Most Likely Fixer Upper Mistakes
The standard rule for do-it-yourself projects is that they will take twice
as long and cost three times as much as you expected. Or, maybe it's take
three times as long and cost twice as much. Either way, the reason is the
same. Do-it-yourselfers often make mistakes and sometimes lots of mistakes.
The good news is that you can learn a lot from mistakes. The bad news is
that mistakes always wind up making your home improvement project more
expensive and more time consuming than you wanted. Home improvement experts
were asked for their lists of the top DIY goofs, with advice on how to
avoid repeating the errors in the future.
1. Inadequate preparation of the job
If you do a small addition, someone will probably be delivering materials.
You don't want them out of order or exposed to weather while you are working.
Or worse, they could be stolen if they're not properly stored. (If you
have a septic tank, make sure you know where it is. If a supplier delivering
materials in a heavy truck drives over it, it could crack your tank)
2. Skimping on materials
Many do-it-yourselfers use quarter-inch drywall for building walls. You
need at least five-eighths-inch; three-quarters-inch works well for a good
sound barrier. The same rule applies to plywood for subfloors. Go with
three-quarter-inch. It creates a much stronger floor, especially if you're
installing wood floors over them
3. Using the wrong paint
One of the most popular DIY projects around, painting, can make a place
look great. Flat paint should be used only for ceilings though. Interior
paints should have at least an eggshell or satin finish so you can scrub
it. On outdoor decks, sun and rain tear the heck out of the wood. Clear
sealers don't block the UV rays, and they peel. Use a linseed oil-based
stain; it drives the pigment into the wood and preserves it.
4. Improper preparation
of walls for painting
A good quality paint job is 90 percent preparation. Clean the walls, sand
them and patch any holes before you paint. Ramsel recommends a coat of
primer or stain blocker if you're trying to cover over oil-based paint,
stains, peeling paint or if you're painting a lighter color over a darker
5. Unsafe job
Nothing diminishes your return on investment like a trip to the emergency
room. Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall
or wood, wear hard hats when you're working under other people on scaffolding,
and open some windows when you're painting. Wear gloves when you're carrying
wood, metal, and rock, or when hammering.
'Measure twice, cut once.' It's so important for things such as building
walls, hanging drywall or cutting baseboards, counter tops or pipe. If
you're going to err, err on the side of too long. You can always make something
shorter; you can't make it longer. Spackle can cover up to an eighth of
an inch seam; if it's a quarter of an inch, the seam will pop the spackle
7. Working beyond
Everybody has them. Yours might be plumbing or electrical work. Don't stand
on the top steps of ladders and don't try to work beyond your reach.
8. Failure to
get needed experience
You don't want to start to learn how to do a project on your own house.
If you have a friend who is a contractor or an experienced remodeler, offer
your assistance on a project. No one will turn away free labor.
9. Failure to
get a clue
If you need to remove a supporting wall, have an engineer look at it to
see what kind of beam you need to replace it. If you have a saw in your
hand and have a question about what you're doing, stop. Follow that little
voice in your head.