7 Sins of Home Improvement

Some homeowners are do-it-yourselfers when it comes to maintaining their house or making improvements. The processes used to complete the project can lead to successful completion or may lead to disastrous results. Avoid these sins of home improvement.

1) Committing avoidable mistakes

An confident attitude is usually a good thing but, at times, can get the home improvement wizard into trouble. This sin of home improvement can result in costly or time consuming mistakes. Examples of avoidable mistakes may include improper cuts of wood, using the wrong nail or screw for the project, or painting without using a drop cloth. Newspaper makes an excellent drop cloth for home improvement projects.

2) Not doing things in proper sequence

Instructions that come with products provide step-by-step guidance, but a homeowner working on their own project may not realize there is a specific sequence to follow; or they may choose to ignore what is considered proper sequence to do it their own way. An example of not doing things in proper sequence is painting the walls before painting the ceiling, which could result in splatters of ceiling paint against a freshly painted wall. When painting a room, paint the ceiling first, then the walls, and finally the baseboard.

3) Shopping without a list or measurements

Take measurements, write them down, and take them with you when you go shopping. Measure the height and width of walls to calculate square footage will help to determine how much pant you need. Overall, by taking measurements with you when you go shopping, you may avoid having to return or alter a piece that ends up too large or too small to fit.

Similarly, make a list of what you need. For instance, if your home improvement project is to replace the toilet, write down the wax ring, toilet seat and other supplies needed. To ensure you have all the supplies on your list for your home improvement project and have taken measurements in the proper fashion, search the internet for a “how to” of the project.

4) Was it done properly in the first place?

When evaluating what products you need for a repair project, like replacing cracked floor tiles, investigate and repair what caused the damage before dealing with the cosmetic portion of the project. For example, you have removed the tiles from the kitchen floor because they were cracked. Before laying new tile, check out the under flooring, which may not be level and could be the cause of cracked tile.

Another example is mold on a wall where you plan to paint. Using bleach to clean the mold is a good idea, but what caused the mold? Was it a combination of poor housekeeping and inadequate ventilation, or could there be something more serious, like water damage in the wall from leaking pipes or outside water making its way indoors?

5) Not reading instructions

The most valuable tool that homeowners have at their disposal when installing a new product in their home is the manufacturer’s instructions. Not reading and following the instructions can lead to installation errors that might cause damage or possible voiding of the manufacturer’s warranty. For instance, rolls of insulation are easy to install between the joists in the attic floor, but avoid the temptation to lay the insulation with the paper side up. That paper is there to help form a moisture barrier and should be placed against the conditioned air space of the house, i.e., paper side down.

6) Failing to follow building codes or homeowner association rules

Part of the reason for acquiring building permits is to avoid adding or taking away something from the house that might result in a safety hazard. This includes the structure itself and things like plumbing, electrical and heating. Inspections will be made to ensure everything is performed to a standard set by the community, state or federal building codes.

If you live in a community where you pay homeowner association fees, chances are they have regulations on what you can do to the exterior of the house, including things as simple as what color your front door can be or what type of fence, if any, you can use on your own property.

7) Thinking you can do it yourself

There’s nothing wrong with admitting you cannot perform a home improvement project. You may lack the skills, strength or knowledge that it can take to successfully perform the task, especially when things like structural design, electric or plumbing are involved. Know when to call in a professional.