While many homeowners are hiring help for their projects, others are tempted to save money or want a do-it-yourself experience. We asked Eamon Lynch, Head of Warranty Services at Power Home Remodeling, for tips on the biggest mistakes homeowners make when carrying out a DIY project. Power Home Remodeling is headquartered in Chester, Pennsylvania, and has offices in 15 states, including Maryland.
Lynch shared his thoughts via email, describing three DIY mistakes to avoid:
1. Bite off more than you can chew. Setting an ideal budget and schedule can help you stay on track. However, it is important to understand that home improvement often becomes more time consuming and expensive than expected. Taking on more than you can afford can disrupt your lifestyle. For example, if you have decided to renovate your bathroom, the first thing you need to consider is how long the bathroom will be out of service and how to navigate without it. The same idea applies to kitchen renovations.
When homeowners take on the demolition part of the process, they tend to demonstrate too much. It is tempting to take a sledgehammer with you, but if you don’t have a lot of experience, it can destroy materials that can be reused or reinstalled. Carrying out the demolition carefully, slowly, and strategically will cut cleanup time and free up parts of your home for other purposes.
Don’t forget to also consider the cost of all the materials and equipment you need. Power tools are expensive, and if you don’t envision using them again in the future, they might not be worth the upfront investment. I always advise consulting a professional first. Advice does not necessarily mean that you cannot do it yourself. Instead, the contractor will help you understand everything that is required for a successful renovation.
2. Neglect of thorough research. Before starting a new project, it is important to research the regulations and requirements in your area. Taking the time to understand the mandates, codes, and laws in your area can protect you from costly penalties and potentially renovation in the future. When working with our customers, we always obey all rules, as the OSHA is empowered to impose fines for violating their safety regulations.
You should also do your research and obtain any necessary permits. In some areas, renovation projects don’t require multiple levels of approval; in others, you need to work with an engineer to create project renderings or plans. It is therefore best to contact your local board of directors or your planning committee. Depending on the project, there are also national resources such as “Call Before You Dig”, an information hotline to protect local supply lines.
3. Missing key steps. While you may think you are making the right decisions and protecting your home, missing key steps can lead to bigger problems in the long run. One of the most common examples I see is roof replacement. If you put a second layer of clapboard over the existing layer without investigating under the roof terrace, you may not be able to address underlying issues like mold growth. If you apply a second coat of paint over the existing layer, you may notice a weaker bond or uneven appearance. It is important to properly sand and prime the surface before applying fresh paint, as missing these important steps can lead to time-consuming or costly mistakes.