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Do’s and Don’ts for Your Next DIY Home Remodel

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The right home remodel can make your home look and feel like new, plus lead to better curb appeal and a higher resale price in the future. When you’ve saved up a bit of extra cash or come into a financial windfall, you might want to make that money go as far as possible by attempting a DIY home renovation project.

If you decide to break out the hammer and nails to upgrade your property yourself, it’s important to keep some key considerations in mind, as well as avoid common mistakes made by enthusiastic homeowners. Today, let’s break down some of dos and don’ts for DIY home remodeling projects.

What to do during your next DIY home remodel

Homeowners and a contractor discussing home renovation ideas over paperwork.

What separates successful DIY home renovation projects from less-than-stellar ones? Making the right choices and pursuing the best strategies. Here are some examples!

DO: Prioritize projects that add the most value

A couple planning out their DIY home remodel project surrounded by construction tools and materials.

With a few thousand dollars in your savings account, it can be tempting to find the flashiest project and get started right away! But it’s much wiser to consider different home remodeling projects and choose the ones that will add the most value to your property.

For instance, adding new wallpaper to your home won’t substantially boost curb appeal or make your property more attractive to prospective buyers. In contrast, replacing your garage door could do wonders to make your property more attractive, more secure, and better for future buyers years down the line.

DO: Research code requirements

A close-up of a building permit, yellow hard hat, and blueprints for a DIY home renovation.

Depending on the home remodeling project you pursue, your improvements and upgrades might require you to research local building codes. Always double-check that your home renovations won't get you in hot water with housing authorities in your area. For example, your new appliances might need to be ENERGY STAR-certified to comply with state codes or housing permits – so be sure to buy appliances that fit the bill instead of whatever you can find at a local shop!

DO: Incorporate new appliances early

A man installing a new dishwasher as part of a DIY home remodel project.

Speaking of appliances, incorporate any new additions to your home into your renovation plan from the get-go. Far from being last-minute inclusions, appliances can often dictate the flow, feel, or function of a given room. On top of that, you can use appliances to inform your inspiration for a space overall.

Say you want to install a new dishwasher in your kitchen. Depending on what the dishwasher looks like and how big it is, you could use that new appliance to guide your renovation efforts regarding countertops, shelving space, and much more.

DO: Order extra materials

Construction materials amassed inside a house for an upcoming DIY home renovation.

Always assume you'll need more raw materials, ranging from nails and tools to specific stuff like floorboards or insulation, than your plan calls for. If you want to swap out existing window frames with new, energy-efficient ones, be sure to bring a utility knife, plenty of caulk, and some extra trim and window frame pieces in case you make mistakes or measure what you need incorrectly.

DO: Take your time!

A man cutting in the edges of a gray DIY home renovation paint job.

During your DIY home renovation project, don't rush through anything. Even the simplest home improvement ideas take lots of care and attention to execute properly. Give yourself several hours, days, or weeks to complete your project from start to finish.

By taking your time, you’ll make fewer avoidable mistakes and be much more pleased with the final result, whether it’s a set of new windows, a brand-new front door, or something much larger, like a completely redone master bathroom!

What not to do for a DIY home renovation

A man considering DIY home renovation ideas while wearing work gloves and considering his workspace.

It’s just as important to prevent avoidable mistakes from affecting your DIY home renovation, particularly if you want the results to be as exceptional as possible. Specifically, you should not do the following things to ensure your DIY home remodel goes off without a hitch.

DON’T: Underestimate costs and time

A model house atop a stack of coins meant to illustrate the financial investments of home ownership and DIY home renovations.

Save yourself a little financial heartbreak by committing this to memory right now: Your DIY home remodel will take a little more time and money than you initially projected. Underestimating either can cause frustration or force you to pause your home renovation in the middle until you can save up enough money to finish the job.

DON’T: Follow short-term fads

A staged living space with minimalist furnishings and a wall arch indicative of modern interior design trends.

Home design and aesthetics fads come and go like the seasons. Instead of trying to imitate home improvement ideas you saw on Instagram or other social media platforms, look inward and ask yourself what you really want to upgrade or change about your home. If you follow home design fads you find online or elsewhere, you might find yourself less than satisfied a few weeks or months after spending a ton of time and money.

This doesn’t mean you can’t take inspiration from online sources, of course! But you should always take that inspiration and compare it against what your property actually looks like, what you can reasonably finish yourself, and your realistic budget.

DON’T: Work without a plan

A hand checking a row of boxes on a clipboard list to indicate completed steps in a DIY home remodel plan.

Whether you have DIY home renovation experience or not, you should always begin your process by drawing up a plan for your overall project. Coming up with a plan will help you project the materials and costs involved, as well as ensure you don’t forget anything vital.

For instance, say you want to attempt a DIY window installation of a new energy-efficient window for your living room. After some research, you’ve settled on a new double-hung window, which will be ideal for letting in some fresh air. To complete this project, you’ll need to:

  • Gather the right materials
  • Purchase the new window
  • Make sure it's at your house on the same day you remove the old window
  • Remove the old window carefully without damaging your home
  • And so on

With a step-by-step plan in your pocket or on your computer, you can knock out the project safely, efficiently, and successfully.

DON’T: Cut corners

A woman working on the plumbing under a sink as part of DIY home renovations.

Never try to rush the DIY home remodeling process! Going fast to save money will more than likely cause you to make a mistake or break something, costing even more cash than you would have spent if you had taken your time.

Similarly, don’t try to cut corners by purchasing subpar materials or cheap alternatives to trusted industry standards. For example, when upgrading your home’s siding, opt for quality vinyl siding panels from quality brands not cheap ones “on sale” to save a few bucks.

DON’T: Single-handedly attempt a project that requires experts

A group of people reviewing a house’s floor plan and smiling about their DIY home renovation ideas.

Sometimes, you’ll run into a project or problem that you simply can’t solve without years of experience or specialized tools and materials. In these instances, don’t try to save a few bucks by tackling the work yourself; calling local contractors is a much better bet.

In fact, if there’s any element of your home remodeling project that needs the experienced hands of professional contractors, it’s always smarter to hire the experts instead of attempting it yourself. For instance, if you’re looking to replace an old window, door, or roof with a newer, better version, consider calling your local Window World franchise.

With the most talented and respected contractors in the industry and a large catalog of excellent products to choose from, Window World is well-equipped and ready to help you with your next home remodel – even if you want to DIY some of it! Contact us today or visit your local Window World showroom to explore your options.

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