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Home DIY Dos And Don’ts

Richard Clayton Oct 19, 2019

Now that the seasons have turned and you’ll be spending less time outdoors, you might have the urge to get to some of those DIY home projects you’ve been putting off. Regardless of how many remodeling and decorating shows you’ve been watching, there are some tips you should read up on before you jump headlong into things.

DO Make A List

In fact, make two lists. One list should be a list of the things that really require being done, like anything that has to do with safety concerns or necessary long-term maintenance items you’ve neglected.

Then the second list can be anything that has to do with the kind of upgrading or redecorating you’ve been hankering for. The second list is doubtless going to be more fun, but in the spirit of adulting, polish off that first list before you start on the second.

DO Budget

Even if you have a pile of money to spend, you want to use it wisely and where it will count. Before you go off in all directions, research prices and learn where you can find the best deals. Prioritize your purchases so you’re not putting quantity over quality.

DO Consider Your DIY Skills

Eagerness and the energy to do something can’t be discounted, but if you or your spouse have never done anything more technical than change the washer in a faucet, launching into a large-scale project or one that requires serious power tools is not the way to begin.

Those DIY shows on TV may make it look easy, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, taking sledgehammers to knock down a wall can lead to a world of trouble.

DO Study Up Before You Start

No matter what the project you have in mind, there are endless informational how-to manuals as well as resources available online. If you want to take it a step further, it may be advisable to take a workshop at your local home improvement store or find a course at a nearby community college.

DON’T Start Something You Can’t Finish

While you’re considering your skills, think about your available time, too. If you’ve got a lot of work or family demands, don’t plan a project that you can’t complete in a reasonable amount of time.

Living with piles of lumber or tiles everywhere is going to demoralize you and make you feel guilty every time you can’t get back to finish things. It’s not going to make for much of a happy home life, either.

DON’T Shun Professional Help

Most things involving electricity, gas, and major plumbing are not for amateurs. Neither is roofing or hanging garage doors. Hiring professionals to do that kind of work is infinitely better for your house and safer for you. And while it might cost you more at the get go, it’s going to save you money in the long run.

DON’T Forget Resale Value

Even if you’re not planning to sell your house in the foreseeable future, it’s worthwhile to keep resale value in mind when you plan your projects. Not to cramp your style, but some changes to your home will enhance its value and some might do just the opposite.

Real estate experts agree that these are the improvements that buyers appreciate:

  • Kitchen upgrades: New energy-saving appliances, solid surface countertops (not necessarily granite), efficient cabinets and workspaces, good lighting.
  • Bathroom upgrades: Water-saving toilets, updated shower and sink fixtures, good mirrors and lighting. If tubs or sinks look worn, professional re-glazing is an alternative to buying new ones.
  • Double-paned windows: If you’re replacing windows or sliding doors, install double-paned glass that insulates from cold in the winter and heat in the summer. It makes rooms more comfortable as well as saves energy.
  • Wood floors: Carpeting is comfy under your toes for bedrooms, but wood flooring in other rooms is more durable, easier to clean, allergen-free, and buyers love it. Depending on your budget, choose wood laminate, engineered wood, or solid hardwood.
  • Classic rather than trendy: If you’re making large investments into permanent improvements, don’t go for the fad of the moment. If you’ve been seeing it everywhere (vessel sinks anyone?) it’s probably going to be outdated before long. The same goes for quirky.
Think long and hard before putting in a backsplash with a design of cavorting kittens. Save those very personal touches for decorative objects you can switch out easily when their time or your interest has passed.