We all want to save a few bucks when it comes to home improvements, but when is it time to put down the DIY manuals and pick up the phone to call in the professionals? Well for starters, when you know that you do not have the skills, knowledge, proper tools or general wherewithal to handle a job. It is amazing how that does not deter some people though. I might promote many DIY projects as things that you can potentially handle yourself, but don’t ever forget that your day job is something else entirely and maybe you should just stick with that. In the grand scheme of things, most people are not experts on every DIY project going and you need to remember that. It doesn’t take much to quickly get in way over your head in any project, however seemingly small it is. A dose of smarts just might save you time, money and overall health at the end of the day.




  • Heating: When it comes to the heating system of your home, there is so much to know and so many things that can go wrong. There is gas fitting to take into consideration, the potential for welding of duct work, plumbing to consider, the need of specialized tools, not to mention the fact that you cannot generally walk into a big box store and buy your brand new high-efficiency furnace right off the shelf! Most manufacturers insist on professional installation, so as to ensure the safety and functioning of the equipment (and the people involved!). When it comes to the heating of your home, it is best to leave it to a professional.
  • Electrical: While some electrical projects can be simple enough, like changing a light bulb, other projects can turn into nightmares right before your eyes. For starters, always turn off electric sources before tackling any electrical work. Make sure you have any potential parts, tools and manuals available before you start your project, as a trip to the hardware store in the middle of a project adds valuable time to the job. Always check, double-check and triple check your work before turning the power back on. One wrong connection could see you charred and on your way to the hospital in a hurry.
  • Kitchens: The warm heart of your home is only that if you show it some love. Kitchen projects could potentially include plumbing, electrical, flooring and maybe the hardest project of all, new counters. If you are drooling over granite, you might want to leave that to a professional to size, cut and handle, as you wrong move can leave it chipped, broken or cut in the wrong spot. FYI: you don’t want to glue or duct tape granite back together again after you have cut it in the wrong spot.
  • Roof: You might have an easy two-sided roof that looks like a breeze to re-shingle, but have you really gone up there and eye-balled your roof? Do you know how to handle peaks, valleys, gutters and flashing? More importantly, have you considered the pitch of your roof and how far you will be off the ground? I bet the lay person would be surprised by how heavy a bundle of shingles really is. Unless you have a crew of seasoned roofers for friends, perhaps you should leave this little project to the professionals as well. Save your ladder climbing for cleaning your gutters of leaves in the fall.
  • Additions: While you might have hung a picture or two, installed a ceiling fan or even built a shelf in your day, that does not mean that just anyone can tackle adding an addition to their home. You need to procure permits, have proper tools, equipment and supplies, as well as the time to tackle this major DIY project. One thing that DIYers often fail to adequately factor in is the time required to do a project. A professional team might be able to build an addition within a set time period, but if you are working on such a major project after your regular work day and on weekends, you just might quickly find yourself living in a construction zone for a LOT longer than you anticipated.
  • Solo Projects: As this recent DIYer discovered, sometimes many hands makes for safer work. A UK man recently slipped and nailed himself to the top step of his home. As he was working alone and could not free himself, he had to wait four hours until his partner came home to call emergency personnel to release him. Surgery was his reward for tackling a project alone. Accidents can happen at any time regardless of skill set. Having another person around can amount to help with the work, another person to draw knowledge from, as well having that extra person around in case of emergencies.



If you have the skills, knowledge, tools and time for a job, then doing a project yourself is always a satisfying undertaking, that can often save you some hard-earned cash. If any of those aforementioned items are missing, then a well-meaning project can run off the rails faster than a roll of duct tape can fall off a ladder. Think seriously, plan and think again about tackling any DIY project before you ever pick up a hammer or screwdriver, as even professionals make mistakes. Sometimes, it’s just not worth risking a DIY disaster in your home.