ince the expiration of the payroll tax holiday at the beginning of this year, most Americans have seen a 2% decrease in take-home pay. If you make $50,000 per year, your salary just got cut by $1,000. With the economy not quite at full steam yet, this decrease in available cash is probably putting a strain on many households. Read on for some helpful tips on how you can budget for the tax increase.
Do-it-yourself home improvement projects can be the most cost-efficient way to repair or add value to your home. By taking on a DIY project, you can completely eliminate the contractor costs, which usually account for the largest portion of a repair or upgrade invoice.
However, greed can set in once you start saving money and persuade you to cut additional corners in hopes of saving even more money. These shortcuts can compromise the structural integrity of your DIY project and cost you even more money for repairs in the future.
In an effort to guide you away from the common pitfalls of do-it-yourself upgrades, I present you with five don’ts of DIY home improvements.
Never lay ceramic tile without the proper amount of grout.
It’s a terrible idea to cut corners by trying to eke out enough grout from a five-ounce container when laying ceramic tile in three rooms, and a hallway. I learned this the hard way while attempting to lay ceramic tile in my father’s rental home. While the finished tile work shined like sparkling new porcelain veneers, the tiles quickly cracked from the pressure of pedestrians and an insufficient amount of grout holding the pieces together.
The entire problem could have been avoided if we simply made another trip to the home improvement store to purchase another bucket of grout. Yet, with no one eager to make a second trip to the store, we took our chances and tried to stretch a single bucket of grout throughout three rooms and a hallway.
Whereas my results were disastrous, my dear Zing! Readers, you can learn from my mistake and complete your own DIY tile projects a lot more efficiently.
Never start a DIY plumbing project without proper tools and supplies.
Plumbing projects often require tools and supplies you never would have thought you needed before you started the project.
You can easily start a plumbing DIY project believing all you have to do is go in and tighten a nut or a screw to stop a leak, and end up stripping or breaking a water pipe that leaves your home flooded like a shoreline during a full moon.
To prevent this from happening, it’s imperative that you either do research or ask a plumber what tools and supplies you will need for a specific project so you can create a detailed list.
Some of the more common tools you may need for a DIY plumbing project include:
- Pipe cutters
- Solder equipment
- Emery cloth
- Pipe locator accessories
- Pipe freezing equipment
- Pipe thawing equipment
Never re-sod your lawn without marking underground electrical lines.
It’s extremely important that you call your electric company to locate and flag areas where underground electricity lines may lie.
While state codes mandate that underground electrical cables are buried at least two feet deep, rough storms and weathering can loosen the soil allowing underground wires to gradually surface.
By flagging or marking areas on your lawn where electrical lines lie buried, you will take the necessary precautions to preventing an electrical accident when you re-sod your lawn.
Never skip a step when replacing damaged drywall.
When replacing damaged drywall, it’s best to follow the procedure entirely, so your quick fix doesn’t quickly unravel.
Given the fact that drywall is lightweight and fairly inexpensive, many people falsely assume that that there is no need to seek instruction when attempting to replace damaged or unfit drywall. Yet, improperly replacing drywall can compromise the structural setup of your wall, which may lead to the wall unexpectedly collapsing. Also, heavy picture frames or mirrors attached to a compromised piece of drywall can fall and shatter as well.
To obtain a full list of suggested steps to install drywall, check out the tips at DIY Network.
Never compromise the structural frame of your home.
It may be tempting to engage in a DIY home project, such as making a room larger via knocking down a wall, to add to your home’s resale value. However, a project such as this may compromise the structural integrity of your house and could have fatal consequences. To avoid any future problems with the frame or foundation of your home, contact an engineer or a certified contractor before you remove a wall or add a room to your house.
Also, be aware of the specific building permits you may need to obtain before you make any structural changes to your home.
By avoiding the DIY pitfalls listed above, you can rest assured that your frugal home improvement efforts won’t end up costing you extra money in the long run.
What DIY don’ts would you add to the list? Leave a comment below and join in on the dialogue!