Going the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) route and remodeling your home on your own can be a great way to cut costs. With the abundance of how-to videos and tutorials on the Internet today, you can learn how to do just about anything within a few minutes. Learning how to take care of your home by yourself also allows you to fix problems when they occur instead of waiting on the schedule of a professional. Tackling projects yourself can end up looking great, but there are a few key things to remember when remodeling. The following are the top 8 DIY mistakes that homeowners make:
1. Not understanding the detail of the project
When you plan to tackle a remodel or DIY project, it’s important that you have a full understanding of the steps, tools, price and time involved. If you underestimate any of these items, you could end up with a half completed project. Make sure to thoroughly read over or watch videos about all the steps you have to take in order to complete a project.
Make sure you pay attention to the amount of time it says the project will take. For example, tiling your own floors cannot be done in one day. It will need at least two to three days to ensure that the adhesive and grout properly cure and set. If you don’t give yourself enough time, you could end up with a serious problem.
You also need to determine how much the project will cost. Some people make the mistake of only looking at the obvious expenses. For example, if you were to remodel your bathroom, you may only consider the price of drywall, vanity, tub, shower and tile. Though these are important, there are plenty of other items you will need, such as screws, adhesives, light fixtures, vent covers, paint, grout, outlets and outlet covers, trim, shower curtains, etc. If you forget to count these items into your budget, you may not have enough money to complete the project.
2. Not being prepared for the mess
If you are doing a complete remodel of a room in your home, it is going to get messy. No matter how prepared you are for the mess, it won’t be enough. Drywall dust easily slips into vents and is spread throughout your home quickly. It lingers, too, so you will be cleaning up dust for a while after the demo is complete. Old tile, old fixtures, old appliances—all of these need to come out, and they need somewhere to go. If you are keeping appliances, you need to find a place to keep them until you are ready to use them again. If you are throwing garbage away, you need a place to put it. If you only have one garbage can, you will find yourself severely out of luck. You need to invest in multiple cans or rent a dumpster.
3. Not researching before you demo
Open floor plans are popular, but before you knock a wall down, you need to do some research. It’s possible that the wall may be a supporting wall. If this is the case, you can’t just knock it down, otherwise your roof would cave in. If you want to knock down a supporting wall, you will need to install a header in the ceiling.
It’s also possible that the main gas, water or electric lines to your house run through that wall. If you throw a sledgehammer through it without knowing what’s behind it, you could find yourself with an even bigger problem.
4. Not getting permits
Some cities have ordinances about the type of work that can be done on your home. These cities often require that the work you do be inspected by a professional before, during and after the remodel to ensure that it is done correctly. If you are caught remodeling your home without the proper permits, you could be hit with a large fine.
5. Not shutting off the water
If you are doing any type of plumbing work in your home, you need to shut the water off. If you don’t, you could end up with a very bad flood in the middle of your remodel.
6. Not shutting off the gas
Just like water, gas needs to be turned off when you are working with gas pipes or near items that require gas, such as your stove or fireplace. If you don’t shut the gas off and your construction creates a leak in a pipe, it could end up doing severe harm to both you and your family.
7. Not protecting your floors or other surfaces
If there are items in the room that you are not replacing, you need to make sure that they are properly covered during demolition, remodeling, painting and moving furniture. If you are keeping your existing floors, you need to lay cardboard or drop cloths down to prevent damaging it. If you are keeping your existing countertops or other stationary fixtures, you need to make sure they’re covered as well. Drop cloths and painters plastic are good to have on hand.
8. Not doing things properly
In order for your remodel to be complete and in order to prevent yourself from having to fix things multiple times, you need to do things right the first time. Don’t run extension cords throughout your room instead of running proper electricity. Don’t install a fan in your bathroom ceiling but not hook it up to an outside wall or through your attic. If you do something wrong just to get it done, you’ll have worse problems in the near future.
Before you jump into DIY, make sure that you are accurately prepared for the whole experience. Take your time to thoroughly think out your plan, and make sure you spend a great amount of time going over everything before starting the project.
Stella Brown lives in Dallas and likes to do home design. She recently replaced her counters with brand new tempe tile countertops.