by Tip Hero Robert Cordray


Keeping up with home improvement projects isn’t just an essential part of your weekend to-do list, it’s also integral in maintaining and improving your investment in your home’s equity. In this day of big warehouse home stores and ready access to information and tutorials, it’s become increasingly common for homeowners to take on projects as a DIY endeavor. But, unless you’re a professional, consider some of these common home improvement fails before you venture into the unknown. This just may help you avoid a disaster of your own.

This is not the time to make your best guess.

You’ve got your tools out, it’s a beautiful weekend and you’re ready to start with your big project. When you’re tackling a project in your home, whether it’s big or small, estimating just won’t work. Pacing off your measurements and using “arm’s lengths” should never take the place of a good tape measurer. There is a reason why you’ve heard the phrase, “measure twice, cut once” before. This is the first rule in home maintenance tips because so much can go wrong if you don’t heed this advice. Whether you’re laying flooring, putting up drywall or installing window treatments, you’ll regret not being absolutely certain about your measurements. Not only will you waste valuable time, but you’ll be spending extra money on materials to correct your mistakes.

Lay it out before you make it permanent.

Before you get too excited with your grout or power tools, blueprint your plans. This is especially true when laying tile. Once your tile is installed and completely dry, it can be very difficult to remove. This won’t be a quick fix if you’ve realized you’ve laid a pattern design the wrong way in one part of the room. You can try to sell your mistake as a quirky design element, but most people probably won’t be buy it. So, plan in advance by laying out a section and writing the pattern down on a piece of paper. That way, if the project takes more than one day, it will be easier to get right back into it without risking mistakes.

Don’t get caught up with trends.

Sure, your personal style should be reflected in any home improvements you make, but be weary of anything that appears too trendy. Remember avocado and Harvest Gold appliances? Before you go with a major change that incorporates the latest trend, step back and try it in a smaller dose. Use your favorite style influences in small ways throughout your space to get the most value. It you love the rustic look, there’s no need to redo the entire living room in reclaimed wood straight away. First try accents like barndoor hardware on some of the doors throughout your home. You’ll get the right look and the style won’t overwhelm potential buyers if you should ever decide sell your house.

Some things are better left to professionals.

When it comes to major improvements that incorporate plumbing or electric, you may be better off calling in the professionals. You don’t want what starts as a simple toilet install turn into a flood in your basement. And when it comes to electric, you have to be especially careful. There is no such thing as a “small” electrical problem, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you try to incorporate a new lighting scheme. You may find yourself left in the dark for quite some time.

If you’re ready to spend the weekend getting a jump on your home improvement DIY list, remember it all comes down to planning. You can avoid most major, and many minor, mistakes just by spending a little bit of time in advance preparation.