Deciding on the Right DIY Projects



Maybe you were a contractor in a previous life or maybe you want to learn to do more challenging home improvement DIY projects. Almost anyone can both improve their own lifestyle and increase the value of their home with do it yourself projects. For most homeowners, the best approach is taking on projects they are comfortable with while continuously adding to the skill list they can draw on in the future.

New Found Confidence

There are several advantages to be gained from DIY projects that go beyond making your home more livable or increasing the value. One of the most valuable is that it builds self-confidence and self-reliability. Once you accomplish a smaller project such as replacing a bathroom sink, you’ll probably gain the confidence to tackle replacing an entire toilet and soon move on to refurbishing an outdated shower enclosure.

People engaged with DIY projects come from all walks of life. They are male, female, young, old, rich, poor, and everything in between. Besides gaining confidence, they save a lot of money and have fun doing it. DIY-ers learn to fix broken appliances, furniture, and other household products along with gaining new skills by depending less on others for services and expertise.

Do it yourself projects aren’t limited to home improvement and repairs. Many people grow DIY projects into hobbies and people like Marth Steward even make a darn good living at it. DIY projects can include home brewed beer, Halloween costumes, wood working, learning a new language, or even computer programming. Live a creative life!

Important Home Improvement Considerations

Now that you have enthusiasm to take on DIY home improvement projects, a dose of reality is appropriate. A full kitchen or bath remodel probably isn’t the place to start. Here are four important aspects to first consider.

  1. Do you need a permit? Most municipalities do allow homeowners to obtain construction permits to perform work that must meet building codes. However, a permit requirement is a good time to pause and consider if you have the skills needed to do the job correctly. Two big considerations are that a plan is required up front as well as an inspection when the work is completed. This is a case where getting it wrong will probably cost you money in wasted materials that a professional will have to rip back out to finish the project to code.
  2. Will DIY save you money? For smaller projects you almost always will save money. However, on bigger projects it’s not unusual to rip a wall out to find unexpected damage needing repair before the simple project can be completed. Take down a load-bearing wall with a sledgehammer and you might find your roof coming down around you. Also consider the cost of special tools that a professional uses repeatedly but you’re only going to use one time.
  3. Your personal safety. Load-bearing walls aren’t the only thing to give a second thought about. Electrical and natural gas projects come with serious safety concerns. Replacing light fixtures is no big deal when you know how to safely turn the power off. However, if you don’t know how to turn the power off to a single circuit, trying to upgrade the electrical service to your entire house is best left to a licensed electrician. Mistakes with natural gas projects have the potential result of poisoning, fire, or even an explosion.
  4. Don’t damage your home further. You can learn to do almost any DIY project but make sure you know what you are doing, have the right tools, and have the right materials before you start. Study DIY books and videos before committing to a project. Make sure you understand the building codes if a permit is required. Tearing out wallboard or a sub-floor to do electrical or plumbing work could leave behind a hidden flaw that does expensive damage to your home over the next several weeks, months, or even years when it is hidden from view.

Do it yourself projects are great for homeowners that want to improve the livability of their homes, increase home value, and improve their personal skills. At the same time, it’s important that you have enough information that you are sure you will make things better rather than worse. Over the coming weeks and months, you’ll want to check back here for more DIY tips and project ideas.

Please leave a comment about your own DIY projects and experiences or if you have questions/comments about this article.

Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and writing about real estate investing for 10 years. He also draws upon 30 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest. With the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.

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