3 common home improvement mistakes to avoid

June 19, 2015

Mistakes can easily occur when you're renovating your home or working on your property. Avoid common costly errors by learning from these all-time goofs.

3 common home improvement mistakes to avoid

1. Negligent drilling

People have drilled through all sorts of things—hidden pipes, furniture, even their own clothing.

"I wanted to hook up the Internet for my wife's new laptop. My office is right below hers, so I decided to run a cable by drilling through the floor. I measured carefully, attached a long bit and started drilling—and then heard a scream," recalls one regretful homeowner.

"I had drilled through the ceiling into the shower below. As I pulled out the bit, I could see her wet, frightened face staring back at me. Luckily, I'm really good at patching holes."

The takeaway: Know exactly what's on the other side of the hole you're drilling before you start.

2. Trapped creations

Nothing takes the joy out of a well-built project faster than discovering you can't get it out of the room.

"I was building a doghouse in my 2.4-by-3.6 metre (8-by-12 foot) shop. Everything went fine—now I just needed to take it outside and paint it," says a proud DIYer.

"I tried to get it out the door front-to-back, side-to-side, then top-to-bottom, but it was still too wide. After all my work, I wasn't about to dismantle this fabulous project. Two hours later, I finally got it out—after I'd removed the trim, the door and the door frame."

The takeaway: Avoid having to take your door frame (or creation) apart by comparing the measurements contained in your construction project's schematics to the exit through which it'll pass.

3. Careless digging

Call your local utility companies before digging. It can be an expensive (and dangerous) mistake if you don't. People have hit everything from phone lines to old foundations to sprinkler systems.

"One morning, I decided to start digging for my new garden. Because the site was 37 metres from the house, I figured I didn't have to worry about underground electrical wires," remembers one over-confident homeowner.

"Wiring, no, but I cut right through the main cable feed for the whole neighbourhood. No one had TV reception for the rest of the day. Talk about upset neighbours—it was Super Bowl Sunday!"

The takeaway: Check with your local or provincial government, or utility providers, before digging deep into your backyard's earth. Consults are usually available that will flag any wires on your property.

Next time you try your hand at a DIY or home improvement project, keep these avoidable mistakes in mind.

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