13 DIY Facts You Need to Know

One thing I have noticed from questions my readers ask is that they aren’t expert do it yourselfers. So I thought I’d share 13 DIY facts you need to know as a novice so you can be better prepared for the experience.

I love DIY projects. I’m also thinking, if you clicked to read this post you must too, right? There have been so many DIY projects completed in our 25 years of marriage I couldn’t even venture a guess to the exact number. That’s a lot of experience though.

DIY wall bench made with tongue and groove boards

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DIY Rustic Wood Shelves for family room makeover

We have tons of before and after home decor projects that gave us this experience.

DIY Facts that will save you Time

1. Your project will take two or more times longer than you are expecting it to. Things always come up, they always do. You get sick, your kid gets sick, the store doesn’t have the part or toll you need, you forgot to prepare dinner, the list goes on and on. So be prepared to spend way more time completing the project than you thought.

2. Short cuts to save time, never do. Don’t rush. Do it right the first time. Even if you get by with an easier way for now, it usually comes back to haunt you. Now that’s not to say everything must be hard, that’s not it at all. Research the best way and stick with it.

3. You will question your design during the project. This will take some time away from the actual doing of the project. Questioning is alright but overthinking is not. When you question the design that’s usually a way of making sure the plan is a good one. Overthinking on the other hand will make you loose momentum and desire to finish your project. So take a moment to question if you really like where you are headed but keep going. Don’t overthink every single detail to the point of having many unfinished projects around your home.

4. It never fails, something you need from the home improvement store will be out of stock. You will have to spend time driving to other stores or eventually ordering online. We have started ordering anything we can online in order to save time. I’ve gathered our favorite DIY tools in one place to shop.

5. Wood is not the size advertised on the sticker stapled to the end. For instance, a 2 x 4 is actually 1.5 x 3.5. If you do not know this you will waste lots of time on measurements. You will get frustrated and think, I hate math. Unless you are me and you always hate math. Keep in mind that cut wood not as big as shown.

6. Wood is also not the same size between manufacturers and/or between runs or cuts from the same manufacturer. Wondering how I know? Personal experience on our kitchen wood plank wall about made us crazy. This is the project that taught us this handy information. We had bought wood planks on 2 different days so they had apparently come from different cuts of wood. After hanging about 8 boards 3 times I figured out what was wrong. That actually cost us lost time and money.

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13 DIY Facts You must know showcasing mantel makeover

DIY Facts that will save you Money

7. Your project will cost you more money than you think. I highly recommend a budget or at least some kind of idea of what you think it will cost you to complete your project BUT keep in mind almost always, it will cost more. Plan for it in order to keep your project moving along. I would go 15-20% above what you think. This is for average home improvement project not complete remodels.

8. Does your city require a permit if your project is outdoors? This may cost money. I am not inside of city limits so I haven’t had this apply to me but it may be something to consider. All I have to deal with is HOA approval but that’s free.

9. Do you have the correct tools to complete the project. There are some tools you can buy, like this one, that will be useful for many projects so purchasing is a good idea. Then there are other tools you may want to rent or borrow from a friend in order to cut your cost.

10. Make sure you place a value on your time. If you are like us, the reason you do projects yourself is to save money. All of these years of DIY experience have taught us that our time is valuable. If you can pay a professional a couple of hundred dollars to complete a task in a few hours that would have taken you days, do it. Your time with your family is valuable. Don’t let one task overwhelm you to the point of frustration which usually causes mishaps and more money.

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Master Bedroom Refresh with DIY headboard

DIY Facts that will save your Sanity

11. Do NOT demo before you have a plan.

12. Do NOT demo before the holidays or a big event.

13. Do NOT demo when your spouse isn’t home if you plan to need their help in the project.

These three above are all self explanatory. They are lessons learned from past experiences.

Demo of hall closet to build beverage bar

Doing projects yourself can be so rewarding but can also fall flat and be frustrating if you aren’t prepared. These DIY tips will help save you time, money and frustrations on your next home project adventure.

Make sure you pin the image below to one of your project boards to reference at a later date. I believe if even one of these 13 DIY Facts helps you with your project I have done my job.

How to DIY like a Pro: 13 DIY Facts you need to know to save time, money and your sanity Pinterest graphic

Happy Building,


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