Category Archives: DIY

DIY Home Improvement Tips to Your Success

Everyone knows DIY home improvement projects save you money. Whether you’re improving your home for a better living, or to raise its market value, the greatest reward however is not the money normally. It is the satisfaction of knowing that you did it yourself.

Let’s face it though. Homeowners like you and I are mostly amateurs at home improvement projects. We over estimate our skill levels and become disappointed when we fail to complete the do-it-yourself home repair in time and within budget. More often than not, we just abandon the projects half-way through.

You don’t have to let that happen to you. After several failures, I have taken the advice from friends and the professionals and compiled them into a list of quick home improvement tips. They’ve helped make my last few DIY home improvement a success and I hope they’ll help you too.

1. Plan, Plan and Plan Some More

You can’t go wrong planning ahead and be prepared. Work out the project in your head, put it down on paper, then go through it again carefully when you do the actual work. Get more materials than you need. Wastes and scraps do occur in DIY home repair. You’ll be glad when you don’t have to drive back and forth the hardware store to get yet another piece of wood, or yet another pail of paint.

2. Divide and Conquer

Divide the whole home improvement repair project into smaller tasks that are complete on their own. Don’t think of painting the entire house inside and outside, upstairs and downstairs in one weekend. Think about painting your kid’s room or the kitchen. They will be much easier to handle one small job at a time. And in case the whole project drags on for a while, at least things won’t be so messy.

3. Better Safe Than Sorry

When the professionals need to wear hard hats and protective glasses, what makes you think you’re better and don’t need those gears? Ear plugs, dusk masks, safety boots are all essential safety gears depending on the type of do-it-yourself home repair job. Don’t have any of them? Well, which you would prefer: Spending money to get the gears now, or to pay the hospital bills later? Your choice.

4. Quality Counts

Saving money by skimping on quality materials and tools is a bad idea. Sure your do-it-yourself home improvement will cost less. Instead of lasting for 10 years though, maybe you’ll have to redo the project in another 5 years. The right tools will probably get the job done in a month but now you need 3 months or more. You may save money in the short term, but it may cost you more in the long run. Be reasonable though. Don’t pay for quality out of your reach.

5. Complete the Job

Don’t leave your DIY home improvement project hanging. Finish it. Maybe you’re out of time to complete the project this weekend. So put the tools away, and remember to bring them out again next weekend. Don’t ever start more home improvement projects unless you’ve finished the current one. If you don’t stick to this rule, nothing will ever get done. Really.

A Foolproof DIY Home Improvement

Among the biggest winners of the 2012 stock market was Home Depot – up just a tad over 47%. This reflects renewed confidence in the housing recovery and the willingness of home owners to once again sink some money back into their properties in the form of home improvements.

Many of these projects are of the DIY variety such as decks, patios, or bath and kitchen upgrades.

Although most of these do it yourself projects have happy endings, many languish in a half finished state for months or are never completed. Worse yet, some end up looking like, well, I don’t want to be unkind, but we’ve all seen examples of what I’m referring to.

But who can blame a guy or gal for trying? If these do it yourself projects were so easy there wouldn’t be a need for trade schools or apprenticeships.

There is, however, one DIY home improvement that guarantees a 100% success rate no matter how skillful you are (or not) as a home handyman/woman. The foolproof home improvement I’m alluding to here is the electric fireplace.

Now I know some of you reading this probably wouldn’t put an electric fireplace in the same category of home improvement as a bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinets, but before you pass judgement, consider these criteria for what qualifies as a home improvement.

A home improvement should:

1. Provide a tangible benefit: An electric fireplace provides supplemental zone heating to any room in your house for as little as 15ยข an hour. Many models are also capable of operating with the fan only for year round use and include a washable air filter.

2. Beautify your home: An electric fireplace is sure to become the focal point of any room where it is installed.

3. Retain as much value as possible: According to a recent article in Bloomberg.com titled “The Real cost of Home Improvement” the most popular upgrades recoup between 51% and 72% of their cost when the house is subsequently resold.

Since an electric fireplace is not a permanent fixture, it can be moved from home to home without incurring any additional costs and loses not of its value.

Now for the “Foolproof DIY Home Improvement” claim. Electric fireplaces do require assembly which is the DIY part. But if you can follow simple directions, and have mastered the art of the screwdriver, you’ll not only do it right the first time, your finished mantlepiece will look like you spent years studying the fine art of cabinet making.

Measuring the Success of a DIY Home Improvement Project

Gauging your success

How does one gauge the success of a do it yourself home improvement project? What level of expectations should we have upon their completion?

For a good many people, evaluation of a DIY home improvement project is out of the question. There is a general misconception that once a DIY project is done, it’s done. No need to further evaluate whether the project was really a success or not. The need to evaluate the success of a DIY project has two main goals:

o Establish whether the project had been executed according to plan.

o Establish whether you’re improving as compared to previous different projects that you have done before.

The criteria

1. Cost- how does one evaluate the true cost of a DIY project? Start with the basic raw materials. A central blueprint for any DIY project should have a list of the materials for the completion of a project. If the cost of the finished product and the projected cost of the project do not match, then this should be avoided in the future. A disparity of 25% from the actual cost can be acceptable.

The point of a DIY home improvement project is to basically save money. Saving money entails sticking to a budget- which has already been computed to be cheaper than actually hiring or buying finished goods.

In some rare instances, central plans have wrong computations- this is fine, as long as effort is given to remedy this problem in the future.

2. Finished product- whether you’re replacing floor boards or making a rocking chair, one particular consideration would be the finished product itself. Simply put, does it look good?

Of course, do not expect that a hand-made cabinet made with spare wood found in the garage can look as attractive as the ones you buy from a furniture store or a factory outlet. But at least, the finished product should look decent, in combination with other pieces of furniture in your home.

This criterion is especially important when you plan to make large-scale DIY home improvement projects, such as replacing walls or parts of the roof. Once you’re done, indeed, you’re done.

3. Timeframe- one thing should be made clear when we talk about DIY home improvement project timeframe: time does count. This issu can be discounted if you have a lot of free time in your hand: for instance, summer vacation or the like. But if you’re doing the DIY project on weekends, you have to make sure that you’re completing the phases of the project on time.

The reason for this criterion is that time is money when you think about it. If you spend three months creating a cabinet no bigger than a child’s table, then there is definitely something wrong with the project. Laziness should be eliminated in the picture- you can’t simply reason that you’ve been lazy. What would be the function of timeframe then?

Timeframe can vary from project to project. Try your best by sticking to a limited timeframe; indeed this will have its reward in later DIY projects. You can call it GOAL Setting.