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Which Home Improvement Projects Should Never Be DIY?

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A set of tools laid out on a table

Photo: mihalec (Shutterstock)

There’s a YouTube tutorial or how-to article for pretty much any and every do-it-yourself home improvement project you could possibly want to take on. But just because you can DIY something doesn’t mean you should. In some cases, your time, money and safety may be worth more than what you’d pay a professional to do the same job.

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Look, we’re not here to discourage DIY—we are Lifehacker, after all. But sometimes the hack is “call a professional before you get in over your head.”

Bottom line: know your limitations. Here are a few situations in which you may want to reconsider DIY.

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Pros could do it for less

Calculate how much your time is worth per hour (or how much you think it’s worth) and how long the project will take, add the cost of materials and tools, and compare the total to how much a professional would charge for the same job. Of course, this approach breaks down if you’re doing home projects entirely on personal time that doesn’t have the same value as your professional time—or if sticking to a budget is your top priority.

But you should also consider the cost of having a pro come in to fix any mistakes or redo any DIY work you’re not satisfied with.

Pros could do it faster

If time is money, or if you have limited hours to complete a DIY project, it may be worth paying a professional, who can almost certainly do it faster.

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Pros could do it more safely

Some projects aren’t so easily tackled via a YouTube education or without training or hands-on experience. You probably want to avoid DIY when it comes to:

If there’s a chance that you’ll electrocute yourself, crush yourself, fall off a ladder, or burn down your house, consider hiring someone else for the job.

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DIY would void a warranty

Many home appliances, systems and materials come with warranties—and installing or fixing things yourself or using the wrong materials may void those warranties. Read your warranty info carefully before going DIY on the following projects:

  • HVAC repairs
  • Flooring
  • Siding
  • Roofing
  • Exterior painting
  • Appliance repairs

You don’t have the right tools

This goes back to the cost issue: some projects require specialized tools that you may not have on hand for one-time use. If you can’t rent them, DIY may be cost-prohibitive.

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The final result will look DIY

You could tile your bathroom yourself, but will you be satisfied with the final result? Will a future homebuyer be able to tell that it’s DIY? Bricklaying, tiling, installing and painting cabinets and plastering may fall into this category.

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You don’t even like DIY

For some, do-it-yourself is, quite simply, a pain in the ass. If you’re not going to enjoy the process, consider passing off the hassle to a professional.

This article was originally published in October 2012 and updated on October 14, 2020 to refresh dead links, perform a copy edit, add a new header image, and align the content with current Lifehacker style.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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