom still ended up breaking her sewing machine, because it was not industrial grade. I ended up spending around $200 to buy her a new machine. Even though they had some background knowledge, it still took my parents a month or two to reupholster their couch. However, with that being said, if you want to reupholster your dining room chairs, this should be simple enough for you to DIY. I have seen several videos on YouTube with people explaining how to do it, and it should be possible for even beginners to pull off.
Building a porch might look simple enough, but it’s actually a form of engineering that should not be taken lightly. This is especially true if you are building a double-decker porch or something else that is meant to hold a lot of weight. If the porch is not built properly, there is a chance that it could break or collapse underneath people while they’re standing on it. I have also seen plenty of stories where people’s feet accidentally go through the porch wood and they end up breaking an ankle. This is yet another example of another DIY disaster I have unfortunately experienced in real life.
My parents want to install a new front porch on their house. They want to save money, so they have avoided hiring professionals. It’s not the sort of job that can be done with just one person, so they have tried to recruit friends who are handy with tools, and pay them half the price. Even when people said “yes” to helping, they would quickly avoid their calls. My parents removed the old front porch roof, because they trusted that they would have help from friends. Now, they are dealing with a winter without any protection on the front of the house. This has been a nightmare, especially considering that we need to stay at home and receive grocery deliveries and Amazon packages more than ever before. Always pay the professionals who will show up on time and get the job done for you before it’s too late.
On home makeover TV shows, you might see the interior designers make a sketch for their design ideas. They may even make a 3D rendering of what they imagine they want done. This might work for decorating. However, this is no replacement for actual architectural blueprints when you are trying to build a house from scratch. There is a very good reason why people go to college for architecture and civil engineering. You need to make sure any building or addition is structurally sound, if you don’t want your house to fall down.
If you are adamant about building a tiny house, shed, or addition by yourself, at least buy the blueprints online. Many are available in a downloadable PDF format. Instead of hiring an architect, you can pay between $100 to $500 for access to the building plans. Once you have the plans in place, you know exactly what kind of lumber to buy from the store, as well as materials needed. You also have a plan on how to put everything together, set aside by an expert. This can be passed on to other experts in the construction industry, and the job goes by a lot smoother.
Hopefully you will never have to deal with water damage, because it can be devastating. If you have a leaky roof, there is so much more that needs to be done beyond the patch work. Water damage can cause mold, but it can also eat away at the integrity of the wood. Ceiling tiles often need to be removed completely. Wet wood can also lead to a termite infestation. Unfortunately, a lot of people will paint over water damage, and pretend like there isn’t a bigger issue happening underneath. Black mold can seriously affect your health, so don’t mess around with it. The longer you let water damage go, the worse the situation will be.
My family’s beach house was flooded during Hurricane Sandy. The basement had to have the water pumped out by the fire department, and all of the floorboards needed to be replaced. Our main house is also near a lake, so we have a high water table. We’ve dealt with water damage throughout our lives, and it’s never something you should ignore or try to do on your own. There are special vacuums to suck up excess moisture, dehumidifiers, and so many other pieces of equipment that go into removing all of that water from a flood. It’s a costly job, and it needs to be done by a professional if you want to go back to living in a warm, dry home.