Five Pitfalls of Going DIY for Large Renovation Projects

this was part of our unexpected messSoooo….my bathroom was supposed to be finished by this past Monday.

It’s not.

Nope, there’s still a toilet sitting in my living room. No seriously, there is. You laugh but I have pictures to prove it. My husband and I have gone DIY for many home improvement projects and each time we swear we’re never going to do it again. Yet somehow we get ourselves into these stressful situations over and over again. I think we tend to forget how awful things were while working on the renovations because once they’re finished things usually turn out pretty good.

I’m not sure about this bathroom though.

We’ve run into five major pitfalls, drawbacks or whatever you want to call them, with this project. And as I recall from other projects these five things tend to happen every time.

Here’s what you can expect when chartering new territory when becoming a weekend warrior, home DIY’er:

First of all, no matter how many books you read or videos you watch that relate to your project- unless you work in this field or have done it before- you’re not an expert and things are bound to go wrong. Have experts on speed dial, have the DIY network’s website ready to be searched, whatever you do expect the unexpected. You never know what could be lurking under the tile or behind the wall and you won’t know until you tear it all down and discover the bad news waiting for you. After that you’ll have to figure out how to deal with it.

Second: expect to go over budget. You might budget in all the big things like for our bathroom we budgeted for the tub, flooring, paint, vent, light, and the other big things. We didn’t budget in new pipes, new faucets (because ours broke while being taken out), tools that we didn’t have and other minor things that quickly added up into going over budget.

Third:things often take longer than planned. We planned to have the bathroom finished in a weekend. Unexpected things popped up and it turned out to be a lot more work than we thought. Now a week after the start of the project, it still is not finished. Hopefully just a couple more days and we can say it’s done.

Fourth: not having the tools you need. If you don’t have a huge supply of tools, going DIY can quickly become even more expensive than you originally budgeted. You’ll need specialty tools for certain things which can be expensive and even renting them can quickly add up. My husband had a lot of tools then many were stolen last winter right out of the garage. We tended to overlook that when we started this project, forgetting his tool supply was not what it once was.

And the fifth downfall to going DIY is not having the right space to work in. This is really important when it comes to painting, staining and clear coating. I’m working in my basement refinishing my bathroom vanity, let me tell you it isn’t spotless. But I thought I cleaned up enough. Not really. I keep finding stuff embedded in my clear coat- like cat hair. I had to banish my kitty from hanging with me while I worked.

So that’s what I’ve learned from this project. Maybe it’ll help some of you out there when considering whether to go DIY or hire an expert. Or maybe it’ll just help you plan better for the DIY project.

I wanted to plan better. My husband wanted to get it done. Hmmmm maybe next time he’ll let me do more research before tearing things apart.

2 thoughts on “Five Pitfalls of Going DIY for Large Renovation Projects”

  1. I couldn’t agree more!! Finally a renovation post that really tells it like it is! My husband and I are in the middle of a major kitchen renovation; we realized during the planning stages that if we wanted our kitchen done quickly and done right we were going to have to hire a professional. It hurt my pride a little bit at first–because I love DIY–but it’s been the right thing to do.

  2. I feel your pain! My husband and I are remodeling our entire house one room at a time. And since we both work full time our weekends are filled with painting, sanding, caulking…
    So after 4 years of almost constant chaos in my home we still have 2 rooms left to remodel.
    Good luck and don’ t make this your last time to give it a go. There’s such great pride in say “We did it ourselves”!

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