Renovations you should never do yourself

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Old tools on a wooden table

In an age where free do-it-yourself advice is either a few mouse clicks away, attending free workshops at your big box retailers, or just dropping in and asking a few questions at the local hardware store, there are still home renovation projects that you should never handle yourself. We’re talking about those renovations that could cause serious damage to home if you don’t know what you’re doing. In some cases those projects could also wind up putting you in the hospital, or worse. Here’s a list of renovations that you should leave for the professionals:

Moving or removing walls

Wouldn’t it be great to remove the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to create a more open concept? How about putting an new opening in that wall to the living room? In most modern home, the roof load is supported by the exterior walls of your home and interior wall can be shifted around with little or no problem. However, that is not always the case, especially when you start dealing with older homes. Moving or removing a wall could mean altering the structural support of your home and could cause your roof to collapse. Imagine sitting down to that thanksgiving turkey dinner and suddenly have a new skylight in your dining room. All jokes aside, unless you know what you’re doing, consult with a professional.

Electrical/Plumbing

This goes without saying, but doing your own electrical and plumbing could wind up costing you far more than to have a professional do the job. Badly installed plumbing could leak or burst and flood your home and poor electrical work could start a fire (in addition to the dangers of electrocution). Make sure to hire a pro who has experience with this sort of work. An electrician or plumber who has worked on the commercial side of things for awhile might not be up to code on the residential side of things.

Window and Exterior Doors

There is more to installing a window or exterior door than just putting it into a rough opening. There can be a lot of prep work that needs to happen in order for a window or door to work as intended. Improperly installed, heat and cold can easily get through and over time, the window or door might not operate properly. As well, a couple of bad rainstorms could mean water getting into your home, causing mold and rot. It’s best to leave the window and door installation to the professionals.

Decks

Decks seems like a no-brainer, just nail a few boards together a voila! A brand new deck. Actually, the city of Edmonton has a lot of guidelines on how decks are to be constructed and these guidelines are well thought out from a safety perspective. Not fastening your deck correctly to your home or not having the right support can lead to the deck collapsing under weight. Yeah, that means having the deck collapse when people are on it. Instead, look to a professional to design and build your deck. You can still be a part of the deck building when it comes time to stain or paint it.

Demolition

When doing a larger project such as a full kitchen or bathroom remodel, we occasionally get asked how much money would be saved if the person did their own demolition. Demolition, isn’t the fun, sledgehammer swinging, time that everyone thinks it is. If you’re not careful, you could accidentally break a water line or cut some electrical, which could cause damage to you or your home. Even if it doesn’t, we still have to go in and fix it. As well, you could injure yourself. A pulled muscle might keep you out of work for a day or two, or you could wreck your shoulder or knee, keeping you away from physical activity for awhile. Professionals have insurance for these situations, but you may not. Besides, the little known secret is that the first swing of the sledgehammer is fun, the thirtieth is not. And then you have to pick up after yourself.

“So, what renovations, then, can I do myself?” you ask. Painting is a easy one to point to. With a little practice and remembering to fill and sand between coats, you can make a drastic difference to a room. Trim work, such as new window & door casing and baseboard is an easy DIY project that can update the look of your home. If you feel up to the challenge, adding a new backsplash to your kitchen or bathroom is also not too difficult with a little instruction. Just remember, before using any unfamiliar tool, read the instructions and follow all of the safety guidelines.

If you want to view other blog posts from Robert & Michael at Nord Alta Construction, visit our blog on our site by clicking here.

If you’re in Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, or the surrounding area and are looking for a contractor for you renovation project, visit our website at www.nordalta.com/contact.php to find information on how to contact us. We’d be happy to speak to you about what we can do to get the ball rolling on your next home or office project. You can also leave comments with us at info@nordalta.com.

Michael Breault is a project coordinator for Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at www.nordalta.com. You can also find Michael and Nord Atla Construction on facebook at www.facebook.com/NordAltaConstruction, on twitter at www.twitter.com/Nordalta, and on LinkedIn.

Robert Breault is the president and owner of Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at www.nordalta.com. You can also find Robert and Nord Alta Construction on facebook at www.facebook.com/NordAltaContruction and on LinkedIn.