Six Things Every DIYer Needs to Know
July 30, 2018
DIY projects can save you a lot of money. Tackling something like this on your own is educational, rewarding and fun — as long as everything goes to plan.
Avoid stress and possible disaster with these six DIY/home reno tips:
Sit down before starting any project and write out your plan. Create a list of everything — your materials, tools and how much time you will need to complete each task. Also make a list of “anytime” tasks that you can complete during downtime. Prep work may be tedious, but it should never be skipped.
At the early stages of any job, it’s also important to flag hazardous tasks which you may be unsure about or need help with so that you can plan your project safely and efficiently.
Most DIYers fail to create realistic budgets and timelines to actually complete their project. It’s helpful to add 10-20% onto material costs, as well as to the timeline of your project. Even the “simple” jobs look easy until you start digging beneath the surface. Having a realistic idea of your budget and timeline will give you the best chance at sticking to your schedule. Nobody plans on having an unfinished project.
Finishing your project safely should be your number one priority. Having the proper safety gear on-hand and taking extra precautions to protect yourself is crucial. Be diligent about wearing goggles, gloves, hard hats, and steel toe boots (when necessary). Try not to wear loose clothing that might get caught in power tools and always keep your surroundings as clear as possible.
If you’re building a new fence, shed, garage or pool, or if your project involves any sort of digging, get a free line locate from ClickBeforeYouDig.com first. Accidents can happen, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. This process usually only takes two full business days and can save you thousands of dollars in damages—as well as protect you from harm.
You Get What You Pay For
This goes for tools, materials, and even hired help. You can still be smart and selective even with a tight budget. Using the wrong tools or cheap materials can do more harm than good in the long run. Invest in quality tools that you will use the most and rent or use cheap alternatives for one-off jobs.
There are certain things you should never cheap out on, like windows, caulking, nails or glue. Decide what you’re willing to compromise on and what you’re willing to wait for. Pay attention to local hardware store flyers and sales and take advantage of “loss leader” specials.
If you’re new to this kind of work, you’ll be trying to learn several different skills at once. It’s your home and you have to live with the finished project so it’s a good idea to practice on scrap materials before trying the real thing. The internet offers a wealth of information, and lots of hardware stores offer workshops. This will give you the hands on experience you need before starting your project.
It’s always good to get a professional’s opinion before starting a project for the best chance at success. Before getting carried away and knocking walls down, bring in an architect or home inspector to make sure what you’re doing won’t leave you homeless. This is also important for insurance and liability purposes, as you may require licensed trade professionals or permits to complete the job. Even if you are an expert, don’t try things you aren’t completely comfortable with. A second opinion never hurts. Many hands may make light work, but if you’re relying on family and friends, be cautious.
Doing it yourself is a fun, cost effective and fulfilling way to tackle any project. Hopefully these tips help you whether you’re starting your first DIY project or your fifth flipped house.
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