Like a Good DIY Project? These 5 Home Improvement Tips Are for You

Kristin Luna
Written by Kristin Luna
Updated December 16, 2021
Smiling couple doing DIY project
Photo: Hero Images / Adobe Stock

Manage your DIY home remodel like a pro with these tips

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While it can be easy to flex your credit card, wave your figurative wand, and have a crew complete a project for you from start to finish, there’s also a sense of accomplishment that comes with doing a home remodel yourself. Not to mention, you’ll save a lot of money on labor costs. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a relative newbie, these DIY home improvement tips will help you keep your next project under control and smoothly navigate each phase.

1. Learn the DIY Lingo

Home remodeling can be a lot of fun, but it can also be daunting to go into a home improvement store not knowing the difference between a screw gun and a hammer drill. Before you make a home improvement faux pas, learn these common remodeling terms, which will help you out in the long run as you search for products or Internet tutorials on how to accomplish your project.

2. Know Your Local Codes Before You Start

There are few things as deflating as starting a home project only to have your municipal codes office slap a cease-and-desist notice on your door because the new fence is too high. Before you get too far in the weeds of planning your home improvement project, check over your local code and make sure you know the common DIY construction code violations, as well as which parts of your project require a permit.

3. Buy Extra Materials 

It’s inevitable: You’re never going to know exactly how much material you need until you’re knee-deep in the project itself—and you don’t want to end up 90% finished with a project, only to run out of material. For example, if you’re doing a bathroom DIY project like tiling a floor and ordering a product that you can’t buy at your local builders’ supply, it’s smart to purchase more material upfront than you think you might need. 

Even if you don’t use all the products on your DIY home improvement project, it’s nice to have spare construction materials down the road for when you need to, say, replace a damaged tile or make a repair. Give yourself a bit of breathing room for uncertainties and order between 10% and 15% more material than the project estimate requires.

4. Set Up Shop

Staging a work area and staying organized are critical to avoid frustration and DIY fatigue. Set up a specific area of your home, throw down a couple of moving blankets, lay out your tools and supplies, and keep them organized in the same spot until your home improvement project is complete. 

At the end of each day or when you have completed a task, return to your makeshift shop and put everything back into place so that you know where it is for the next time. Scattering out your building materials and tools—like drills, screwdrivers, hammers, and saws—across a sprawling metropolis of spaces in your home or garage is a guaranteed way to spin your wheels and spend valuable time searching for the right tool when you could’ve been working on the actual project.

5. Know When to Call in the Pros

A man using electric drill on the wall
Photo: eggeeggjiew / Adobe Stock

With almost every DIY project, you’ll inevitably run into a problem that requires a trained professional to address. Major electrical modifications, structural changes like removing a wall or demolishing a bathtub, any projects that could be potentially dangerous, or even simple tasks like tying in the drain line from a dishwasher to a garbage disposal can prove disastrous down the road if not done right upfront. Knowing when to call in a pro helps avoid major issues in the future that require more money to fix than you saved by doing the labor yourself.

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