13 Home Projects You Should Never Try to Do Yourself

Tempted to try DIY home renovations? Here are the ones you should never do yourself.
Updated Oct. 30, 2023
house renovation

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In recent years, do-it-yourself home improvement projects have surged in popularity. Nearly 80% of homeowners report that they’ve tackled a project themselves, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

When done correctly, DIY home projects can be a great way to save money on labor while adding value to your home. It seems like a financial win-win, and it often is.

But some projects should be left to the professionals. Here are the improvements that you should never try to do yourself.

Plumbing work

Eakrin/Adobe plumber using a wrench to repair a water pipe under the sink

Plumbers undergo intensive training and complete apprenticeships before entering the field, and there’s a reason for that: Plumbing is complicated work.

While some DIY projects are a great way to save money on a tight budget, this isn’t one of them. If you don’t have plumbing experience, then this DIY task is best to skip.

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Light fixtures

puhimec/Adobe male electrician works in a switchboard

Electricians command high salaries and hourly rates because, once again, the work is complicated.

You might hurt yourself or someone else if you don’t know what you’re doing. Plus, it might cost more to fix your mistakes than it would have cost to hire someone in the first place.

Roof replacement

ungvar/Adobe roof repairs old roof replacement

Even if you are confident you could climb on the roof and hang a shingle, suppressing the urge to do so is probably a good idea.

Roof work is precise. If done wrong, it can result in long-term problems that can be difficult and expensive to fix.

Window updates

Friends Stock/Adobe men are installing a window

It’s often possible to DIY a window repair. If you have a crack in the sealant or even a broken latch, you can probably watch a YouTube video or two, make a trip to the hardware store, and fix things in a couple of hours.

But if you’re trying to install a new window or fundamentally change the structure of your window, it’s best to hire out the task.

Wall removal

spatesphoto/Adobe contractor removing drywall

Taking a sledgehammer to your wall while wearing a hard hat is a classic DIY fantasy. It’s one of the first scenes in most home improvement shows, and it seems like fun on the small screen.

But in real life, it’s pretty dangerous. You might accidentally destroy a load-bearing wall or another critical element.

Huge kitchen renovations

Jo Ann Snover/Adobe wood templates for making engineered stone countertops

Some kitchen projects are perfect for a DIY approach, such as adding peel-and-stick backsplashes, open shelving, or new hardware.

But other tasks — such as installing countertops and replacing cabinets — require precision and expertise and are best left to the pros.

Creating windows

Menta/Adobe plants in pot in the window

It’s tempting to imagine that you could bring more natural light into your house by adding windows. And while you probably can add natural light that way, you shouldn’t do it yourself.

Creating windows is a specialized task that requires a specific skill set. The last thing you need is a gaping hole in your house that you can’t close.

Adding skylights

Diana Rui/Adobe wooden skylight window

Suppose you consider yourself handy, have tackled a few in-depth DIY projects. Suddenly, you feel like a skylight installation is next.

While anything is possible, hiring a professional for this endeavor is almost surely a better bet than a DIY approach. As with creating new windows, cutting a hole into your structure — in this case, the roof — is probably the last thing you should be doing.

Complicated cosmetic changes

Brandon Mauth/Adobe modern bathroom interior with dual sinks

Imagine you want a new mirror over the vanity in your bathroom as a fun update. You decide to install it yourself but accidentally hang it crooked and can’t change it without damaging the mirror.

As a result, the cosmetic change didn’t necessarily make your home look any better. Consider the changes you want and be honest about whether you can complete them to a professional standard.

New stoves

starush/Adobe brand new gas stove

If you’re switching from an electric stove to a gas stove, it’s better to skip the DIY path altogether.

Installing gas lines can be dangerous, and trying to do it yourself to save a few bucks is not a good idea. Some things in life are worth the splurge.

Dishwasher installation

nblxer/Adobe open dishwasher with white clean dishes

When you buy a dishwasher, there is usually an option to pay extra for professional installation. Unless you have experience, it’s usually a good idea to purchase the help.

Dishwasher installation is more complicated than just clicking the unit in. There are wires to connect and water to run. Because of that, it isn’t the best project to do yourself.

Kitchen cabinet paint

aetb/Adobe woman painting kitchen cabinet

For many people, painting doesn’t seem like a big deal. Maybe you’ve painted walls in your house or even changed the paint color on furniture.

Those are impressive DIY projects, but it doesn’t mean that you should try to paint your kitchen cabinets.

Cabinets are challenging to paint because they are high-touch areas and usually have a buildup of grease, food, and fingerprints. To remove the buildup, you’ll need to sand or strip the cabinets before painting.

But even beyond that, cabinets are rarely a flat surface. Usually, it requires extreme attention to detail to get things right.

Water pressure repairs

Maxal Tamor/Adobe  tap with water flowing

If you have a water-pressure issue, trying to fix it yourself is tempting. After all, there are a lot of products that promise simple solutions.

But at the end of the day, it’s not worth the risk of messing up your plumbing system. If installing a new faucet doesn’t help, it’s probably time to call an expert.

Bottom line

whyframeshot/Adobe contractor hand use sawing machine

Some home projects are perfect for the do-it-yourself enthusiast. Homeowners can usually finish those projects during a weekend or two.

But other projects require specialized skills and might pose a safety risk if done incorrectly. In the end, fixing your DIY mistakes might cost more than the initial repair.

For complicated projects, hiring outside help is the best way to avoid wasting money. Your house and your wallet will thank you.

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