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@HOME WITH KEVIN 038: Top 4 disastrous DIY shortcuts to avoid

26 February 2018
Kevin Hartley

 

Originally written for and published in the East York Chronicle, February 28, 2018.

With spring on the way do you want to scratch the renovation itch?  If you’re anything like me, you fantasized this past winter about a list of projects, and the thaw has you tempted to dive in.

Like any well-planned do-it-yourself project, you’ll want to get things right before you waste your time and money.  To help you ward off stress and disaster, I’ve got steps you can take to avoid four common DIY renovation shortcuts.

#1: Not Understanding The Structure of Your Home

You must be confident that you know with confidence what lies where before you undertake any renovation involving the structure of your home. For example, what’s inside of the walls? What is (or isn’t) hidden behind the drywall could surprise you.  A misplaced cut or nail could damage structural supports, plumbing, soundproofing materials, insulation or ducts or worse off electrical wiring, potentially leading to shock, deadly electrocution or fire.

Damage caused by mold, pests, or water could also be uncovered and will need to be repaired before further renovation takes place.

#2: Not Measuring Everything At Least Twice

“Measure twice, cut once.” is a very popular, if not tired, cliché with professionals. (FYI, the keyword in that last sentence was “professionals”). Do-it-yourselfers will want to measure at least three times if not more, and certainly no less than twice. Even a small measuring mistake of half an inch can make the difference between your new cabinets fitting or not, your tiles lining up in a straight line or not.

#3: Cheaping Out on Materials And Tools

I’m all about value and trying to save a buck or two when possible. Another common shortcut that DIYers try to take is using cheaper materials or inappropriate tools because they are handy or “almost” right.

Go back to first principles and why you are undertaking the renovation in the first place; you are investing in your home, and by not paying for the labour you are already saving a ton of money. Invest those savings in top-quality tools that will do the job and materials that will hold up over time.

#4: Not Calling A Professional

Personally, I favour and recommend calling a professional for all of your major renovation project needs.  That said, if you do decide to do-it-yourself, at all costs, the one shortcut you must avoid is not calling in a professional when you’ve made a significant mistake.  If you damage something beyond your repair skills, don’t try to patch it up.  Swallow your pride and make the call. You’ll sleep soundly knowing that whatever was damaged isn’t at risk of failing later.

Renovating your home is the best way to increase its value, but even the smallest mistake can escalate into a significant, expensive or potentially dangerous problem in the future.

Thanks for reading. Questions or ideas for a future blog? Feel free to contact me here.

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Kevin Hartley, Broker is a Toronto based real estate Broker with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate | Signature Service, Brokerage. @Home is his lifestyle blog, an expression of his passion for home keeping though MAKING (Recipes), DOING (DIY), BEING (Health/Wellness) and DWELLING (Home Ownership, Sales & Maintenance).  Content not intended to solicit clients under contract.

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