Serviceman working on a dishwasher | Anya Semenoff/The Denver Post via Getty Images
As far as appliances go, dishwashers are one of the most complicated when it comes to installation and even repairs. There’s a lot to consider from electricity to drainage and everything in between. A mistake could mean flooding your kitchen, potentially damaging your floors and kitchen furniture. Most stores offer installation for a fee that’s considerably less than the cost of an incorrectly installed dishwasher and subsequent clean up and repairs.
Next : You can’t hide this danger
3. Those exposed wires won’t be an issue in a suspended ceiling
A suspended ceiling | nnorozoff/Getty Images
Electrical work can be extremely dangerous for a number of reasons. There’s the obvious risk of getting shocked and also if the work is done improperly, there’s the potential for an electrical fire. While even a novice DIYer might know better than to leave wires exposed where they’re visible or could be touched, they also need to be properly covered even if they’re hidden.
Frank Lesh, a former executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors, told
U.S. News that it’s not uncommon for inspectors to find exposed wires in suspended ceilings. He noted that the danger isn’t necessarily that someone might touch them, but if any pests, such as mice, were to interact with the wires, it could cause large issues.
Next : Risky repairs could cost you more in the long run
4. You can save money by doing your own plumbing repairs
| AndreyPopov/Getty Images
If it’s not a job for Draino, then it’s probably not a job for you. Plumbing can be tricky and often requires performing repairs in awkward or cramped spaces if you’re dealing with something beyond a basic faucet. DIY websites might try to convince you that your issue is “simple,” but when potential water damage is on the line, there’s nothing simple about it.
Next : Out with the old before in with the new
5. That new flooring can go right over the old flooring
Installing carpet over a laminate floor | AndreyPopov/Getty Images
Installing new flooring can be a simple yet effective way to refresh a room and with all of the different flooring options available today, it might not even cost you that much. But be careful of putting new flooring directly over your old flooring. Dave Geradine, who owns Expert Home Repairs in Hollywood, FL, told U.S. News that you run the risk of having to remove your new flooring if the old flooring underneath fails for any reason.
It’s also easier to make sure that your new flooring is level if you remove the old flooring first. The laminate kitchen flooring in my home was installed over old carpeting (of all things) before I purchased it and there are very noticeable dips, bulges, and gaps in the flooring that would likely not be there had the carpeting been removed first.
Next : One of the most serious health hazards in homes today
6. You can remove asbestos from
you house yourself
Asbestos abatement team | Photofusion/Crispin Hughes/UIG via Getty Images
It is legal in many states for homeowners to remove asbestos without hiring expensive asbestos abatement professionals. Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and the average person won’t know all the proper precautions to take to minimize exposure as well as avoid spreading particles throughout your home. Don’t risk your health and leave this one to the professionals.
Next : It’s not always a good idea to just make do
7. It’s fine to work with what you have on hand
Tools stored above a work bench | stoonn/Getty Images
There are plenty of times in life where making do with what you have is totally fine. But that shouldn’t be your go-to motto when it comes to DIY home repairs and renovations. Having the correct materials and tools makes a world of difference for most projects and can help ensure that your projects are being completed correctly and are closer to modern building standards. Not to mention that you can create a potentially hazardous or dangerous situation by not using the correct materials.
Next : Even a standard replacement is trickier than it may seem
8. Replacing a window is no big deal
Man working on replacing a window | Doug Jones/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
When it comes to windows, there’s more than meets the eye. Even if you have a standard size window, it’s not as simple as popping out the old one and putting the new one in its place. If the new window isn’t installed correctly, it could lead to drafts and possibly leaks.
Next : These are not cure-alls
9. Any tape or glue will work
Damaged door repaired with glue and duct tape | eyepark/Getty Images
It’s time to learn that duct tape and superglue are not a cure-alls. You might be surprised at the number of specialty tapes and adhesives on the market and there’s a purpose for each of them. Electrical tape, for example, is a rubber-based tape designed to insulate against electric current. Duct tape has no insulation so it would be a poor substitute and create a potentially hazardous situation. Figuring out the specialty tape or adhesive you need in any given situation will ensure that you are using the most effective product possible and also help prevent other problems in the future.
Next : Proper preparation is necessary for this project
10. You can just paint right over existing wallpaper or cracked paint
Cracked paint | RYosha/Getty Images
For some DIYers, painting might be the easiest project to tackle. It doesn’t require as much skill as something like plumbing or electrical, and that makes it much less stressful. But there’s still more to it than simply slapping paint on a wall and proper preparation is necessary for the end result to look as best as it can be.
You should never paint directly over wallpaper or old cracking and peeling paint. You need a smooth service to work with when painting and putting paint over wallpaper can make it bubble up, which means you’ll have to cut out those sections, patch them, and then prime and paint them again. In the case of painting over old paint, as much as you hope it will, new paint won’t properly fill any cracks or adhere sections where old paint is peeling off.
11. You don’t need a professional opinion before doing your own work
Old floor tile | Bridget DeMeis/The Cheat Sheet
You may have had a home inspection before purchasing your property so there’s a chance you already have a complete list of everything wrong or potentially dangerous. If for some reason you skipped an inspection, you should be extra cautious, especially if you have an older home. Things like asbestos can be found in places you might not expect so if you aren’t sure or suspect that there might be asbestos present on your HVAC ductwork, in old flooring tiles, on old plumbing pipes, or in a myriad of other places, it’s in your best interest to call a professional who will be able to tell you for sure. If it’s safe and easy to do so, you can also collect a sample using a home asbestos test kit and send it to a lab for analysis.
Next : Beware where you try to save money
12. Save money by doing the demo work yourself before you contractor starts work
Home mid-reno | Lisa5201/Getty Images
Say you’re undertaking a project that you did decide to pay a professional to complete. Chances are you might look for ways to save on your contractor bill by looking for work you could complete yourself, such a demo. Why pay someone to tear down walls when you could easily do it yourself, right? Wrong.
Although demo appears to be straightforward, if you don’t know what exactly you’re getting into it could spell disaster. You need to know if a wall is load bearing before knocking it down not to mention all the potential plumbing, electrical, and gas lines that could be hidden behind that drywall. If you don’t know what you’re getting into, leave it to the pros.
Next : One wrong move could spell disaster
13. Cutting tree branches is no big deal
Cutting a tree trunk | Prepperka/Getty Images
Trees can be a beautiful and useful aspect of your yard, but depending on how they grow, they can also be a nuisance. There’s also the risk that they may become diseased and die, which makes them a safety hazard. Cutting down branches, or entire trees, requires more than just a chainsaw. There’s the obvious risk of falling off a ladder or out of the tree, as well as the risk that what you cut off could fall in the wrong direction and damage your or your neighbor’s property.
Next : A surprising revelation
14. All you need to install trim is a saw and nail gun
A man installing crown molding | photovs/Getty Images
Something you may not have ever
realized, because it’s not necessarily discernible to the naked eye, is that no wall is perfectly straight. That means installing molding is not as straightforward as simply making cuts and nailing it to the wall. There can be a lot of painstaking work involved, such as scribing or coping, which is shaping the end of a piece of trim to almost perfectly match up with an adjoining piece. If you want it to look near perfect, call a professional to take care of it.
Next : If it seems to good to be true …
15. Easy projects are usually straightforward
Looking at blueprints | Kerkez/Getty Images
When it comes to the majority of home renovation projects you should always assume anything that can go wrong will go wrong. According to
Architectural Digest, one the biggest mistakes homeowners often make is assuming everything will go along according to plan. While there’s a better chance that may happen in newer homes, that’s not always a guarantee and you can pretty much forget about it in older homes. Save yourself the frustration and always plan, and budget, for the worst. It also doesn’t hurt to research local pros ahead of time in case you need to call one in.