Whether in the design, the use of tools or the mere execution: There are many big and small faux pas lurking for do-it-yourselfers. We reveal the biggest home improvement failures and how to avoid them.
In the trade there is no one who does not know the saying “danger recognized, danger averted” or one of its variations. Because in order to avoid mistakes, one must of course first recognize danger points. The following article takes over this and shows some mistakes that lurk between purchase and final assembly for the do-it-yourselfer.
Do-it-yourselfer mistake 1: sawing
Whether laying laminate or assembling a profile board ceiling – it is very often necessary to swing the (jigsaw). And there are exactly two approaches, the right one and the wrong one. If you do the wrong thing, you just start sawing without a head – and then you can get annoyed about ugly breakouts along the cutting edge.
If you want it to be cleaner, you can cut so that the side of the board that will be visible later points away from the tool when sawing. And on the other hand, before making the cut, he quickly masked both sides with a strip of painter’s tape. This combination prevents unsightly tears in the long term.
Home improvement mistake 2: cropping
We’ll stick with the boards. Do-it-yourselfers in particular make mistakes here who take it too seriously. You take the width or depth of the room and saw the boards to size with millimeter precision. So precise that after a few weeks at the latest the work starts to make unsightly waves. Because of course laminate and co. Expand under the influence of heat.
The only thing is that there is no room for expansion when the boards are pressed against the wall at both ends. Therefore you should consider two points:
- Never buy boards and get started right away. Always let them “acclimate” in the room for a day or two.
- Leave 10 to 20mm clearance to the wall so that the boards can stretch after assembly.
The resulting gaps are optically closed with ceiling or skirting boards – and that leads us to the next faux pas.
Home improvement mistake 3: ceiling and skirting boards
Many people tend to postpone adding skirting and ceiling moldings, making a critical mistake. Because profile shape, skirting height and color have a powerful influence on the appearance of a room. For example, if you choose a very high skirting board with a low ceiling height, you sometimes make it look too dominant – a DIY failure!
Conversely, a mini-bar in a tall old building can appear much too filigree. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet. If only because there are so many different heights on the market. Just a tip: get at least three sample elements and try them out at home. What looks good in the shop doesn’t necessarily have to be at home too.
Home improvement mistake 4: wall paint
Color is the same color – at least that’s what DIY enthusiasts think. And as long as you stay with the same manufacturer, the same color number, nothing can go wrong, right? Unfortunately yes. Because although colors are mixed with high precision and checked again and again, it is still impossible to produce a shade with precise nuances, tranche by tranche.
This means that even if you buy the same color from the same manufacturer again after two years (or even months), it may well be that the color is slightly but visibly different.
This can only be avoided by calculating the amount of color required, for example for a room, beforehand. This value is related to the square meter information on the paint bucket. And then you have to be careful in the shop and look for tranche and serial numbers on the paint buckets – and only buy the same. In addition, buy on reserve, i.e. at least half a liter more than you calculated. Then there is enough “the same color” left to be able to fix quirks.
Home improvement mistake 5: drilling
A set of drills, a powerful machine. Let’s go, thinks the do-it-yourselfer and puts hole after hole in the material – even if its diameter is already beyond 10mm. However, especially in metal and stone, this means that both the tool and the building material are excessively stressed because too strong forces have to be applied for the large hole. As a basic rule, you should therefore remember that you should pre-drill every hole larger than 5mm with a corresponding small drill.
Do-it-yourselfers also often make mistakes when it comes to making wood: With the advent of good wood screws and powerful cordless drills, unfortunately, many do-it-yourselfers believe that they could easily drive the screws into the material. Unfortunately, the material sets limits.
Because screwing a screw into the wood without pre-drilling leads to the material being displaced to the sides. In the worst case, such forces act that the wood is literally blown open – this is almost always the case with thin roof battens and profiled wooden boards. So it should always be pre-drilled with a drill suitable for the type of wood and the thread diameter. And when it comes to countersunk screws, the edge should also be prepared with a countersink.
Home improvement mistake 6: time
Not everyone is a do-it-yourselfer out of pure passion. For some, it’s just a financial necessity. What they all have in common, however, is that work has to be done in their free time. And because it is tight, many are tempted to hectic. Hustle and bustle always leads to the fact that one works less precisely, perhaps omits complex intermediate steps or does not take it too precisely with security.
This in turn can lead to errors and additional costs that could have been avoided. The basic rule should therefore be to always take the necessary time to do it “right”. The best time saved is worthless if you buy it by botching or even injuries.
Home improvement mistake 7: accuracy
The nice thing about DIY is that you only do it for yourself or, at best, your family. No boss who sets time and cost specifications, no customer who tells you how it should look. Unfortunately, many DIY enthusiasts also take this freedom as an opportunity to take it easy with everything.
The spacing between the battens is roughly chosen and the layer thicknesses, grain sizes or drying times are designed in a fairly free-spirited manner. And then of course the result is not satisfactory.
Of course, as a hobby do-it-yourselfer, you can take a more relaxed approach to the work, but you should still show a certain accuracy. There are standards for wallpapering as well as for plastering, painting, laying floors and everything else that craftsmen do in Germany. Good home improvement includes acquiring these standards before starting work and at least using them as a basis for your own work.
Do-it-yourselfer mistake 8: Visiting the hardware store
Hardware stores are really something nice. If only because they combine everything from countless areas under one roof. And some do-it-yourselfers also love to stroll through the corridors without a specific project and get inspiration. But even large hardware stores are sometimes not the best.
Because DIY stores usually “only” target a home improvement clientele. This means that as much selection as possible sometimes comes at the expense of real professional quality – and often at a comparatively high price. Especially if you are planning more extensive projects, you shouldn’t just go to the nearest hardware store, but rather check what the next specialist store for craftsmen requires.
You have taken the first step towards successful DIY by dealing with the sources of error. If you now put your newly acquired knowledge into practice, nothing stands in the way of a successful project!