“They’re there to make sure the job is done right and you don’t hurt yourself,” he says. Plus, for some jobs, such as putting in a wood stove, you need proof of the permit or your insurance carrier won’t cover it.
Not sure if your job requires a permit? The rule of thumb is that you need one for anything larger than painting and wallpapering. It doesn’t hurt to call the building department and ask.
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Starting a job without necessary supplies
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Nothing slows down a job more than not having the right materials and implements.
Manfredini says the reason the pros can do what they do is that they buy quality tools. “There’s always a bargain bin,” he says. “It’s not a wise investment. You lose time and money.”
So make sure to research the supplies you’ll need in advance of the job.
You don’t want them out of order or exposed to the weather while you are working, says Ed Del Grande, author of “Ed Del Grande’s House Call” and former host of the DIY Network’s “Warehouse Warriors” show.
Beware: Thieves can make off with your materials if they’re not properly stored.
And, if you have a septic tank, make sure you know where it is. If a supplier delivering materials in a heavy truck drives over it, you could be looking at a cracked tank. Yuck.
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Skimping on materials
Barbara Kavovit, a do-it-yourself guru and designer of the DIYVA collection of tools and accessories, says she often sees DIYers use 1/4-inch drywall for building walls. It’s better to go with the minimum 5/8 inch, or with 3/4 inch, if you want a good sound barrier.
The same rule applies to plywood for subfloors. Go with 3/4 inch.
It creates a much stronger floor, especially if you’re installing wood on top.
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Using the wrong paint
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One of the most popular do-it-yourself projects around, painting can make a place look great. But make sure you’re getting the correct paint for the job.
Ace Hardware’s Manfredini says flat paint should be used only for ceilings because it’s usually not as washable as paints with an eggshell or satin finish.
On outdoor decks, “sun and rain tear the heck out of the wood,” he says. Clear sealers don’t block the UV rays, and they peel. So, use a linseed oil-based stain — it drives the pigment into the wood and preserves it.
A good, quality paint job is 90 percent preparation, Manfredini says.
Clean the walls, sand them and patch any holes before you paint. A coat of primer or stain blocker is advisable if you’re trying to cover over oil-based paint, stains or peeling paint, or if you’re painting a lighter color over a darker color.
Let’s say you’ve taken out a personal loan or have obtained other funding to get the work done. Nothing will diminish the return on your investment like a trip to the emergency room.
Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall or wood; wear hard hats when you’re working under other people on scaffolding; and open some windows when you’re painting or staining, or stripping old finishes off of floors or walls, says Del Grande, the author and former TV host.
And never wear loose-hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Protect your hands with gloves when carrying wood, metal and rock, or when hammering, and wear a nail or tool pouch to prevent damage to your floors and more importantly, the feet of people and pets.
Are you sure you want to cut there? That’s one of the key questions you want to ask yourself again and again during the course of any home project.
It’s so important for things such as building walls, hanging drywall or cutting baseboards, countertops or pipe. If you’re going to err, err on the side of too long. You can always make something shorter; you can’t make it longer.