Princeton Capital Blog

How to avoid big problems with your do-it-yourself project

June 2nd, 2011

If you have a few construction skills, you might be eager to tackle a home modification project. Before getting started, here are several steps and cautions that should be considered.

* Make a written plan. Prepare a day-by-day calendar outlining each portion of the project and how many hours it will take to compete.

* Get a city permit. If you are adding a room, putting up a storage building or changing your patio into a room, you need a permit. Some plumbing and electrical jobs require permits, as do changing gas or sewer lines.

* Buy the correct materials. Skimping with inexpensive products can compromise the quality of the job.

* Invest in a set of tools specifically designed for the repair or the construction job.

* Use safety gear. Wear safety goggles when using a power saw. Buy the best gloves for the job. Wear a hard hat if others will be working above you.

* Before you pick up a power tool, climb a ladder or raise a hammer, consider whether you can do the job safely. If you aren’t sure, hire a professional for that part of the project, especially when it includes electricity or moving heat ducts or plumbing lines.

* Be very cautious with chain saws. They send many a do-it-yourselfer to the emergency room.

* Emphasize accuracy. Remember the principle, “Measure twice, cut once,” when working with drywall, baseboards or pipes.

* Expect the unexpected. If you are moving a wall, don’t be surprised to find problems such as termites, mold inside the wall, or electrical wiring that has to be moved.

It’s exciting to plan and to get started on a DIY project, but always remember: Safety first!

How to avoid big problems with your

do-it-yourself project

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