We all hear the horror stories. A simple weekend home improvement project turns your house into a six-month disaster zone. In an article from U.S. News Money, David Pekel, president of Pekel Construction, warns, “The road to the hardware store is paved with good intentions.” Many projects can be completed by homeowners with minimal hassle, but being prepared and doing it right can save you from time-consuming and expensive renovation blunders.
Before you start any project, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into. Research online how-to guides and YouTube videos to determine if it’s a project you can handle. Check several different resources to make sure you have a basic understanding of the work. As you gather the tools and materials you need, ask for advice and tips from professionals at the home improvement store.
Another great way to prepare for a tough project is to take an instructional class. MoneyCrashers.com suggests checking out available classes at Home Depot, local nurseries or community centers. You can even ask an experienced friend to give you a quick course in renovation.
As you’re preparing for your home improvement project, don’t forget to check if you need a permit. Building permit requirements vary by city, so make sure you are following the proper regulations. According to the National Association of Realtors, you will usually need a permit for any job that alters the house structure, such as an addition or kitchen remodel. Other common projects that might require a permit include electrical and plumbing work or replacing windows.
Having the right materials can make all the difference. Buying cheap materials is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Remember that you get what you pay for, and buying quality materials will make your projects look better and last longer, notes HGTV.
Using the right tools is also important. U.S. News Money suggests borrowing or renting specialized tools to save money. You can even rent heavy equipment and professional-quality power tools for the larger jobs from rental companies like Sunbelt Rentals. Renting a concrete mixer, floor sander or backhoe will be a big help when you have difficult or big projects. Proper equipment will make your job easier and safer.
If something sounds like it might be a little too tricky for you to pull off by yourself, it probably is. The Do-It-Yourself route is not always the best way to go. First, calculate the cost. People usually think DIY projects save you some money, but that’s not always the case. Price out materials and tools, but also consider how much your time is worth. Trulia.com suggests getting quotes from at least three contractors to compare with the cost of doing the project yourself. Spending two months on a difficult project may not be worth it if you only save $100, if anything.
Regardless of cost, you should call a professional for serious remodeling projects. MoneyCrashers.com recommends using a contractor for electrical and plumbing jobs, home structural changes and roofing or windows. Don’t risk attempting a project that is potentially dangerous or could easily be messed up, which will only waste time and money.