It doesn’t matter if you are planning to tackle a project for the first time or if you are a pro at fixing things yourself, there are a few common DIY mistakes that everyone is bound to make every once in a while. Online tutorials usually make DIY home improvement ideas appear fun and even cathartic, but they can quickly turn into a mess and cause frustration if you fail to follow the steps correctly.
Regardless of how simple the project looks or how easy the steps seem, all DIY home improvement ideas require a lot of patience and concentration. If you don’t focus on the task at hand, you can potentially ruin the entire project beyond repair.
Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and identify possible mistakes so you can work on avoiding them.
Here are some of the most frequent mistakes homeowners make along with tips on avoiding them so you don’t end up spoiling your DIY projects.
Top DIY Mistakes to Avoid
Here the most common DIY mistakes most home handymen make.
Not reading the instructions
The very first thing you need to do is read the instructions properly – and no, that doesn’t mean just skimming through them once. Before you start working on a project, take some time to familiarize yourself with each and every step. If you don’t understand a certain point or a step, make sure to do some research instead of believing you’ll figure it out once you get there. This is easily one of the top DIY mistakes all beginners (and sometimes even seasoned veterans) make.
It’s also important to not overestimate yourself. It’s great if you have already worked on something similar before. However, all DIY projects are different and you need to figure out all the possible hurdles you might face at every step along with the best way to deal with them.
The key to all of this, obviously, is to thoroughly read the instructions and make an outline of your own. Of course, you can make some adjustments along the way, but it is always better to have a complete plan on hand if you want to avoid common DIY mistakes.
Not buying all the supplies
Not having enough material to complete the project is yet another one of those common DIY mistakes that can be completely avoided only if you plan ahead. You might think you already have all the supplies needed for the project in your house, but you may be missing a few important pieces or maybe you don’t have the right quantity. Either way, even a few missing nails can make a huge difference.
Overestimating your supply stash is also one of the biggest DIY mistakes that can destroy your entire project.
Before you start working on your DIY home improvement idea, make a list of all the supplies you’ll need along with their specific measurements. Then, calculate their overall price so you don’t accidentally go over your budget. It is recommended to buy a few extra supplies, like an additional box of nails or some extra cord, so you don’t have to rush to the hardware store in the middle of your project.
Not using the right tools
It’s safe to assume that not every household has an electric drill or a woodcutter machine lying about somewhere. If you are planning to take on any DIY projects, make sure you have the right tools or else all your efforts might go to waste.
The correct tools can make your job easier and smoother, whereas wrong tools will only make things more difficult and can even ruin the whole thing. For instance, buying the wrong wood primer or a brush are two of the top DIY painting mistakes almost all beginners make.
It can also be a little dangerous.
Needless to say, not using the right tools is one of the most important DIY mistakes to avoid. To do this, you’ll first need to learn the exact purpose and usage of certain tools. If they are a bit pricey and you won’t be needing them again anytime soon, consider borrowing these tools from a friend or a family member. In fact, you can even contact the owner of your nearest hardware store and inquire if they can let you rent that particular tool for a few days for a reasonable price.
Getting the measurements wrong
You’ve gone over the instructions multiple times, bought all the necessary supplies and acquired the right tools, but if you mess up the measurements, you’re pretty much done for. First of all, if your measurements aren’t right, you can’t buy the correct supplies. It’s even worse if you have already marked and cut the material such as wooden planks and wires because that would require you to spend even more money and time buying everything all over again.
To make sure to avoid this common DIY mistake, measure everything and write it down. Repeat the process at least three times and check if your notes are accurate. If possible, mark the material directly for length and width by holding it against the surface – especially in case of DIY shelves.
Your inattentiveness while noting down the measurements can turn even cheap DIY projects into something extremely costly. Moreover, the frustration and lack of result might even demotivate you from carrying on, which could be a huge loss.
Not taking any safety precautions
On paper, your DIY home project might look harmless and easy, but you always need to practice caution when dealing with certain tools and materials. If you don’t want any of your DIY home improvement ideas to land you in the emergency room, you need to follow these home safety precautions.
Firstly, invest in a thick pair of construction gloves while working with wood, metals and other such materials. Even if you have to hammer a nail into the wall, you have to be careful not to accidentally hit your finger and cause damage. Secondly, avoid wearing loose clothing while working with power tools at all costs, as getting the sleeve of your shirt stuck in an electric saw is the last thing you’d ever want. If you are painting the walls or stripping a floor, make sure to have good ventilation in the room to let the toxic fumes out.
Moreover, if any of your DIY home improvement ideas involve the use of a welding machine, buy a pair of safety goggles to avoid any damage to your eyes. It’s not worth it to risk your limbs (and life) over a DIY project.
Not asking for help
It’s really important for you to know your limits. If you can’t do something on your own or if you’re having difficulty understanding a certain set of instructions, reach out to somebody who has either tackled a similar project before or has the general information about such matters. This is perhaps the easiest way to avoid any of these common DIY mistakes.
In case you don’t know someone who has done something like this on their own before, consult a local carpenter, plumber or an electrician (depending on your project) and ask for their suggestion.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can even post your queries on social media platforms or on respective forums to seek answers from expert individuals. It’s also recommended to not start any major DIY home renovations during the holidays when you can’t access any professionals if need be.