Do-It-Yourself Project Tips

Do-It-Yourself projects, also known as D-I-Y, can be appealing to homeowners and do-it-yourselfers alike. These projects can be fun, empowering, and cost effective. But when D-I-Y goes wrong, what was once a simple project can turn into disaster. Here are some tips to avoid a disaster and make sure your weekend project doesn’t turn into a catastrophe.

1.       Make Safety Your First Priority

Get a pair of goggles and wear them. Wearing goggles while sanding or sawing can keep particles from getting into your eyes and temporarily blinding you. Furthermore, practice with your power tools before using them, that way when you’re doing the project you’ve learned to use them safely. Finally, if you’re uncomfortable with any part of the project, call a pro. Your insurance company will thank you later.

2.       Understand Your Home/The Project

There are many different systems that are found in your home:  heating, cooling, plumbing, etc.  If you’re planning a D-I-Y project, be familiar with your home first. Educate yourself on the ins and outs of your home by doing a walk through with a home inspector. Home inspectors can give you details about your home that may be hard to learn on your own. For example, they can show you where the water shut-off valve is located. Even after learning about your home, if you’re still not comfortable with a project, call a pro.

3.       Don’t Skimp on Materials

While D-I-Y projects tend to save you money, the old age saying, “you get what you pay for,” definitely applies, especially to the tools and materials used during in the project. Buy the best tools you can afford with your budget.  You may only use them once, but they will make a huge difference in quality of the finished product. Furthermore, most experts would agree that it saves you money in the long run to buy the more expensive paint. You will get better coverage with a single can of the more expensive paint.
4.       Know Your Limits

Some projects may be in your comfort zone while others simply won’t. Before beginning a project, categorize it into green, yellow, and red categories. A green project is one where you know how to do the work, you have the tools, and if it’s not perfect it can be re-done. A yellow project is one where you have doubts about your knowledge or if you own the right tools. Consult with people you know who have done the project themselves or talk to someone at the hardware store. A red project is a project best left to the pros.

5.       Do ALL the Prep Work Before You Start

If you prep beforehand, it will pay off in the long run.  For example, before starting a painting project, tape off your ceiling and cover your floors. You’ll end up with cleaner lines and you won’t have to deal with getting pain off your carpet. If you’re refinishing your cabinets and don’t remove the old stain or varnish first, your new paint or stain won’t apply easily and you’ll be left with an eyesore you’ll either have to replace or redo.

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