There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of Do-It-Yourself action when it comes to home renovations. Heck, I imagine that a good proportion of the renovations ever completed would not even exist today if it weren’t for homeowners rolling up their sleeves and engaging in some serious DIY home improvements.
DIY projects can save you a ton of money and when done successfully, can be extremely rewarding and teach you a great deal about construction and handywork. So what’s the issue then? Well, we don’t want to be the DIY party-poopers of the century or anything, but over the years at Building Masters Inspections, we can confidently say that we’ve seen our fair share of housing defects. A good deal of these often come from well meaning homeowners who were just trying to save some cash and figured they’d put in the elbow grease themselves. Well meaning, yes. Successful? Not so much.
A recent study that was undertaken regarding projects around the home asked 2,000 homeowners about DIY home improvements that did not work out as they might have hoped. It turns out that a whopping 63% of those reported that they regretted attempting the project themselves, and 33% even needed to pay a professional to repair the work they had done.
Not the best stats when you consider how many DIY home improvements are undertaken day after day. So given those results, I thought I’d put together a list of what homeowners claim as the 6 most regrettable DIY home projects around.
- Ceiling replacement
As you might have already guessed, replacing a ceiling is no walk in the park. It requires a significant amount of know-how about the structural stability of a house and all the steps and materials involved in ceiling reconstruction. No easy feat. You need to know how to remove drywall, extract insulation, construct joists, and that doesn’t even include installing a whole new ceiling. Basically, it’s very technical and a lot of hard work. I don’t doubt you have the moxie, but unless you’re a professional you might want to skip this one and leave it to the experts. Trust me on this. Those who were surveyed in the above study mentioned that any work they they attempted on their ceilings ended up causing more issues than actual improvements. Heed their warning, folks.
- Refinishing Cabinets
If you’ve never refinished a cabinet before then you might be surprised to know that it’s not as simple as it seems, which is likely why it’s on the list of the top most regrettable DIY projects. If you plan on refinishing your cabinets then be prepared to allot a good number of weeks until full completion. I also wouldn’t even consider undertaking such a task unless you have a very well ventilated space to work – you’ll likely lose your mind from the stress first so there’s no need to be subjected to toxic fumes as well.
It’s going to be a far better idea to either send them far away to be refinished elsewhere, or even better just start fresh and replace them entirely. Oftentimes, DIY projects end up being done in vain, so sometimes the best option is to find alternative means before you waste all your hard work and money.
- Carpet Installation
Installing your own carpet is definitely a tricky one. By all means, if you’re up for the challenge then go for it! But just be ready for a whole lot of carpet cutting, carpet gluing, carpet trimming, and measuring every miniscule section of your floor until you know it by the millimeter. However, just remember that if you make ANY mistakes, there’s no going back and no quick fixes to make it all better again. It’s do or die when it comes to carpet installation.
- Renovating a Basement or Cellar
As you may have already guessed, this is not a project that one takes on lightly. There is an awful lot of work involved in making a basement functional and homely. Depending on the state your basement is currently in, you’ll likely be looking at more work than just adding a fresh coat of paint. Chances are there could be plumbing and electrical work that needs doing, potentially installing new drywall, and the previously regrettable DIY project of carpet installation. It’s essentially just a whole bunch of potential DIY regrets compounded into one enormous project.
If I were you, I would try to lighten the load and hire a bunch of professionals to take on the more dangerous and finicky tasks such as the electrical work, and leave the slightly easier projects for yourself – preferably projects that did NOT make it onto this list such as painting, decorating, and installing storage units.
- Hardwood Floor Installation
The main reason that installing hardwood floors ended up on the list of regrets is mainly due to their final appearance. Homeowners weren’t happy with how they looked after putting in all the hardwood-hard work. This likely occurred since the individuals deciding to tackle such a task were ill-equipped and underestimated the difficulty of successfully completing such a project. Depending on your experience level when it comes to flooring, it’s either going to be in your best interests to either just avoid the job entirely and leave it to a seasoned expert, or perhaps opt for something a little easier like laminate wood flooring instead. Installing hardwood floors is not for your amateur DIY-er.
- Floor Tile Installation
It’s going to be a good idea to pay attention to this one above all others. According to the aforementioned study, installing floor tiles was right at the top of the list when it came to regrettable DIY projects. I’m sure you can imagine that installing floor tiles isn’t quite as fun as a holiday in the Bahamas, but what is it that brought it to number 1 on the list? Of those surveyed, there seemed to be a general consensus that the finished project would never last very long, lacking durability. Obviously this left behind a lot of frustrated DIY-ers regretting their DIY choices. So if floor tiles are something you’ve been considering, maybe have a think about getting a professional to do it for you. Or, if you’re still keen for some DIY action, it might be a better option to opt for floating floors instead. This is a far easier option to install and can be done in a fraction of the time as installing floor tiles and best of all, doesn’t involve any grout whatsoever.
The main reason I put together this list is not because I don’t have faith in you, I just want to ensure that you avoid all the mistakes of those who have gone through the hardship and disappointment of trying and failing. DIY home improvements can be done with spectacular success, but it’s always wise to know your limits before undertaking something that you’ll later regret. No one likes regret. Let’s leave it alone.