May 27, 2015 by 3 Comments

With the answers to all the DIY questions in the world just a Google search away, it can be easy to think that a couple hours’ research makes you a pro. But there are plenty of home improvement projects that just aren’t worth the danger, no matter how much you might save.

Here are 5 that you should really leave to the professionals.

Asbestos removal

Asbestos was used for decades and decades as an insulator—until people realized that it’s actually toxic, that is. If your home was built prior to the 1980’s, there’s a decent chance asbestos was used in its construction. Unfortunately, the removal process can be fairly hazardous, as it can release particles into the air that end up in lungs. Professionals will be able to remove all the asbestos safely.

Extensive plumbing

Fixing a dripping faucet is all well and good, but when you’re in the middle of a major renovation, you should probably call an expert. Any time you end up needing to run new pipes or re-route old ones, you run the risk of a leak, and of water damage. In a worst case scenario, you may even end up flooding your basement.

Electrical work

You probably don’t need to be told the dangers of playing with electricity—electrocution, if you’re not careful. Electrical fires, if you don’t do the work properly. So while there are some smaller projects you should be able to tackle no problem, don’t assume you have the know-how of a licensed professional.

Swapping out a couple light fixtures? Go ahead and give it a try. Re-wiring your house? Maybe contact an electrician.

Tree removal

Let’s count all the dangers that come with trimming or cutting down your own trees. There’s the potential for you to fall from that tree you’re trimming, or for the tree to fall on something important, like your car, or you. And, of course, there’s the very sharp, very powerful equipment involved.

Knocking down walls

Sure, demoing that wall between your dining and living room is a simple (if messy) way to open the place up.  But unless you have experience with building houses, it’s pretty much impossible for you to tell which walls are load-bearing—that is, which walls can send upper floors crashing down. Plus, there may also be electrical or plumbing lurking behind that drywall.


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  •' Lily de Grey says:

    You’re written an awesome article, Courtney! I’ve always struggled with differentiating project safety. I’m glad that you’ve listed asbestos removal on your article; I was thinking about demolishing my bathroom tile (that has asbestos). I’ve scheduled an appointment for later this week. I’m hoping they’ll be able to do a good job!

    Lily de Grey |

  •' Mark Daniels says:

    In retrospect, I want to laugh about this because of I have been involved with this. I can testify to doing electrical work as being not so good an idea. I thought I turned off the electricity when I was notified that it was flipped back on, just when I was going to connect some wires. Lesson learned, especially now that I was thinking about tree trimming. I’ll probably find a service who can take care of the trees.

  •' Will Fawkes says:

    Interesting list. Asbestos removal especially seems like something better left to the professionals. As you say, it’s quite a hazardous process, and the last thing you want is to do damage to yourself as you’re removing it. It’s a shame that it was such a common insulator, as it can make renovations difficult today. It’s good that we have professionals to deal with it.

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