Top Ten Things Not to Do Yourself

Ten things not to do

The inspiration for this list is a result of thinking of doing home repair projects myself. This list helped me decide otherwise.

10 If your electrical service is out, do not try to diagnose and fix the problem. If you do, at best you’ll melt a screwdriver. At worst, the jolt you receive will clear your mind and sinus. (The manual said the while wire was dead huh, Bandos?)

9 If your pipes leak, do not try the DIY plumber ploy. If you do at best, you can get the leak to stop a little. At worst, you will finally give up when the water level is above your knees. (That last tighten move broke everything loose did it, Berto?)

8 If you need to fix the drywall, do not do it alone. If you do, at best you’ll finally give up. At worst, you’ll pull something that really hurts. (Hope you enjoy the body cast, Brandt. It is only for twelve weeks.)

7 If your roof needs repair, do not go up there. If you do, at best the gutters will break your fall. At worst, you can be heard screaming for blocks as you slide down the roof only to land on Tiny, the WWF champ, who just started his new job at UPS. (Notice how fast Tiny recovers from a sneak attack? Too bad every bone in your body won’t let you run away, Burley.)

6 If your window needs replacement, do not try it alone. If you do, at best it will fall out while your back is turned, At worse, the first wind will cause the window to fall from the second story, just as the minister rings your doorbell. (Belonging to that church was optional right, Burt?)

5 If your siding needs to be replaced, do not do it with friends. If you do, At best no one will get hurt. At worst, the job goes well until your neighbor steps off the ladder thinking he is a ground level. (A little too much beer and the second story does seem like ground level, Boswell.)

4 If there is concrete work to do, do not do it. If you insist, at best the work will look like a kindergarten class project. At worst, the idea of handprints and initials will take on a sinister aspect when you can’t get free. (On TV that Hollywood walk of fame thingy looks easy. Right. Brinsley?)

3 If you have a tree that needs removal, do not think you are Paul Bunyan. If you do, at best the only limbs affected are on the tree. At worst your scream of “timber,” is totally ignored by your house. ( Nice to have that two-story view of the sky isn’t it, Buzzy?)

2 If you have tile work that is necessary, do not think it is as easy as it looks. If you do, at best that herringbone pattern appears like a fun house mirror. At worst, your first shower in the newly tiled space will resemble a melting marshmallow flow. (There was something about waiting for 72 hours for the grout to dry wasn’t there, Bodie?)

1 If your house needs to be power washed, do not think you can do it. If you do, at best you’ll quit in time. At worst, you won’t notice that the stong spray is taking off the paint along with the dirt. (You can also see the lighting fixtures blown into the neighbor’s yard if you pay attention, Burl.)


  1. Great list, John. I’ve done many of these but not looking forward to lifting drywall, ever, again. And that friend? yeah he can stay off my ladder.

    1. Thank you, Dan. I would not welcome him on mine either.

      1. We actually had that happen. My 5’2″ wife made this big burly “contractor” get off my ladder and off our property.

      2. Ha ha ha. I can see her moving the “Moose” off the premise.

  2. Haven’t tried these, except for a little plumbing. I mean very little. Though, I really want to use a power washer at some point.

    1. I have a power washer and finally stopped blowing the light fixtures off the wall.

      1. I’d use it too much like a toy. Putting it on the list of things I’m not mature enough to handle.

      2. Not to mention putting your eye out.

  3. I believe there to be a reason people go through years of training to become proficient plumbers, electricians, bricklayers etc. What a waste, if these things are as easy as watching a Youtube video or reading it in the Readers Digest DIY book.
    Or maybe I’m just lazy…

    1. I’m with you, Keith

  4. I thought you were going to add barbecuing to the list. I enjoyed both humour and conclusions of the list. Perhaps we are all only too familiar with that white wire!

    1. That’s the one that’ll get you. Thanks.

  5. So funny, John! I did try the Paul Bunyan tree removal… not a good idea (said the fire department).

    1. Nothing like an expert opinion (Fire department)

      1. Indeed! 🙂

  6. So – you’re saying we should stick to the old stand-by saying, “Call the guy!”
    Funny stuff, John!!

    1. Yup. Give the guy a call. Thanks, GP

  7. Hilarious, John! I once witnessed number one live…silly neighbor. Great cartoon!

    1. Thanks, Jill. 😀

  8. At best Tiny broke the fall. At worst it was just before he broke you. I love the fish up top and the description of the power wash and washed away tile grout, John. It’ll cost a lot more to pay to have the mistakes corrected. 😀 — Suzanne

    1. It sure will cost, Suzanne. Thanks for the comments.

  9. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Ten home projects you shouldn’t do yourself.

    1. Thank you , Suzanne.

  10. I admitted that tools and I didn’t get along many years ago. I know that isn’t manly, but I just don’t have that gene.

    1. I share your opinion. Thanks, Craig.

  11. John, I love these lists but Gosh, there are so many of them. I have so many reams of lists of things Not To Do that it has become problematic when I try to do something. Could you please publish a Table of Contents and Appendix to ease our burden?

    1. It would be easier if you just promised yourself not to do anything. 😀

      1. That is the approach I told both my boss and my wife I was taking…. They told me such decision required a consensus – and that they were not consenting.

      2. Need to find a different voting block.

  12. John, I don’t know how you come up with another fantastic list every week, but this one is a gem. Have a marvelous Monday. Hugs.

    1. Thank you, Teagan. I have to exercise the creative part of the brain so I use these lists as a way to wake up for the week.

  13. Great list, John! There isn’t much I attempt to do on my own anymore – especially if it involves a ladder outside. In 1980 I fell off a ladder one story to my paved driveway. I shattered both bones in my left arm… a nightmare. To this day, I tremble when on a ladder.

  14. These are the very reasons why it’s cheaper (and often, less painful!) to hire a professional. Sure, we all *think* we can do handyman tasks, but the aggravation they can bring is useless when we can find somebody who knows what he/she is doing. Great list, John.

    1. I agree, Debbie. Thanks.

  15. Lol! Sounds like you’ve thought about trying at least a few of these. 🙂

    1. What is the old saying about twice burned.

  16. As to #10: it may well be that you repair an electrical problem at your house just twice at the same time – the first and the last time! 😀
    Have agreat week,

    1. Ha ha ha. Good one.

  17. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    Yes tile work can look very interesting when done by a rookie. .. A Picasso effect.

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, DL

  18. ✌✌✌✌✌✌✌✌✌

  19. These are very timely in our area as there are so many repairs to be made. Saturday Husband discovered the top of our chimney was gone; he can’t figure out how he did not notice after Harvey. We are contacting the experts on chimney repair. I talk him out of doing most DIY projects these days. You stay safe over there and stick to creative writing!

    1. I will stay safe. I don’t do well on ladders

  20. Hubby and I have been guilty of doing a few of these on our own (thankfully they worked out well).
    This was a fun list, but number 3 was my favorite.:)

    1. Thanks, Mae. 😀

  21. Home repairs isn’t my favorite thing … but I’ve tried many … I probably hate dry wall work more than anything. … in other words, you’ve provided 10 good reasons to move into a condo … plus always have a list of good maintenance people.

    1. Thanks, Frank. One of the problems is getting them to show up.

      1. … and that would be Obama’s fault.

      2. Hurricane Harvey is causing the delays. Hurricane Harvey is Obama’s fault.

  22. These are all my responsibility now. I have a great list of handy men to call, if my kids and I can’t make it happen. More times than not…I’m calling someone else. 🙂

    1. Good idea for sure. Thanks, Audrey

  23. Several years back, hubby was on the roof and the ladder fell over – I was in the shower. That was how he met the neighbors for the first time.

    1. Ha ha ha. Great first impression.

  24. Ha ha, John, you forgot one. If you need the ceiling painted do not ask your father, at best the floor will end up with a delight sprinkle look at worst he will fall of the ladder and crack his hip and your whole family will blame you for ever more [spoken from experience by the way].

    1. Oh my. I hope he is okay.

      1. This was a few years ago. There is no stopping my Dad though when he sets his mind to doing something.

      2. Glad he is still making trouble for you. 😀

  25. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Here is another great top ten list from John Howell’s Fiction Favorites blog on things not to do yourself.

      1. You’re welcome.

  26. Reblogged this on The Writers Desk and commented:
    John W. Howell has come up with a list for all of you that think, “I can fix that myself”. ☺☺☺

    1. Thank you for the reblog, Patti. looks nice over at your place

  27. On your advice, I tried it. That’s good tasting bourbon, pal.

    1. Glad you liked it. Thanks for letting me know.

    1. Thank you so much for the reblog

  28. They say we learn a lot from our mistakes, but surely that’s not how it works!

    1. Well, without a voltage tester it is a costly lesson for sure. 😀

  29. And for the love of god if you replace a toilet be sure to screw back on ALL FOUR mounting bolts and not just two of them or the wax seal will become compromised and you’ll have a mess on your hands, or at your feet. The landlord family that owned a house I used to live in did that once. Not the handiest of people. They also used water based paints for the exteriors.

    1. Ha ha ha. Thank you, Robert. i think I have encountered the same situation. Lucky for me not at my house. Thank you for the visit and comment.

      1. You’re welcome, John.

  30. Sounds like wise advice!

    1. Ha ha ha. Or maybe foolishness. Thanks, Cynthia. 😀

%d bloggers like this: