Every homeowner has a to-do list of improvement projects they’d like to get done. You may be evaluating all the things you can DIY, such as a fresh paint job, bathroom remodeling or little home repairs.
It's important to plan all the steps you'll be taking to complete your project, including safety precautions. Before you pick up a paintbrush, review a few basics to make sure you enjoy the new look of your room as much as the process of creating it.
Creating something new is always exciting, but don’t let it be so exciting that you have to call 911 due to an accident. Before beginning any project, make sure you have a step-by-step plan in place and make all the appropriate measurements. Know what tools you need before you begin, ensuring they work properly and you know how to use them. It's best to work in a space free from any obstructions, so clean and clear the space you'll be working in before you begin.
Ensure your DIY project stays in one place by draping doorways with plastic. Dust can be a huge issue when working on a larger project and the last thing you want throughout your house. Cover all vents with tape and if possible, turn off your HVAC while working.
Don’t forget to prepare yourself for hard work! Avoid loose fitting clothing or jewelry that could get in the way. If you’re working on a project involving any sanding or demolition, get a mask and safety glasses. Additionally, have a first aid kit on hand if any small accidents should happen.
Need to hang something or change a light fixture? Many of us grab a ladder without thinking twice and could be putting ourselves in danger. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, about 2 million Americans seek out medical treatment every year due to ladder-related injuries. To keep yourself safe, here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Always keep your ladder on a firm, dry and flat floor, away from any doorways. If you absolutely have to use the ladder on a soft surface, put a board underneath to keep it stable.
- Never climb above the second rung from the top on step ladders and third rung from the top on extension ladders.
- Angle your ladder properly. Follow the 4-to-1 rule: for every four feet to climb, move the base one foot away from the wall.
- Keep three points of contact with an extension ladder at all times. Face the ladder coming up and down.
Use Tools Safely
When taking on a DIY project, your final product is only as good as your tools. It’s helpful to have everything you have nearby, especially if you’re working in higher areas. Make sure you have quality tools in your tool pouch. Sharpen any blades that need it as dull blades could be safety hazards.
Before working with any power tool, especially if you’re barrowing, ensure the cord is not frayed and all parts work as they should. Be aware of how you handle the cord. Never pull the cord to remove from socket or carry by the cord.
If you’re tackling a project that requires you to cut or shape wood, saw safety is particularly important. The sharp moving parts make it even easier for injuries to occur, if you’re not cautious. Take care with these saw safety tips.
- Never wear gloves or arm jewelry when working with a saw, especially a table saw. Wear protective glasses to avoid getting sawdust in eyes.
- When using a table saw, don’t cut anything that is less than 6” in length. Use a push stick if cutting something of a shorter length is absolutely necessary.
- Stand in front of the saw to stay clear of kickback.
- Avoid cutting freehand and measure out the cut you’d like to make to guarantee your piece comes out straight and prevent any injuries.
- There may be a project you have in mind that calls for a chainsaw. These machines are hazardous if you don’t have experience or are unsure of how to use properly. If so, leave it to a pro.
For any tool, make sure all safeguards are in place and the tool is unplugged when not in use.
Examine Your Walls
Do you know what’s on or in your walls before making changes? Older houses may contain lead paint. In fact, eight out of 10 buildings built prior to 1960 likely have lead paint. Undisturbed, it’s not dangerous, but poses health issues if you’re remodeling or working with a specific wall. Get your walls inspected and remove the paint, either professionally or DIY.
Additionally, if you’re making big changes to a wall, note what could be in the wall, such as wiring or pipes, before making any major changes. This is also a good thing to keep in mind as you’re making small holes in the wall as well.
Did you know there are 20 million miles of underground utilities in the U.S.? It’s likely there are lines around your house too. If you’re doing any landscaping, always call 811 before digging. By doing so, you can better plan your project to keep your home and your community safe.
There are so many options when changing your landscaping around, be sure to utilize the general safety tips even when working outside, as we mentioned above. When operating lawn care machinery such as lawn mowers or trimmers, walk around to make sure there are no large sticks or stones that could get in the way.
Installing a fence is a popular, yet challenging DIY project for homeowners. Since digging post holes generally take some time, its recommended that you call a contractor to help with the holes. Then you’re able to complete the building of the fence yourself. Pros know local code regulations and can place them accurately, allowing you to easily move on to the next step.
There is no better time to enjoy your outdoor DIY project than a sunny summer day. Don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses and bug spray!
Know When to Call A Pro
As much as we all love a good DIY project, there is a limit on expertise. It’s important to know when it’s time to call a pro, specifically, when working with electric, gas and plumbing. If done incorrectly it will not only be a hazard to you, but your house as well, adding more to the DIY project then planned.
Adding your own personal style through DIY projects can be a fun, satisfying and money-saving addition to any home. Create a better experience for yourself by following these safety tips and enjoy the final product!
What DIY experiences have you had? Check out some easy kitchen DIY ideas to start planning your next project.