Nobody likes to spend more than they absolutely have to on home repairs. It’s bad enough when things break and you have to struggle with the inconvenience and disruption they cause, but when you have to spend significant amounts of money to fix them, that’s just adding insult to injury.
As a result, many homeowners attempt to tackle problems themselves, often with an over-enthusiastic opinion of their abilities to effectively fix them. And that’s when they get into real trouble. Some don’t realize that what at first appears to be a fairly straightforward fix, actually involves underlying issues that make the problem more complex than they initially thought.
This is when the smart move would be to bring in an experienced professional home repair and maintenance company to remedy the problem quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Sadly, though, some homeowners stay on the DIY course, adding unnecessary time and money to the project instead of successfully fixing the problem sooner with a professional.
Do it right, from the start
If you suspect you have a problem with your house, such as a potential leak or a faulty electrical system, it’s crucial to get the situation diagnosed correctly. Water issues can be especially pesky, where the true nature of the leak is not so obvious. For example, we had a client with a spongy floor that appeared to be caused by a shower leak when the real culprit was actually a broken toilet ring.
Incorrect diagnoses can be troublesome and expensive — and sometimes downright dangerous. For example, an inexperienced homeowner who is not a licensed electrician might decide that his unreliable outlet is the result of a faulty receptacle which he incorrectly replaces, creating a fire hazard. Properly diagnosed by a licensed electrician, the problem turns out to be a short caused by a mouse chewing through wiring insulation in the wall. So now there are two issues: dangerous wiring that needs to be replaced and an invasive pest problem.
A less critical but equally annoying issue with some less-than-successful DIY projects is a lack of aesthetics and a sense of design. Some homeowners are simply concerned with fixing a problem as quickly and inexpensively as possible, regardless of how it looks. This can lead to DIY home repair projects that feature mismatched siding and roofing; incorrectly cut or applied materials that require awkward fixes and work-arounds; and inappropriate, slapped-on solutions that need to be corrected later, to name just a few. These wasteful, ugly home maintenance solutions can not only affect the value and appeal of a home, they can even compromise its functionality and safety.
Common DIY home repair mistakes
Virtually every DIY project is fraught with potential pitfalls that can trip up even the most diligent homeowner. Often there are elements to a project that the homeowner is simply not aware of, that can come back to bite them later.
Here are some of the most common and easily–avoidable mistakes homeowners make with DIY projects:
Lack of proper permits
Not every home repair project requires a municipal permit but some do, such as major electrical, plumbing, and structural work. Without proper permitting and inspection, you run the risk of jeopardizing the health and safety of your family as well as the added cost of potential fines and the expense of having improper work redone correctly by a licensed professional.
The truth is, many of the products sold at the big-box home improvement stores are subpar. Some are manufactured specifically for the national chains, using cheap components and lower-quality workmanship to keep the cost down. The result? The savings you might realize upfront in the cost of materials will quickly be lost when you have to replace those materials because they fail or wear out sooner than the high-quality, more reliable components many contractors buy from their commercial suppliers.
Poor safety measures
One quick way to drive up the cost of a DIY project is adding a trip to the emergency room. Proper safety eyewear, good work gloves, and protective clothing are often items that are overlooked, causing expensive and debilitating – evenly deadly – injuries.
Unprepared work sites
In a hurry to get the work done, some homeowners ignore work site conditions, setting themselves up for delays, distractions, and added expense when splatters or spills ruin unprotected surfaces, unsecured or unprotected materials get damaged or stolen, or the homeowner gets injured on an unsafe site.
More time, money, and effort is wasted by DIYers not measuring carefully. More materials have to be bought when they’re cut wrong and expensive fixes have to be made when spaces and structures aren’t measured correctly. Remember the old saying: “Measure twice, cut once.”
Many people underestimate the time and money they need to invest in a home repair or maintenance project, often by half. There are any number of reasons for this, including lack of experience; not taking into account all the steps, processes, and materials needed; and the need to hire a professional to take over or fix a project.
The benefits of working with a home repair pro
For peace-of-mind, cost-efficiency, and a high rate of satisfaction, it’s well-worth finding an experienced, professional home repair and maintenance firm with an excellent reputation and track record. You will save time, money, and headaches in the long run.
It’s important to remember that this industry – like all industries – has a small percentage of charlatans and unqualified wanna-bes, so a little due diligence will go a long way. Interview candidates, ask a lot of questions, look at their websites, and read the reviews. Find someone who takes the time to listen and will come up with solutions that are appropriate and in your best interest, not just ones that fit their limited capabilities or resources.
The solution is to establish a relationship with a home maintenance, repair, and remodeling company that you trust to help you stay ahead of important maintenance items and keep your home in top shape. You’ll find yourself happier, less stressed, and with more time on your hands than you thought possible because you’re not having to deal with home repair issues on your own. And you can’t put a price on that.
Have a DIY failure you would like to share? Add your comments at the bottom of this article.