While many homeowners hire help for their projects, others are tempted to save money or want a do-it-yourself experience. We asked Eamon Lynch, director of warranty service at Power Home Remodeling, for tips about the biggest mistakes homeowners make when trying to do a DIY project. Power Home Remodeling is headquartered in Chester, Pa., and has offices in 15 states, including Maryland.
Lynch, sharing his thoughts via email, outlined three DIY mistakes to avoid:
1. Biting off more than you can chew. While setting an ideal budget and timeline can help you stay on track, it’s important to recognize that DIYs often become more time consuming and expensive than expected. Taking on more than you’re capable of completing can be disruptive to your lifestyle. For example, if you’ve decided to tackle renovating your bathroom, you must first consider the amount of time that bathroom will be out of order and how you’ll be able to navigate without it. The same idea applies to kitchen renovations.
When homeowners take on the demolition part of the process, they tend to over-demo. Taking a sledgehammer to everything is an enticing move, but if you don’t have a lot of experience, you could destroy materials that can be reused or reinstalled. If you go about the demolition carefully, slowly and strategically, you’ll cut down on clean up time and be able to repurpose parts of your home.
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of all the materials and equipment needed, too. Power tools are expensive, and if you don’t envision yourself using them again in the future, they may not be worth the upfront investment. I always advise consulting with a professional first. Having a consultation doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to do it yourself; instead, the contractor will help you fully understand all that’s required for a successful renovation.
2. Neglecting to do thorough research. Before starting any new project, it’s important to research the regulations and requirements within your specific region. Taking the time to understand the mandates, codes and laws in your area can save you from costly penalties in the future, and potentially mid-renovation. When working with our customers, we always comply with all rules because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the authority to issue fines for violations against their safety regulations.
You should also research and obtain any necessary permits. In some areas renovation projects don’t require multiple levels of approval and in others you’ll need to collaborate with an engineer for project renderings or plans, so it’s best practice to check with your local governing body or planning commission. Depending on the project, there are also national resources like “Call Before You Dig,” which is an information hotline designed to protect the local utility lines.
3. Missing key steps. Although you might think you’re making the right decisions and protecting your home, missing key steps can cause greater problems long-term. One of the most common examples I see happens with roof replacement. If you add a second layer of shingles on top of the existing layer without examining underneath the roof decking, you may not be addressing underlying issues such as mold-like growth. Similarly, if you apply a second coat of paint on top of the existing layer you may notice a weaker bond or uneven appearance. It’s important to properly sand and prime the surface area before applying fresh paint, because missing these key steps can become time-consuming or costly mistakes.