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ONLY if you are a true professional and do this type of work daily! Your home or project has unique installation and venting requirements that only an authorized professional can determine. Homeowners expose themselves to hidden costs, poor appliance operation and risk of damage and fire by purchasing fireplaces online and using inexperienced installers. Only your local professional is aware of building and gas code requirements within your area.
Like many other roof projects—and any jobs requiring a tall ladder—there are serious risks involved in a chimney rebuild, and we do not recommend a DIY approach. Even beyond the immediate risks, chimney repair is complicated work that requires specialized knowledge, and an improperly installed chimney can pose serious dangers to your house and health. A damaged chimney requires professional attention, so call a local chimney professional to handle this job!
When you’re doing a DIY job, like updating plumbing, electrical work or installing a new heating unit, there’s an increased risk for home insurance claims when you make a mistake. Without a permit and licensed contractor, the insurance company considers that the homeowner is being negligent, and the insurance company never pay out claims resulting from negligence. Your coverage could even get cancelled. It's just better to hire a true, LICENSED professional unless you are one.
From an insurance standpoint, it’s important to have the right type of coverage before starting a DIY home project. Another consideration is your liability protection if friends or family (who aren’t covered under your policy) help you work on a DIY project. If someone gets hurt, you may be responsible for their medical bills or get involved in a lawsuit. Make sure you have enough liability included with your home insurance or have a separate personal umbrella liability policy to protect your finances.
If you have to file a home insurance claim following a loss, an increase in cost of home insurance is not the only thing you should keep in mind. If you get injured while working on a DIY project, it could also affect your health insurance premium if the project results in chronic problems or expensive medical bills.
Before typing “how to replace the stone in a fireplace” into Google, the homeowner should be asking him or herself one important question: Is it safe to do any of these projects without the help of a professional?
For chimney masonry projects, the answer is resounding: No, it is not safe.
First, using a ladder and climbing around on the roof is dangerous in and of itself, even if construction materials are not involved. No amount of YouTube instruction will make you adroit on a ladder or on a roof, especially if conditions become treacherous and the footing gets tenuous.
In addition, hauling bricks, stones, cement, and tools can cause rapid fatigue for those unconditioned in manual labor, even on flat ground. In order to avoid a major physical injury, you should leave chimney masonry projects to the professionals.
One of the major draws of DIY projects is the cost savings associated with not having to pay hefty hourly costs to professionals for their labors. While this rationale may be sound for smaller projects, it starts to fall apart when looking into major home renovations.
In the case of a chimney project, the following are just a few of the costs associated with successful DIY:
This does not even consider the amount of time you would have to give up after work and on the weekends to get it finished. When all of this is considered, the price of hiring a professional to do your chimney masonry work starts to seem comparatively small.
To do a chimney renovation successfully, you need to have a thorough understanding of your home’s foundation, frame, wiring, and plumbing, as well as all local residential codes.
Even if you think you are good to go as far as building codes and are sure that you will not damage any electrical wiring or plumbing, there are still a couple of points you must consider.
First, improper installation of a chimney can not only leave cracks through which fire can escape which would require filling cracks, but errant smoke and other toxins will eventually manifest themselves in the form of CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING!
The other central point is that many DIY projects get abandoned midway once the person realizes it is not as easy as initially thought. If this is the case, the cost of hiring a professional mid-project to come in, clean up your mess, and start over from scratch, possibly having to do extra work caused by damage in your DIY project, will far exceed the cost of hiring a professional initially. In some extreme cases, aborted DIY attempts can make the area unworkable, leaving you in a real bind.
Being accurate is especially important if you’ve failed to plan or measure something essential, like a load bearing wall or modifications to your roof. If you install an important feature with the wrong dimensions, it can lead to a number of issues, and you guessed it—additional homeowners insurance claims. For example, say you replace your roof, and a few shingles don’t quite sit flush with the frame of the house. After a major rainstorm, you may notice there is water damage and mold in the attic space. You can file a home insurance claim for the water damage, but when the insurance company finds out you made a mistake with the roof repair, your claim will be denied.
Another common DIY mistake is not using the correct tools and materials for the job. Generally, using the wrong tools or materials isn’t the end of the world—assuming the job is done correctly. However, the materials you use (or don’t use) could have an impact on the value of your home, in addition to overall quality and consistency of repairs, which could cause your insurance premium to change.