How to Sidestep the 6 Largest DIY Mistakes Made By Homeowners
A huge percentage of homeowners slip-up when working on DIY projects. Here are the most costly errors, along with how to avoid them.
While do-it-yourself projects allow you to personalize your home, make upgrades on a budget, and give you a big dose of pride when the end result turns out well, they don’t always go as planned.
A recent survey by home services website Angi shows that four out of five homeowners fall into serious mistakes while undertaking a project themselves. These blunders can end in costly damages, personal injuries, or even home tragedies. To get your DIY projects completed right the first time around, and steer clear of expensive and dangerous mistakes, it’s important to understand a few key steps.
Here are a some of the biggest DIY errors made by homeowners and what you can do to avoid them:
1. Not Knowing Your Limitations
According to the survey, people who embarked on a DIY project and found it to be more difficult and costly than they anticipated was upwards of 40 percent. The survey involved 1,000 homeowners who took on at least one DIY project since the beginning of the pandemic. By attempting a job that needs more attention or expertise than you possess, you run the risk of having a huge chaotic mess on your hands, or one more project that goes unfinished. In addition to expenses like materials, safety gear, tools and other necessities, that add up fast, mistakes also can be costly to fix.
Before taking on another big project, first consider your reasons for wanting to DIY and what you’re expecting to get out of the experience. If it’s simply a money-saving thing, it might be smart to reconsider. Without everything you need to get the job done safely and sufficiently (think time, tools and talent), errors could potentially cost more in the long run than just biting the bullet and calling a professional.
Avoid this mistake by thoroughly researching what is required to finish a project, from time and materials to the skills needed. Carefully consider whether you have what is necessary to handle it.
2. Not Using the Proper Tools
Approximately one-third of those surveyed confessed to using the wrong tools for the job, which ultimately increases hardship and unsafe work conditions. As we all know, many tools are made for certain tasks and materials, and using them for something other than that which they were designed could result in personal harm, inefficiency, and lesser quality results. It’s always a good idea to procure the appropriate equipment to make a project go safely and efficiently — particularly when the job requires specialty tools, like a specific kind of power saw.
Avoid this mistake by simply using the right tools for every project and knowing how to operate them before the start of the job. If a task calls for costly pieces of equipment that you don’t have, it’s often possible to rent the appropriate tools at your local home improvement stores or other rental places. Not sure what tool to use for a certain job? Take the time to consult an expert. For instance, an experienced pro at your home improvement store can typically offer direction.
3. Neglecting Safety Precautions
It’s true that mistakes made during DIY projects can prove pricey in some cases, but they can also be dangerous and result in serious injury. Almost half of those surveyed who experienced “major” blunders during their project noted serious injury, while 44-percent recalled fires and falls. Safety should come first and foremost when taking on a DIY project. Prioritize all recommended precautions to help prevent harmful accidents.
Avoid this mistake by not rushing through the job and heeding all safety guidelines set for tools and equipment. In addition, don all required protective garb for each task, which may include things like hearing protection, safety glasses, gloves, long sleeves, or dust masks. If you are uncertain when handling jobs that are potentially dangerous, like electrical work, bring in a professional when you have doubts or come up against unplanned problems.
4. Gathering Inaccurate Measurements
Even minor inconsistencies in measurements can skew an entire project. Luckily, this frequent DIY blunder is one easily avoided. Simply slow down and take the time to measure, mark, and take a second measurement so that you know for sure that you have the right fit every time. Just be aware that your purchased materials may have slightly skewed dimensions themselves, so it’s a good idea to ensure accuracy by measuring everything yourself.
Avoid this mistake by using the same ruler or tape measure throughout a project to ensure consistency. Keep the measuring tool straight and at a right angle to the surface being measured. Always double-check your measurements before moving forward with them.
5. Leaving Out Key Steps
Whether it was bypassed by accident or on purpose, a missed step can send an entire DIY project crashing down. The worst part? You might not even know it until later in the process. According to the survey, 47-percent of the respondents admitted to finishing a project before realizing it wasn’t done correctly. In particular, prep work is a step often neglected, one example being applying paint without first sanding or priming a surface. This can result in a finish that is uneven and chips or peels easily over time.
Avoid this mistake by reading over instructions carefully before starting the task, and making certain that you have the ability and materials to finish every step.
6. Ignoring Important Permits or Codes
To help promote safety, many home improvement projects are subject to regulations. They differ from place to place, but building permits are generally needed for home projects involving modifications to a home’s structure or plumbing and mechanical systems. Ignoring these codes and laws can result in significant delays and costly fines.
Avoid this mistake by getting familiar with building codes in your area and consulting with your local municipality about whether your project requires any permits. Always make certain your project plans meet local ordinances and building codes before starting any work.