DIY home improvements are all the rage and have been for some time. Home improvement manufacturers consistently produce and market product lines especially for the DIYer. Not to poor-mouth this useful home improvement route, as you can save a few bucks here and there, if you know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, DIY culture has backfired on too many homeowners. Here are the three such projects to reconsider, before you, too, fall victim.
1. Fence Building
True to a certain extent with decks as well, how to build a quality fence is not something you can look up on the Internet. Sure, hundreds of websites exist with detailed, step-by-step directions on how to build your own fence. Hard enough to do as it is, fence building in north Texas is different than fence building in the Pacific Northwest or near the Great Lakes or in southern California. Regional factors such as soil consistency, wind exposure, and annual rainfall will affect everything from how far apart and how deep your fence posts should be to the material of the fence itself. Keep in mind, too, that online guides usually don’t accurately portray the difficulty in handling sloped lawns or mention the disaster scenario of hitting underground sewer or power lines.
In some cases, the prospect of building your own fence is so incongruous with these facile, online guides that you shouldn’t take it for granted that a reputable fencing professional knows exactly how the project should proceed.
2. Deck Building
To build a deck, you need a design, a building plan, and the know-how to construct the deck to specifications. No simple feat, although any number of resources or basic carpentry skills can prematurely convince homeowners that they’re up for the task. Partial knowledge is a dangerous thing. Many homeowners know, for example, that deck building usually requires deck screws. They probably also know that deck screws are specially designed to resist the corrosion associated with the stress of being exposed to the elements and being able to drive into the wood (or other material) without damaging the planks or exposing them to the elements. Knowing how various shanks and driver heads will affect the performance of the screw (and the entire fastening system) in various types of woods, composites, and deck designs, however, is an important piece of the puzzle and beyond the knowledge of most homeowners.
Of course, handy DIY deck building kits create a cohesive design, plan, and material layout for your deck, but these kits may suffer from the same fate as fences by not taking into account regional and climactic factors. Moreover, these building kits, even in ideal conditions, won’t be able to deliver anywhere near the same level of quality and durability as a professional. Plus, small to moderate sized decks aren’t as expensive to build as some homeowners imagine.
Nothing is so deceptively simple as drywall. A professional could probably teach you how to drywall in a single hour, but given an entire week to practice, most people still wouldn’t be able to replicate what that pro can do. DIY drywall generally means drywall repair that is either so small that the difference in drywall texture is insignificant or the area of the wall is going to be covered by a picture or wall hanging. Admittedly, some drywall texturing is easier to emulate and reproduce than others, and the learning curve is steeper for some than others, but if you don’t already have experience handling drywall, you should probably steer clear. Plus, in the hands of an amateur, the mess of drywalling can leave a dust residue that may permeate through the entire home. This also means even if you possess the patience to complete your own drywalling, the rest of your household may not.
One Final Reason
Naturally, these three common projects are far from a complete list of home improvements that should cause homeowners pause, before attempting on their own—nor is it a comprehensive list of things that can conceivably go wrong during your decking, fencing, and drywall projects. For the overly ambitious, here is one final and hidden danger in taking on the wrong or too many DIY home improvements—property value.
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