Don’t Do This! 6 Home Upgrades People Should Avoid

The DIY home improvement movement has empowered homeowners to take renovations into their own hands, offering a sense of accomplishment and potential savings. While painting walls or installing shelving might be within the average homeowner’s wheelhouse, certain upgrades demand a professional touch. Here are six (maybe five if you’re experienced) home upgrades people should avoid.

Photo of a home in Douglass Hills, Louisville, Kentucky by Tre Pryor - Don't Do This! 6 Home Upgrades People Should Avoid
Even if you’re a handy person, there are certain home improvement jobs that you should likely avoid. | Photo by Tre Pryor

These tasks, often complex or hazardous, require specialized skills and tools to ensure they’re executed safely and effectively. Understanding the distinction between a manageable DIY project and one that necessitates professional expertise is crucial. Below we share six home upgrades that are best left to professionals, highlighting the risks and complexities associated with each.

1. Window Replacement

Replacing windows is not simply about aesthetics; it’s a critical upgrade that impacts a home’s energy efficiency, security, and overall comfort. Window installation is a precise process, requiring exact measurements and careful handling to ensure the new windows fit perfectly and function as intended. Incorrect installation can result in numerous issues, such as air drafts, water leaks, and weakened structural support, thereby reducing the expected advantages like better energy conservation or improved aesthetic appeal.

Professionals in window replacement possess the requisite knowledge, tools, and experience to install windows correctly. They understand the nuances of different window types and materials and can identify and address potential issues before they become costly problems. Consulting with window replacement experts ensures that the window installation is tailored to withstand weather conditions, providing peace of mind and a significant return on investment through energy savings and improved home value.

2. Electrical Work

Are you thinking, “I need to upgrade my electrical panel.” Stop! Electrical work is fraught with risks, from the immediate danger of electrocution to the potential for causing a fire. Amateur electrical work can also lead to more insidious problems, such as faulty wiring that may not manifest issues until much later, posing serious risks to the home’s inhabitants. Moreover, electrical systems must comply with stringent codes and standards, which vary by location and are designed to ensure safety and functionality.

Hiring a licensed electrician guarantees that all electrical work meets the required safety standards and is performed correctly. These professionals are trained to handle the complexities of home electrical systems, from installations to repairs, ensuring that all work is up to code and safe. Their expertise not only safeguards against immediate hazards but also protects against future electrical issues, making professional electrical work a wise investment for homeowners.

3. Structural Changes

Undertaking structural modifications without proper expertise can jeopardize your home’s integrity. Structural changes require a deep understanding of load-bearing walls and the home’s architecture. Misjudging these can lead to disastrous outcomes, including the potential collapse of part of your home, posing severe safety risks to its inhabitants.

Professionals in this field, such as structural engineers and experienced contractors, have the necessary training to identify which walls are load-bearing and how to safely make alterations without compromising the home’s structure. They can also navigate the permit process, ensuring that all changes are up to code and legally documented. This professional insight is invaluable for any structural modification, ensuring the safety, legality, and stability of your home while accommodating your desired changes.

4. Roofing

Photo of a roof on a house
The steeper the roof, the more dangerous the job.

Roofing is another area where professional expertise is crucial. The roof is a crucial element of any home, serving as a shield against weather conditions and playing a significant role in the home’s energy efficiency. Hence, DIY roofing projects not only pose significant safety risks due to the heights and complexity of the work but also risk the home’s protection if not done correctly.

Professional roofers have the necessary equipment, safety training, and experience to complete the job safely and effectively. They understand how to work with various roofing materials and can identify and address potential issues, such as structural weaknesses or water damage. Additionally, professional roofing often comes with warranties for materials and labor, providing homeowners with extra security and peace of mind that the job is done right.

How do you decide between roof repair vs roof replacement? A trustworthy roofing company will know.

5. Asbestos Removal

Asbestos removal is a highly specialized process that amateurs should never attempt. Asbestos, once a common building material, is now known to cause severe respiratory issues and cancer upon inhalation of its fibers. The removal process involves numerous safety precautions to prevent asbestos fiber release and exposure.

Professional asbestos removal teams are equipped with the necessary tools, protective gear, and knowledge to safely remove and dispose of asbestos-containing materials. After all, you want your home to be completely asbestos free!

They also understand the legal requirements for asbestos disposal, ensuring that homeowners don’t inadvertently break the law. Attempting to remove asbestos without the proper expertise can lead to significant health risks and potential legal consequences, making it a task strictly for professionals.

6. (Possibly) Plumbing

Plumbing may seem straightforward, but it’s a system that demands precise knowledge and skills. DIY plumbing can quickly go awry, leading to leaks, water damage, and potentially severe consequences for a home’s structure and the health of its residents. Moreover, plumbing isn’t just about fixing a leaky faucet; it involves a complex network of pipes, pressure, and waste removal that requires a comprehensive understanding to navigate effectively.

Professional plumbers bring an in-depth knowledge of plumbing systems, along with the tools and experience necessary to diagnose and remedy issues efficiently. They ensure that plumbing upgrades or repairs are done correctly, adhering to local codes and standards. By entrusting plumbing work to professionals, homeowners can avoid the pitfalls of DIY plumbing, ensuring their systems function optimally while avoiding the risk of water damage or system failures.


While the allure of DIY home improvement projects can be strong, it’s crucial to recognize when a task requires professional expertise. Certain home upgrades, such as window installation or replacement, electrical work, plumbing, structural changes, roofing, and asbestos removal, carry significant risks if not done correctly. These tasks require specialized knowledge, experience, and equipment to ensure they’re executed safely, effectively, and in compliance with local regulations. By choosing to hire professionals for these critical upgrades, homeowners can protect their safety, investment, and peace of mind, ensuring their home remains a secure and valuable asset. In the domain of home improvements, knowing when to call in the experts is just as important as the DIY spirit itself.

Tre Pryor, Realtor

Tre Pryor is the leading real estate expert in the city of Louisville. He is a multi-million dollar producer and consistently ranks in the top 1% of Louisville Realtors for homes sold. Tre Pryor has the highest possible rating—5.0 stars on Google—by his clients and is routinely interviewed by the local NBC news. Tre Pryor is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame.