Home renovation

Three mistakes to avoid in your DIY home renovation

While many homeowners hire help with their projects, others are tempted to save money or want a DIY experience. We asked Eamon Lynch, Warranty Service Manager at Power Home Remodeling, for his advice on the biggest mistakes homeowners make when trying to complete a DIY project. Power Home Remodeling is headquartered in Chester, Pennsylvania, and has offices in 15 states, including Maryland.

Lynch, sharing his thoughts via email, described three DIY mistakes to avoid:

1. Bite more than you can chew. While setting an ideal budget and schedule can help you stay on track, it’s important to recognize that DIYs often take longer and cost more than expected. Taking more than you are capable of can disrupt your lifestyle. For example, if you have decided to tackle the renovation of your bathroom, you must first consider how long the bathroom will be out of service and how you will be able to live without it. The same idea applies to kitchen renovations.

When owners take over the demolition part of the process, they tend to show off too much. Picking up a hammer for everything is an enticing decision, but if you don’t have a lot of experience, you might destroy materials that can be reused or reinstalled. If you demolish carefully, slowly, and strategically, you’ll cut down on cleanup time and be able to reuse parts of your home.

Do not forget to also take into account the cost of all the necessary materials and equipment. Power tools are expensive, and if you don’t plan to reuse them in the future, they may not be worth the initial investment. I always advise consulting a professional first. Having a consultation doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t do it yourself; instead, the contractor will help you fully understand everything needed for a successful renovation.

2. Neglecting to do thorough research. Before starting any new project, it is important to research the regulations and requirements for your specific region. Taking the time to understand the mandates, codes, and laws in your area can save you costly penalties in the future, and potentially an ongoing renovation. When working with our customers, we always follow all rules because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the power to issue fines for violations of their safety rules.

You should also research and obtain the necessary permits. In some areas, renovation projects don’t require multiple levels of approval, and in others, you’ll need to work with an engineer for renderings or blueprints for the project. So it’s best to check with your local governing body or planning commission. According to the project, there are also national resources such as “Call Before You Dig”, which is an information hotline designed to protect local utility lines.

3. Missing milestones. While you may think you’re making the right decisions and protecting your home, missing key steps can cause bigger problems in the long run. One of the most common examples I see occurs with roof replacement. If you add a second layer of shingles on top of the existing layer without looking under the roof deck, you may not be addressing underlying issues such as mold-like growth. Likewise, if you apply a second coat of paint over the existing coat, you may notice a weaker bond or an uneven appearance. It is important to properly sand and prime the surface before applying fresh paint, as missing these key steps can become a time-consuming or costly mistake.