Do it yourself? Or hire a professional?

July 17, 2019

Before starting a renovation project, every homeowner must ask themselves: How much can I complete on my own? Finding the inspiration and information to update or renovate your home yourself is easier than ever. From the information available online to shows concentrated on the remodelling process, homeowners are becoming more and more confident with taking on the task of completing renovation projects. Although completing these projects on your own may save on your budget, it’s important to be realistic about what projects are DIY, and what is better left to the professionals.

Prior to the start of your renovation, find the right professional to either assist or help you complete your project. Conducting your research from the beginning will give you confidence in your renovation and the professional’s service quality.

Potential Dangers in a Home

Whether a house is old or new, there are many potential dangers that can happen within the walls of a home. Typically, more issues arise in older homes due to the foundations and structural materials used prior to the twenty-first century. Issues like lead paint, asbestos, and balloon framing were once popular materials used in the building of homes up until the 1970s. Other problems like carbon monoxide and radon poisoning can happen to a house of any age. Here’s how these toxins can present danger and how you can eliminate the harm from your home or if you should find a professional to do so for you.

Toxic Gases – Do It Yourself

When something is broken or disturbed in your home, it’s easy to notice the problem and fix it. However, what happens if the issue is invisible? The air quality in your home is not something usually thought of but is very important to be aware of. Harmful gases such as radon and carbon monoxide are invisible, colourless, tasteless, gases that can be detrimental to the health of you and your family. Long-term exposure to some of these gasses may even cause death in the most severe cases.

Carbon monoxide is produced by incomplete burning of fuels and can be caused by faulty heating systems, clothes dryers, and gas stoves to name a few sources. Those exposed to carbon monoxide can experience anything from dizziness to shortness of breath and headaches. Being unknowingly exposed to this toxin for too long can result in death.

Radon is like carbon monoxide in that it is invisible to the senses and is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can enter the home through gaps, cracks in the walls and foundations. This substance is the second leading cause of lung cancer, next to smoking cigarettes.

To address these harmful gases, one would first want to purchase an at-home testing kit at a hardware store. If the air in the home is polluted with any harmful gas, call a professional and get out of the house as soon as possible. You can avoid poisoning by making sure your stove, furnace, water heater, etc. are correctly ventilated and in good working order. Installing monitors and alarms to detect when there might be a pollutant in the air is a great way to keep the entire family safe.

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Lead Paint and Plumbing – Hire A Professional

Lead-based paint and lead pipe plumbing systems are two common places that people, mostly with older homes, need to worry about. Lead-based paints because they were found to be the leading cause of lead poisoning. The substance was slowly phased out of homes. Be very cautious when dealing with old paint. When lead paint is scraped, sanded, or heated, it can small chips and paint dust to become airborne and easily inhaled. From there, the toxic dust can spread throughout other parts of your home and even potentially outside into the soil where you and your family could be exposed.
It’s paramount to investigate the health of your plumbing pipes. Lead found in tap water is typically due to corrosion and rusting of older pipes. Lead found in water is hazardous and can lead to serious health consequences.

If your home falls into the age category of lead paint and old plumbing, consider bringing in a professional contractor. If you are worried about the paint still being under a layer or layers of safe paint, calling a professional to sand the lead paint off correctly and safely will help to give you peace of mind. For the lead pipes, replacing the whole system might be the safest option as well.

Asbestos – Hire A Professional

Like lead, it might be difficult to tell when your home might contain asbestos. Asbestos can be lurking in certain places of the house, such as the foundation, insulation, or flooring and ceiling tiles. One should never attempt to remove asbestos without an asbestos abatement specialist. Since asbestos is usually found in the insulation or inner workings of a house, it doesn’t need to be removed unless it has been disturbed. However, if a disturbance in the walls happens whether it be an accident or due to a planned renovation seek professional help to access the health of the home. You can search and find a local asbestos expert near you on the Checkatrade website.

Asbestos is a toxic fibre that is an excellent fire and heat resistant, which made it a popular building material. However, once this naturally occurring material is inhaled, the fibres can stick the walls of your organs causing lung cancers like mesothelioma 10-50 years after exposure. Asbestos is the only cause of mesothelioma. Again, if the asbestos has not been disrupted, leave it be. However, if you would like to get the toxins out of your home, you need a professional to verify that it is, in fact, asbestos and remove and renovate the places in the house where asbestos is present.

Balloon Framing – Hire A Professional

Balloon framing was popular between the late 1800s and around the 1940s. Rather than having the frame of a home separated by floor, balloon framing involves a continuous wooden wall stud wall that starts at the foundation and goes to the attic. While this is great for supporting a home, in theory, this type of framing can cause issues when there is a fire.
Balloon framing becomes problematic in the case of a fire because each level of the house is connected, rather than the foundation being separated by floor giving the fire more opportunity to grow and expand throughout the entirety of the house. Call a skilled professional to inspect your home to see what your options are.

Cosmetic Changes – Do It Yourself

diy renovation

Homeowners typically have the most flexibility in renovation when it comes to cosmetics. Interior changes often do not need a permit and there is plenty of useful information on how to complete these changes yourself. If you are unsure about a particular change, consult with a professional on their suggestions. Give yourself enough time to complete your renovation and make sure you are equipped with the necessary tools.
While updating your home may be exciting, there are a few dangers to be on the lookout for when getting ready to revamp the house. Eliminating issues like asbestos, lead, and toxic gases will make your house feel like a brand new home once again. Seeking out professional assistance will not only keep your family safe but will leave you with the peace that the job is done correctly and to standard.

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