The Best and Worst Home Improvement Projects to DIY
By Yianni Demetrios
Chip and Joanna Gaines make home improvement projects look so easy, but in reality, DIY projects are a lot harder than people realize. For starters, you won’t finish a major kitchen renovation in a weekend like you see on HGTV. Even the simplest project can go wrong.
Many of us are social distancing at home these days and are eager to roll up our sleeves and tackle a new project to keep busy, but some DIY projects should be clearly marked DDIY — Don’t Do It Yourself.
While DIY might save you a few bucks, it’s not always worth the risk. Here is a list of DIY projects you can safely attempt on your own and DDIY projects that you should leave to the experts.
The Best Home Improvement Projects to DIY
Safe at home doesn’t mean being cooped up indoors. Utilize your time and energy to transform your home into an oasis where you can safely relax and unwind.
Transform the backyard
Photo credit: with permission: The Dwight Price Group
Spruce up the space by adding colorful furniture, pillows, and twinkling lights. Don’t stop there — add greenery and a lot of it.
Virginia bluebells, butterfly milkweed and other native Tennessee plants are a lovely addition to patios and yards. You also can build garden beds to grow delicious vegetables. An outdoor makeover can net you a healthy 83% return on your investment.
Paint or stain
A fresh coat of paint can drastically improve your house’s curb appeal. You don’t have to paint the entire house, just the trim, and shutters. Painting the front door can net you 100% return on your investment.
Painting the inside walls also improves your home’s value and protects the walls against wear and tear. A fresh coat of stain on the baseboard and outside deck can make your home feel like new again.
Keep in mind: In addition to the cost of the paint, you will have to figure in the cost of supplies, such as brushes, rollers, paint remover, ladders, and caulk.
You also need to factor in time for the prep work. Old, peeling paint must be scraped off, and windows may need caulking and sealing before you can start.
DIY movie theater
A home theater is no longer a luxury for just the rich and famous. It’s quite easy and affordable to transform a room in your home into a theater where you can comfortably watch flicks on the big screen.
This home movie theater is an example for which a few YouTube videos will provide all the instruction you need to wire sound, add dimmer lights, and a projector for a realistic experience. Adding some comfy recliner chairs and couches will complete your home theater.
Another idea for a home movie theater? Build it outdoors. It’s simple and cheap. All you need is a projection screen, a projector and some lumber. Those items are affordable, and you can handle this project in a day.
And for those chilly movie nights, install a fire pit to keep warm and cozy while munching on popcorn. An outdoor firepit ranks among the top 10 outdoor features that appeal to prospective buyers.
The Worst Home Improvement Projects to DIY
Some jobs are either too time-consuming, expensive, or dangerous to undertake. Here are some projects where one DIY mistake can cost you thousands of dollars.
DIY plumbing projects
While you might be able to fix a leaky toilet or snake a clogged drain, it’s best to leave major plumbing projects to the professionals.
Sure, you’ve watched a lot of HGTV and YouTube videos and you’re feeling pretty crafty. It may seem like installing a new kitchen sink or adding a toilet in the basement will be a breeze.
Not so fast. Don’t do it yourself. Pipes could burst and cause major flooding in your home. Electrocution is also a possibility. Save yourself the headache by hiring an expert from the beginning.
Electrical DIY projects
The same rules apply when it comes to electrical work. It’s safer to leave it to a licensed professional.
Even if you feel like you most certainly can remove an outlet or replace an electrical panel, the risks of electrocution and electrical fires are too great.
Leave these difficult tasks to people who know exactly what they are doing.
Call the experts to replace or fix the roof
Are you tempted to get out the ladder and tack up a few shingles to replace the ones that blew off during the last wind storm? This is another DIY project that’s best left to leave to the professionals.
Experts say fixing roof shingles yourself could cause major interior damage to the home including leaks into the attic and water draining behind the siding instead of into the gutter. There’s also the possibility of falling and injuring yourself.
Tearing up and installing new cabinets and appliances isn’t as easy as it looks on Fixer Upper. There’s a lot of work involved when it comes to remodeling a kitchen.
But if you’re planning to sell your home, a kitchen remodel will boost the value of your home — which means it’s best to hire a kitchen designer or professional contractor to do the heavy lifting.
This is a job that you definitely want done right. DDIY — Don’t Do It Yourself.
Penny Wise and Pound Foolish
DIY projects are a great way to save money and improve your home, but tackling some projects could have you paying more to repair the mistakes.
Figure out the simple things you can do to spruce up your home and leave the bigger projects to the experts. Most times it is worth the extra cash to call in the pros.
Yianni Demetrios grew up in a home built from Sears-Roebuck house plans and found his calling as a do-it-yourselfer. After mastering fence posts and patio tiles, he is working his way up to building his own house from a kit.