8.02.2013

5 Expensive DIY Home Improvement Pitfalls to Avoid

Doing it yourself, or DIY, is one of the great moneysavers in the world. Done properly, you can save thousands of dollars, possibly tens of thousands of dollars, on home renovation. However, done poorly, you can wind up with a broken deck and a shattered kneecap. While some projects are successful enough to build a DIY fervor in any Dad’s heart, others wind up costing far more money than they save. Here are some of the most expensive mistakes you can make when starting a DIY project.

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1. Getting In Too Deep

At first, each project seems fairly simple. The only problem, for example, is a small leak in one pipe. A new fitting should solve that problem. However, after the fitting is replaced, the sink keeps leaking, and you have to finish it now or the whole bathroom will be underwater. Soon, you’re surrounded by bits of pipe and caulk, wondering how much you’ll have to pay a plumber to fix the high-pitched squealing and ice-cold water flooding the bathroom.

If you aren’t sure how complex your project is, get it appraised by a professional. Even if you’re not planning to hire a contractor, ask for an estimate, and ask him to walk you through what he’d like to do to your project. This will at least give you an idea of how far you’re getting in over your head before you have to call a professional to fix your mistakes for you.

2. Not Properly Budgeting 

Whether you know a guy who can get cheap parts or you used a promo code from Home Depot to get free shipping, you’ve probably thought of some way to make your DIY project cheaper than the estimate. However, be wary of not budgeting nearly enough money to finish your project. If you skimp on the cost of materials, you may wind up with an abandoned DIY project that no help can save.

3. Using The Wrong Tools 

Every carpenter and craftsman knows that in order to make a job go quickly and smoothly, you need the right tools. However, many people who attempt DIY think that they can do everything with two saws and three kinds of hammer, as long as they have an electrical drill. Unfortunately, the reason this is a pricey mistake is because of one reason: medical bills. Proper tools ensure that you’re safe on the job.

4. Doing A Project In The Wrong Order

There is a right and wrong way to do almost any project. Doing a project in the proper order ensures that all steps are followed and that you’ll have enough time and materials to properly complete it. Otherwise, you’ll wind up messing something else up and having to fix it. For example, if you’re intending to paint the wall, you must first cover fixtures and edges with painter’s tape. Otherwise, you’ll make another job for yourself by having to hand-paint over all fixtures later. These may not seem like big issues, but most abandoned home DIY projects are abandoned because people didn’t concentrate on small details.

5. Not Having a Plan or Doing Research

Doing research and having a plan goes hand in hand. When taking on a big project such as a DIY, you simply need organization and a direction to follow, otherwise mistakes will occur and you will have to pay a pretty penny to fix them. Doing the research leads to a cohesive plan that you can refer to and that will help you avoid those mistakes. By making a plan, you are saving time and money on purchasing unnecessary tools, and you can be more efficient.

Have you ever fallen into any of these pitfalls? Do you have any other tips on saving money while doing DIY projects?

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