In the process of rebuilding my home, I have resorted to YouTube for lots of learning. When I do that for Auto repair, I get one answer that is the same no matter how many videos I watch. But in home repairs, there is a multitude of answers on every topic. Many of those conflict.
When it comes to tile, there are a hundred videos on “tiling failures” and how to do it right. But let’s be honest. There really are just a few basic techniques that are really necessary. Everything else is unverified preference.
Building codes change. You can’t trust them for what works and what doesn’t. All the code tells you is what the local inspector has on his checklist.
Millions of homes and millions more apartments were built using outdated codes and their tile bathrooms are not leaking, molding rotting or otherwise failing, even though they universally did not use any of the modern accepted practices. MILLIONS.
When you do failure analysis, you really get a feeling for “bad luck”. Some things that work most of the time, might fail that one time. You can spend a lot of time and money over-engineering something as simple as a shower drain. Or you can drill a hole, run a pipe and seal it with some silicone caulk. Both will likely work. With bad luck, even your over-engineered efforts might some day fail and some huckleberry on YouTube will be there to point out what you did wrong.
Therefore, I watch a lot of videos so that I get a feel for the current best practices, and temper them with my own good sense.
Another thing I see a lot of in YouTube comments is words to the effect of “you should have hired a trained professional” and “typical homeowner shortcuts always fail” and “you get what you pay for”. But in my experience, sadly, I have discovered that by “bad luck” you can do everything possible to hire a great contractor and he can do short cuts and install failures and disasters too… and charge you top dollar for it. Some contractors understand that the project likely will “pass inspection” and it will be years before a failure happens. By then, it’s someone else’s problem or even another profit opportunity.
So, what’s a homeowner to do?
Don’t be helpless. Don’t depend on other people to do your thinking for you. Not in your job, your politics, or your home/auto repairs. Knowledge is valuable. Be willing to pay smart people to do jobs that need smarts. But don’t be compelled to trust them. Do your own research. If it’s just too hard, get a second opinion.