Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to find out how to do things around the house from the ordinary to the obscure. Without a doubt, the do-it-yourself market has grown substantially and will continue to do so. Saving money on home improvements and repairs is the biggest reason most people cite, along with the satisfactions associated with acquiring new skills and achieving self-reliance.
As good as these reasons are, home repairs that you DIY sometime backfire on do-it-yourselfers, leaving them with a project that not only requires a professional to fix, but also doubling the materials expenses and magnifying the labor costs. As many first-time gardeners have found, it’s often easier, cheaper and tastier to buy fresh produce than grow their own.
However, undertaking home gardening doesn’t carry much of a risk factor compared to other DIY projects. Growing your own may produce the perfect tomato, but if it doesn’t, the damage stops there. When homeowners or landlords undertake home improvement projects, armed with enthusiasm and naïveté, the results can be much more serious.
It’s especially serious when the improvements could have life-threatening or property damaging consequences. Interior painting doesn’t pose many risks (depending on the ceiling height), nor does fixing a dripping faucet.
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One of the easiest ways to decide whether to undertake a DIY project is to find out if the work requires a license. Besides preventing unscrupulous work, Florida requires some types of contractors to complete accredited educational programs, be tested, and licensed to ensure public health and safety.
Plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, exterminators, and roofers are among the trades that require these licenses. Of course, you can undertake projects that involve their skills, but doing so may result in harm to persons or property nearby.
Besides the damages caused by wiring gone wrong, expensive plumbing emergencies, or ineffective termite treatments, corporate institutions involved in your investment may take a dim view of DIY repairs by a property owner.
Manufacturers of HVAC equipment often require that all maintenance and repairs of their heating and cooling systems be done by a licensed pro to keep the warranties active. Some manufacturers specify that only authorized dealers perform the services, using only factory-authorized techniques and parts.
An insurance company may balk at paying a claim for water or fire damage if repairs were made by an unlicensed contractor.
Reroofing a home in Florida without knowing the techniques that prevent water and wind damage could result in catastrophic damage from hurricane or tornado-force winds.
Termite treatments aimed at the wrong species won’t prevent a destructive invasion. Since termites are largely invisible, the damage won’t be immediately obvious. Replacing structural components due to termite damage in a home isn’t generally covered by an umbrella insurance policy and requires a rider.
Since you’re not in the property on a continuing basis to monitor the status of the repairs or improvements you make, it’s a good idea to leave those projects to a licensed pro. In the long run, you could save time, the hassle, and a whole lot of money.
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