Doing a Home Improvement Project Yourself-Yes or No?

After you have defined your home improvement project, the thought of doing the project by yourself or with a “HANDY” friend or neighbor may cross your mind. DO-IT-YOURSELF projects are a popular trend in the Home Improvement Industry. However, before you put on your tool belt, you should look at all aspects of your project and ask yourself the following 10 questions.

1) Do you have reliable work habits? Do you tend to stress out easily, lose your temper, or become confused under pressure?  Will you have the patience and persistence to complete the project in a timely fashion? What will happen if it is not completed in a timely fashion? 
2) What will you do if your project goes awry? Remember most contractors are wary about completing and/or redoing someone else's mistakes, including yours. 
3) Are you attempting to do the project yourself for financial reasons? If so, have you looked at the entire cost, including the cost of materials, your time, and the tools you may need to purchase, and then possibly never use again? 
4) What happens if you make a mistake and have to spend more time and effort to correct it? How much money are you really going to save then? 
5) Do you know all the construction steps involved in the project? For most projects this is not the time to be using an installation manual. 
6) How many projects of this type have you done? I hope at least 1 project.        
7) Do you have the skills to complete this project? For most projects this is not the time for on-the-job training.  
8) Is it safe for you to do the project? Some projects can cause serious injury or be fatal if proper precautions are not taken. 
9) Are you familiar with the local building codes and permit requirements? If you do not follow the building code you may be forced to tear down the project and rebuild it to meet the proper code specifications. 
10) Do you have the time to do the project?

If your answers to these 10 questions still leave you feeling comfortable about doing your project, than I would say go ahead! However, if time is of the essence, it normally takes a “Do-it-yourself” project longer to complete because most people are not familiar with all the “nuances” that one would learn from doing the project more than once. Think long and hard about doing a project yourself, especially if it is a large project. Large projects require more time and effort and are usually best left to a professional.

Deciding On A Home Improvement Project

When picking a home improvement project, it’s important to choose one that’s within your budget and abilities.

Let’s face it, just about any home could use a little work here or there. Not all of us have bottomless budgets, however, which makes prioritising our projects important. When deciding on a home improvement project, you should consider the immediate needs of your home, your budget, your ability to do the project if it’s a DIY, and the necessity of the project.

Here’s a checklist of considerations to weigh when picking a home improvement project.

Safety

While some home improvement projects are just nice tweaks that make the home prettier or save you a little in energy costs, some are vital to the safety of you and your guests. Home improvement projects related to safety, such as fixing unstable steps, reflooring a slippery floor, repairing faulty electrical work, etc should take precedence over other projects.

Some safety projects may be related to your home’s original construction. For example, homes built before the mid-90s may have used asbestos as a building product, and as insulation – a known carcinogen.

To be sure, having your home evaluated by a professional to determine if there is any risk areas may be a good idea.

Improving comfort

Making your home comfortable is important. Projects to improve the overall enjoyment of your home, such as installing new carpet, getting a climate control system that heats and cools all rooms evenly, or projects to reduce draughts or mould problems should be high on the priorities list.

Keep your mind on your money

Fixing problems in your home that are costing you money should rank highly on your to-do list. Repairing leaky taps, installing more energy efficient appliances and adding insulation can help save you money.

Be realistic

If you’re considering a DIY project, realistically evaluate your skill before embarking on a project that’s may end up costing you twice – once when you do it, and again when you have to call a professional to fix the mess you’ve created!

Should you need to call in a professional for a job that you haven’t yet mastered, ask if you can provide the labour for him or her. This could reduce the cost of the hire, and also help you to acquire these skills for the future.

There’s no magic formula for deciding which project to tackle first, but this list may go a long way to formulating a realistic home improvement project plan.

Home Security Mistakes to Avoid With Your Doors and Windows

Let’s look at the common home security mistakes that people often regarding their doors and windows. Being aware of these is the first step toward better protecting your own home.

Mistake #1: Not securing all your doors

The first mistake is not securing back or side doors as well as the front door.

Burglars don’t care which door they get in through. If one door is well-secured and one isn’t, guess which one they’ll try?

It’s very common for front doors to be solid, but rear and side doors to be flimsy, especially in older homes. A burglar might actually prefer a side or a rear door, because that’s going to be away from the street where they can be less visible.

Any entrance door, wherever it is located should be a sturdy steel door and frame with deadbolts and strike plates.

Don’t forget about your sliding glass doors which typically have notoriously bad locks.

Fortunately, there’s a fantastically easy solution: just lay down a piece of wood, such as a dowel in the track to keep the door from sliding open if the lock is defeated.

Mistake #2: Old or broken locks & windows

The second mistake is not replacing broken or old locks on doors and windows-or even the broken or old doors and windows themselves!

This one may not seem obvious after you think about it a bit-after all, a broken latch or lock might not be visible, but all that really means is that it won’t attract a burglar. You don’t want to make their job easy if they should happen to try to open it.

Several problems fall under this category:

1. Many doors can easily be kicked in.

The experts recommend having a sturdy, reinforced steel door.

They also recommend improving the strike plate on your door (the piece of metal that attaches to the door frame or door jamb where the deadbolts or latch extends into the frame) or installing one if you don’t have one on each outside door. Deadbolts should not extend directly into the wooden frame.

Unfortunately, most strike plates come with relatively short screws, like an inch or so, so make sure the strike plates you have and any new ones have much longer screws. Short screws can pull out with a good kick to the door, ripping the strike plate out of the door frame, and probably shattering the frame-and then the burglar’s in.

2. Make sure you have a deadbolt on every outside door. This is really important. As I’m sure you know, a deadbolt is much harder to defeat than spring-loaded latches, which you should never rely on for outside doors.

3. Change the locks if you didn’t do so when you moved in. Not changing the locks isn’t quite like leaving the place wide open, but it does mean that someone may have the key to your place. And if they didn’t change the locks when they moved in, then someone else may have a key as well.

This can get a little tricky with apartments. Not all landlords are going to be proactive about this. You might need to ask them or even bug them a bit to get them to change locks.

Mistake #3: Unlocked doors and windows

The last mistake on my list: unlocked doors and windows.

How many times have you left your home wide open?

Have you ever gone ever gone over to a neighbor’s house or apartment intending to come right back, only to end up staying much longer? Have you ever gone to run a quick errand and decided not to bother locking up because you’d be back so quickly? Have you ever slept with the window open in the room or a different room?

Or have you mowed the lawn or done other yard work, worked out in the garage, or sat out on the patio leaving doors open that you couldn’t see?

How secure is your home?

Are you making any of these common mistakes at your home? Correct them now and better protect yourself and your home!