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Distressed DIY Homeowner

Top 7 DIY Homeowner Mistakes

 |  Blog, General Home Care

Following the act of buying a home, fixing up a home yourself can be one of the most invigorating, satisfying, and profitable things you can do. If you are the kind of homeowner whose middle name is DIY, you view everything and anything as a potential project. As you move from one potential renovation to another, you are keeping in mind the value that each improvement will add to the house, and the handiwork involved is as satisfying as any work in the world.

That said, there are a variety of mistakes any homeowner can make. More importantly, these mistakes are things that can snare both the novice and experienced DIY homeowner alike. Of course, there are always mistakes to be made when it comes to electrical work, which can land you in the hospital. However, the worst and probably most expensive mistakes are those that at first seem feasible then soon become unwieldy. With these types of mistakes, you are in the thick of it before you realize you are in way over your head.

Underestimating Various Hazards

When you are beginning a job, few things seem dangerous. However, something as simple as installing a ceiling fan can become dangerous if you are interrupted in such a way that your attention wavers, causing you to cross the wires. Even if you shut off the breaker, which you always should do if you are conducting DIY electric work, leaving too much of a wire exposed or not grounding something properly can lead to hazards.

Similarly, roof repair can be dangerous as the slope of a roof is always too steep once you slip. The reason is that once you slip, there is nothing to catch you or halt the descent. Consequently, you should at least nail a couple 2 x 4 boards to the roof to serve as emergency stops. Doing so will provide you something to grab or land on should you lose your footing. Of course, hiring a roofing professional is an even safer choice.

Overestimating Your Endurance

Many people are not in shape. However, when it comes to DIY work around the house, you can find yourself in the middle of a project without any remaining energy. Should this happen, you should stop and finish the job the following day when you are fresh.

However, many people continue going, which leads to a situation that could result in an injury. Especially dangerous are jobs that involve a lot of lifting, carrying, and sawing. The lifting and carrying can fatigue you, and the sawing can harm you. Going into a job, it is important to know how long you can work and at what point continued exertion becomes dangerous.

Misjudging Complexity of A Project

Health hazards aside, there are fewer things more frustrating and more common than becoming immersed in a project, reaching a point where there is no turning back, and discovering the job is way too complex for you to finish. This can happen if you are replacing floor joists or attempting to repair rafters. In either case, you can easily find additional studs or joists that are rotten. Because many of these are load bearing, you cannot simply cut boards and replace them. It is at this juncture, a professional framer should assist.

Underestimating Plumbing Systems

Additional complex jobs include plumbing. Once you rip up your floor or crawl under the house and begin examining pipes, you might find that your pipes are actually brittle. Just using a pipe wrench can wreck what looks like a solid pipe.

Another problem is that older homes can have unexpected traps in the piping, which are often hidden in strange places in the walls or ceilings. Reaching them can involve going through the drywall and having to work around electric wires or more plumbing.

Plumbing gets infinitely more complex if you are attempting to diagnose a slow blockage. These sorts of things can involve roots, waste, or dips in the line where sewage collects. Even if you remove the waste, the dip, known as a belly, holds water, which slows sewage flushed from the house. In this instance, you might end up having to dig up your yard and replace your sewage main. Of course, this type of work is best left for plumbing repair professionals.

Finally, in terms of health hazards working on pipes can expose you to a variety of human biohazards. Getting sick, which can happen, is an obvious danger. However, the disgusting nature of the work is not something most people can endure or are trained to safely handle. Liquids and semi-solids can get in your mouth, in your nose, or in your eyes. Bacteria in fecal matter can cause discomfort or disease, and raw sewage can certainly waste your money by forcing you to spend it on doctors and medicine.

Thinking Tiling Will Be Easy

Tile definitely falls in the category of complex jobs that seem easy. However, tile is a specific task that many people will attempt at one point or another, so it deserves a section of its own.

Tile, first and foremost, must be centered. Spacers exist for this, and they do work, but tiling requires kneeling and exerting yourself for hours. Even to begin tiling, you often have to remove old tile, linoleum, or hardwood. In and of itself, this is hard work, which means you might be tired or aching before you even begin laying tile.

Similarly, cutting tile and shaping it in such a way that it fits around toilets can be difficult. Of course, you should remove the toilet, lay the tile beneath it, and replace the toilet. This eliminates shaping tile, but this, too, is difficult, and all it takes is one or two off-center tiles, and your entire floor will look a little off.

Underestimating Costs

Often, if you are on a budget, it is all too easy to underestimate your total supplies. However, there is waste in nearly any type of project. Consequently, you should allow for 15-percent overage. This rule applies for lumber, tile, or shingles. Similarly, it also applies to such things as nails or glue. Failing to plan for waste can waste time as you trek back to the supply store for things you need and are hoping are still in stock.

Lack of DIY oversight

Many times, if you are repairing a wall, you do not need to worry about getting permission. After all, the home is yours. However, you are often required to get a permit if you are digging a cellar or adding a room. Permits, of course, come with a cost, and they may involve an inspection. This type of administrative oversight can be annoying and time consuming, but following the process results in safe construction work.

Additionally, any electric work should be done by a certified electrician. Similarly, plumbing work should be done by a bonded plumbing repair company. Although many people might attempt DIY electric and plumbing work, this can be disastrous if you attempt to sell the home. For instance, sellers must disclose repair work. Buyers will often not buy a home that includes repairs not covered by a warranty. Similarly, when it comes to electric work, buyers will not buy a home wired by a non-professional.