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38

Domestic gas piping. Seems like it's trivial to connect a stove to the pipeline in an apartment - buy a pipe and two thunks, play with a wrench - what could be easier? Then you overtighten or undertighten some nut or use a wrong type of "thunk" and you've got a gas leak and possibly a devastating explosion. Saved 30 to 100 bucks but destroyed your own and ...


20

This reminds me of this question. Garage doors. The tension stored in those springs is pretty dangerous. Make a wrong move while tensioning the springs and it could take your arm off.


19

If you can use a drill with a screwdriver bit to drive a screw, then most of the time, use it. Here's when you might be smarter to use a screwdriver: The screw is going into a pre-tapped (threaded) hole in metal, or plastic, or any soft material. Always at least start such screws by hand -- so that you can avoid cross-threading them. Putting screws into ...


14

You should never do the stuff that's not fun to do. It took me a while to learn this, but unless you truly love hanging sheetrock, for instance, assume a pro will get that portion of your project done 10x faster than you ever would. That's well worth the money, IMHO. I put roofing on that list. It's certainly a DIYable task, but a pro roofing team can redo ...


11

Jay, your power utility probably has an instruction sheet with specifications for the post, wire sizes, and temp meter enclosure. In some states you (the home owner) can pre-assemble the temp service. Since the temp box only supports plug-ins (extension cords, etc) there aren't any load conductors to inspect. The power utility has to make the connections ...


10

The most direct answer to your insulation question is fairly simple. Your goal should be to have insulation equaling an "R" value of 40 or above on top of the ceiling of the second floor. The cheapest method for a DIYer is to roll out unfaced fiberglass insulation over any existing insulation. We don't know what you have now, "R" value or type. That would ...


9

I feel like I have seen this question asked before, but I can not find it. So I will go ahead and answer. If you have never done electrical work before, I would not recommend this to be the project that you start on. In order to do this properly, you will need to run new wire to every outlet to add the ground line. This in itself can be a difficult task if ...


9

There are things you CAN do yourself, but some things you SHOULD NOT do even if you theoretically CAN. IMHO, major electrical is something you COULD do, but it's a lot smarter to have someone who knows what they're doing come in and at least check it out. also in this category for me are structural (load-bearing walls) and foundations, major plumbing and ...


9

I'm a general contractor, and I make a living of correcting problems created by home owners trying to save a buck or two. Reading and researching online is great, but no substitute for experience and the proper tools for the job. The cost of fixing a botched job is always more than doing it right the first time, not to mention the agravation and possible ...


8

I hear a lot about people trying to build their own decks which later failed, resulting in serious injuries and/or death. If you're going to build a deck by yourself, at least consult with a pro and make sure you get official inspections throughout the building process and upon completion.


8

I'm a bit baffled by the responses here. Gas and Electric? Really? The two things I can think of that should never be done DIY are things which inhibit your ability properly to react (auto-brain surgery), and things involving nuclear/toxic/infectious materials (and there's some leeway here if you really do your research). There are many, many, many things ...


8

Some states subsidize professionally-installed insulation as well as other energy-efficiency improvements. If that is the case in your state, you will likely be able to hire a pro for less than what you would pay for the materials if you were to do it yourself. Massachusetts covers 75%, so I paid only $300 to insulate the attic, including two roof vents and ...


8

Before going through the trouble of an egress window, make sure the water problem is tackled. That, itself, can be a huge chore. And egress window CAN be DIY, but it's going to be a lot of messy work. You need to move a large chunk of soil, cut concrete, install a well, and given the water issues, likely a dry well or drain system of some sort. But yes, ...


8

DIY option: rent a skid steer scrape off existing driveway buy crushed rock spread with skid steer, rake rent a compacter and compact crushed rock layer bring in sand, spread, screed and level. buy concrete pavers start laying them depending on your age/health, buy lots of Advil Good luck!


7

On the one hand you don't need to run a new circuit to replace a receptacle, on the other hand putting in a new receptacle alone does absolutely nothing to modernize your system. Millions of houses have old wiring and they are fine. The only good reason to just replace the receptacle is because it is falling apart or won't hold the plugs in anymore. The ...


6

Call a local licensed Electrician. They will be able to do it faster, safer, and possibly cheaper (if you factor in what your time is worth). It's likely not a matter of simply replacing each receptacle with a three prong version, you're probably going to have to pull new cable. There may be permits involved, or other legal/code compliance matters that you ...


6

I'll probably get skinned for this, but I believe nothing is a "never-DIY". I'm not a contractor, not an expert in home repair but I know two things: 1, humans have been doing a lot of this for a really, REALLY long time and 2, ask the right question to multiple people that do. Most of the stuff I've done, I've done right (had others check it out) and ...


6

Refinishing a bathtub in place. "It's just body work - I've done this a dozen times." Incredibly messy, hard to clean up, a ton of cramped work, and even with good ventilation - just an awful job. I saved my mom a few bucks, but never again. On the other hand, I did try one of these paints on a bathtub I want to replace. It's been a year, still looks ...


5

If you have the tools and can locate the how-to information, you can do anything. A DIY'er only gets into trouble when they enter into something where they have not done their homework. The only cases where you should hire out are: urgent things where you don't have the time to do the homework the tools would cost too much you hate or are physically ...


5

It's really difficult to say if you can do this yourself or not. It certainly could be a DIY job, though that doesn't mean it should be in your case. The first thing I think you need to get is an understanding of the scope of this type of project. It will require tearing up walls to replace pipe, adding fittings, etc. During this time, you will have the ...


5

Do what a professional would do - don't touch it when wet. Sand the affected areas with fine grit and re-stain, leave until it dries completely, then move, flip over and do the opposite side, etc. Apply the poly in the same manner. You cannot handle pieces until they dry fully. You also cannot handle them with hands that are wet with finish.


4

As DA01 mentioned, there are epoxy-based methods for refinishing laminate counter tops in the $100-200 range. They seem to have fairly positive reviews: Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformation Refinishing System $194.21 Covers 50 sq ft (cheesy how-to video showing how 'ridiculously easy' it is) Counter-Coat $179.95 Covers 35 sq ft (application ...


4

The budget might not permit it, but the first thing I did that worked immediately was to install a solar attic fan (1000cfm) to dump the hot air (pre-fan 170F, post fan 120F). It got me an extra 3 years on the roofing material (35 year old organic, well past its sell by date) while I saved up for a total reroof job. The reinsulation came after the roofing ...


4

Pretty much anyone can demo a roof. Now it might take you a ton of time if you don't have the right tools but its not rocket science. There is a lot of trash so you need to get a dumpster. Laying new felt or paper is pretty easy too. But at the same time this isn't something you would get charged a ton of money for and if a crew was doing your roof ...


3

As a staunch libertarian, I do not believe in govt preventing homeowners from doing any kind of work and leaving it open to be done by anyone actually betters the odds of getting more work inspected, which I see as the ultimate quality signoff. Conversely, illegalizing things like plumbing and electrical leads those who don't feel like forking out big bucks ...


3

Two things come immediately to my mind - gas and electrics, simply because both can be very dangerous when not done right. I'm always amazed to read about how much of each is done as DIY projects in other countries. In Australia both electricians and plumbers are licensed trades and their work may not be legally done by those who don't posses the ...


3

My experience has been that replacing existing things with the same or better items can be done DIY as long as it doesn't require more than 2 people and a lot of research is done. The size of the job is also where you can get into trouble. I decided to remove the popcorn from my ceiling and make it smooth. It's been 4 years since I started the project, ...


3

Granite slab counters are typically not a DIY install if you have any custom edging. It can be done, but requires some finesse and skill working the slabs. Cutting out even sink holes, polishing edges and bullnosing and the like... If you just have a basic pre-fab layout, it's easy enough to make straight cuts... but few surfaces are designed with this in ...


3

I just happened upon your question when I was looking for some advice on ceiling insulation for a house we will build next year. My opinion about your attic is that the first thing you have to do is air seal the attic. Not necessarily expensive, but certainly a pain, especially when the air temp in the attic is so high. I worked on the attic in my rental ...



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