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Projects You Shouldn't Try To DIY

If saving money’s the only reason you think you can install your own toilet, give it a second thought. In one case, it cost about $US3,000, with a collapsed ceiling and dislodged bumper.

Okay, so the average do-it-yourself project won’t end up like Carol Taddei’s leaky, ceiling-destroying toilet, which caused her enough sudden-impact stress to make her clip a pole in her garage and collapse a host of shelves. But a New York Times trend story is worth reading for both a sobering look at the limits of DIY ingenuity by over-eager amateurs, and the little smile that will crease the corner of your mouth as you feel better about the repairs you did actually pay for.

There’s no easy measure for when a project won’t be worth any attempt at doing yourself, but try this. If you’ve never done anything that’s actually a close relative of it, just leave it alone. That’s what one suburban couple discovered, as the wife ended up plugging a punctured pipe with her finger after her husband tried to hang molding himself.

“My husband said, ‘I took woodworking and shop in high school, so when we’re ready to do it, I’ll do it,’ ” Ms. Sherman, 50, said of the project gone awry, which cost $US250 to fix, and about which her husband swore her to secrecy.

So, out of curiosity—what projects do you wish you’d never tried to do yourself, out of painful lessons or long, exhausting hours doing it? What repairs or installations are you considering doing yourself, and want advice on whether they’re worth it? Share in the comments, and maybe some Lifehacker readers who have been there before can offer some solid, or at least humorous, responses. Even to Save Cash, Don’t Try This Stuff at Home [New York Times]