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Ask the Experts: The Top Mistakes Contractors See From DIY Homeowners

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Have you been thinking about taking on a new home project with nothing but your home tool set and some YouTube videos? Before you start busting through drywall, take a look at the top mistakes contractors see from DIY renovation projects.
In the newest post for Ask the Experts, experienced construction managers, Doug Canady and Shaun Spicer, provide 7 reasons why you should consider hiring a professional before attempting a home project yourself.


1. Cheap Can Just Mean Cheap

Usually when a homeowner takes on a project themselves, it’s to save money. We all know what we get when we go with the lowest bid. Even from the most capable homeowner, we tend to see issues. From poor quality finishes to major leaks and dangerous electrical, it will end up costing more money and time to fix. You get what you pay for. – Shaun


2. ABC, Easy as 1-2-3

One of the biggest mistakes is not understanding the importance of the sequencing of a project, i.e., which subcontractor comes before the next. For instance, the drywall needs to be completed before the wood floors get refinished. Not following the proper order can slow the project down. – Doug


3. Size Does Matter

One less obvious but very common mistake is underestimating the length or difficulty of a project. Everyone thinks a bathroom remodel should take a couple of weeks when in reality, it usually takes 6-8 weeks. – Doug
Let’s say all the previous issues mentioned never manifest and it eventually turns out beautifully. You suddenly realize, you have not had access to that bathroom or had a weekend or evening to yourself in four months. The project is gorgeous, but you just lost a third of a year out of your life. Hiring a contractor will allow you to go to work and enjoy your time off the way you intended. – Shaun


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4. One at a Time

Finally, we see the do-it-yourselfer-superman. This is the homeowner who has too many projects at once but none are actually complete. Many times, their eyes are bigger than their capabilities or wallets. They think they can watch a YouTube video or two and take care of everything at once. A couple of ways a contractor can help with this is by assisting in setting up a realistic budget, schedule, expectation and timeline so you are not jumping into something you are unprepared for and everything gets completed in an efficient and orderly fashion. – Shaun


5. A Strong Finish

Flaws in a homeowner’s paint, tile, flooring work etc. can be spotted from a mile away. A good contractor will hire skilled finish installers who do it every day and have years of experience. It is worth paying a professional if you are thinking of doing even the smallest of “facelifts”. Too often we see homeowner jobs turn out just as bad or even worse than the original existing situation. – Doug


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6. Technical Foul!

Many times, we see a DIY’er try their skills at technical skills such as electrical or plumbing. These are not only costly repairs but can be dangerous. These types of projects require highly skilled, licensed, and insured individuals. It is very scary to see what can go wrong when these types of projects are done improperly. Even the smallest mistake here can cause the biggest headache. – Shaun


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7. Licensing

Similar to the previous issue, a person will try and tackle a seemingly straightforward project but when doing so, has caused a majorly dangerous structural issue. A good, experienced, licensed construction professional will be able to recognize any structural issues that may become dangerous if not addressed properly. – Shaun