5 Home Renovations You Should Never Do Yourself

5 Home Renovations You Should Never Do Yourself

When you choose to complete a home renovation project yourself, the draw is often the savings you can rack up by bypassing labour costs. But there are some projects that just aren’t worth doing yourself. Some can cost you more in the long run and can look terrible if not done right–while others are outright dangerous. Here are the tasks you should hire a pro for, for the benefit of both your wallet and your safety.

Electrical work

Doing your own electrical work unless you’re very experienced—and can have a licensed electrician inspect your work—is a bad idea. In addition to being dangerous, doing your own wiring can cost a lot of money in the long run. Electrical fires cause $US1.3 billion in property damage every year, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation. While switching out a light fixture or switch cover is well within the scope of a DIY project, any wiring that goes through the wall and into your electrical box—as well as any wiring for hard wired appliance systems—should be left to the pros to avoid expensive mistakes.

Pipe repair

Repairing a pipe in an emergency is one thing—but for a long-term repair, you need to hire a professional plumber. If there’s a crack or a hole in your pipes, a quick patch will only be a temporary solution. The cost of allowing a leak to seep into your walls or floors is much higher than getting a pro to fix the pipe before the water damage occurs. Since fixing a water-damaged home averages between $US1,300 and $US5,600 and hiring a plumber to fix a pipe costs around $US300 on average, the savings in hiring a pro are obvious.


Tiling a backsplash might be okay if you have the patience for it, but tiling a whole floor with traditional glue and grout tiles isn’t always a good idea. In addition to the skill needed to line the tiles up correctly, cut tiles to fit around doorways and other obstructions, and properly scrub the grout to avoid leaving gritty stains on the surface of your tile, tiling takes time. If you’re doing it yourself, plan to spend more than one day working on the floors and then also allow the grout to cure for at least 24 hours after the tiles are laid before walking on the floor to avoid cracks. Even if you have the patience for it, tiling correctly requires an even surface, a tile board or underlayment, and some planning to pull off. Factoring in the removal of the garbage, the prep for the new tile, and the tiling itself, having a pro come in to fix a tile job that you couldn’t finish yourself can cost up to $US12 per square foot, while putting in tile costs around $US6 per square foot.

Window replacement

Window replacement can save you money in the long run, but trying to do it yourself isn’t a good idea. First, you’ll need to get your old windows out—and that in itself can be a challenge without the proper tools. Once you get your old windows out, the windows themselves will cost between $US200 and $US800 each on average and the tools to install them can run about $US400. Fixing water damage from incorrectly installed windows can cost as much as $US5000. To hire a pro, it costs $US300 per window on average. Since proper installation is key, this isn’t a project you should do yourself unless you have experience.

Wall demolition

While it’s the most fun part of any DIY home show, wall demolition isn’t a good DIY project. For one thing, it’s dangerous. If you don’t have someone with some engineering know-how to tell you if the wall is load-bearing, then you shouldn’t risk demolishing it yourself. Even if you are sure that a wall isn’t load-bearing, demolition is messy, hard work, and not nearly as fun as it looks on TV. Renting a dumpster to haul the trash away costs about $US440 on average, and that doesn’t include hauling the rubble out to the dumpster. You can also expect hefty repair bills in the thousands if you accidentally take out a load-bearing wall. Hiring a pro to remove a wall costs about $US3,100, although load-bearing walls are more expensive. This price tag seems like a steal when you factor in the cost of fixing a bad DIY job.

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