Harry Helmet’s Top 10 DIY Fails

Couple sitting at a counter with documents and a laptop.
Overshooting your budget is a common experience on a DIY project.

Uh oh: you’re working on a home project, and you’re doing it yourself. What have you missed? If you’re not as experienced with the DIY world, you could forget some key details that could lead to a DIY disaster. Here are some of the key DIY failures to avoid when you’re renovating your home. 

1. You’re Over-Enthusiastic and Under-Prepared

You just want to get started, so you don’t give yourself enough time, money, training, safety equipment or space to work. Be generous with yourself, and draw in resource people such as renovation professionals if you don’t know what you’re doing. Set the groundwork for your renovation first, giving yourself key elements like storage space for materials rather than skimping on the details. According to Today’s Homeowner, “it’s easy to underestimate the size of the task in front of you and start a project that requires more time or skill than you can handle.”

2. You Try to Cover Up Mistakes 

If there’s a problem with your home, make sure that you address it instead of covering it up. For instance, people often think that roofing problems can be solved by adding more roofing on top. This might mask the old leaks for a while, but it’s far better to address your overall need to change your roofing by removing the old and putting on the new. 

3. You Don’t Prepare

Preparation is key, no matter whether you’re a seasoned renovation professional or a DIY newbie. For instance, you need to remember to sand and fill your walls before painting them. You’ll also need to prime the walls in many situations. While these extra steps can be tedious, they lead to long term success. 

4. You Don’t Consider the Environment Around Your Home 

When you’re thinking about renovations, think about what surrounds your home: water, soil, air, and plants. You need to incorporate those into your renovation plans. For instance, if you’re undertaking a landscaping project, consider how you can landscape to get rid of the puddles around your yard. If you’re adding a new gutter, make sure that it’s angled slightly so that it drains properly.

Couple on a ladder painting a wall.
Home renovation happiness can easily turn into a DIY disaster if you aren’t careful. 

5. You Don’t Understand the Maintenance Involved

If you’re painting the playroom, a flat paint might look pretty, but it will be very difficult to clean. When you’re adding new gutters, they’re gorgeous and shiny at first, but they get grimy quickly without a gutter cover. Plan to use items that require less long-term maintenance. Your future self will thank you.

6. You Don’t Invest 

When you’re working on a renovation, this is an investment in your home. While you might be tempted to skimp on materials, remember that your home is there to protect you and keep you warm and dry. The materials that you use should be high quality and durable, not low quality materials that you need to replace sooner rather than later. For instance, you can use 1/4 inch drywall, but 3/4 inch drywall will be a more effective sound barrier.

7. You Forget About Permits 

Whoops: it’s only when you get a call about your latest home renovation that you realize that you’ve forgotten about the paperwork. Make sure that your latest DIY project doesn’t require a permit, or get one before you begin. 

8. You Forget That Your Home is a System 

Your home is interconnected. For instance, if there is a problem with your roof, the impacts of this can be far-reaching in your home. If your landscaping sends water back toward your foundation, that’s a problem for your whole house. Remember that when you change one part of your home system, others will feel the impact.

9. You Fail to Add Extra Time 

According to Bankrate, “a homeowner should probably approach any new DIY project by taking the original estimate and factoring in twice as much time and three times as much money.” That’s because you will make mistakes and so will everyone else. For instance, a key part may not come on time. Plan to have far more time than you originally intended.

10. You Forget About Your Budget

Every home renovation has a budget. Whatever you’re planning, make sure that you have a large buffer for mistakes. You might find that one thing leads to another and you’re working on an extra project necessitated by the first. Make sure that you have enough money to manage. 

At Harry Helmet, we’re here to help with your home renovations. Whether you’re embarking on a roofing project, gutter cover, or awning, we can make it happen. Schedule a free estimate today.

Written by Del Thebaud

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