7 home improvement jobs you shouldn’t tackle yourself

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While there are plenty of home and garden jobs you can do yourself, there are some home improvement jobs you shouldn’t do. This may be for safety reasons or because certain jobs must be signed off by a professional.

Rewiring

Electrical work is highly specialized and only qualified electricians should carry out any kind of significant changes or additions to your home’s electrical supply. This includes replacing or installing switches or sockets, installing an electrical appliance and repairing or rewiring anywhere in the property.

There is a risk of electric shock or fire caused by dangerous wiring and by appliances that may not work properly if connected incorrectly.

Repair a gas leak

As with electrical installations, attempting repairs on gas appliances is not recommended unless you are qualified to carry out such work. Any intervention to the gas supply in a home must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

If you have a gas leak, you must immediately report it to the National Gas Emergency Service. Open all windows and do not use open flames in the property as this could cause an explosion.

Remove asbestos

Some older properties may contain asbestos that was used for many years before it was banned. The most likely places you will find asbestos in an old building are in the interior walls, old vinyl floor tiles, textured finishes on ceilings, pipe insulation and as loose cavity insulation.

If you come across material in your home or garden that you suspect is asbestos, do not touch or disturb it. Contact an asbestos specialist and they will solve it for you.

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Demolish interior walls

If you are carrying out an internal renovation and want to create more space, you may be tempted to demolish an interior wall or two. However, you may be removing a load-bearing wall, which could compromise the structure of the building and cause your ceiling to fall.

Before carrying out any such work, seek the assistance of an experienced and reputable builder or a qualified structural engineer.

Felling trees

Cutting down a tree may seem easy when you see other people doing it or seeing it on TV. However, there is an enormous amount of skill involved in felling trees, not least controlling the direction in which the tree falls.

In addition to the obvious damage you can do to yourself if you are not trained in how to use a chainsaw, you could hurt someone else or cause property damage if the tree falls where you did not intend it to. Tree surgeon costs are a small price to pay for the safety of you, your family, your home and that of those around you.

Roof repairs

If you have a leaking roof or a slipped roof tile, you may be tempted to grab a ladder and climb onto the roof to fix it. However, unless you are a roofer by trade and have the proper safety equipment, this is not recommended. Working at heights requires skills and experience that most do-it-yourselfers don’t have.

Not only do you run the risk of falling, but walking on your roof without a roof ladder can cause more damage to the tiles. Slates in particular should never be walked on and are particularly slippery.

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Installing windows

You may think that installing windows is something you can safely do yourself, especially if they are all on the ground floor. However, all window installations must be signed off as complying with the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA). This ensures that the windows are installed in accordance with current building regulations.

So if you install them yourself, you will need to contact your local authority. Someone will then come by to check the installation. If this is met, the installation will be signed off.

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