Whether you consider yourself handy around the house or you’ve just got a weekend free, a DIY project to spruce up your condo can be a creative and profitable use of your spare time. Unfortunately, not all renovations are DIY. Below are five such projects that qualify as too tricky, too dangerous or both.
It might seem like the easiest task of all to take a sledgehammer to your apartment’s sheetrock, but taking charge of a demolition without a professional on site can be unsafe. There are plenty of things that can be hiding behind your walls, such as live electrical wiring, plumbing, gas pipes — it’s clear that damaging any one of these can be disaster to your home, and dangerous to you. If you have an older home, you also run the risk of releasing asbestos, lead paint and other dangerous particles into the air.
2. Installing Windows
That draft that constantly blows through your condo’s old windows might be bothersome, but it’s not something that you should fix on your own. Today’s replacement windows often require specialty tools for their installation, and you probably don’t have these tools on hand. It might be costly, but a professional can ensure that your new panes are snug and secure, which you and your thermostat will certainly appreciate.
3. Electrical Rewiring
Picking the right wire isn’t as easy as they make it seem in the movies. In fact, attempting to rewire your home’s electrical circuit can be extremely dangerous — deadly, even. If that’s not enough to convince you, doing your own electrical work might even be illegal according to your homeowner’s insurance policy. Many policies require that you have a permit, use a licensed professional, and have a follow-up inspection in order to perform electrical work. If you fail to follow the policy’s requirements, your policy may be voided.
4. Removing Trees
If your condo’s property line encompasses outdoor space, you should be careful when taking on fresh air projects, too. Perhaps the most ill advised of all is tree removal, and it’s easy to see why. A large power saw or sharp blade in the hand of a non-professional is dangerous enough. Then, you add the possibility of the tree falling on your home, car, a telephone or electrical wire, or even on a bystander. You could also fall yourself if the cut requires you to stand on a ladder or other surface while you remove branches. If you have an overgrown or unwanted tree, it’s best to call an arborist to take on the laborious task.
5. Repairing Pipes and Plumbing
Sure, a constant drip can be annoying, but imagine how much more of a pain it would be if you accidentally caused a flood. It’s best not to embark on large plumbing projects on your own, as a small mistake during the installation of something like a new bathtub could lead to costly pipe damage or water damage later on. Don’t pick up your phone just yet, though: you can still fix a simple toilet or shower clog on your own.
Our contributor, James White, is a freelance construction worker and blogs in his free time at Homey Improvements. He also enjoys hiking, photography, and improving his own home. Follow him on Twitter@DIYfolks.