DIY television shows can make home renovations look simple. Products are seldom delayed or backordered, tools don’t often break and everything is usually done within half an hour. Real DIY can be hard on your wallet, your health and your relationships. Before you pick up a hammer, crowbar or saw, review the list below and think about hiring a pro.
1) Health Hazards
Safety of you and your loved ones must come first. If you’ve never wired an outlet, it’s not a good plan to add a fuse box to the garage. For those who’ve never picked up a screwdriver, using a drill will be clumsy and may result in injury.
Once you hire a construction professional, there are portions of projects that you can do yourself. For example, if you want to take out a wall, you’ll probably need a contractor to route wires and add a header it the wall is load-bearing. To save money, you can do your own demolition.
2) Peaceful Demolition: Mask and Use the Right Gear
Demolition is messy but can be done by a beginner. You’ll need
- Safety goggles or face shield to protect your eyes
- Gloves to protect your hands
- Long sleeves in case you have to handle insulation
- Trash bags or cardboard boxes so you can bundle debris as you go
- Plastic sheeting to shield the rest of the house from the dust, and
- Masks or respirators if you’re working with old plaster
Put up the plastic sheeting first and protect your floors with old linens. Everything that ends up on the floor can damage sheet vinyl, carpet or hardwood flooring, so do your best to keep it bundled up as you work.
3) Tiling is an Option if You Avoid Big Projects
Tiling is actually a pretty good project for a beginner. A good electric water saw will cost about $200, or your can rent a big one for more. To start, do a small wall project, such as a tiled wainscot in a utility room.
Don’t start with a flooring project unless the room is small and perfectly square and don’t try to cut large tiles on a small DIY saw.
Once your contractor has finished framing the wall you demoed out, you may be tempted to hang your own drywall. However, drywall is heavy and awkward. Additionally, if you’re working around outlets, it can be fiddly to cut. If you’re working alone or if your partner is feeling overwhelmed, pay someone to do the drywall.
5) Drywall Finishing
Finishing drywall has a Zen quality to it, and finishing a quality sheetrocking job can actually be fun. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for drying and work in light layers of joint compound. For those with little patience or if you need to hurry up and finish the job, it may be best to hire someone or let the contractor who hung the drywall finish it up.
6) Door Hardware
Repainting your doors and changing out the hardware is actually a great way to give your house a facelift and is a project you can easily do on your own if you’ve got some patience, a little skill with tools and spinal flexibility. The easiest way to change out a door handle and the accompanying hardware is to get on an eye level with it, so you may have to work off of a short stool. If that’s not possible, hire someone. You can save a bit by pulling the old hardware and painting the door before you hire a handyman.
7) Build a Deck
If you’re starting from scratch on your deck, Builders Gray Homes can help you develop a layout and frame the job. This may include pouring concrete piers or attaching the deck to the house, so it’s a good idea to let a professional handle it. If you can get a price reduction by setting your own deck boards, do so. Be aware that you will need to purchase and safely use a circular saw.
Wallpapering is an art that takes a great deal of patience and is almost easier to do alone. If you love wallpaper and have a pattern you adore, buy an extra roll and practice. Once wet, wallpaper will stretch and may be hard to line up. For households that have one patient and one not-so-patient person, wallpapering should not be a team effort.
If you have the discipline to immediately clean up after yourself, painting is a fun DIY project that couples can enjoy. It’s important to remember that the stuff the leads up to painting, such as
- cleaning the walls
- patching holes
- sanding the patches
- masking the baseboards, and
- pulling the outlet covers
actually take more time than painting. If you’ve never properly cut in a line with a brush, consider painting the ceiling the same color as the walls to save crooked paint lines where wall and ceiling meet.
10) Everybody Works Until Everybody Can Quit
In many households, tool projects fall to the man and broom projects fall to the woman. If you’re going to DIY projects together, that means that everyone works until everyone can quit. Everybody participates in the initial masking and everybody helps with the cleanup. There are things that require more upper body or hand strength, but many DIY projects can be done by anyone with skill. To keep things peaceful, share the load. If one of you is caring for small children during the work, you are holding up your end of the bargain!
DIY together makes the house truly yours. There will be tasks that one of you simply enjoys more. However, everyone can learn to use basic hand tools and handle simple tasks.