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What to Consider Before Doing DIY Home Improvements

America is a nation of do-it-yourselfers. You’ll find the DIY spirit anywhere you look, from motorists changing their own oil to amateur web designers creating an online presence for their small business. This same spirit applies to home improvement projects, many of which are well within the reach of the average person. But achieving success in these endeavors requires knowing your limits. In this post we’ll consider how to tell the difference between a DIY task and one that’s best left to the pros.

The Four Factors

Always consider these factors when deciding who should handle a home improvement chore:

  1. Safety. Some jobs are too hazardous for most handypeople. For example, installing an electrical circuit box is a complex task with very little room for mistakes. Projects that involve electrical, chemical, or mechanical components can injure or kill the inexperienced person. Stay away from these jobs if you’re unsure of your abilities. No amount of money is worth getting hurt. That brings us to a discussion of money matters.
  2. Savings. Some home improvement jobs require only basic supplies and a modest learning curve. Painting is a perfect example, according to DIY Network. Do your own paint jobs unless they entail scaffolding or pressurized paint sprayers. This leads to the third factor you should consider.
  3. Specialized equipment or expertise. Most jobs involving concrete or asphalt pouring are beyond the reach of DIYers for this reason. Is it possible to order a truckload of ready mix cement, pour it into hand-dug foundations, and stir it with a shovel while it sets? Yes. But you run a high risk of the concrete drying unevenly, which could cause the entire project to crack or crumble. You’ll run into similar problems with any task that requires commercial tools or techniques. Leave these jobs to the pros if you want to spare yourself needless anguish. That leads to the fourth factor.
  4. Suffering. Sometimes the pain and misery you’ll endure when you DIY nullifies the benefits to your budget. For example, consider how much effort you’ll expend if you build a large retaining wall by yourself. A job of this scale requires endless hours of shoveling dirt, toting stone or concrete blocks, and correcting mistakes. Think of how you’ll feel after a workout like that. Will you pat yourself on the back or kick yourself in the shin when all is said and done?

Safety Tips to Remember When Doing It Yourself

We already discussed the topic of accident prevention. But it’s worth looking at again. Did you know that almost 200,000 Americans die from injuries each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)? We mention this, not to discourage you, but to show that safety is essential when handling any task. Here are some tips to remember when performing home improvements:

  • Use ladders only on stable surfaces. Never climb to the top rung of a ladder and always inspect it for damage or faults before trusting it to support you. Read and follow any instructions that come with the product.
  • Never perform electrical work unless you first make sure that no power is flowing to the wires. Double-check wiring connections and always use the right wire gauge.
  • Watch out for trip hazards, spilled liquids, and other hazards. Keep the work area clean and follow instructions for using tools.
  • Never perform DIY projects when you’re tired, upset, or taking medications that can make you dizzy or drowsy.

Following the tips in this post will ensure that all your home improvement projects bring professional-grade results, even if you tackle the job yourself. Best of luck and happy home owning!


Guest Contributor: Paul Denikin of dadknowsdiy.com