How To Avoid Home Improvement Gone Wrong

How To Avoid Home Improvement Gone Wrong

DIY home improvement is still one of the biggest trends out there. There are entire cable television channels dedicated to home improvement DIY. The top home improvement projects involve the kitchen or the bathroom. You get to see a lot of the success stories but how many cases are there of home improvement gone wrong?

Home improvement gone wrong happens a lot more than we are led to believe. Taking some precautions when you are planning a DIY home improvement project can go a long way in assuring that you do not become a victim of home improvement gone wrong.


What Can Go Wrong?

When it comes to home improvement gone wrong, well, there is a lot of things that can go wrong. The bigger question is how can I prevent a home improvement gone wrong in my world. One of the biggest mistakes novice DIY people make is biting off more than they can chew.

Rome was not built in a day, and neither are home improvement skills. Many a novice has, unfortunately, experienced the chain reaction effect of home improvement gone wrong because they overestimated their skill set.

Here is a good example of biting off more than is chewable. Don and Marie of Michigan decided that they were going to do a little basement remodeling. They were inspired by one of those “flip the house” shows. The show made it look so easy, of course, what the show does not tell you is that there is a crew of professionals that come in and manage the highly skilled parts of the project.

Don is a pretty handy guy, and he thought if they can do it so can I. Again, he did not stop to think about what goes on behind the scenes, like an electrician managing the electrical repairs. Don and Marie bought all the necessary supplies and got to work with the demo.

Unfortunately, they skipped a few steps in the process because those steps were not promoted in the 30-minute show that they watched. Had those steps been considered they would not have found themselves in the middle of a home improvement gone wrong episode in their own home.

Long story short, Don tried taking out a load-bearing wall in the basement that also happened to house their drain pipe and other piping from their kitchen bathroom. The mess was legendary and required some emergency plumbing services to rectify.

The cost of what had to be done to repair what they did was astronomical, and all the supplies that they bought for the project were ruined by the erupted drain pipe and other pipes that were accidentally part of the demolition.

This was their very first home DIY project. Taking on more than your skillset allows, is one of the easiest ways to discover yourself in your own episode of home improvement gone wrong. Here are some other things not to do as a novice:

  • Ignore instructions
  • Shortcut through the planning phase
  • Don’t ignore the need for professional help when you need it

DIY home improvement can be exciting. The excitement can get so great that you dive right in. Diving right in can mean skirting the instructions and shortening your planning phase. This is your home, you do not want to just wing it and hope for the best. Slow and steady always wins the race when it comes to home improvement. Planning and following instructions are vital to the success of your project.

Asking for professional help is not a sign of failure, it is a sign that you take your project seriously and you want to do it right. Get help when you need it.

home improvement gone wrong

If You Start Small Confidence Will Come

Don and Marie, are an example of what not to do when you are taking on home improvement projects. Namely, don’t start with big projects. Most home improvement gone wrong stories do not stem from the homeowners that are doing some backyard patio landscaping, it stems from the homeowners that are doing the projects that are way beyond their current scope of skills.

There are plenty of projects that you can cut your DIY teeth on that will help you practice and develop your skills. For example, landscaping with a small fencing project is a good way to sharpen some of your skills.

Confidence is key when you are planning a major home improvement project. You do not want to dip your toes into the pond of large projects until you have some experience under your belt. Think of it this way when you bring your car in for service do you want the receptionist doing the work? Of course, not. She may have some car care experience through osmosis but there is a big difference between knowing and doing.

Starting with small projects will give you the opportunity to really familiarize yourself with tools, safety, and how to plan for success. It will also give you the opportunity to see how much savings there can or cannot be when you DIY your home improvement.

The moral of the story about Don and Marie is a little pre-planning, and a lot more experience, and their basement would not be swimming in wastewater. Don’t be Don and Marie start out small, build your confidence then take on the bigger projects.

home improvement gone wrong

It Can Get Costly

There are some projects that are just not well suited for anyone but a professional, no matter how much DIY home improvement experience you have under your belt. For example, dock installation for your lake property, or even on your pond.

You may think it is something that can be done by you and a couple of buddies on the weekend but the fact is, dock installation is not just about nailing boards together. It is a very involved process, and unless you do this for a living, your home improvement gone the wrong story could start with “remember the time the dock collapsed and grandma fell in the lake?”.

Home improvement gone wrong risks are not just risky because your project fails, there is a huge financial fall out as well. Let’s say you decide that you are going to build that dock anyway, and it does collapse, and there are injuries. Maybe your home insurance will cover the cost of those injuries, and maybe they will not.

Your homeowner’s policy may not provide coverage for a newly installed dock that was a DIY type project that did not have the right permits and ultimately did not pass inspection. You could be left holding the bag and liable for the costs of the injuries, not to mention the problems you will have with your home insurance.

Home improvement gone wrong can be funny to the outsiders looking in, but it is rarely funny to the homeowners that have to live through it. Remember, Don and Marie, their fiasco cost them over $10,000 in repairs, lost supplies, and clean up.

It can be an expensive lesson to learn which DIY home improvement projects you should give a try, and which ones you should just leave to the professionals. When in doubt call in the pros.

Here is a story about Joe and Jim who bought a fixer-upper. They got a great deal on a little two-bedroom bungalow in a very sought after neighborhood in Malibu, California. It needed some work but they were ready to roll up their sleeves and give it a try. The roof was in rough shape, and in desperate need of roof repair.

Joe had watched some YouTube videos about roof repair and felt like it was something he could do. Unfortunately, as it turned out it was not. He climbed to the top of the roof, and looked around and saw a couple of shingles missing, and that was all he saw. He purchased the materials to replace the shingles, however, the shingles missing were only the tip of the ice burg, and because he was not experienced in roofing did not notice that there was some rot that needed to be dealt with. Two months later, the roof started leaking again during a freakishly pounding summer rain and collapsed right where he “fixed” it.

More of that story? Pay a professional to at least do an inspection and tell you what is wrong with whatever it is you plan on fixing. A damaged roof is a big deal, and well worth getting a professional in to take a look.

home improvement gone wrong

Some Systems are Vital

There are some systems in your home where if they turn out to home improvement gone wrong projects, it is annoying but not the end of the world. Other systems of your home, if they turn into home improvement gone wrong stories, can cause thousands of dollars in damage, and leave you without much-needed services.

For example, you decide to install a residential garage door opener, the process seems to be pretty straightforward. You get your tools together and buy a great garage door opener system. You install it, and lo and behold the door goes up, but will not come down. You fiddle with it for a while, and nothing works. Is it a home improvement gone the wrong situation, yes, is it the end of the world, nope.

Now, on the other end of the spectrum, you have decided that you are going to do your HVAC services yourself, but you do not really know anything about HVAC. You start on your study path and feel like you know enough. You get out there and start taking things apart. You put it back together and crank up that AC. Nothing happens. Nothing kicks in, nothing is blowing. You panic, you try to remember what part goes where you swear you put it all back together with the right way. Yet nothing. Is this a home improvement gone the wrong scenario? You betcha.hea Is it the end of the world? Only if you do not have the money to pay the expert to come out and fix what you messed up.

Moral of this story? Sometimes paying the professional for service is the cheapest way to go, and can save you a lot of stress. Some systems in your home you should not tamper with until you know for sure that you can manage whatever you find. The snowball effect of a home improvement gone wrong can really cause some serious problems.

It All Comes Down to Erring On the Side of Caution

There are quite a few steps you can take to ensure that you never find yourself in your own episode of home improvement gone wrong, and they are all built around planning, and safety. For example, the painting seems like a pretty innocuous activity. What can go wrong with putting a little paint on the walls? As it turns out quite a bit can go wrong.

Falling off a ladder, spilling paint everywhere, those are just two things that come to mind. Taking the safety precautions that you need to will reduce the risk of anything going wrong when you are painting or doing anything else around the house.

Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of starring in a home improvement gone the wrong story:

  • Plan it all out. Planning can help to reduce the risk of missing vital steps in your home improvement project. Write it all down and use your plan as a guideline throughout your project.
  • Make sure you have the time for the project. Shortcuts that result in home improvement gone wrong stories are often taken because the homeowner is running out of time and feels pressured to get the project done. If you cannot get it all done this weekend that finish it next weekend. Do not rush through the project.
  • Use safety equipment. Not all home improvement gone wrong stories are centered around the fail of the project, some stories are centered around the people that wind up in the hospital because they did not use the safety equipment they should have. Use the right safety equipment for the project.
  • Don’t go it alone. Have someone help you with the project. It will make the work go faster, and there will be someone with you to bounce ideas off.
  • Ask for help. When you need help, ask for it. It does not make the project any less yours if you know when you are over your head and need help.

Follow a few simple steps and you can avoid being that family with the home improvement gone wrong story.


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