The Problem With DIY Projects

Posted on Aug 25, 2016 in Our Blog

This day and age, more homeowners seem to be attempting their own fixes at home instead of calling in a licensed professional to do the job properly, and in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, economic struggles and enticing television programs are strong factors in this trend. Don’t be so easily fooled into thinking it’s as easy as it looks on tv – there are many intricacies that go on in the background of these shows in order to make the program that much better. In reality, even a seemingly small project, such as installing a dimmer switch, can result in major home damage, or, even worse, injury. And, similarly, the money you might save by doing it yourself vs. calling a pro can easily be eaten up if you make a mistake or inadvertently cause further damage or new damage to a different part.  Here are a few things to consider when making the decision to be a do-it-yourselfer or calling a professional.

Causing further damages

So, you’re just been at your favourite hardware store. They had a great deal on Moen faucets – you got exactly what you wanted and you can’t wait to get it installed in your ensuite bathroom. Fantastic.  But, where to start? You Google a few things, check out YouTube and feel confident you can get this done in an hour at the most. Out come the tools…. Or at least, the tools and materials you think you’re going to need. You get the old faucet out no problem, mind you it was likely a bit gross. You get the new one ready but realize you have no basin wrench to install it properly – back to the hardware store. $85 later you’re back at home… you’re now 2 hours into your 1 hour project.  You get back at it… oh wait, you don’t have any plumber’s tape. Back to the hardware store. An hour passes and you are putting the final touches on the new faucet – looks gorgeous, even better than you thought it would. You turn the water back on, works like a charm. You give yourself a pat on the back and move on with your weekend.  A week passes and you notice a funny smell in your ensuite… musty sort of, possibly mould? Nah, couldn’t be. Another week goes by and the smell gets stronger… so you investigate. You didn’t seal the pipes together properly… there’s been a small leak going on for over 2 weeks. The water has been running down the outside of the pipes, and dripping into your vanity. It’s covered in mould and mildew and the smell is horrendous. You notice it extends to the area behind the vanity as well. What to do now?

Many DIY projects will end up just like this; a very costly mess. Look at it this way – what did you go to school for? Do you consider yourself a specialist in your field? Plumbers, Electricians, and Contractors feel the same way. Your best bet is to let the professionals do what they do best and avoid any unnecessary damages to your home. You may end up saving yourself a lot of time and money. And, these professionals often warranty or guarantee their work, so you have peace of mind as well.

Cheaper costs = cheaper quality

The reality is, contractors have access to better quality products and more variety as well. So even if you think you can get the best deal on something, you might be wrong on a couple counts. Plumbers have more product knowledge than home owners on valves, fittings, fixtures, piping etc. etc. etc. They know the best products to use because they use them every day. They know what products don’t warranty well, and they know which ones they trust.

No warranty

What better peace of mind than knowing the work your plumber has done in your home is under warranty. You don’t get that when you’ve done it yourself. If a part malfunctions or something unexpected begins to leak, you plumber knows the work he/she has done and can not only quickly diagnose the issue but will  (in most cases) fix it at no additional charge because of your warranty. When you take on home projects yourself, you need to be aware that once you open things up, anything can – and will – happen.

Time consuming

Chances are you are a full time employee, parent, spouse, grandparent etc. Take a look at your day to day schedule as it is now. Do you really have the time to dedicate to a home reno project from start to finish? And similarly, if something unforeseen goes wrong with your project, do you have the extra time it will take to sort out the issue and resolve it? No one enjoys living in disarray; a professional will come in, provide an accurate timeline and get the  job done to your satisfaction within that timeline.

Misleading YouTube Videos

We’ve all been there. Such and such isn’t working anymore, why not? Let’s YouTube it and see if we can self-diagnose the problem – sounds like a good idea, right? Wrong. Firstly, you may thing you’ve discovered the culprit when in fact you are opening a can of worms that needs not to be touched and the real problem gets worse. Or, you get the diagnoses correct and watch a few YouTube videos on how to fix it but you buy the wrong part, get the sizing incorrect, don’t have the appropriate tools to finish the job … and the list goes on. Meanwhile, you’ve taken something apart and are knee deep in parts (or worse, water!)

Knowing your permit requirements

With the explosion of DIY renovation shows on television and the convenience of Home Depot and their DIY encouragements, renovating one’s home has become so easy that no one thinks twice about doing it. Think again. Renovations involving finishing basements, updating plumbing or electrical equipment, or even adding a wood burning stove may require building permits issued by your municipality. Furthermore, if a renovation was done by a previous owner without a permit, you may be forced by the municipality to remove walls, ceilings, cabinets and other finishes so that an inspector can determine if the work complies with the building requirements or in the worst case, remove the improvement entirely. When you hire a professional contractor, he/she will be able to determine if a permit is required and assist in obtaining all necessary documents to put your mind at ease.

Up to Code?

Building Codes are updated/changed quite frequently. Only a professional in their field would be up to speed on the new codes. It is imperative, especially for resale of your home, that any work done in your home meets these requirements.

On behalf of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC), the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) publishes five National Model Construction Codes, in English and in French, which must be adopted by a regulatory authority in order to come into effect. In some cases, the Codes are amended and/or supplemented to suit regional needs, and then published as provincial codes.

The National Building Code of Canada (NBC) addresses the design and construction of new buildings and the substantial renovation of existing buildings.

The National Fire Code of Canada (NFC) provides minimum fire safety requirements for buildings, structures and areas where hazardous materials are used, and addresses fire protection and fire prevention in the ongoing operation of buildings and facilities.

The National Plumbing Code (NPC) covers the design and installation of plumbing systems in buildings and facilities.

The National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) provides minimum energy efficiency requirements for the design and construction of all new buildings and additions save farm buildings and those buildings falling under the scope of NBC Part 9.

The National Farm Building Code (NFBC) provides relaxations of the requirements in the NBC to address the particular needs of farm buildings.

Know your codes, or make sure your hired professional does. The latter is probably your best bet.


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