Don’t DIY: 7 jobs you should leave to the professionals

Don’t DIY: 7 jobs you should leave to the professionals

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Tackling a DIY job gives you a certain amount of satisfaction and saves you money too. Some jobs, however, should be left to the professionals.

There are jobs around the home that can easily be undertaken by DIY enthusiasts, often saving the homeowner money in the process. However, there are jobs that should always be left to the professionals, mainly because things could turn nasty if and when something goes wrong.

Unfortunately, many of those who regularly undertake maintenance on their homes don’t know their own limitations and repairs done outside their scope of expertise may not only end up costing a lot more to fix, things can become downright dangerous if the job isn’t done correctly.

1. Electrical problems

Just because you can replace a ceiling fan or light switch doesn’t mean that you have the necessary knowledge to do more intricate electrical jobs. Working with electricity is dangerous and apart from the risk of being electrocuted, there is a chance that the property could burn down if the wiring is faulty.

Advice: Always use a reputable, qualified electrician for any work that requires more than a passing knowledge of home electrics.

2. Plumbing repairs

Most people can change or replace a washer in a tap and unblock the odd drain or two. However, while it may not be as dangerous as working with electricity, incorrect plumbing can lead to a whole range of expensive repairs as well as huge hikes in a water bill, let alone the cost of flooding.

Advice: know your limits and call in a plumber for any job that entails some form of training.

3. Roof repairs

Roof leaks are notoriously tricky and while the avid DIYer may be in a position to replace cracked or broken tiles, he’s probably going to run into problems if the leak is more serious and difficult to track down.

Advice: call in the experts if you suspect structural damage or if replacing the odd roof tile hasn’t alleviated the problem.

4. Gutter repairs

Repairing a gutter is one of those job that appears simpler than it really is. Unfortunately the guttering system is linked to the roof and it’s virtually impossible repair without impacting in some way on the roof.

Advice: call in the professionals if the guttering requires more attention than a simple application of sealant.

5. Alterations/renovation work

Altering or renovating a building takes a certain level of expertise and shouldn’t be undertaken by anyone who only has passing knowledge of the process.

Advice: while the advanced DIYer may have the expertise needed for small construction jobs such as building a braai, this doesn’t mean he will necessarily be in a position to take on more serious construction work. Hire a professional builder for larger projects.

6. Tree felling

You only have to watch YouTube to see what can go wrong when trying to fell a tree in your garden. Sawing off a couple of branches may not prove too problematic, but the picture can change drastically when trying to bring down an enormous (read tall) tree that is close to any structure on the property.

Advice: call in a professional tree feller to cut down large trees which could cause structural damage to the home if incorrectly felled.

7. Cracks caused by structural damage

There are cracks and then there are CRACKS. Small cracks are a common problem in homes and the issue can usually be resolved with a little wall filler. However, the more serious the crack, the bigger the likelihood that an expert will have to be called in to address the problem.

Advice: potential structural damage is not generally an area in which DIYers or general maintenance people have experience. Call in a structural engineer to assess the problem as soon as possible.

We all want to save money, but some jobs demand expert attention. The trick to saving money is to identify what you can or can’t do and employ the right person for the job the first time around when the situation demands it.


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