As economies around the world continue to limp along at slow levels of growth, at least so far as everyday working people are concerned, people have had to become far more frugal, and conscious of where their money is going. Many have transitioned from eating out so much, buying off-hand and store brands in place of name brands, and overall, simply learning to get by with less. For homeowners, the emphasis on a DIY approach to keeping a home functioning and beautiful has become more prominent than at any point in our history as a species.
It’s certainly not a bad idea. The ability to fix or repair many aspects of your house, without having to rely on a technician or repair man, can often save time, money, and the headache of having to schedule the repair job, and coordinate to make sure the technician can get inside your home. When it comes to interior design, a DIY approach can also save time and money, plus, you can ensure that the vision you have in your mind for your space is realized with complete accuracy.
But a DIY approach can also lead to disaster, if you’re not careful. There have been countless stories of people attempting a DIY job, only to have it blow up in their faces, sometimes literally. There’s a myriad of reasons why these disasters can happen, but the results are always the same – more money and time wasted, having to call in a professional anyway, and a lot of heartache from ending up in a worse spot than you were before
To help you avoid these pitfalls, that can often leave you in a far worse situation than when you started, we’ll discuss some of the most common DIY mistakes that people make, and show you how to avoid them. By all means, this list is not all inclusive, so use every resource you can to make sure your DIY project will be both safe and effective. As you successfully complete projects, share your tips for success. After you’ve gained a solid foundation of DIY knowledge, I’d even encourage you to start your own blog or website, and continue to share your knowledge for a great DIY project.
Not Using Correctly Sized Materials
To the inexperienced, it must seem like, so long as they use a solid piece of wood, or any other material, the thickness doesn’t really matter. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
There have been countless examples of DIYers who grabbed a piece of drywall measuring about 1/4‘ thick, because it’s the most commonly found pre-cut size, and it’s fairly cheap. The problem is that this size isn’t thick enough to support the structure of most walls or floors, will quickly wear out, and lead to extensive damages in most cases. Instead, always go with a slight thicker cut than what you think you’ll need. Instead of 1/4‘ thick, go with 3/4‘.
Plywood is just one example, but this same mistake is often repeated across many different projects, with many types of materials. There’s been instances where people tried to pour their own driveway, only to have the asphalt chip and crack within a year, because they didn’t make it thick enough. There have been homemade tool sheds that collapse because the support beams were too thin to support the weight of the roof.
The bottom line is – opt to use measurements slightly thicker than those that you’ll think you need. It may cost you more upfront, but you’ll save money in the long run from a project that wears down quickly, or completely falls apart.
Attempting to Do Structural Work Without Enough Knowledge
One of the most dangerous tasks that you can attempt to perform in any DIY project is adjusting the interior wiring, plumbing, and structural foundation of your home, without knowing anything about them. It can not only lead to a half finished job that leaves you frustrated, but potentially put your life, and your family’s lives, in danger.
A prime example is when people attempt to expand a room, or make a new addition, completely on their own. There’s a great deal of math and geometry that goes into calculating the dimensions, spacing, and weight distribution in the foundation and support beams that makeup your home. There have been cases where people have attempted to tear out a wall to expand a room, haphazardly knocked down the support beams, and had their entire ceiling collapse.
The same applies for electrical wiring and underground plumbing. People assume that if they just replace this one strand of wire, or plug this one area of piping, that their problems will be resolved. But both electrical wiring and plumbing require a great deal of know-how, and an extensive set of tools, to do the job effectively. A botched plumbing job can leave your entire house or yard flooded, and cause your water bill to skyrocket, while an amateur’s approach to electrical wiring can get you killed.
Never attempt the adjust the internal components of your house, unless you’ve both done it before, and have a great deal of experience. In most cases, I wouldn’t even recommend you make these DIY jobs, and instead hire a professional to do the job safely and efficiently.
Not Using the Required Tools
This may seem too basic to be included on this list, but believe me, it’s probably contributed to more disastrous DIY jobs than any other mistake on this list. Using the wrong tools in your DIY job is a sure fire way to not only completely wreck your project, but potentially create unsafe conditions inside your home.
A common thing I’ve seen, and that ties in with what I talked about in the last paragraph, is not using a voltmeter or multimeter when doing electrical jobs. Most people are content to finish installing a new outlet, plug in a cell phone charger or lamp to ensure there’s power running through an outlet, and leave it at that. This may not instantly result in disaster, but not checking the voltage is dangerous. Too high a degree of electricity can overload the circuits, and burn up the wiring, in many appliances. At best, this can result in your appliance burning out and needing to be replaced; at worst, this can lead to you or a loved one getting shocked, or an explosion big enough to start a fire in your home, one that’s you can’t put out with water because of a live current.
No matter the job you’re doing, always take the time to research what tools you’ll need to do the job safely, and leave you with a result that you can be proud of.