Doing a Home Improvement Project Yourself-Yes or No?

After you have defined your home improvement project, the thought of doing the project by yourself or with a “HANDY” friend or neighbor may cross your mind. DO-IT-YOURSELF projects are a popular trend in the Home Improvement Industry. However, before you put on your tool belt, you should look at all aspects of your project and ask yourself the following 10 questions.

1) Do you have reliable work habits? Do you tend to stress out easily, lose your temper, or become confused under pressure?  Will you have the patience and persistence to complete the project in a timely fashion? What will happen if it is not completed in a timely fashion? 
2) What will you do if your project goes awry? Remember most contractors are wary about completing and/or redoing someone else's mistakes, including yours. 
3) Are you attempting to do the project yourself for financial reasons? If so, have you looked at the entire cost, including the cost of materials, your time, and the tools you may need to purchase, and then possibly never use again? 
4) What happens if you make a mistake and have to spend more time and effort to correct it? How much money are you really going to save then? 
5) Do you know all the construction steps involved in the project? For most projects this is not the time to be using an installation manual. 
6) How many projects of this type have you done? I hope at least 1 project.        
7) Do you have the skills to complete this project? For most projects this is not the time for on-the-job training.  
8) Is it safe for you to do the project? Some projects can cause serious injury or be fatal if proper precautions are not taken. 
9) Are you familiar with the local building codes and permit requirements? If you do not follow the building code you may be forced to tear down the project and rebuild it to meet the proper code specifications. 
10) Do you have the time to do the project?

If your answers to these 10 questions still leave you feeling comfortable about doing your project, than I would say go ahead! However, if time is of the essence, it normally takes a “Do-it-yourself” project longer to complete because most people are not familiar with all the “nuances” that one would learn from doing the project more than once. Think long and hard about doing a project yourself, especially if it is a large project. Large projects require more time and effort and are usually best left to a professional.

Biggest Home Improvement Mistakes

Making a mistake hiring the wrong contractor can cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars more than necessary. That doesn’t even take into account the lost time and aggravation trying to get your project right.

We’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes good people make when doing home renovations.

Mistake #1 – Not checking the contractor’s “credentials

This is a no-brainer when hiring any contractor or handyman.. You want to make sure the contractor is properly licensed to do the work you need done AND properly insured so you can’t be sued in case someone gets hurt on your property. Many homeowners don’t like due diligence, because it’s time-consuming and you’ll need to pay for it yourself, but it’s the first line of defense to ensure your project gets done right.

Mistake #2 – Not checking the contractor’s history

If you’re hiring a legitimate contractor, simply ask the contractor to see a list of references where they’ve completed similar work to what you’re having done. If they won’t show it to you, you’ll need to decide to walk away from that contractor or take the unlikely chance that they “might” have the ability to get the job done.

Mistake #3 – Assuming and not asking the right questions

We frequently warn homeowners about trusting “social referrals” when it comes to hiring a contractor. Your neighbors may love what the contractors did to their kitchen, but our experience proves that it DOESN’T MEAN that they can replace your deck out back.

  • Do they charge by the hour or by the project?
  • What is their policy on pricing or change orders?
  • What is their specialty?

You have to know the right questions to ask to get the REAL answers you need or you’re just asking for trouble down the road.

Mistake #4 – Ignoring your gut

There’s something to be said about your instinct. In this case, ONCE YOU’VE DONE YOUR DUE DILIGENCE, let those instincts be your guide. If you don’t get a good vibe, just imagine how bad it’ll be when your house is torn apart and the contractor refuses to finish the work.

Mistake #5 -Thinking that you won’t get ripped off

Whether you’re a janitor or a corporate CEO, everybody can be ripped off…and DO get ripped off; especially susceptible are homeowners who think they’re too smart to get taken.

Examine the fine print of the contract. Make sure the following is included (at a minimum): the deposit amount; a start and finish date; the schedule of payments; a clause about binding arbitration; and what the contractor will do if the you’re unhappy with their work.

Don’t make a mistake – get a professional warranty

If you still don’t know what to do to protect yourself and your home, get a professional warranty. A warranty will ensure all the necessary due diligence is completed and all of the little incidental things you may forget to do get done. The last thing you want to do is forget something you should have done, then wake up 3 months down the road and realize you have to spend an additional $20,000 to fix mistakes your “bad” contractor made.

Remember, this is YOUR home. It’s YOUR responsibility (not the contractor’s) to make sure your home renovation project gets done right.

ScamBLOCK can issue an affordable Home Improvement Guarantee to protect your next home renovation project. Call us for a FREE quote at 888-701-9740

10 Surefire Ways to Avoid Common DIY Home Improvement Mistakes

Ask people who have completed do-it-yourself projects and they’ll tell you that the projects took at least twice and much time and three times the money they thought they would. The basic reason is that DIYers usually make a lot of mistakes that end up making home improvement projects more expensive and time-consuming.

Here are 10 surefire ways to avoid the top DIY home improvement mistakes in the future and ensure success.

1. Take out the required permits — it’s amazing how many DIYers skip this step. Sure, it takes time, and it means you have to deal with the government, but it’s actually in your best interest to make sure get the required home improvement permits. The folks in the permitting office will make sure the project is done correctly and that you stay safe in the process. Also, for some projects, you’ll need proof that you have a permit or your insurance company won’t cover the improvement. You’ll probably need a permit for any project larger than wallpapering and painting. If you’re unsure, call your local building department and ask.

2. Have all the tools and materials you need available before you start your project — starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies will slow down the job and delay your progress. And make sure you buy quality tools. They’re a wise investment.

3. Prepare the job site for material deliveries — when your suppliers deliver materials, you’ll want to make sure the job site is ready to accept them. You don’t want your materials exposed to the weather while you are working and you want to have a storage area to prevent theft.

4. Don’t skimp on materials — for example, don’t use 1/4-inch drywall for building walls. Use at at least 5/8-inch; and 3/4-inch works well for a good sound barrier. Use 3/4-inch plywood for sub-floors. It creates a much stronger floor.

5. Prepare the walls for painting — clean the walls, sand them and patch any holes before you paint. Use a coat of primer or stain blocker if you’re trying to cover over oil-based paint, stains or peeling paint, or if you’re painting a lighter color over a darker color.

6. Use the correct paint — use flat paint ceilings. Interior paints should have at least an eggshell or satin finish so you can scrub it. For outdoor decks, use a linseed-oil-based stain to drive the pigment into the wood and preserve it.

7. Keep safe while working — you don’t want to end up in the emergency room. Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall or wood. Wear a hard hat when you’re working under other people on scaffolding, and open some windows when you’re painting or staining, or stripping old finishes off of floors or walls. Don’t wear loose, hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Wear gloves when carrying wood, metal and rock, or when hammering, and wear a nail or tool pouch to prevent damage to your floors, feet, and pets.

8. Measure twice and cut once — probably the most important rule of any project. If you’re going to make a mistake, make it too long. You can always make something shorter. You can’t make it longer.

9. Know the limits of your abilities — you’re not going to be good at everything. If you don’t have a lot of experience at plumbing or electrical work, for instance, don’t attempt those projects.

10. Don’t start to learn how to do a project on your own house — If you want to learn how to do a project, offer your assistance to a friend who is an experienced DIYer or a contractor. And if you have any question about what you’re doing, make sure you stop and ask.

You probably won’t eliminate all of your DIY home improvement mistakes, but you can surely reduce them with these 10 tips.