Recently we spent some time working on some home improvement projects. I haven’t spent a lot of time working with saws, lumber and power tools, but the little time I have spent has taught me some important lessons. Here are some real life tips for your next DIY home improvement projects and jobs!
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There’s no such thing as smooth.
When you go into any home-improvement project, you should know that there is never going to be a smooth project with no wrinkles. So be prepared. Be flexible. And don’t be surprised when something doesn’t go as planned.
everything takes a longer than expected
There’s a reason that contractors can charge more money than the products cost. That’s because there’s a learning curve. No matter how easy it might look on YouTube, it’s going to take longer than you planned. So build in extra time and don’t rush my project.
Use the right tools
It is easy to assume that all nails are the same or all screws to the same job. However there are different sizes, weights, finishes, and small details that are there for a purpose. You can’t use a roofing nail to finish a deck. Screws that are built for concrete are not going to work with wood. Do your research before you start the project so you can make sure and have the right tools.
Designate a gopher
In every project there are certain roles for each person to play. One of the most important roles is that of a gopher. Kids (and people like me) make perfect gophers. When you’re up on a ladder holding a hammer or balancing a 2 x 4 or piece of decking, that is when you definitely need a someone to ‘go get the things you need’. Younger kids can rotate so they don’t get tired of running errands. You need to have someone who can run get the tools, extra water or supplies needed.
Set your Budget; Plan for Extra
It is typically going to be cheaper to do a home improvement project than hire a contractor because you are not paying for labor. However, since you may not have all of the tools or supplies needed, you may have to borrow, rent or purchase some of the tools. When you are planning a home improvement project, do your research so you will know what to budget. Decide if it is better to buy the lumber, tools and supplies at a local hardware store or will you save money and a big box store instead. Know ahead of time how much the project is going to cost, then budget in some overage for the unexpected expenses. Things are always going to go a little different than planned and you may end up needing more nails, lumber or supplies than expected.
Measure Twice Cut Once
I have often heard my aunt talk about how important it is to measure before cutting when you are sewing a dress. The same rule applies with you are doing a home improvement project. Once you cut a piece of lumber it is never going to be the same length again. You can always go shorter but it is much tougher to make something longer. Measure carefully and double check your work before you make the first cut.
When you are using power tools or hammers, screwdrivers, and drills, remember to keep safety in the top of your mind. Wear the proper shoes (remember that flip-flops are never the appropriate footwear when doing home-improvement projects). Don’t forget about safety goggles or your ears when using power tools. Make sure everyone on the work crew knows how important it is to keep screwdrivers hammers and tools properly stored when not in use. When not using power tools, unplug them or leave them in a safe position. Home improvement projects are not the time to cut corners on safety.
Take Before & After Pictures
Everyone likes to do a little bragging about projects that turn out amazing. Take a before and after picture so you can show off the progress and finished project to your family and friends.
Know When to Call it Quits
Home-improvement projects are great opportunities for learning new skills. However ,sometimes there are limits to what you can do when you’re untrained or unskilled in this craft. If you get in over your head, remember that it is more important to call it quits and ask for help rather than finish a project only halfway.
Are you a home-improvement guru or do you preferred to call the experts? What tips do you have to add to this list for new DIY home improvement people? I’d love to hear!