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DIY Disasters — Taking Matters into Your Own Hands

June 30 2008

DIY Disasters

With a few hours of home improvement television and a new circular saw in the garage, you may think you’re ready to take on your latest home renovation project.  However within a few hours, you may soon realize you’re in way over your head.

Annually, there are millions of Americans tackling home remodeling projects big and small. Yet it takes skill and familiarity with power tools to get the job done right.  According to researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, from 1991 through 2005, the number of homeowners admitted to hospital for nail gun related injuries rose 200 percent.

Increasingly, the trick to successful renovation is not to be born with a carpenter’s thumb, but to make proper use of the tools at hand – a strategy that in the long run, will save you both time and money when doing major or minor home remodeling.

Take a common sense approach

Before heading straight to the hardware store and buying a smorgasbord of different tools, take advantage of available resources. Bookstores are a great place to start. Also, most hardware stores now offer classes for experienced pros and first-timers alike that will help make your interior and exterior renovations much easier.

Slow and steady

A few days with nothing to do is an ideal time to tackle a long awaited project like painting or renovating the main floor powder room. But don’t rush; taking your time can mean the project gets done right and will be something you’re proud to show off at your next cocktail party.

Know when to fold ‘em

Painting is one thing, but taking on a massive electrical, plumbing, or structural project – due to both safety and municipal building codes and subsequent insurance considerations – are projects for which you should consult a professional.

More than the mighty dollar

When your home repair does call for a professional tradesperson, don’t choose based simply on cost. Take the time to speak to a few people, even to your neighbors who’ve recently completed a home renovation project. Price matters, but so too does the quality of their work and the satisfaction of previous customers.

There are plenty of things you can improve around the house without a skilled tradesperson. If you do, make sure you read instructions, wear proper eye and footwear, establish kid-free zones where you can store sharp tools or paints, and most importantly, use common sense. If a do it yourself project seems to be over your head, odds are it is.