DIY Disasters and How Not to Fix Home Problems
The enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer likes to believe they can fix most home maintenance problems and save money in the process.
Some of the time they’re right. On other occasions they’re heading for DIY disasters, turning a money-saving exercise into an expensive catastrophe.
Your DIY project might just be papering over the problem and potentially causing long-term damage. DIY disasters at home usually start with the best intentions.
The key is knowing when to make the correct choice between taking on DIY projects or calling a professional like Mr Emergency for help. If anything goes wrong after the DIY job is complete, there’s only one person to blame.
So, here’s a selection of DIY home projects, renovations, maintenance jobs and repairs that amateur DIYers need to think twice about.
DIY Demolition Jobs
Everyone’s watched home renovation TV shows which turn demolition into a fun day of breaking stuff.
We all love a home improvement project but knocking down a wall is not always fun and it’s potentially dangerous. Be sure you’re not destroying a supporting wall or beam.
Be sure to remove all furniture, appliances, pictures and anything you want to keep. You don’t want to ruin your new couch or anything valuable.
Demolishing an entire bathroom might sound like a blast but be prepared to deal with the mess demolition makes – heavy rubble and clouds of dust. And always wear a helmet and mask.
Hire a skip bin for the rubble; don’t imagine you’re going to lug the ruins to a nearby dump in your car. When in doubt, call a demolition expert.
Clearing Drains with Chemicals
There are a range of chemical drain cleaners on the market that are formulated to clear blockages.
These chemicals do the job by eating through the hair, fat and other substances in the drain. However, it can be the start of a DIY disaster.
When a drain is completely clogged, the chemical cleaner has nowhere to go. It sits in the drain and, while it slowly eats away at the clog, it can also corrode your pipes and make the problem worse.
Be wary of DIY plumbing projects. If the clog is that bad, it might be time to call a professional plumber. It’s best to secure the services of a licensed plumber – such as those at Mr Emergency – to ensure any stubborn clogs are removed and pipes professionally repaired.
Installing New Flooring Over Old Flooring
Ripping up old flooring and starting from scratch is a chore most DIYers don’t want to take on, but covering up old flooring with new is a genuine risk.
Old flooring usually has existing damage, such as chips, stains and cracks. These imperfections can create small pockets where mould and mildew can grow and spread under the new floor.
Damaged flooring may also cause the new floor to wear prematurely, as it can sink into existing holes or jut out in odd places.
It might be turn into a long-term DIY disaster. Perhaps it’s time to call a professional to do the job properly.
Installing Kitchen Cabinets
Most people have heard the old adage “measure twice, cut once”, but do DIYers actually listen to this piece of wisdom during the excitement of DIY projects?
When installing kitchen cabinets it might even pay to measure three or four times to ensure you get the numbers exact.
Miscalculate by even a centimetre and your renovation is ruined. If a cabinet doesn’t fit there’s no remedy other than starting again.
It can be a major home renovation fail. By this time you might be wishing you’d called a professional.
Painting – Interior and Exterior
Painting is a relatively simple process that most DIYers are confident in taking on, but there’s a lot that can go wrong.
For a start, there are so many different types of paint to choose from and many factors that determine your choices.
Experts at hardware and paint stores can take the DIYer through the range of paints designated for walls, cabinets, metal or exteriors. For example, a high-moisture paint is needed for the bathroom, otherwise it will bubble and blister.
Before starting a painting project, consult an expert to confirm you’re using the correct types of paint. Then there are sheets, paint masks, ladders and possibly scaffolding to consider.
Installing Your Own Wiring
There are DIYers who successfully install their own wiring, but it’s a home repair project that is potentially risky business.
There’s a reason qualified electricians are well paid. Electrical projects are difficult and possibly dangerous unless you have the expertise. Perhaps you’re adding new lights to the bathroom. Water and electricity don’t mix, so you’ll need to take all the necessary precautions.
Do you have the right tools, such as a claw hammer, multi-bit screwdriver, wire stripper, cable strippers and cordless drill? Do you have the right drill bit? You can’t just drill holes wherever you like, you need knowledge of your home’s electrical system.
Even if you manage to do it yourself, it would be wise to get your homemade job inspected when it’s done.
You might be relaxing under a finished ceiling with recessed lights, but how safe is it? If you’re sitting on the couch knitting and you start to feel the couch vibrate, it might be an idea to evacuate. Many a wife will think her husband finished the renovations when it just might be the latest in a series of DIY disasters.
If you don’t know the ropes, or in this case the wires and cords, the results can be shocking. Only licensed contractors, such as Mr Emergency, should take on major renovations.
Using Duct Tape to Fix Air Conditioning Units
Duct tape was given its name because it was once the best option for fixing heating, ventilation and air conditioning units.
However, for most HVAC applications it’s better to use aluminium foil tape to create an airtight, waterproof seal to keep leaks properly plugged.
Duct tape is better used for general repairs around the home. And patch jobs like this won’t keep you cool when the summer sun is at its most intense.
Building Decks and Patios
Constructing your own deck or patio might be the average DIYer’s dream job, designing and building a special addition to the home.
But this is one of the more complex projects and where the biggest disasters happen. Amateurs often need to be rescued by professionals when their carpentry skills come up short.
Instead of adding value to your home, the result can be an eyesore that never lives up to the family entertainment space you imagined.
Using stone, pavers or brick might make it a simpler project, but if you’re considering wood then a professional might be preferable.
That’ll Do For Now
A quick Band-Aid fix that will do “for now” just delays the inevitable. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first house or a new house, you really need to find a long-term solution.
You may have good intentions, but a quick fix might be doing more harm than good. For example, a temporary repair on a drain pipe might seem to do the job, but it can lead to clogging and flooding.
While the quick fix is working, that quick trip to the hardware store is delayed, the repair job moves further down the list and is often forgotten until it all goes wrong.
Do-it-yourself repairs and renovations often work but homeowners must ask themselves honestly: Do I know what I’m doing?
Simple tasks can quickly turn into a disaster and the plan to save money is turned on its head. Listen to that quiet voice inside your head telling you to beware. Give that next DIY home repair project some careful thought before starting.
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