Learn From Their Mistakes: DIYers Reveal Their Worst Decisions

Avoid money pits when you leap over these DIY pitfalls


When a DIY project is finally finished their rush of pride and accomplishment can not be beaten. Not only is there nothing better than walking by your masterpiece every day, but the sense of pride you get when a friend compliments your hard work is all the reward you need.

That’s the good side of the coin, however, most people don’t shout from the rooftops when things become D-I-why-did-I-do-this?! Even the handiest do-it-yourselfers can find themselves with a mucked up project on their hands. Sometimes the most well-played plans go awry — whether the backsplash tiling in your kitchen is crooked or the basement organizational system tipped over in the middle of the night. It happens to the best of us. Here’s how to prevent it.

Don’t let a Renovation Snowball
If your renovation plans hit a bump, it’s easy to say you will take care of it next week — or the week after. Soon, it seems that the seasons have changed and you have only a half-done project in your home. The best advice is to not run away from the problem.

Say you’re replacing closet doors in your bedroom. In the process of figuring that out, you’ve scratched your floor because the doors you ordered aren’t the correct size. Now you need to figure out how to fix the scratch. This simple project just snowballed into a larger problem.

Those small projects will become bigger and bolder issues in your home if you’re not careful. Don’t fall into project management purgatory by waiting for resolution on your pop-up project and delaying your original DIY refresher. Stick to your original timeline as close as you can.

Do Research, Research, Research
Pinterest projects may be the biggest culprit that leads DIYers into renovation temptation. The unspoken truth about those phenomenal projects and blogs are the hours of research that goes into every phase of planning and execution. It’s essential not to dive into a project without researching the materials and instructional how-tos.

Renovators get themselves in a sticky situation when they take projects at face value. For example, painted wood floors appear like an easy project. However, without knowing the proper order of paint, primer and sealant can leave homeowners with chipped floors and paint chips stuck to the bottom of furniture.

Don’t Taunt the Devil in the Details
Doing anything yourself is just plain hard work. While some magical people have patience for tedious and meticulous details, some do not. If you know repetitive drudgery is not for you, then be upfront with yourself and avoid those projects.

For example, if you have a project that requires a steady hand to hand-stamp a pattern make sure you’re excited to follow through on every stamp. Without enthusiasm and patience, each stamp in the pattern becomes an opportunity to muck up the entire project. Whether it’s refinishing cabinets by hand or laying small tile, our best advice is to be meticulous and tireless for detailed, possibly mind-numbing work.

Do Understand the Scope of the Project
As DIYers get farther along in their handy lifestyles some forget they’re not invincible. Tiling the basement floor and hanging floating shelves in the den are impressive, but not out of the ordinary scope of projects.

While wiring a house for electricity or working on the plumbing are next level DIY, so is making your own cabinetry. When venturing in uncharted territory, always think about if there are craftsmen who specialize in this type of work; if there are then tread carefully. Always research, plan and then measure twice when taking on a new DIY project.

You May Also Like

Home Maintenance Without The...

Love your home enough to live a full life After a long week, whether chasing down sales or chasing down the kids, the last thing anyone wants... Read More

Avoid The Four Biggest Mista...

DIY doesn’t have to be a nightmare come to life. New cabinet knobs? No biggie. Updating the kitchen backsplash? You’ve got this. You’re... Read More