5 DIY mistakes people are commonly making while doing home renovations
We commonly hear about the mistakes people are making to cut corners and save some money while trying to do home renovations at home. Unfortunately they are the ones calling afterwards saying that they made this mistake while doing the renovations and that a mediocre contractor suggested that it was okay to do this. We also hear about the horror stories people have had to experience while they attempted to do the renovations and found it to be more of a handful then it began with when they run into mold and asbestos while doing the job. This is why it is important to have an assessment dont before you knock down that 60 year old wall that may contain asbestos, have sampling done or an inspection done in advance.
LIVING WITH POPCORN CEILING
It’s entirely likely that you currently live in a home with popcorn ceilings, or you have at some point in your life. They were especially popular in the 1970s – 1990s, but are still being used in new buildings and homes today. That’s because it’s cheaper and easier to spray texture on ceilings, than it is to finish them properly to a smooth surface. What you may not realize, is that you don’t have to live with them. They’re dirty, they collect dust and allergens and they look pretty hideous. A ceiling professional can resurface the texture and give you smooth ceilings that your neighbours will envy.
The DIY movement has everyone thinking they can do everything themselves. For instance, as these pins from Pinterest show, there’s a reason bakeries exist. Unless you’re Martha Stewart, buy a cake from a bakery for a special occasion. The same is true for removing popcorn ceilings. It’s not something that you should do yourself. If you don’t have the right tools, and most importantly the experience for the job, it’s a messy and time consuming job. What takes a professional just a few days, could take you weeks. And once the texture is off, your ceilings are going to look pretty rough unless they’re resurfaced. We’ve had several calls from homeowners looking for help after they tried the DIY approach.
The videos you watch on YouTube which explain the DIY process for getting smooth ceilings, are usually shot with some contractor’s cellphone camera, from 8 feet away, in a dimly lit home! They don’t really show how rough the ceiling looks when the DIY job is finished. Our process has been perfected over the years, and our finished product revolves around applying fresh compound to EVERY SQUARE INCH OF THE CEILING… AT LEAST TWICE! For a Do-It-Yourselfer to do this, it will take weeks.
FIXING THE MOLDY DRYWALL AFTER A WATER LEAK
It seems like a simple task right? rip the drywall down and put some fresh slabs up… well, that’s not the case. If you leave the drywall for to long it’s obviously going to mold and cause a potential health hazard when you go to remove it. This is why professional companies put up containment and negative air machines so that when the removal part happens you don’t contaminate the rest of your home. This also prevents spores from flying into the next room, through vents, into your furnace and much more. We hear about companies coming in all the time and just removing the walls without setting up proper containment and then months later they have mold through out the home and can’t figure out why.
We don’t recommend people watching DIY videos online because it’s not only going to make it look like a super easy task, but it will also cause you more grief than its worth in the long run. For instance: There are products being sold in stores that claim to be the #1 mold removal product available for people, but what they don’t realize is that 60% of that product is made of water – and what does mold need to thrive? that’s right… moisture. And, using bleach is only dyeing the mold so it becomes virtually invisible but 90% of the time it comes back – have you ever wondered why? It’s because you didn’t get to the source of the problem. If there is moisture behind the walls and you just wipe the walls down it isn’t fixing the problem, in fact all you are doing is actually prolonging the mold to exist in the home and basically covering it up for a short period of time. Now, in some cases a simple clean up is okay to do – we aren’t saying it isn’t but this is why you should consider having an inspection done in advance to begin with because people may have a bigger problem then they even realize. In such cases we recommend having a visual inspection done and an environmental professional can come and assess the building envelope in your home or office. They are trained to know what to look for and can give you a better recommendation then anyone on youtube can or by supplying an image to them.
WORKING OUTSIDE YOUR SKILL LEVEL
Tackling a job best suited for a professional, a.k.a. biting off more than you can chew, is a sure-fire way to spend more money and take more time than you can afford. An inexperienced or even a seasoned DIY-er can turn a small problem into a big one in a hurry by not knowing exactly what he or she is doing. If you get surprised with an issue you don’t fully understand in the middle of a job, your instinct may be to press on and try to figure it out. You should deny this instinct. When you’re met with a surprise, like a simple light switch installation that turns up a bird’s nest of old wiring, stop and call a professional if you have any doubt about what you’re doing.
You can get away with learning a few things on the fly here and there by researching your problem on DIY Web sites, but most times, you’ll end up costing yourself, doing damage to your home or even putting yourself in danger. The best way to assess your skill level is to be honest about your know-how. Only you know what your capabilities are, and there’s no hard and fast rule for what constitutes a DIY job. But here’s an idea of what may be best left to the pros:
- Plumbing work
- Electrical work
- HVAC systems
- Mold Removal
- Asbestos Removal
NOT HAVING THE PROPER TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
It’s expensive enough to have to sink so much money into materials when renovating, which is why many home renovators skimp on tools and end up trying to bore into a brick wall with a 12-volt drill. In this case, the job requires an electric hammer drill and using anything else can be fruitless and even dangerous. There are many kinds of hammers, and using a claw hammer when you need a rubber mallet could damage the spanking new drywall job you just finished. Using a cheap post-hole digger instead of a power auger when you’re digging holes for fence posts will take you longer and in some cases may not even be possible. You get frustrated halfway through the digging process, cut it short and end up with an unstable fence. These are just a few scenarios that can arise from working without the proper tools.
If you’ve bought a house you plan on renovating yourself, you’ll need a basic set of power tools and well-stocked toolbox at the very least. A rechargeable cordless power drill is a must-have. When it comes to saws, most of your tasks can be handled with the trio of a circular saw, a chop saw and a reciprocating saw. The reciprocating saw is great for demolition, the chop saw gives you perfect angles for wood trim and the circular saw makes most of your longer cuts. Get a good level, measuring tape and some safety equipment as well — goggles, gloves, respirator and a hard hat. If you’re doing a job that requires a tool you probably won’t need again, go to your local home improvement store, where you can rent every kind of tool for every kind of job by the hour, day, week or month.
That being said, don’t hesitate to hire a contractor for a portion of the job if you don’t feel comfortable doing parts of it. The health and safety of everyone in the home is more important then your pride when it comes to renovations.
UNSAFE JOB CONDITIONS
A lot of people don’t realize that PPE should be used at home as well when doing the renovations, they figure since they aren’t “on the clock” they don’t need to be wearing or using the proper protective wear. That could be the case when it comes to high visible / reflective vests, but you should always consider wearing gloves, goggles, respirator, hard hat and even steel toed boots should be worn in the home while doing the project. Nothing diminishes your return on investment like a trip to the emergency room.
Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall or wood; wear hard hats when you’re working under other people on scaffolding; and open some windows when you’re painting or staining, or stripping old finishes off of floors or walls, Del Grande says.
And don’t wear loose-hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Wear gloves when carrying wood, metal and rock, or when hammering, and wear a nail or tool pouch to prevent damage to your floors and more importantly, the feet of people and pets.
If you have any questions or concerns always seek the advise of a professional. This is why we are here to help! We don’t want to scare people away from a DIY project, but be safe and always consider your health and everyone else’s health and safety at the same time.