Working Outside Your Skill Level
Tackling a job best suited for a professional, a.k.a. biting off more than you can chew, is a sure-fire way to spend more money and take more time than you can afford. An inexperienced or even a seasoned DIY-er can turn a small problem into a big one in a hurry by not knowing exactly what he or she is doing. If you get surprised with an issue you don't fully understand in the middle of a job, your instinct may be to press on and try to figure it out. You should deny this instinct. When you're met with a surprise, like a simple light switch installation that turns up a bird's nest of old wiring, stop and call a professional if you have any doubt about what you're doing.
You can get away with learning a few things on the fly here and there by researching your problem on DIY Web sites, but most times, you'll end up costing yourself, doing damage to your home or even putting yourself in danger. The best way to assess your skill level is to be honest about your know-how. Only you know what your capabilities are, and there's no hard and fast rule for what constitutes a DIY job. But here's an idea of what may be best left to the pros:
- Plumbing work
- Electrical work
- HVAC systems
- Roofing repairs
- Window replacement