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DIY why? 10 projects you should not attempt to do yourself!


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Last updated Friday 29th October 2021


We all love some DIY and in the right circumstances, doing it yourself can help you achieve a brand new look for your home without breaking the bank. However, when it comes to major home improvement projects, snubbing your local contractors isn’t always the right choice.

When DIY goes wrong, it can not only incur huge costs to reverse the damage, it can even compromise your safety and land you with some pretty big fines from your local authority. To help you avoid these pitfalls, here are 10 home improvement projects we recommend you NEVER DIY.

Removing a wall

If you’re looking to create a more open layout, you may have decided there’s a wall that just needs to go. However, if you’ve not had an expert assess this wall beforehand, we strongly recommend you avoid going the DIY route.

Some walls are load-bearing and if this is the case, you’ll put at risk the structural integrity of your home. If you’re working with an architect, they should be able to assess your existing home designs and advise on this matter. Otherwise, you can get a structural engineer for a consultation.

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Fixing up your roof

Pretty obvious when you think about what repairing your roof involves: you balancing precariously over a very steep drop. However, you may be tempted to take the risk when some sort of leak or broken tile crops up.

If your roof does need repairing, you’ll need a contractor to come and assess your home. Roofs are a lot more complicated than they seem and those working on them need to consider both wind resistance, waterproofing, insulation and, not to mention, the legal standards set out in UK building regulations.

Removing a chimney

A lot of the projects we’ll discuss here aren’t suitable for DIY because they fall under UK building regulations. These set of health and safety standards are applied to all homes and you’ll need a professional on board to make sure you’re compliant.

When removing a chimney, it’s recommended you get a structural engineer on board, who will be able to assess your project in six key areas…

  • Structural strength
  • Fire safety
  • Sound insulation
  • Maintenance of neighbour’s chimney
  • Damp prevention
  • Ventilation to rooms

Learn more about chimney regulation here.


As part of your home improvement project, you may need to demolish either a part of your home or an outbuilding. There’s a common misconception that tearing something down is as simple as grabbing a sledgehammer and going smash, smash, smash. In reality, demolishing any large structure is complicated.

You should never attempt to demolish any part of your home, as it takes special structural knowledge to carry this out safely. Likewise, should any wires or plumbing be involved, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Altering a party wall

A party wall is a wall, boundary, or outbuilding that you share with another household. These are common between terraced and semi-detached houses but can also affect detached properties if you share a garden wall or invisible boundary line.

If you wish to make any alterations to these areas, you’ll need to first gain written permission from the affected third parties. If they refuse, a party wall surveyor will need to be brought on board (if you don’t have one already) to put together a legal agreement.

Learn more about party walls here.

Installing new lighting

As a general rule, you should never attempt to DIY any electrical project, unless you have experience in that area. While changing bulbs is one thing, actually tampering with your mains is risky on so many levels. Not only could you mess up your fuses, if you’re not careful, but you may also end up getting a very literal shock.

It’s estimated that almost half of all electrical shocks in the UK are caused by DIY attempts.

Fuse box
Wires and electrictiy are dangerous if you don't know what you're doing

Becoming your own plumber

Whether you want to install your own wet room or just a new dishwasher, plumbing has pretty much the same rules as electricals - namely, you shouldn’t do it yourself.

While you won’t end in A&E, fiddling with your pipes can cause a lot of damage to your property if things go wrong. Without expert knowledge, pipes can burst, your waterproofing might not be up to scratch, and this will leave you with a very soggy house (and a very big repair bill).

Removing asbestos

Amphibole type asbestos was banned in 1985, while all varieties were outlawed in 1999. However, despite the ban, older homes might still find asbestos lingering in their property. Naturally, you’ll want to remove this harmful material as soon as it’s found but you should never attempt this yourself.

If you end up breathing in the fibres, it can result in a form of cancer. Therefore, leave the material alone, keep children far away from it, and get an expert in as soon as possible to replace it.

Painting the exterior of your home

Painting the exterior of your home is dangerous for the same reasons fixing your roof can be - there’s a lot of height involved. Not only this, if you don’t choose the right material for the job, you can end up exposing your home to the elements. This can damage your property and, once again, require the need for some expensive repairs.

Removing unwanted wildlife

Bats in your loft? Foxes hiding under your garage? If you’ve got yourself some unexpected visitors you’ll need to stop yourself from showing them the door. Why? Because some species in the UK are protected and if you remove them from your property yourself, you could land yourself with some pretty big fines.

Contact Wildlife Management and Licensing at Natural England for advice on dealing with birds and animals on your land.


When in doubt about your DIY options, avoid any projects which involve…

  • Structural alterations
  • Electricals
  • Plumbing
  • Heights
  • Wildlife
  • Legal regulation

Not sure if your home improvement project is affected by these issues? No problem. Resi provides free consultations to allow homeowners to safely explore their property options. Book yours here.

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