There are a lot of factors that determine your experience with DIY home projects. Your skill level, the particular difficulty of the project, and whether it requires permits are all things you can know beforehand. Of course, no home improvement project goes 100% according to the plan. There are always intangibles, and you must expect the unexpected. Here are some things you can expect (and prepare for) during your next home DIY project.
Expect that it’s going to be messy and uncomfortable for some time
Dust, noise, and debris are all givens of home remodels. If you can’t live with the physical construction byproducts of making changes to your home, you may not want to get involved in a demanding or lengthy project.
One aspect of DIY work that some people tend to overlook is the time spent “under construction.” It’s always best to overestimate the time any project will take, as there will always be delays and setbacks. Let’s say you only have one full bathroom in your home and you want to remodel it. Are you ok with being unable to use your bathroom comfortably for weeks? Don’t stack home improvement projects if you or those in your family have a tendency to be overwhelmed by construction. It’s one thing to have to deal with a demolished bath - but dealing with that, along with a partially-unusable kitchen, and a torn-up backyard? Now that’s a recipe for stress.
Expect a lot of financial stress (even if your project is on budget)
You should always expect to run over budget on your home project. This is not to say that you will always go over budget, you just have to be prepared for it. It’s smart to construct your budget, and then set aside 10% extra for DIY’s little curveballs. If you’re working on something moderately to very difficult and you’re not a professional, you have to expect that you may mess up and be forced to purchase extra materials, or simply utilize materials in a less-efficient manner than someone with more experience would.
Even if you are able to keep your budget, just visualizing the costs as they roll in can be a shock to the system.
“Even if your project is right on budget, the sheer amount of money you are spending may cause a bit of a freakout. If you’re used to writing four-digit checks, you can easily be writing checks with one or two more zeros during a large remodel,” notes Houzz.com.
The point is to always be sure you’re in a solid place, financially, before committing to a large DIY project.
Expect to need some help
Even if your plan was to do the project on your own, you should always expect to need some help along the way. This could mean you simply need help from friends moving out old items (before/after a remodel), even if it’s just to temporary storage. Or it could mean hiring professional help if you find, at some point down the road, that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
Most projects that require pro help halfway through involve DIY’ers running into some problem that’s well above their expertise level, and that could possibly be dangerous. A lot of the time this is electrical work, plumbing, moving gas lines, etc. There are also a lot of projects that require permits in some areas that you may not know about, including building a deck, replacing windows, putting in a gas range, and putting up fences.
Be confident in your ability to DIY when it comes to home improvements and remodels, but be realistic, make a plan, and expect the unexpected.