Tips to Consider Before Your Next Do-It-Yourself Project

I was tired of my current surroundings, and while packing all of my belongings and just moving to a new house could have been an option, it just seemed like a whole lot of extra work. So, I decided it was time to spruce things up a bit.

It didn’t seem like such an awful thing to do, after all, being a homeowner means that once in awhile you need to take on the giant undertaking of some sort of remodeling project. What I wasn’t prepared for was the enormous amount of struggle that would be involved.

The project: our dreadful family room.

Now, when I say dreadful, that’s exactly what I mean. Dreadful. The walls were covered in this horrid paneling that been popular during 1970-something. The floors were covered in the most awful carpeting known to man-kind. Generally, the room had the same feeling as a dungeon and at one point I had considered using shackles and a rack as the decorating motif. Looking back, had I just gone with that idea I might have saved myself a lot of time and trouble, and maybe even a few extra dollars.

We started with the basics, pulling up the old carpeting and yanking the paneling from the walls. Sometime while we were knee deep in near disintegrated carpet padding, it occurred to me that tearing the room apart was going to be a lot easier than putting it back together again. As it turned out, I was exactly right.

The room quickly became my nightmare. Nothing about any of the project was going to be easy, and at every corner it seemed that I was spending an extra $200 on a project that I had originally only budgeted $500 to complete. Instead of some new flooring and a coat of paint, I realized that I was going to have to literally rebuild part of the room as well as coat the walls with new drywall.

Not knowing the first thing about construction, I was lucky enough to have friends and family that could help me out a bit. I also discovered that the skills I do have, namely doing a Google search, turned out to be quite helpful.

It was in the process of this remodeling nightmare that I came up with a list of helpful hints for those of us that are “Do-It-Yourself” impaired, yet desperately struggle to save a few dollars by doing it ourselves. Hopefully by using these tips you’ll be able to save yourself a lot of the headaches that I suffered and end up with a room that you look forward to spending time in.

Tip 1: Assess the situation. The plain and simple rule of thumb should always be: if you think it’s going to be easy to accomplish…you’re wrong. Don’t overlook the things that could potentially cause trouble, and never ever assume that things will go as simple as you think they should go. If you don’t have any experience in construction or in basic remodeling, find someone who does and have them help you uncover any potential problems in your “plan”. Usually there is a professional in your area that will be more than happy to look at your project and give you some suggestions as to how to achieve them cost effectively. Take their advice. Talk to your neighbors to get referrals or look through your local newspaper to find names of those with more knowledge than yourself.

Tip 2: Create a timeline. The kiss of death to any remodeling project is not having a specific timeline. Without it, you’re likely to be making a path around stacks of drywall and power tools for an indefinite amount of time. This doesn’t mean that you have to achieve every project in a single weekend, but it’s nice to put yourself on a schedule of how to get accomplished what you want to get accomplished.

Tip 3: Buy a book. Not everyone is an expert do-it-yourselfer so don’t be afraid to seek out additional resources if you find yourself in a bind. There are a number of books that are available that will walk you through just about any specific kind of project from flooring installation to hooking up a light switch. These resources prove to be invaluable when completing any kind of remodeling project. Pick one up at your local home improvement store.

Tip 4: Use the Internet. There is so much free information out there it’s not even funny. Get your fingers working on the keyboard before you start tearing things down. There are a number of message boards and do-it-yourself websites out there that are full of information, better still; they are full of horror stories. Take notes about some of the problems that others have encountered and make sure to avoid making the same mistakes with your own project.

Tip 5: Watch your budget. Nothing can kill a project faster than running out of funds for the project. This was a tip I wish someone had passed on to me before I found my check book running a little on the dry side. Unless you’re planning your remodeling project with an unlimited source of funding, make sure to plan out your budget as closely as possible. Take a few trips to your local home improvement stores and compare pricing on the items you’ll need to complete your project. Don’t forget to ask about delivery charges. Just because something is cheaper at one store doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll spend less money when you figure in the delivery charge. Watch spending closely during the project, and try to make your actual purchasing trips minimal. One thing I learned quickly was that I spent a lot more money simply because I was making a lot of “quick” trips to the store. Make a list of the things that you’ll need and stick to it as close as possible, this will definitely help when it comes to saving time and money during your project.

Tip 6: Have a plan. I know it almost seems redundant at this point, but with any project you decide to undertake it is essential that you have a plan. Have a plan, know the plan, post the plan in plain sight for all to see. Without a solid plan before you start a project you are dooming yourself to horrible failure.

Hopefully these seemingly simple tips will prove to be helpful as you begin to plan your remodeling project. With a little planning, and some close attention to the things that could potentially stand in your way, your project will be easy peasy. Good Luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


six + 2 =