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 a DIY professional. But what about that suddenly leaky pipe? That electrical issue that seems a little out of your league? Even though you can find the answer to anything on YouTube, these things feel over your head.
Knowing when a project goes from “I’ve got this” to “I’m calling the pros” is an important skill — one that will save you time, money and endless frustration. Rather than suffer more DIY disasters, keep an eye peeled for these common DIY pitfalls.
Plan, Plan, Plan
One renovator recently rehabbed the kitchen in one of their rental properties. They upgraded the sink, countertops and even bought a large, brand-new fridge for the space. As the design process went on, they thought it was a stroke of genius to lengthen the peninsula countertop.
It wasn’t until the renovation was complete did the DIY renovator realized that with the new countertop extension had narrowed the pathway and the over-sized fridge was now stuck in the already small kitchen. If the renovator had thought out every possible scenario of getting items in and out of the kitchen, not just bodies walking through, the mishap may not have happened. Now the refrigerator ever gives out, the large appliance will have to be lifted over the counter — or sawed in half — to be removed.
Inexpensive Isn’t Always Best
When rehabbing another kitchen, our DIY renovator was looking for a large, island range hood. Most of the in-store options were expensive, so the DIYer turned to Amazon.com. They bought a normally $800 range for close to $250 from a brand they never heard of before.
Less than a year later, the hood started acting up. Not only was removing the hood a challenge, but the drywall patching and electrical wiring needed to be redone. At the end of the day, the DIYer ended up spending three times as much as they would have if they bought from a store and brand they knew.
Specialty Work Deserves A Specialist
Knowing when to call in the experts is an art form on its own; too soon and you’re wasting money on something you could have done yourself, but too late and you’re risking damage, danger and time. When a DIYer wanted to install a dimmer switch in the dining room recently, they thought they had it under control. How hard could it be to wire two light switches? Very hard, apparently. When the lights weren’t flickering like a poltergeist was in the room, they were blowing circuits and light bulbs galore.
After some research, the DIY renovator discovered that it’s not possible to have two dimming switches for one light fixture. Unsure of how much electricity to send to the fixture causes chaos — and sometimes fire.
No one will shame a renovator who brings in a specialist when they know the project is outside their expertise.
DIY With Reinforcements, NOT During A Holiday
The holidays may seem like a great time to do work, you have dedicated time off and the drive to get your project done and back on the market. Plus, you’re uncle who is a plumber is in town or your kids are available to help you lift things — what could go wrong?
A lot could go wrong! Many DIY masters make this mistake thinking they can avoid catastrophe. One DIY renovator wanted to install a new bathroom cabinet, and in the process had a major water pipe burst. They were able to shut off the water to the whole building quickly, but not quick enough to stop water damage to the drywall and seeping through the floor to the basement. The plumber that was available during the holiday showed up in a foul mood and continued to drink during the job. The plumber ended up starting a small electrical fire and had to douse out the flames with milk and cans of Sprite, since the water was off.
The most valuable lesson is to only attempt DIY projects when you are certain a professional will be able to come to the rescue — in a good mood and without being impaired!