Bob Vila and the Property Brothers have a lot to answer for. In addition to the Internet, DIY classes at the local home improvement box store and cable home improvement shows that make upgrades look so easy, many Americans have the chill-out-I-got-this mindset. For small projects, yes, they do. However, when it comes to upgrades to the Virginia Beach, Norfolk or Chesapeake house they’re trying to sell fast, that mindset can land them in the hospital or bankruptcy court. ERs all over the country relate tales of DIYers who ran afoul of power tools or ladders. Court officials see even more homeowners who tried to upgrade their homes themselves, ran out of money, and couldn’t afford a pro to fix the problems. So what advice would benefit homeowners who want to upgrade their homes? The answer is to ask themselves a couple questions before making three DIY mistakes a pro should have done.
The Before Beginning Quiz
Three things those cable show professionals, box store instructors and the Internet don’t have to bother knowing is their skill sets, the availability of money and time. If the homeowner knows the difference between a load-bearing wall and one that isn’t, that doesn’t mean he knows how to knock it out to create more space in a room. It looks easy on TV, but they don’t show you the homeowner who made that mistake and brought down the whole second floor of the house on top of his head. Stick with what you know, and leave the important stuff to the pros.
The cable shows and home improvement stores also don’t help homeowners with budgeting supplies for upgrades. The pros have access to suppliers giving them discounts as well as to subcontractors to do the wiring and plumbing while they do the framing and finishing. These pros know how to schedule each other to work together in order to bring the project in on time and on budget. If the project is such that the homeowner can DIY, then he should figure in budgeting and time management. Otherwise, leave it to the pros.
Mistake Three: Roofing
Homeowners with a two-story house run the risk of falling off the roof. Remember that you’ll be hauling along a tool box or belt heavy with tools. That creates a drag on the body that saps energy. Weak workers can’t catch themselves if they lose their balance and fall. Homeowners with a ranch house might be able to repair or replace shingles closest to the gutters, but depending on the slope of the roof, you won’t be able to reach the top-most shingles without the risk of injury. Nor should homeowners perform any type of work requiring a ladder without someone present acting as a spotter to hold the ladder. The height of the house and slope of the roof unfortunately dictate the severity of the consequences of a fall. Death could ensue. This is one DIY to leave to a pro.
Mistake Two: Plumbing
Hospitals and bankruptcy courts are full of homeowners who tried to add a bathroom or kitchenette to an attic or basement apartment. Their mistake was not knowing how to re-route existing plumbing. Hot water requires copper pipes, which requires blow torches. Re-routing sewer pipes from either locale causes different problems. Add to this not knowing how to fix a leak in an upstairs bathroom, when the walls and/or ceiling downstairs show water spots. Homeowners tearing out tiles in showers, pulling up the toilet and examining the sink run the risk of making matters worse. Fixing a leaky faucet or showerhead is generally a no-brainer, but seeking out the cause of major leakage in the walls should be left to the pros.
Mistake One: Wiring
The major mistake, and one that keeps ERs the busiest, is the homeowner who did not cut the power to the project he’s working on before beginning. The second and worst consequence of not knowing what he’s doing is the DIYer who burns down his house. Electricity is a dangerous thing to work with. Trading a light switch for a dimmer shouldn’t present too much difficulty as long as the power to the switch is cut beforehand. That’s as far as most homeowners should go. Improperly completed wiring sparks, which is a danger to people, pets and the structure. With any other upgrade, a pro should do the work.
DIY mistakes can cost more money than hiring a professional to do the work. In some cases, it can cost a life. Don’t swell the ranks of the injured and bankrupt. If your house is in poor condition and you need to sell it fast, contact us. We buy houses in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake regardless of their condition.