By Nick Kratsas- KDKA Morning News

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) –  Admit it- you’ve watched one of those HGTV shows about remodeling a bathroom and thought “that looks easy.” With  the rising popularity of do-it-yourself shows and stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, lots of regular people are tackling home projects that they used to have a contractor do.

The problem is that most people aren’t adept to wiring, plumbing, or dry-walling, and suddenly that easy project is taking longer then expected or making a fix worse. Knowing what you can or can’t do can be a lesson you might learn the hard way.

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Brian Lang, owner of Early Bird Construction, is a local contractor who has seen it all. He thinks there are  a lot of projects you can do yourself, provided you do your research and aren’t getting in over your head.

“If you get out of your comfort zone, don’t do it or really research it to see if that comfort zone can be broke,” says Lang.

KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert and John Shumway talk to Lang about DIY project successes and disasters, and his advice on what you should do before, during, and after a major home project.

Lang says that most people can do their own projects, but don’t have the knowledge of how to do it correctly. For instance, when remodeling a basement, you might not know that you’ll need to use a moisture resistant drywall, or otherwise you might get mold. Another mistake is not knowing you’ll need a membrane behind your shower stall wall, or else you’ll eventually get water running down the insides of your wall.

DIY shows make it look easy, but Lang says what you’re not seeing is all the work behind the scenes.

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“They have 10-20 guys that are there on some of the smaller shows for probably two days, and on the bigger ones there are probably 20-50 man crews working around the clock. They put on a good show- I wish I could look that clean after a job,” Lang said.

Then there are people who start a job, but quickly realize it will take longer or is harder than they expected. That’s when people like Lang get a call.

“I give people credit for trying, but there are just some jobs that when you start them you realize it’s over your head,” he said.

Lang says that most people call him for electrical work or flooring- the big stuff you don’t want to make a mistake on. Other projects you probably shouldn’t attempt are plumbing or anything with natural gas.

“If you can electrocute yourself or blow yourself up, those are two things you want to stay away from. Another problem- you could end up taking a shower in the kitchen when you’re having your morning coffee,” Lang said.

If you find yourself over your head on a do-it-yourself project, or need a contractor for anything from changing a light switch to full remodels, contact Early Bird Construction by calling (412)-523-9340, or e-mail at

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