Don’t let your DIY dreams turn into DIY disasters. Avoid these errors to ensure you get the best result possible with the least amount of drama!
Lack of safety equipment
We’re going to refer to some unpleasant DIY outcomes in this article, but no outcome is more unpleasant than an injury. (Well, there is death, but let’s not get too grim.) Without the right safety equipment, you’re putting yourself at risk. There are two types of safety equipment. The one that people think about less often is assessment equipment; multimeters, for example, help you assess electrical levels. If you need more info, you can get the craftsman multimeter explained on Tool Nerds. Then there’s the physical protection in the form of gloves, goggles, helmets, rubber clothing, etc. Without the right safety equipment, you should never begin a DIY project.
Lack of quality equipment
They say that a bad worker blames their tools. There might be a kernel of truth to that, but at the same time, we can hardly sit here and pretend that all DIY equipment is made equal. You need to ensure that you’re actually using quality equipment. Because people who are going the DIY route are often doing so to save money, there’s generally a temptation to extend this logic over to the tools you need to buy. But cheap tools and materials aren’t going to help you in the long run, and they can even risk your safety. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a bargain hunter. But you should ensure that you’re not sacrificing quality if your project will suffer as a result.
Not warning your neighbors
DIY can get pretty noisy. Not all projects will disturb people outside your home, but those that involve long periods of drilling or hammering will certainly be heard by your neighbors. Don’t just assume that your house is some fortress from which noise never escapes. Neighbors tend to be very understanding of your need to complete a project and will put up with the required noise, but you really need to tell them about it first. Try to give them an idea of what you’ll be doing and for how long you’ll be doing it. The sounds of drilling are bad enough; not knowing how long they’re going to last is something else. At least if you tell them “I’ll be drilling for an hour”, they’ll know it will be over after an hour.
Don’t go into this all guns blazing. Sure, there may be some very small tasks that don’t require much planning. But if you’re reading an article like this, then I’m assuming that the DIY task you’ve set for yourself is a little more involved than “change a lightbulb”. First off is your budget; you need to work out how much you’re willing to spend on this particular project, and you need to stick as close to that budget as possible. It’s really easy to overspend, otherwise. You should think about the step-by-step process of your project and ensure you have everything you need. You may also want to consider having some sort of backup plan or list of contacts in case something goes wrong.
Don’t start hacking away at your home before you’ve made sure you’re allowed to have away at your home. Even if the property is yours, there may be certain projects that require permission from your council, particularly if they’re outside the house. You’ve also got to consider homeowners’ associations if your neighborhood is under the watch of one. These guys generally have the power to veto projects because it’s their job to maintain value and cohesion in a given neighborhood. You can certainly take conflicts to your local council, but either way, permission will be required for certain projects.
Letting kids and pets roam around
You don’t want others getting in the way when you’re trying to complete a DIY project. You can probably trust adults not to go where they’re not supposed to (most of the time) because they’re more likely to understand the dangers inherent with DIY. Kids, on the other hand, aren’t as likely to understand this. As for pets… well, you try telling a cat not to jump up on that ladder or play around with those nails you’ve left on the floor. You might want to consider sending kids and pets to a friendly neighbor if you want to do some DIY. This may not be completely essential with kids, but pets are more likely to roam around and get under your feet.
Measure twice, cut once. In fact, measure three times. Four times. Whatever the case, you shouldn’t trust your eyes when it comes to judging measurements and evenness. If you don’t have rules, tape measures, and levels to hand, then you might not want to bother. You should be using tools that are completely accurate and objective. Your eyes trick you much more than you might think (or, rather, your brain misreads the signals that your eyes send). You don’t want things to start getting wonky and uneven. Just get out the measurement tools; eyeballing it is a fool’s endeavor.
Trying to be Speedy Gonzalez
Slow and steady doesn’t really always win the race, right? Well, as with many of Aesop’s Fables, the lesson to learn from The Tortoise and the Hare isn’t as clear-cut as people often portray it. The message isn’t that slow and steady wins the race; it’s that overconfidence can be your downfall even if you’re the best-skilled person for the task. Both of these lessons strongly apply here, however, because rushing DIY is often a result of overconfidence. If you rush a DIY job, you’re not only at more risk of injuring yourself, but you’re also more likely do a bad job.
DIY when you can’t DIY
Should you really be doing this yourself? Yes, I know you want that sensation of having completed a useful project yourself. I know you want to save money. But is it really safe for you to take on the project? Are you positive that you know what you’re doing? If you’re going to be putting yourself or others at risk, you should strongly consider stepping aside and letting the experts do it.