Do-it-yourself projects are great for keeping home ownership costs down. That is, as long as you don’t end up making a mistake and cost yourself more than having an expert come in and do the job for you.
While there certainly are some do-it-yourself renovation headaches, there are also a large number of projects that homeowners should be able to tackle themselves. The experts at Norman Graham Builders want to help you handy homeowners by offering advice on avoiding common do-it-yourself mistakes people make on home projects.
Common DIY Mistake #1 – Failing to prepare adequately
We haven’t yet been able to find someone who has been over-prepared for a home improvement project. There’s a lot that can go into properly preparing for the task at hand, and it all depends on what project you’re trying to tackle. Some common steps you’ll want to check off before diving into a DIY project include:
- Obtain permits for any project that includes structural changes to your home. Unsure? Call your local building authority to be safe.
- Budget properly (add a 10% buffer to cover unforeseen problems, wasted materials, or first-timer’s mistakes).
- Stockpile all materials, tools and other items ahead of time (you don’t want to hold up the project for missing supplies or tools, which costs time and may cost money too).
- Schedule enough time (projects always take longer than you think).
- Read the instructions fully before you start, even if you think you know what they’ll say.
Common DIY Mistake #2 – Avoiding the avoidable
There are two kinds of mistakes: those you make due to unfamiliarity with a task – which are to be expected – and those that can be prevented. Here are some common errors of the second sort that you might run into:
- Unsafe work conditions. These can be avoided by wearing the proper safety equipment and cleaning up the area you will be working in.
- Wasting material. You’ve likely heard the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” This is critical for avoiding inaccuracies. It’s much easier to make something shorter than trying to find a way to make it longer.
- Speeding. We get it, your time is limited. Cutting corners and rushing through your project won’t make it take any less time though. Once you make the inevitable mistake caused by rushing, you’ll spend more time going back and fixing your error than you would have if you had adopted a slower pace at the get-go.
- Exceeding your limits. Plumbing and electrical work are generally better left to the experts unless you have a good idea of what you’re doing. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do, and if you need an experienced hand to take over a home renovation or remodeling project, make that practical decision to get the job done, and done well.
Common DIY Mistake #3 – Perfectionism
The odds are that you’ll find a flaw in your project no matter how well you complete it. That’s OK – don’t expect everything to go off without a hitch. Leave room for error, whether it’s time, money, or something else, and enjoy the satisfaction of completing the job without driving yourself nuts. As mentioned above, don’t be afraid to recruit the help of experts, and ask questions if something doesn’t make sense.
Now that you know some of the common mistakes, we hope you can avoid them and successfully complete whatever home improvement project comes your way. And remember, Norman Graham Builders is available at 717-656-7336 if your home improvement project rapidly morphs into a home remodeling project, and you decide to call in some help!