Leave These Home Remodeling Projects for the Professionals
While DIY home projects help spruce up your home for less, there are projects that should definitely be left to the pros. Here are five:
1. Window Replacement
Regardless of whether you are looking to better insulate your house or if your existing window is damaged, replacing windows yourself can be complex, unless you have prior experience. Accurate measurements are essential as well as knowledge about which parts are needed for your home, such as glazing, grill patterns, vinyl, wood, and exterior cladding. Installing a single window can take as long as 4-6 hours — longer if you have to caulk and paint, your exterior trim needs changed, or the size or shape of your window needs updated.
2. Insulation Removal
Old insulation is a haven for nasty contaminants like dust, mold, fiberglass, animal excretions, and even asbestos. If you aren’t educated on how to safely remove insulation, it’s best not to try as you can endanger your and your family’s health if these contaminants are released into the air. Hot, itchy and uncomfortable, it’s a job for the ambitious. Not only do you have to access awkward spaces, but because all insulation is made up of some form of glass, tiny shards of glass can stick into your skin and make you itch. Skin protection, eye protection, and low-level breathing protection is a must.
3. Taking Down Walls
Once you take off the drywall or plaster, things like air ducts, electrical cables, boiler piping or plumbing drain lines might be revealed. All of these will need to be rerouted before completely removing a wall. In addition, you’ll need to assess whether the wall is load-bearing, which means that the wall transfers load from the above floor down through another beam, wall, and/or foundation. It can be tricky — some walls don’t appear to be structural, but they actually are, which can cause big problems if you have sagging walls and ceilings that can bring about collapse. The structural safety of your home is at stake, as load-bearing walls support an attic, a second floor, and downward pressure from the roof. Unless you possess some knowledge about the structure your walls are holding up, this job is best left to the pros.
4. Sanding & Refinishing Hardwood Floors
A very time-consuming project, sanding and refinishing hardwood floors is tedious and difficult. While the equipment necessary for a professional job can be rented (hand-held sanders will take you forever), the tools are hard to handle and the potential to ruin your floors is high. Pros use large drum sanders along with an edger for the corners. One false move and you’ll end up with a chunk out of your floor. Unless you have experience, it’s not a good idea to take on this project yourself.
5. Painting Cabinets
If painting cabinets were as straightforward as painting walls, there wouldn’t be an issue. But to paint cabinets, every door and piece of hardware must be removed, and the cabinets sanded first so that the surface is at least scuffed enough that the paint adheres properly. Applying a quality primer is a good idea as well, in addition to following the manufacturer’s instructions for the primer and paint for in-between coats. Where this project really gets tricky, however, is if you’re working with inset-panel or raised-panel doors rather than basic flat doors. Spraying the cabinets instead of brushing them is ideal so that there won’t be any visible brush strokes — another job requiring some know-how.