5 Time-Sucking DIY Mistakes

A clock with hand tools around it.

It’s no secret that some DIY projects take longer than others to complete. But there are pitfalls in even the smallest projects that can cost you serious time and money. From starting off on the wrong foot to purchasing inadequate materials for the job, here are five time-sucking DIY mistakes you should avoid at all cost.

1. Starting Without a Clear Goal in Mind

Not having a clear plan of action will cost you a lot of time on a DIY project. When your goals are concise and well laid out, it is easier to work hard and get things done. Creating a step-by-step plan will also allow you to better manage your time and know how long the project will take. Not having a plan, however, can lead to unexpected bumps in the project that will suck up time. For instance, not knowing what kind of supplies you need could lead to multiple trips to the hardware store, costing you precious time and money. Before beginning a project, create a plan and outline all the steps you need to take along the way to avoid unwanted surprises. While you're at it, figure out whether you'll need helpers to complete the task.

2. Not Getting the Right Permits

A man planning a diy project with a calculator.

One of the most time-sucking mistakes DIYers make is not getting the appropriate permit for their building project. Not having a permit when one is required could set you back months and might even call for a complete do-over — not to mention fines. If you are not sure if you need a permit, call your local building office and double check. Not only do permits keep everything legal, but they also ensure you are working safely and that your insurance will cover any accidents that may occur.

3. Bad Prep Work

Preparation is key in almost every DIY project, whether it’s refinishing old furniture or remodeling a kitchen. If you are having raw materials delivered to your home, make sure you have the proper space to store them. Ideally, you want materials covered and safely stored away to prevent theft. When you start the project, avoid taking shortcuts when it comes to the prep work. It might take longer to properly prepare the workspace or materials, but you will make up time when your project is done right the first time.

4. Buying Cheap Materials

A set of papers with a a project design on it.

It is tempting to save an extra buck here and there on materials but it could end up costing you more in the long run. Buying materials that are not fit for the job could lead to an inferior end product. Cheaper materials also tend to be harder to work with and are more prone to accidents. The same goes for supplies and tools. You will probably regret, for example, purchasing the cheapest paint you can find for a project. Not only will the end product look bad but it likely won’t stand the test of time. Buying inferior tools will also make you work harder and often leads to undesirable results. Purchasing higher quality materials and tools may be more expensive in the beginning, but they will definitely save you time and money in the long run.

5. Using the Wrong Supplies

A room with drywall and joint compound.

Using the wrong type of supplies is another time-sucker in the DIY world. Paint is a great example of this. With so many options on the market, it is easy to get confused about what kind of paint you should use for a given job. For indoor projects, make sure you use paint that is easy to wash and can take a beating. For ceilings, flat paint is usually recommended. For outdoor applications, use paint or sealers that can stand up to Mother Nature. This is especially important if you need to protect a wood surface, such as a deck. Using the wrong type of paint on a deck could lead to re-painting in the near future and double the amount of time you put into the project.