Avoid These 5 Common DIY Mistakes

A woman looks confused.

It’s easy to make mistakes during DIY projects, and in many ways, DIY is all about trial and error. But there are some mistakes that can cost you a lot more in the long run. Learn how to avoid these mistakes and you’ll learn how to save money and time with your DIY projects.

1. Not Setting a Budget

Even when you're using DIY techniques, projects have a way of costing a lot of money. Set a budget for your planned DIY project and stick to it. Pay attention to how much you're spending, because it's easy to start over-spending.

2. Not Stepping Aside for Serious Clogs

A plumber works on a toilet.

Anything that can't be handled with a plunger needs to be handled by a professional. There are lots of DIY drain cleaning options out there, and they're pretty much all a bad idea. Chemical clog treatments will eat through clogs, but they will also eat through your pipes. You could end up with pinhole leaks in your pipes that cost you big bucks in water bills and eventually create water damage.

The snakes you buy yourself to fight clogs must be handled with precision because they can also poke a hole through your pipes and leave you with an even bigger mess. So if you have a drain that's really clogged, call a plumber to come and deal with it. They have pipe cameras and all sorts of special equipment that DIYers just can't access.

3. Not Getting Help

There are a lot of DIY tasks you can complete yourself, but there are some things that you really shouldn't do. If you're replacing toilets and sinks, for example, you will want to consult with a professional plumber. You can do all the demolition yourself and prepare everything, but use a professional for big jobs like electrical work, plumbing work, and roofing work.

4. Not Getting Required Permits

A building permit.

For most DIY jobs, you won't need to ask anybody's permission. But there are some home repairs and improvements that require a permit. You can run into big costs down the road if you fail to get the proper permits before beginning a job. If you're not sure, call your city or county clerk's office and ask them. While you're at it, check with your homeowner's association because there may be some home improvements that your neighborhood doesn't allow.

5. Not Starting Fresh

One of the biggest DIY mistakes is not being prepared. You can't just slap on a fresh coat of paint and expect walls or a piece of furniture to look great. Start by removing old paint, sanding off old finishes, repairing damage, and cleaning everything that you're doing to DIY. You always want to start fresh, because the finished project will look that much better when you do.

Avoiding Mistakes

By avoiding the worst DIY mistakes, you’ll complete many more successful DIY projects. Prevent yourself from falling into the costly pitfalls that destroy even the best-laid DIY plans, and you can keep honing your home improvement skills in a safe, effective way.