Spring has sprung, which means homeowners around the world are taking stock of their homes and considering improvement projects. Whether you’re adding a new coat of paint for some fresh curb appeal, repairing a roof, or renovating a kitchen, it’s important to carefully consider the work involved, understand the safety concerns, and when necessary, call an expert.
I recently chatted with general contractor Eric Eremita to discuss some of the most complicated and dangerous home improvement projects. Here is his list of common issues that always require a professional:
1. Electrical problems: Fires can occur if electrical issues are not handled properly. Any time you’re dealing with shorts, bad wiring, or new services, be sure to call an electrician. Eric says: “A licensed professional is a number one priority for fixing any electrical problems.”
2. Plumbing: If your plumbing problems are not solved correctly the first time, you may be left with major issues. “If you have a leak inside a wall that was not repaired properly, it can take years to realize. Then the problem is no longer a simple fix.”
3. Roof repair: Roofing is a dangerous job: roof heights and pitches can be treacherous without the proper harnesses and tools for the job. “Simple repairs might look easy, but if they’re not done properly, they’ll cost you BIG later on. Water is very, very sneaky!”
4. Foundation cracks and waterproofing: Experienced professionals have the knowledge, tools, and materials (such as epoxy) to fix cracks in the foundation. They can also install French drains and pumps to divert water away from your foundation. “The upfront costs might be expensive, but hiring professional waterproofers will keep you safe from flooding.”
5. Cracked windows and broken glass: Proper gloves, eyewear, and protective gear is required whenever you’re dealing with glass. “Broken glass is dangerous. Call a glazier before you get hurt.”
As for Eric’s favorite projects, while he enjoys the challenges presented by some of the issues listed above, he’s always been partial to major home renovations. “When I deliver the finished product to the homeowners and see the looks on their faces, it’s priceless,” Eric says.
If you’re thinking of something a bit smaller in scale and planning to DIY, you may not need to consult a professional. However, that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. YouTube is a great resource for getting started, with countless videos of contractors and other DIY-ers guiding viewers through various projects. Eric advises caution when watching YouTube, however: “It’s a good place to start, but not every video is correct,” he says. “When you’re planning a project, make sure to watch a few different videos and compare them to see if they match up.”
If you’re looking to watch a real pro at work, you can always catch Eric on his favorite show: “Love It or List It” on HGTV!