The home improvement experts on TV make everything look so easy. In the course of a 22-minute makeover show, they can transform an entire room or home into a designer’s dream come true. They deftly wield hammers, table saws and nail guns and make it seem like you could too.
We hate to break it to you, but using power tools is not as easy as it looks on TV — and it’s not nearly as safe as you think, either. As you watch your DVRd catalogue of home improvement shows, you probably forget that the people you’re watching are professionals with years of training and experience. If you want the same skills they have, you’ll have to, you know, work for them.
While your standard toolbox is fairly safe, the following are six of the most dangerous home improvement tools out there. No matter how easy it appears on your TV screen, we’re here to tell you otherwise. So, read on and train up before using the following six tools. They’re not for the faint of home improvement heart.
Let’s start with a tool typically used to spruce up your home’s exterior. From dingy driveways to decks that need a re-staining, a power washer can help make surfaces sparkle once again. Amazingly enough, all it takes is a little bit of water — that’s sprayed at a force of about 4,000 pounds per square inch. Now, imagine if that amount of pressure was applied to your body — ouch.
On the list of DIY projects you should not actually DIY, you’ll find tree removal very near to the top. Professionals trained to do this job know how to strategically slice branches and pieces of the trunk so the tree comes down without hurting anyone.
Whether you want to cut down a tree or not, leave chainsaws to the pros. Maneuvering the tool can be difficult, and many unfamiliar users find themselves with sliced hands and lower extremities because they don’t know what they’re doing. While these types of injuries aren’t fatal, they are unpleasant and easily avoidable.
Your favorite home improvement experts are probably nail gun-happy, piecing together custom pieces of furniture with the pull of a trigger. It looks so easy to use, and yet, a nail flying out at high speeds from a power tool is also super dangerous. Who would have guessed?
In fact, even the professionals falter sometimes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that, of the 37,000 reported injuries that are nail gun-related, 68 percent occur in workers who use them on the job. The other 32 percent happen in the hands of regular old users like you and me, who have no training and therefore shouldn’t be using nail guns.
As you can imagine, staple guns have a similar history as nail guns, although staples are smaller and are likely to cause less damage than a nail. Still, a high-powered tool firing pieces of metal is not one that should fall into inexperienced hands. If you really feel like a home improvement project will require such strength, then ask a professional for help.
Here’s another tool that’s probably popular on your favorite DIY show: the power saw. Professionals glide sheets of wood through the blades of a fast-moving saw and make it all look easy. Sometimes, they don’t even wear gloves or goggles! (Not recommended)
Unsurprisingly, a moving saw is quite the hazard when placed in untrained hands. Like the nail gun, it’s so notorious for injuries that there are statistics on them: A 2013 report revealed that table saws caused 67,000 injuries each year. Those were injuries in both workers and DIYers like you. And, even worse, 4,000 of those injuries led to amputations. We’re hopeful that’s enough to deter you from table-sawing on your own.
Finally, we have to mention the power drill. This is one of the more common items on the list, but it makes the cut because some simple preparations can be the difference between safe and dangerous use when it comes to your power tool.
For one thing, make sure your tool is well maintained and clean before using it. Then, tie your hair back so it doesn’t get caught in the drill’s moving parts. Stand on a steady surface so you can balance while pressing the drill into whatever it is that needs a perfectly drilled hole. Voila: You’ve just been way more conscious of how you’re using your drill, which means you’re in way less danger while using it.
These are just some of the many dangerous home improvement tools that require additional skill to operate. No matter what project you’re trying to complete — and what tool you pick up in order to make your vision a reality — be careful. Read the manual, take a class or hire a professional if you’re simply unprepared to use a power tool.
No matter what, put safety first and you’ll find DIY doesn’t have to be dangerous. Instead, it can be a rewarding process that’s just as beautiful as it looks on TV.