Oops! Avoiding Common Home Improvement Blunders

by Patrick Cowan (Articles and Advice, MServicemagic)
Four weeks ago I stumbled upon some great plans for a wooden outdoor lounger.  Because I wanted an excuse to buy new tools, I decided to build it. Needless to  say, it didn’t go as planned.

Knowing nothing about furniture building and lacking the proper tools, I  decided it’d be a great idea to build it for my wife (at least part of my  decision was based on the fact that I needed an excuse to buy a miter saw).  Needless to say, my project didn’t go as planned. Four weeks later, there’s a  half-built wooden outdoor lounger sitting on our patio.

I’ve been a homeowner for five years. In that time I’ve made nearly every  home improvement mistake a homeowner can make. Mistakes that have cost me time,  money, and a trip to the ER. Thankfully, I’ve learned (somewhat) from them. Want  to not be like me? Then make sure you do the following:

Buy good tools – Yeah, tools are expensive. But you know what’s more  expensive? Buying two circular saws because the cheap one you bought the first  time around broke. As they say, you get what you pay for. Spending more now will  ensure you get tools that will last a long time.

Plan ahead – This one can be tough. In fact, oftentimes impulsive  projects turn out to be the most fun. But don’t let impulsivity prevent you from  properly planning your job. Want to guarantee yourself a dozen trips to the  local home improvement center? Forgo planning and that’s where you’ll be  spending half your weekend.

Know when to hire a pro – There’s a reason plumbers charge as much as  they do: they’re specialists who know what you don’t and have the skills and  tools to do what you can’t. Just because you can take apart your toilet or cut  through a copper pipe doesn’t mean you should. For what it costs to buy all the  materials and the time it takes to try and do-it-yourself, you could’ve just  hired a plumber to do the job right in a fraction of the time.

One job at a time – Want a house full of half-done projects? Great!  Just start a new project before an old one is finished and you’ll be good to go.

Throw out the lowest bid – No one wants to hire the most expensive  contractor, but as mentioned above, you get what you pay for. While you might be  tempted to go with the lowest bid, don’t. Often that contractor is cutting  corners somewhere to make up for the savings. That usually means cheaper  materials or lower quality work. Save yourself the hassle and hire the right pro  the first time.

Now I’d like to tell you that I learned from my mistakes the first time. I  can’t. The good news is, I’m starting to learn that home improvement projects  are a whole lot easier and a whole lot more fun when you do things the right  way, right away.

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