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We are living in a time where we have access to HGTV’s plethora of home makeover shows and YouTube videos that show DIYers fixing up their home in record time. While these shows can make a home renovation look easy and empower you to take on projects alone, you might be surprised at what you need to know before you get started. 

Here are some examples of projects that sound easy in theory, but may have unexpected complexities. 

Taking Down a Wall

On the home makeover shows, oftentimes you see the contractor on “demo day” run a sledgehammer through a wall. While the hosts of the show can make this look easy (and fun!), there are some behind-the-scenes considerations you’ll need to think about before tackling that wall by yourself.  

  • The first question is always whether or not it is load-bearing. If it is a load-bearing wall then it cannot come down without putting in a supporting beam. This can turn a $500 job into a $5000 job very quickly and is an item that will need many hands and years of experience to complete.  
  • Secondly, you must also find out whether or not the wall has wiring in it before you can knock it down. If wiring needs to be moved, you will need to hire an electrician to make sure it’s safe and up to code. 
  • With more people working from home in 2021, home buyers are opting for closed-off, dedicated spaces versus open concepts, so you may also want to think about how your project might affect the resale value down the road. 

Kitchen Island

As the focal point of most kitchens, the kitchen island is one of the first areas that you might try to tackle yourself. Here are a few things to be aware of that could complicate this process.

  • If you have a sink, stovetop, or outlets on your island, you may need to rewire your electrics or move your pipes in order to change it out. You would need to consult with a plumber or electrician to make sure this is completed according to code and to avoid any unnecessary accidents along the way. 
  • You may also want to check whether your flooring was laid beneath your island. Unless you plan on replacing the island with one of the same size in the same location, you may end up with an unexpected hole in your flooring which can be costly to fix. 
  • How heavy are your countertops? Kitchen island countertops can be really heavy and require more than one person to lift them to avoid causing any damage or injury.


Similar to taking down a wall or replacing your kitchen island, upgrading your cupboards can seem like an easy task. While it’s tempting to jump right in and start tearing them down yourself, make sure to consider the following.

  • Installing new cabinets is not a solo job. You will need more than one person to successfully install your cabinets – one to hold them up, while the other screws them in. 
  • Remember that cabinets are really heavy, especially when they are full of items, so in order to avoid any unnecessary damage to your home, possessions, or members of your household, you will want to make sure they are sufficiently bolted into the wall and reinforced where necessary. 
  • Finally, installing new cabinets to a high standard requires the right eye, tools, and expertise in order to make sure it’s to the standard you were hoping for.


Flooring can also seem like a simple thing to install yourself, but here are a couple of things you might want to think about before you jump in. 

  • Unless your room is perfectly symmetrical, it may prove quite hard to properly install flooring. Things like corners, or uneven subflooring, can make the job extra difficult and time-consuming.
  • If you make a mistake when installing or cutting the pieces, the cost can add up quickly. 
  • You also need special tools and have to remove the current floors before you can start the project. 

Still thinking about taking these projects on by yourself? As a general rule of thumb, we recommend asking yourself 3 questions before deciding whether a project is something that you can take on without hiring a professional contractor. 

What is the worst that can happen if something goes wrong?

You don’t know what you don’t know, and sometimes the smaller projects can turn into big ones if there’s something you miss. If there’s a chance your project could lead to an injury or serious damage to your home, it may be time to call in the experts. 

What tools will I need?

Most projects require a certain set of specialized tools, and we’ll let you in on a secret: tools can be expensive. If you won’t have a need for them more than once, it’s likely not worth the investment. If you do need specialized tools, you might also want to consider if you have the expertise to use them correctly and safely. If the answer is no, consider hiring a contractor.  

Do I know what permits I’ll need to complete the project?

If you need to get a permit to complete your project, it could be really helpful to have a professional contractor who has experience with the process go to the city to get the project approved. The last thing you want is to spend time and energy on a project that later gets rejected because it did not go through the proper channels.

When it comes to updating your home, it’s important to remember that if things go wrong, you’ll likely be spending more money by contacting a contractor after the fact. Not only will they have to complete the work you tried to do yourself, but they also have to fix whatever went wrong first. As a rule, anything requiring professional tools or knowledge, like plumbing and electrical work, should be left to a contractor. It will save you much more than just your money! It can save you both time and peace of mind in the long run, as you will be reassured that it will stand the test of time. 

Starting to second guess whether you’re the right person for the job? Reach out to us here for a free estimate!