If you know us, then you know we are avid DIY’ers! There are so many advantages to doing home improvement projects yourself, most of which is the ability to save some really money! But not every project turns out exactly the way you expect it to…actually, for the average homeowner, it usually doesn’t!
According to a recent study from ImproveNet, nearly two-thrids of homeowners who’ve attempted a do-it-yourself house project regret not calling in an expert on at least one of their projects. And according to that study, here’s a countdown of the top 10 most regretted DIY projects:
What can go wrong? Sounds simple enough…but there’s actually a lot that could go wrong. The biggest mistake we see is not taking the time to actually prep your surface or going for the cheapest paint you can buy. After a hard day’s work you could end up with bubbles, flaking, not-straight lines, the wrong color and/or poor coverage. And some times, PAINT + LADDERS = OOPS!
Chip’s Tip: Take time to clear as much out of the room as possible. Wipe down the surfaces. Even dust and oils from your hand on your walls can give you a less than desired outcome. Invest in higher quality paints and primer (or a combo), especially if you’re painting over a darker color. If your job calls for spraying and you’ve never done that before, leave it to the experts this time!
What can go wrong? Plumbing and electrical tend to top the list of projects DIY’ers should consider taking a pass on. If you don’t properly connect your pipes…well, it’s quite a mess. We once had a friend who decided to DIY his whole house and realized he forgot to secure his plumbing connections only AFTER turning on the water….and his whole house flooded!
Chip’s Tip: Start SMALL! A clogged drain or leaking shower faucet is one of the best plumbing DIY projects for beginners. Always leave the hard stuff like major installations or any gas work to a professional. The price you pay will be worth the peace of mind for the job being done right (and with a warranty).
What can go wrong? Let’s start with accidentally cutting your cable (or other utilities, yikes)! Then there’s not laying your lines with the proper coverage or at the wrong depth. Or forgetting to flush your irrigation lines or not ensuring proper connections. We think you get the point!
Chip’s Tip: A proper irrigation system will take you a LONG time to plan out. First, map out your property with accurate dimensions. Then spend some time with an expert at your local hardware store to understand how all the components work together. And most importantly, make sure to call the utility company to mark their lines before you dig.
What can go wrong? Poor paint jobs on your cabinets can be such an eyesore! And if you forget to label your drawers or doors (assuming you properly remove them to spray instead of brush paint)…well, you can spend hours trying to figure out what goes where!
Chip’s Tip: Just like painting a room, preparation is key. Remove all the doors, drawers, and hardware and label them as you do (with a piece of painters tape on the inside). Sand and clean your surfaces, and ALWAYS spray your cabinets. Allow sufficient time to dry. Refinishing cabinetry is usually not a weekend project!
What can go wrong? Do you float, glue or nail down? Then there’s buckling, spacing issues, transitions, squeaks, and more…it doesn’t take a lot of creativity to imagine what could go wrong!
Chip’s Tip: You really need to be solid in your carpentry skills to give this project a go. Spend some time with an expert from your flooring provider. Consider the cost of your potential mistakes and then consciously decide if the price of paying for installation will save you in the long run.
What can go wrong? Talk about biting off more than you can chew. Depending on the scope of your project, you’ll be dry-walling, HVAC, electrical and plumbing.
Chip’s Tip: Invest in a master plan for your renovation. Figure out how to break it down into manageable segments. Then you can bring in the experts at appropriate times and properly manage your cash flow without getting yourself in over your head.
What can go wrong? Incorrect installation can leave carpet wavy and loose….or worse, too short!
Chip’s Tip: While I’d recommend you sticking with a professional to install roll carpet (and invest in a premium pad)…carpet tiles can be much more friendly to a DIYer. CLICK HERE for my carpet tile installation tutorial on DIY.com!
What can go wrong? Mismatched stains, gouges and uneven floorboards are a few of the problems that occur during DIYer might make, which would seriously impact the satisfaction you get from your flooring.
Chip’s Tip: It’s critical to have the right tools for any job…especially refinishing your floors. While you can rent most of the equipment you’ll need, I’d still recommend bringing in a professional.
What can go wrong? A standard 4ft x 8ft, 1/2″ thick sheet of drywall weights about 57 pounds. And when you’re putting that on the ceiling, your safety may become more of a concern than the quality of your job.
Chip’s Tip: Safety first! You’ll need a second set (of experienced) hands. If you don’t have this, (or if you have any other concerns) go ahead and bring in a contractor. It’s not worth the risk.
What can go wrong? Loose tiles, cracked tiles, improper spacing, using the wrong (or sloppy) grout…just to name a few. For example, a friend of ours once installed a really nice slate floor in their bathroom. When they went to grout it, they assumed you could leave the (red) grout on the slate tile overnight and then wipe it clean the next day…instead they ended up with a horrible red streaks all over the tiles! When they called Chip in for help…the only solution was to rip it all out. It couldn’t be salvaged!
Chip’s Tip: Many tile installation problems happen because the subflooring lacks the proper preparation or the layout isn’t properly planned. As with most DIY projects, the proper planning determines your success (or failure). Talk to experts and watch several videos. Start with small projects to build up confidence. You can do this…just do it responsibly!