English Living

(Don’t) Do It Yourself: When DIY Is
and Isn’t a Good Idea

Homeowners are always looking for ways to save money. So, when something breaks or your home is due for an update, it’s natural to wonder if you can do it yourself. But while sweat equity saves cash, it’s not always the best decision for your health or your home.


Which home repairs and improvements can you DIY, and when should you call the professionals? English Living shares this simple guide to help you decide.


When to DIY: Seasonal home maintenance

The costs of homeownership add up. Luckily, most routine maintenance is easy to DIY. 

  • This includes repairing fences, cleaning gutters, replacing air filters, trimming low trees and shrubs, sealing decks, and inspecting your home’s exterior.

  • Outdoors, homeowners should put seasonal yard work like aerating, fertilizing, and mulching on their schedule.

  • Irrigation drain systems aren’t reliable. System blowouts are the most effective way to winterize irrigation lines but should be done by a professional to avoid damage.

Image: Rolawn

When to DIY: Interior design

Interior updates are among the most DIY-friendly projects. However, not all interior renovations are created equal. 

  • Interior painting takes a lot of patience. To guarantee professional-quality results, hire a pro and find other ways to cut costs.

  • Skip the repaint and install trendy wallpaper for a new look. Modern removable wallpapers are DIY-friendly with at least two people.

  • Click-together flooring is designed with the DIYer in mind, but don’t expect it to be totally frustration-free.

  • Installing hardwood, tile, or wall-to-wall carpeting? Let a contractor handle the quirks of these flooring jobs.

When to DIY: Major home systems

Modifying a home’s major systems yourself is almost always a bad idea: There’s simply too much at stake.


  • The risk of hurting yourself doing DIY electrical, gas, and roofing repairs isn’t worth the money you could save.

  • This applies to central heating repairs too. This type of equipment uses high-voltage electricity and refrigerants that must be handled safely by a licensed technician.

  • While there are some great DIY camera, motion sensor and video doorbell options for home security, you’ll need to hire a pro to install anything hardwired.

  • Health hazards like lead, mold, and asbestos are most dangerous when disturbed. Always hire licensed abatement pros to clean up environmental hazards.

  • Some plumbing is safe to DIY. Stick to simple projects like repairing leaky faucets, installing new fixtures, and unclogging slow drains, and leave the rest to your plumber.

Image: Pexels

The cost of home repairs varies widely, but once you enter territory where you require the help of an expert, prices jump quickly. Your best bet to manage the cost of home repairs is to tap into an emergency fund; however, not every homeowner has one of these. Another option is to  remortgage your home loan - lenders look upon remortgages in this instance favorably because you're using the money to add value to your home. 


When a simple mistake can lead to disastrous results, hiring a professional is always the smart decision. DIY what you can, but gauge your limitations, and have a few numbers on hand when you need to bring in an expert. 

Written By:
Sarah Bull
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