DIY Repair & Maintenance

10 Times Doing It Yourself Doesn’t Save You Money

The do-it-yourself ethos is one we heartily applaud. Most services provided by home maintenance pros aren't cheap, so taking care of small fixes on your own can save you big bucks. But sometimes the DIY route can wind up costing you more in the end. Here are 10 cases when you should put down your tool kit—and pick up the phone.

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Replacing Windows and Exterior Doors

Poorly installed doors and windows cause air leaks and end up costing you a lot of green on your heating bills. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, hire a pro who can get it right the first time. You’ll rest easier knowing that your house is sealed up tight and you’re not letting money trickle out through the cracks.

Related: The 6 Best Reasons to Install New Windows

Making It Concrete

Cracked, uneven concrete walkways and steps aren’t just unsightly, they can be treacherous too. And if someone trips and falls on your property, that DIY concrete may come with an expensive lawsuit. Paving jobs and driveway repairs can be tricky, so let the guys with the heavy equipment take care of them. 

Related: 10 Ways to Buy Better Curb Appeal for Under $50

Plumbing the Depths

There’s a reason plumbers charge top dollar. Plumbing is skilled work that needs to be done right the first time to avoid expensive leaks later. Go ahead and replace your sink’s faucet handle or fix the toilet flapper, but hire a reputable pro for more complicated repairs. 

Related: 12 Things Your Plumber Wishes You Knew

Tearing Down a Wall

Demo work may look fun when you’re watching home makeover shows, but don’t start swinging that sledgehammer just yet. In real life, there’s wiring, gas lines, and pipes behind that drywall—and one wrong move can turn an easy job into a pricey, protracted one. Even if you’re sure you’re not dealing with a load-bearing wall, call a contractor to check it out and leave the demolition work to the pros. 

Related: Don’t Try This at Home: The 7 Most Dangerous DIYs

Taking Down a Tree

Don’t commit a chainsaw massacre. Unless we’re talking about a sapling, taking down a tree is dangerous work that requires special equipment and lots of experience. It’s always better to pay a landscaper than to pay a hospital bill. 

Related: 13 Home Improvements That Are Illegal to DIY

Repairing the Roof

Don’t clamber up to the top of your house and start swinging a nail gun around if you don’t know what you’re doing. Professional roofers have safety equipment and training that you probably don’t have—and they’ll do the job properly so your new roof will last for decades. 

Related: 7 Signs You Need a New Roof

Hanging Drywall

Yes, you can do it yourself—but keep in mind that drywall installed by unskilled hands often ends up with bumps, cracks, and visible tape lines. Ceilings are even tougher to manage without specialized tools and a competent assistant. Spring for quality work now, and you’ll cash in when you sell. 

Related: 10 DIY Fixes That Do More Harm Than Good

Adding a Gas Range

It’s a no-brainer: Blowing up your house (or yourself) is no way to save money. But evidently it has to be said, because there are always some overly ambitious homeowners who end up calling in the gas company or fire department when their DIY goes awry. Stay on the safe side, and never take on DIY jobs that involve gas lines. 

Related: 14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Down Your House

Refinishing a Bathtub

Seriously messy, unbearably stinky work in a cramped space? Leave it to the pros who get paid to do it. Also, a DIY coating is much more likely to chip—and then you’ll have to spend extra cash hiring a pro for a do-over.

Related: 9 Ways to Make Your Old Bathroom New Again

Working with Wiring

Obviously, you don’t want to play with fire—and improper wiring can lead to just that. An amateur with some basic knowledge can replace a light fixture or add a dimmer switch, but leave the bigger jobs to an electrician. 

Related: 8 Warning Signs of Dangerously Outdated Electrical Wiring

Time To Ask for Help

Sometimes it’s worth it to call the pros.