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How to Keep Your DIY From Becoming DOA
Pinterest, Youtube and HGTV often cause homeowners to feel as if they're only a couple of power tools away from being home renovation masters. Don't be fooled. While there are several do-it-yourself home improvement projects that are fairly easy to tackle, there's a reason building and construction trades are considered skilled jobs.
Tackling a home renovation project requires more than an eye for design and the ability to match colors. You also need to understand how all of the various components of a structure fit together, how to precisely measure materials, and how to properly use all of the tools required so that the project ends up looking the way you hope (and without injury to yourself). A home improvement project done wrong can be expensive to fix or even downright dangerous.
Look for the Seven Signs that Should Signal When It's Time to Call in a Pro:
1. You don't understand what you're doing
Seems obvious, right? Yet, lots of people try to do projects where they really don't understand the mechanics of what they're trying to do. They tend to think that they will figure it out and that the project will all simply fall into place once they get a bit further into the remodel.
You need to know exactly what you're doing from the beginning of the project. Otherwise, you could find that you can't figure out how to finish it, winding up with a more costly project than it would have been using a professional from the very start.
2. You don't know how to operate the necessary tools
You may have laughed when you read that, but seriously, most injuries happen on DIY projects because of people not knowing how to properly operate the tools required for the job.
Tool knowledge is not only important for safety, but it also significantly impacts the final look of the project. When in doubt, call a pro out.
3. Someone knowledgeable advises you to get a pro
It might look something like this ... you're in Home Depot and explain the project to the workers there who immediately raise their eyebrows and say, "really?"
When someone familiar with the project says you're crazy for attempting it, that should be a cue to reconsider. Now, you don't necessarily have to give up on every project simply because someone is skeptical, but you should ask yourself these questions:
• Has this person done the project themselves?
• Have they heard from multiple people who have tried the project?
• Do they have a vested interest in discouraging you from doing the project?
If someone you know, whom you consider to be handy, says that the project is a nightmare, then you might want to listen.
4. Your time is limited
Sometimes, you might be completely capable of finishing a home improvement project on your own, but that still doesn't mean you should attempt the project. If you already have a full schedule of work and family obligations, how much time are you really going to be able to devote to the renovation? And will you want to live with your home as a construction site for months on end? If your answers are "not much" and "no," then you may want to call in a pro.
5. It will be obvious you did it yourself
It might not matter if the shelves in your closet are crooked or the paint in your bedroom is uneven. No one except you and your immediate family will probably see those anyway. However, if your front porch is not level or your siding seams are showing, it may be obvious to all who see your house.
Consider who will see the project, the likelihood you'll mess it up and how embarrassed you'll be when a visitor notices your mistakes. Also consider that a botched job — done badly or not to code — can affect the manufacturer's warranty and the value of your home if you decide to sell it. Then, decide whether it's worth continuing on your own.
6. The project involves major electrical or plumbing work
There's really no question that anything involving major electrical and plumbing work needs to be left to the pros.
Poor plumbing could lead to a messy situation and water damage that will end up costing you more than what you would have paid to have the job done right in the first place. As for the electrical, we're talking house fires and putting your family's safety in jeopardy if you do it wrong.
For most, that sort of risk isn't worth saving a few bucks to do it yourself.
7. Serious injury is a possibility if something goes wrong
Along the same lines, you should think twice about any project that could result in serious injury. According to an article on DoitYourself.com, about 170,000 people go to the hospital each year because of injuries related to ladders alone.
Accidentally knocking down walls when you're not sure which beams are supporting the roof can turn into a terrible situation quickly too.
Pinterest and Cable TV make us all think we can be DIY superstars, but there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Homeowners can take pride in doing several smaller home improvement projects, especially the ones that are strictly cosmetic. However, if the renovation project affects the structure of your home or could put your safety and your home's value in jeopardy, it's best to leave those for the skilled professionals. Not sure which projects those are? Check out the list of the 10 most difficult and dangerous projects.
Source: moneytalknews.com, "7 Reasons to Back Away From DIY Home Improvement Projects," by Maryalene LaPonsie, April 22, 2015.