So you’re a homeowner and you’re ready to tackle that first major DIY project. Whether you’ve been inspired by HGTV or something you saw on Pinterest, or simply a desire to get your hands dirty and make the place your own, starting your first DIY project can be very exciting and more than a little overwhelming. If you’ve never done a major DIY project, it can be easy to overestimate the simplicity of the project and underestimate the costs. All of that can add up to a project that drags on for weeks or months, instead of the simple weekend makeover you had planned.
In order to avoid that fate and get your project done right, here are the steps to take in planning your first DIY project.
Decide on the Scope
So, you’ve decided to dive in and do your first big DIY project. Your first step will be to decide on the scope of the project. If you’ve ever watched a remodel show on cable, you know how quickly projects and costs can creep out of control, so it’s always best to start with a solid plan and scope. Here are some important issues to consider when deciding the scope of any DIY project.
One of the most important decisions to make when planning a DIY project is how much you’re willing and able to spend on the project. Try to consider all aspects of the project when completing your budget. You’ll need to purchase materials and tools and account for ancillary costs like demolition and disposal, permits, etc. You’ll also want to include a contingency to account for unexpected expenses that crop up. The size of the contingency will depend on the size of your project, but should be at least ten percent of the total project cost.
Once you’ve started on a DIY project, it can be very easy to let it creep in scope while you’re working. For example, a simple project to replace a bathroom vanity can turn into a full bathroom remodel after you decide to replace the flooring while you have the vanity out. Do yourself a favor and stick as close to your originally planned project as possible.
It’s true that not every possible pitfall can be anticipated. For example, you may take out that vanity and discover a water leak which necessitates the replacement of drywall, flooring and/or pipes. However, you should do your best to stick to your original plan and complete other wishlist items in future projects. There’s no better way to sour on do-it-yourself work than to have a project drag on for months because you keep adding things to your To Do list.
Watching experts complete a project on television or on YouTube can give you an unreasonable expectation of the timeline it will take you to complete a similar project. Be sure to pad your expectations and give yourself plenty of time to finish the project before diving in.
Are you going to need an extra pair of hands for lifting heavy fixtures into place, installing drywall or any other parts of the project? Will you need to schedule experts to help with plumbing, electrical, concrete or other major structural work? Be sure to schedule your project so that it aligns correctly with any help you might need.
What’s your Plan B? If a major problem crops up or your skills aren’t up to finishing the project, what’s your backup plan? Will you call in professionals to finish the job? Or can you leave it unfinished until you have more time and money to complete it? With DIY projects, it’s always a good idea to hope for the best and plan for the worst.
Although enthusiasm is a great asset for DIY projects, you’re going to need to back it up with some real know-how. Educate yourself with any available resources you have access to, such as friends and family who are experts in the field, watching YouTube videos, and reading instructions from experts. When searching for how-tos online, be sure that the people you’re following actually are experts and are demonstrating safe and correct ways to get things done. Remember that anyone can post a video online, and it doesn’t mean that they’re doing something right. If you’re in doubt about how to do something, it’s always in your best interest to consult a local expert for advice.
Now that you have a project plan in place and you’ve armed yourself with the knowledge to do the job, it’s time to get started. Do your best to gather all of your supplies and tools beforehand. This will reduce the need for multiple trips to the hardware store while you’re working, which can put a serious dent in your project timeline. You’ll want to begin by preparing the area where you intend to work to ensure that no unintended areas will be damaged and that the dirt and debris don’t get into non-construction areas. Taking before and after pictures is a great way to document your progress and show off your skills when the project is completed.
Feeling overwhelmed by the idea of a big DIY project? Or started something that you don’t have time to finish? You might just be better off getting some help from the experts in home repair and renovation. With a professional plumber or electrician on your side, things can get a whole lot easier.
partnered post • cc-licensed image by Next Day Blinds