Almost Everybody Makes These DIY Mistakes

disappointed construction worker made a mistake looking at plans

Nobody's perfect—even the best DIYers get it wrong sometimes. You may have experienced one of the following DIY mishaps in the past, but if you haven't, please take a moment and learn from our mistakes.

Not Getting Permits

If your project is anything more than painting or wallpapering, make sure it doesn’t require a permit. We know, paperwork can be annoying, but you don’t want to add the frustration of dealing with the city when they find your new fence installed on municipal property. Do yourself a favor and make a quick phone call if you’re unsure of any requirements.

Not Using Learning Opportunities

You’re a DIYer and eager to tackle new projects, even ones you’ve never done before. Trust us, we get it. But when the opportunity presents itself, like a friend who’s a professional electrician and offers to give you a hand with your rewiring job, by all means, take it! Free labor and a free class? We should all be so lucky!

Succumbing to the Super-Hero Syndrome

Not sure if it's a real syndrome, but it's something that can take over when we're looking to accomplish more than we may be capable of. Know your limits, especially when it comes to your safety. The satisfaction of DIY is hard to resist, but if you’re afraid of heights, perhaps you should leave the new roof to the professionals. Or at least get a partner to be the official ladder climber when you’re upgrading to smart bulbs.

Claustrophobia might keep you from shimmying under the house in the crawl space to work on plumbing. Find someone else to help you out while you play the site supervisor. You can still claim the success even if you weren't the one getting your hands dirty.

Ignoring Safety

It’s easy to do, especially when it’s something that takes only a moment, like making a quick zip with a circular saw through a 1x4. Ignoring your safety can cost you big. Taking a few seconds to put on protective eyewear, pull on a pair of gloves, or don a face mask is worth the time or money you could potentially spend getting patched up in a hospital.

safety equipment like goggles gloves, masks, and a helmet on wooden plank

Being Imprecise

You may think you’re saving time by not busting out the level and just eyeballing the job, but the time spent making adjustments and fixing mistakes is time you’ll never get back. Minimize mistakes by using the tools required. You’ve heard it before, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it again—measure twice, cut once!

Assembling Inadequate Supplies

We understand you're eager to get started on your next project. So many satisfying projects and so little time! We encourage you to get out there and DIY your heart out, as long as you do it carefully, and plan properly. Additional runs to the hardware store when you’re in the middle of a job can be annoying.

Avoid those wasted minutes by evaluating the tools and materials you have on hand before heading to the store to grab things for your next project. Embrace list-making so you don’t have to remember whether or not you have the necessary screws, drill bits, or nails to complete the job.

Not Securing Your Materials

Big projects may require delivery of materials that need to be stored before you can get started. Ensure adequate protection of the product, keeping it safe from the elements and possible grabby hands passing through your neighborhood. We don’t like to believe the worst in people, but hey, better safe than sorry. If you’re really concerned, maybe you should consider installing a security system for added protection.

Shopping the Bargain Bin for the Wrong Project

There’s nothing wrong with bargain hunting. In fact, we encourage it, but when it comes to tools and materials for load bearing elements, you may want to reconsider. Don’t try to save money by substituting thinner plywood for a major flooring project. That ¼” may save you $1 per foot, but that means nothing if the floor you’re fixing collapses because you cheaped out on the materials.

cracking and peeling teal paint on wooden boards

Wrong Type of Paint

Interior versus exterior should be easy enough to understand—don't exchange one for the other. Interior paint on your home’s exterior will be vulnerable to the elements and could quickly crack and peel from exposure. Inside the home, take care to note the difference between flat, gloss, and semi-glossy, and apply them in the appropriate places.

For example, flat paint shouldn’t be used on walls, especially where dirty fingers can create smudges that can be hard to clean. Using the right type of paint will minimize frustration, unless you chose the wrong color, in which case, can we recommend some paint color options for you?

Inadequate Paint Prep

Speaking of painting, get the area prepped for painting properly before beginning the project. Power wash exterior walls, giving it adequate time to dry before painting. If there are holes, patch them up. Cover and protect floors and furniture because it doesn’t matter how careful you are (or think you are), drips and spills happen, and you don’t want them to happen on your new couch or force you to interrupt your painting groove to clean up a spill on the floor.

Mistakes happen, but with a little forethought you can avoid some of the more common ones on your next DIY project.