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Living Space: The 5 biggest mistakes DIYers make — and how to avoid them

Jessica Bennett, BHG.com on

Do-it-yourself projects let you customize your space, provide a savvy way to save money on home upgrades, and elicit a swell of pride when the final product turns out just the way you envisioned. But even with the most meticulous step-by-step instructions, DIYs don’t always go to plan.

According to a recent survey conducted by the home services website Angi, nearly 80% of homeowners make a mistake while attempting to tackle a project themselves, which can result in expensive property damage, serious injury or even a home disaster. DIY projects are best done right the first time, and there are a few key steps you can take to avoid a costly and potentially dangerous error. Here are some of the biggest DIY mistakes homeowners make and how to avoid them.

1. Taking on too much

More than 40% of individuals find DIY projects more challenging and expensive than they expected, according to the survey, which involved 1,000 American homeowners who had tackled at least one DIY home improvement or renovation project since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. By taking on a task that requires more time or skill than you can handle, you risk ending up with a big mess and an unfinished project. Plus, the costs of materials, power tools, safety gear and other essentials can quickly add up, and mistakes can be costly to fix.

“It’s important to think about why you want to DIY and what you’re hoping to get out of it before committing to a big project,” said Bailey Carson, a home care expert and head of the Book Now service at Angi, in a press release. “If you’re doing it just to save money, you might want to reconsider. Without the time, tools and talent to do it properly and safely, mistakes may cost you more in the long run than simply having a pro come in to help from the beginning.”

How to avoid this mistake: Take time to research the time, skills and materials needed to complete a project, and think carefully about whether you’ll be able to handle it.

 

2. Using the wrong tools

A third of the survey respondents admitted to using the wrong tool for a DIY project, which can make the job more difficult and less safe. Many tools are designed for specific uses and materials, and employing them for other tasks could result in injury, longer working time or poor-quality results. Make the job run smoothly and safely by choosing the proper equipment. This is especially important if your project calls for specialty tools, such as a certain type of power saw.

How to avoid this mistake: Always use the proper tools for each project, and ensure you know how to use them before diving in. If a project requires expensive equipment that you don’t own or plan to purchase, you can often rent the necessary tools at home-improvement centers or other rental companies. If you’re not sure which tool to use for a certain project, always consult an expert first; a professional at your local home-improvement store can likely point you in the right direction.

3. Not prioritizing safety

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