Whatever your current list of summer projects consists of, though, it’s important that you take on each task with careful consideration. Diving in without taking time to plan things out beforehand is a sure recipe for failure and can lead to overspent money, wasted time, and an embarrassing array of unfinished projects by the time the chilly fall weather arrives. That said, here are a few top tips to keep in mind as you go about your projects this summer in order to maximize your chances for DIY success.
Create a Vision
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The first thing you want to do is to make sure that you have a list in place. It’s easy to walk around your home, look at all of the projects waiting to be done, and then randomly pick one to start on. However, creating a true vision for your summer home improvements is an important part of setting the stage beforehand.
One of the most important ways to begin this process is by assessing each room in your house and taking into consideration what it already offers you to work with. A bland room with basic drywall and carpeted floors is virtually a blank canvas to work with. On the other hand, a room with a brick wall, a large fireplace, or other distinct features is going to come with some natural design limitations. When this is the case, take the time to consider how you can incorporate existing features into your home renovation plans.
Along with the concept of working with what you already have, it’s important to set your expectations for the execution and the end results of each project. Make sure to avoid the classic trap of thinking everything will look the same as it does on television. Remember that each house is different. Plumbing and electric can be laid out in various ways, spaces can be cramped and difficult to reach or work within, and dilapidated or unkempt areas can be much more difficult to fix than the professionals make it appear on the screen.
In addition to managing your expectations, strive to maintain a positive attitude throughout each project. This can be incredibly helpful, as things can get stressful when your home is temporarily ripped to pieces, and adding in the occasional unexpected complication only adds to the mental strain. There’s a reason home improvement projects are seen as a literal litmus test for relationships. Try to keep your expectations flexible, be okay with alterations and unexpected challenges as you go along, and don’t get stuck on a specific set of desired results.
Once you have your carefully curated list of DIY summer projects in hand and your expectations have been set, it’s important to take the time to organize your list by the priority of each project. It’s easy to look at incredible before and after photos of stellar home renovation projects, then feel inspired to take on your entire house all at once. But the truth is, a proper home renovation takes place one step at a time. Thus, it’s important to make sure you recognize which projects should come first.
For instance, if the paint is peeling off of your home’s siding, you probably want to move that project higher on the list than something like adding a new porch or garden. Consider each project and how it fits into your own wants versus your home’s needs. This ensures that you’ll address the most pressing matters immediately, even if you don’t have time to get through your entire list before the summer ends.
Set a Budget
Of course, a critical home improvement factor that goes in hand with a prioritized list of projects is a proper budget for your summer efforts. Home improvement projects are notorious for being expensive and going over budget. That’s why it’s critical to make sure to size up your financial status before you start any projects.
Another important thing to consider throughout the budgeting process is where your DIY limitations are at the moment. Much like each home, each homeowner is different. Make sure to size up where your limitations are before you tackle projects that you can’t handle. If you find that there are projects that must be done but are beyond your particular skill set, the need to hire a professional for at least part of the process is going to naturally impact your budget.
If you find that you lack the funds to complete projects during that precious window of summer weather, you may want to consider a home improvement loan to help ease the financial burden as well. There are multiple options available, including a home equity loan, line of credit, or even direct personal loans, if you lack the equity required for the former options.
In addition, if you find that you have to set down your tools and abandon the DIY element for a while as you defer to professional help, don’t let it put a damper on your home renovation plans. Remember that it’s summer. Try to take advantage of the natural break — and the fact that your house is under construction — to get away for a bit. Take the family out to a local hotspot, head out of town for the weekend, or even consider setting up the RV for an extended family staycation.
Get Appropriate Quantities
Another tricky concern for DIY projects is figuring out how much of each material to purchase. Fortunately, many big box stores provide entire pages on their website dedicated to calculators for a variety of different projects. All that is required is a simple Google search for your particular material — whether that’s concrete, wood, flooring, or paint — and you should have no trouble finding a suitable calculator.
However you figure out your quantities, though, one critical rule of thumb when purchasing material is to get more than you need beforehand and then return the excess afterward. That way you can avoid extra trips to the store during your project.
The one area where the opposite behavior is suggested is with paint. When you have a paint color mixed for your specific project, it is typically not returnable, which means extra cans of paint are just going to sit in your garage. When painting, make sure to take careful measurements of your walls and windows when making your calculations. Also, consider things like fresh drywall or siding which will soak up more paint on the first coat. Finally, remember that keeping a small can of paint can help with touch-ups in the future, so calculate that in your estimates.
Finish What You Start
As a final exhortation, make sure to finish what you start. Don’t give in to the temptation to move from one project to the next. Before you start each project, consider how long it will take, how much good weather you have left to work with, and if you have the time and energy to finish it before the cold creeps in.
Taking the time to consider your budget, purchase proper quantities of materials, prioritize your projects, consider your limitations, and set expectations are all critical components of successful summer renovations. If you tend to each of these concerns, you’ll likely find your summer transform from one of stress and half-finished projects to a productive, efficient, and even enjoyable experience.