7 DIY Disasters

From on June 24, 2008 in CalFinder News

diyHomeowners dive into do-it-yourself projects with the notion that it may take longer, but the huge savings will offset the extra time spent. Unfortunately, all too often these projects end up taking three times longer to complete AND three times as much money…most notably when a professional is hired to fix that DIY disaster. Here are 7 common DIY disasters and mistakes that will make you think twice, or at least think better, before jumping into your next project.

  1. Failure to obtain proper permits. Many homeowners see permits as an annoyance but they are there for a reason. Other than raising money for your local government, permits help to ensure that the job is done right and in a safe manner. Anything beyond paint or wallpaper may require a permit and the repercussions of being caught remodeling without one can be catastrophic to your project and your wallet.
  2. Ceramic tiling is a common disaster that usually requires a new start, and a new bill by a professional, after the fact. Usually problems stem from not getting the first course of wall tiling perfectly level. Even a sixteenth of an inch off can compound as you move up the wall, resulting in a very uneven, unsightly look that will require starting over, effectively doubling, at minimum, your price tag. Also, tile floors can buckle and snap if not laid down on a very solid subfloor.
  3. Safety is a big issue when tackling DIY projects. Too often DIY’ers jump into uncertain territory with tools they’re uncertain how to use. Even professionals have accidents. A UK site, BuildersBox, published their top five DIY disasters. These are some revealing, if rather unpleasant, examples of repercussions due to negligence when it comes to safety.
  4. Skimping on materials is a common disaster for do-it-yourselfers. For example, 1/4” drywall on walls or 1/2” subflooring re both big mistakes. You do not want weak walls and a bouncy, squeaky floor. You’re in for a maintenance nightmare with holes in the walls and a suspect floor, especially if you have hardwood flooring.
  5. The bathroom is the epicenter of DIY disasters. There are a slew of possible problems that may not be visible to the untrained eye. Common mistakes involve not using water-resistant wallboard around the shower, improper installation of toilet wax rings, nailing or screwing into pipes, tiling issues mentioned above, and many more. The wide array of intricacies that you can easily miss while trying to remodel your bathroom can result in a huge money loss, not to mention the cost of renting a portable toilet for the front yard while the water damage is repaired!
  6. Painting is a common and certainly feasible DIY project but even this project can turn ugly with a few easy mistakes. Choosing the wrong paint for the project is common, along with poor preparation of walls or siding such as failure to prime the surface, especially when painting over an oil-based paint. Failure to properly prepare the surface and choose paint correctly will have you painting your house over and over and over again—time and money not so well spent.
  7. Working beyond your limits is the general DIY disaster. While it encompasses most of the aforementioned issues, it is nonetheless deserving of the final spot. Knowing your limits is key to making a good decision about your remodel job. Too often homeowners try to undertake plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work that they have no real idea how to do. This can not only affect the quality of your work but can also have detrimental effects on your safety. Don’t take the Learn-As-I-Go mentality. You might just end up in an apartment while your house is redone!

Do-it-yourself projects are a big trend right now, especially in America where we have always been an individualistic, hands-on society. There is nothing wrong with that to be sure. But, unfortunately, in the age of Lowe’s and Home Depot, who make millions off of pushing the do-it-yourself mentality, we tend to build ourselves up with a false sense of confidence. Remember, professional contractors thrive because they know what they are doing and they get it done fast and correctly. At least have a professional look at your job before diving in. CalFinder can help you get fast, free estimates from certified contractors, whatever your remodel needs may be.