Top 10 Don’t Do It Yourself Projects. # 1: Tree Removal

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Since you’re reading, you very likely love the Do It Yourself lifestyle. Despite my love for DIY, I’ve discovered there are some limitations. Tree removal being very high on the list. Here’s a top ten list of projects you might want to outsource (and a crazy video to prove point the number one don’t DIY):

1 – Large tree removal in urban settings
What could possibly go wrong? The old saying measure twice, cut once really applies here. The video illustrates one peril of not adequately measuring tree height in relation to things you don’t want to be crushed. Palm trees are really heavy too.

2 – Actual plaster finishing
It turns out doing authentic old-world plaster walls is really tricky. Pros make it look easy, but it’s not. Plus pros can do it about 50 times faster. Seriously.

3 – Replacing near hundred year old cast iron sewer pipes
Excrement residue, insanely strong pipes, and confined crawl spaces. Need I say more?

4 – Perilous roof work
I’ve patched a couple spots on our roof, but it’s not a job I take lightly. Falling two stories is really bad. I prefer to pay a little more to let pros handle the acrobatics, while I supervise on terra firma.

5 – High voltage stuff
I like electrical work, but try to stay well within my comfort zone and skill level (like stripping un-energized wires). If you’re not sure what you’re doing, why not leave it to those who get shocked for a living? Yup, electricians get shocked a lot.

6 – Paint color selection
I can’t bring myself to pay someone to do this, but I really should. We first painted our kitchen puke-chartreuse, then decided it was ugly (surprising, huh?), and then painted it orange. Friends said, “Oh, that looks. . . . nice.” We’re throwing in the towel and going back to a variation of white shortly. Picking good colors is harder than it looks. Color consultants earn their money.

7 – Exterior stucco
It’s not rocket science, but this task is so labor intensive and so visible, you better be really good to DIY stucco.

8 – Pulling construction permits from the city
If you ever want to see people miserably trudging through the most soul-sucking, bureautrocious jobs in existence, while at the same time witnessing normally calm citizens go totally postal after chronometer-busting eternal wait times, pull your own permit. Otherwise, there are plan submission services or even your architect who can experience the pain for you.

9 – Gas line work
I like craters on the moon, but not under where my house used to be. Hiring a careful plumber to handle gas lines helps me sleep better at night. If they don’t check for leaks, be worried.

10 – Skunk, raccoon, anaconda, alligator, bee, rat or chupacabra removal
You don’t really want to remove these pests yourself do you? Especially not the chupacabra. If so, have someone film it for an episode of “When Animals Attack.”

Angie’s List is a handy way to find the qualified tradespeople and contractors suggested to handle the types of projects listed here, with reviews from other homeowners that actually used them. If you have a “don’t do it yourself” suggestions of your own, by all means add them to the comments.

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About Marc Lyman

Marc grew up under a brave single mom who "encouraged" home improvement on the family home. Early toddler gifts included a tool set, and even a cordless Bosch drill when cordless drills first came out. In grade school (give or take a few years), Marc's mom said, "We need to cut down some trees. . . . here's a chainsaw." A father figure also involved Marc in many home improvement projects, including a summer of home remodeling in Palo Alto, CA. Toss in some Obsessive Compulsive personality traits researching everything home improvement related. The end result: a genetically pre-disposed, socially sculpted home improvement machine! For his complete profile, please visit our About page. Really, it's worth it.

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3 thoughts on “Top 10 Don’t Do It Yourself Projects. # 1: Tree Removal”

  1. Hmmm…I’d tend to agree with the plaster one. I decided many, many moons ago to attempt to “smooth” my hideous plaster wall to make them soft and smooth so as I could paint them orange (cracks and such would show too easily under orange). About 10 gal. of drywall compound later, I’ve got almost smooth walls that I suspect will still show defects. My bad! The rest of the plaster rooms will either be painted as is with a textured look or torn down and drywalled!


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