Two Absolute No-No's for Home DIY Projects

 This homeowner thought he could lay floor tile. (He wound up hiring a professional.)

This homeowner thought he could lay floor tile. (He wound up hiring a professional.)

Irwin Weiner ASID - I've always said that for my clients who want to tackle a do-it-yourself home remodeling or decor project, I advise them, "Go knock yourself out!" And why not? It's fun to tackle a specific project that can yield spectacular results - and an extreme sense of satisfaction - for less cost than hiring professionals. Here are my general guidelines for any DIY project.

  • The project should have a short span of time between beginning, middle, and end. Starting on a Saturday and wrapping it up on a Sunday is ideal. Some projects may involve evenings for a whole week. Beyond a week? Well, I'd reconsider whether or not that's a true DIY project. It sounds more like living with major headaches and inconveniences to me!
  • Consider the can of worms you're potentially opening when you open up a wall or dig deeper into flooring. You might be in over your head. if you have an older house. I've had friends who tried what they thought were weekend DIY projects and wound up uncovering insect infestations, mold, and rotting wood (which is good to uncover sooner or later, right?). But their short project turned into a much longer professional remodeling job. Try to keep your DIY projects purely cosmetic, like repainting the powder room or tiling a new kitchen backsplash.
  • With TV shows aplenty touting the DIY lifestyle, you need to get real about you and your family. Do you all have the right DIY personality mix to take on even a minor home-improvement task on your own? By "personality mix," I mean determination and perseverance, handiness, accuracy and precision, and a great sense of humor (always key when things don't go according to the step-by-step plans). Get real and evaluate if you're the right kind of do-it-yourselfer.

Here's a short interview with HGTV blogger and web TV series host Laurie March of The House Counselor. She talks about DIY in general and two specific types of projects that should never be considered DIY material!