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The Top 6 DIY Fails Homeowners Experience

Last Updated: September 8, 2023

The Top 6 DIY Fails Homeowners Experience

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There is no doubt that updating your home is a great idea. Not only will you increase the value of your home, but you will be able to enjoy upgrades while you live in your home. But updating can be costly. To save money, many homeowners launch do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects. Along with a desire to save money, a DIY project gives homeowners the opportunity to challenge themselves, be in full control of the project, learn new skills, be creative, and have fun.

While doing it yourself can save money and be enjoyable, there are some pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. Making these mistakes can cost you money, waste time, and even be dangerous in some cases. Check out these top six DIY mistakes before embarking on your own home improvement project.

An infographic detailing top DIY mistakes homeowners make
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1. Failure to Get the Proper Permits

Small DIY projects can require minimal planning and usually do not require a permit from a city or county authority. But for more involved projects, you may need a permit to legally complete the work. Examples of jobs needing permitting include:

  • Adding or removing walls
  • Plumbing or electrical work
  • Building an addition
  • Creating a new window opening
  • Installing a new furnace or A/C
  • Installing a new water heater
  • Converting a garage to living space

Neglecting to get a permit can result in difficulties when you sell your home. This step is crucial. If you don’t know if you need a permit, your city’s building and planning department can help you out. And be sure to plan ahead. If needed, you have to secure a permit before beginning the work. There may also be required inspections during the work, so be sure to include that time in your project timeline.

2. Bad Measurements

You know the old proverb, “Measure twice, cut once”? Well, there is wisdom in that saying. Improper measurements can lead to all sorts of problems. Cabinetry might not fit. You could run out of paint. Miscuts of plywood could require you to purchase more.

It’s not just the big mistakes that cause problems; sometimes even small mismeasurements can throw off a whole project. Be sure to take careful measurements with the right measuring tools. In addition to a measure tape, there are framing squares, levels, straight edges, and digital measuring devices that can help you get the most accurate measurements. Choose the right tool for the job and take your time to ensure you get those important and accurate measurements.

3. Not Using the Right Tools for the Job

Speaking of using the right tools, one of the most common DIY mistakes is not getting the proper equipment for the particular job you are doing. While it makes sense to save as much money as possible, skimping on the proper tools can end up costing you money in the long run and can be unsafe. Using the correct tools helps make a job easier and run more smoothly.

Research to find out the best tools to use. If you don’t have that particular tool, consider purchasing it, borrowing it from a friend, or renting it. Take the time to learn how to use it. Improper use of a power tool can result in serious injury.

4. Not Being Honest with Your Budget

Budgeting can be challenging and underestimating your budget can lead to unfortunate delays and disappointments. When considering your budget, be sure to take all expenses into account including the cost of renting tools and equipment, upgrades to finishes, and permitting costs. If you need to call in a professional for part of the job, be sure to get a solid quote before putting together your budget.

Don’t think you can skimp on materials either. Buying cheap materials can backfire and cause you to spend more on maintenance in the coming months and years than what you would spend on quality materials in the first place.

5. Not Being Safe

A mistake in safety is worse than a simple budget overrun or construction measuring mishap. Working with power tools, heavy materials, and electricity can lead to serious injury or sometimes death. Above all, don’t forget to take the necessary steps to be safe. This includes using work gloves, safety glasses, and avoiding loose clothing when operating power tools.

You should ensure that you have adequate ventilation in all your work areas. Any DIY project results in waste and debris, so for big jobs, having a roll off dumpster rental on-site will make your worksite safer by keeping the trash from piling up. Don’t hesitate to call a pro if part of your job becomes too much for you. Removing asbestos-contaminated materials, rewiring electrical work, or working with natural gas lines are best left to the professionals.

6. Not Estimating Your Timeline Correctly

When you consider your project timeline, it can be challenging to know how long each step will take. A good rule of thumb is to estimate the time needed and then double it. This allows for the inevitable delays that crop up in DIY projects.

You should also consider your other commitments including your job, family time, and the need for some rest and leisure time. Underestimating the time needed can result in disappointments, less than optimal outcomes, and sometimes last-minute appeals to professionals, which can end up being costly.

Don’t forget to account for any home downtime that you will have during your DIY project. Knowing how long a part of your home will be unusable is crucial to keeping stress and hassle to a minimum.

Final Thoughts: So When Should You Not DIY?

While most home improvement projects can be completed successfully by a homeowner, sometimes it is better to call in a pro instead. If the job involves skills you are not comfortable with like electrical wiring or handling leaks, or you find that you don’t have the available tools or materials and don’t want to purchase them, you may find that the convenience and time-savings of hiring out is worth the cost.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a pro. The goal is to get the job completed after all. Getting in some assistance may end up being the best way to reach the finish line.

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