Last Updated Apr 10, 2018 · Written by Hannah Fester
With thanks for the burgeoning number of renovation TV shows such as The Block and My House Rules, as well as the plethora of glossy magazines on stands that advocate do-it-yourself jobs, it’s no wonder why the everyday homeowner is tempted to pick up the tools and have a crack at mending their home improvement job themselves. But the world of DIY isn’t as liberal as what meets the eye; it’s not as simple as quickly fixing a wire, or courageously hammering and nailing away, or having a go at repairing that persistent problem in the bathroom. The reality is that there are simply some jobs you can’t do yourself. Rules, regulations, skills, and expertise all need to be factored into an enticing do it yourself job. And in some cases, you will find you simply can’t do it yourself. Luckily, there are many skilled, licensed and professional tradies just a phone call away who can help with your next not-so-DIY job. The other good piece of news is there are still plenty of DIY jobs for you to sink your creative teeth into that are safe, legal and will make you feel like your very own home renovation contestant! So, let’s take a look at the dos and the don’ts of DIY.
There are some common home improvement jobs that do not button under the do-it-yourself category. Your safety should be the first consideration when it comes to DIY jobs, followed by the legality of what you’re thinking of undertaking.
When it comes to complex plumbing jobs it’s imperative to put down the wrench, pick up the phone and call a professional plumber. Plumbers are aptly licensed and skilled to tackle your next big plumbing job, and when it comes to water in the home, this isn’t something you want to tamper with. Burst water pipes or sewage leaks, for example, can affect the structural integrity of one’s home. If a job like this, for instance, isn’t taken care of by a professional, the issue will only get worse. Plumbers are licensed and insured from state to state to ensure the highest quality standard is upheld for every job.
If your lightbulb happens to go out, there are no qualms in you replacing it, however, that should really be the extent of your DIY electrical work. As one of the more dangerous tradie professions, electricians are highly skilled individuals who have a deep understanding of the ins and outs of electrical work. By giving it a go yourself, you’re in grave danger of quite literally getting your wires crossed. Not only is it supremely dangerous to tamper with electricity, it is also going against the law. Electricians only are licensed to fix or amend the wiring in your home, so steer completely clear of DIY electrical work.
Let’s be fair, not all building jobs are out of the question for you to try yourself. Dog kennels or your kid’s cubby house - eat your heart out (should you be handy with a nail and hammer of course!). But any type of structural building work must be undertaken by a professional builder. The last thing you want is the structural integrity of your home compromised because you thought you had a grip on the job at hand. Chances are, there is a lot more to consider before deciding you’ll knock down that inconvenient wall to make a larger living space. As a simple rule of thumb: leave the bulkier building jobs to the people who have the know-how.
This is almost a no-brainer- if you have asbestos in your home, or even suspect you have asbestos in your home, you must call in the experts. This is one job that most definitely has no wiggle room for a tempted DIY advocate. Asbestos fibres are deadly, and that’s the bottom line. Asbestos removalists have all the gear and all the idea on how to safely remove it from your home.
If one of your gas appliances is leaking, it’s time to call in the professionals. Leaking gas is exceptionally bad for your health and in no way requires you to jeopardise your wellbeing to fix it. If carbon monoxide is discharging from a gas appliance, the one and only step you can take is to turn off the gas in your home and pick up the phone. The rest is best left for a tradesperson who will be able to amend the exposed area.
This DIY job may be a little out of your reach, quite literally. A professional roofer has all the appropriate equipment to stably repair any damages to your roof. While it might be tempting to fix a tile or two yourself, you can’t actually properly assess the severity of the damages until you’re up on the roof itself. Carefully positioning yourself on your roof and furthermore fixing any damages requires great skill. And with other factors to consider, such as bad weather conditions and steep inclines, it’s best to leave the restoration to a qualified roofer.
So, while it appears there are a few jobs that you cannot DIY, there are also many which you can! Don’t be deterred by what you can’t do, rather inspired by the safe, legal and manageable jobs you can do!
Feel like splashing out with a new feature wall or giving your kid’s room a lift with some bright colours? Why not give some DIY painting a go! Painting, while time consuming, can be a rewarding job; from selecting the colours to prepping the room to finally seeing the finished project in front of your eyes. Just be sure to take all the precautions before you open the lid of the bright jar of paint! Nothing screams DIY paint job than leaks and streaks of paint in unwanted places.
One of the most therapeutic things to do: gardening. Not harmful, yet a creative and calming activity outdoors, gardening has all the makings of a perfect DIY job. If you’ve always wanted to inject more life into your outdoor space, why not slip on the gardening gloves and start planting. You have the complete creative freedom to execute how you want your garden to look, so this is a DIY project you can own in its entirety.
If you’ve got a flat pack or an easy to assemble a piece of furniture, it’s your time to shine. An Allen key and Phillips head screwdriver can go a long way to make your DIY building dream a reality. There are no real risks here and a sense of accomplishment upon completion will undoubtedly be felt.