With the growing popularity of HGTV, TLC and a host of other channels dedicated to home improvement and do it yourself work, the need for homeowner education is becoming even greater. The channels’ simplistic view of how easy it can be to make remarkable changes to a home is extremely misleading, and frankly a little dangerous. If you think this is a dramatization, take a look at “Renovation Realities” on the DIY Network. The show almost seems like a comedy, more so than reality TV. In one episode a couple removed walls with no regard for what they might be supporting or electrical wiring and venting within. These are dangerous actions that can lead to serious injury to the homeowner as well as future owners. One mistake that would have been caught by a professional could cause irreversible damage to a home’s structure.
This is not a warning to never do any home renovation yourself. It is simply a cautionary statement to know and understand your limitations. If you have never done electrical work, do not let your home be your practice ground. And if you must do it yourself, pay a licensed individual in the particular trade to supervise or inspect your work at each juncture. This will help you ensure the project is done to code and will meet all the requirements you need the space to have.
Educate yourself… Educate yourself… Educate yourself… This statement cannot be made enough. Your local hardware store offers a variety of classes that can help you learn the basics for most renovations. For example, you can learn how to lay an engineer flooring, set tile, minor electrical work, properly painting, and even installing cabinetry. However, if when you look at the scope of work you feel overwhelmed, don’t just give up on your goals. Find a contractor that you like and trust and check their references as well as their standing with the BBB. From there you can try to work out a deal where you act as a laborer on the project. This way, you gain valuable experience on the process of renovation but you also cut cost because that is one less individual who has to be paid.
Don’t get me wrong I love HGTV and the spotlight it has given to the interior design world. However, I want viewers to stop and take a realistic view at what their watching and the likelihood that they can renovate an entire kitchen in one weekend for $2500….