A Cheat Sheet On DIY Home Improvement Projects and Safety

Industry Observer

They’re fun! They’re easy! They’ll save you money!


Who doesn’t like hearing all of these things when selling their home? When assessing repair and renovation costs before putting a home on the market, most families turn their attention to DIY home improvement projects. While small DIY weekend projects may seem manageable and even fun, did you know a study found that one in two were injured performing yard maintenance and one in four were injured while painting? Who knew paintbrushes could be so threatening!


This isn’t just a result of being clumsy; in 2013, The National Safety Council and 3M TEKK Protection conducted a home improvement safety study and found that 26% of homeowners who undertake a DIY home improvement project end up getting injured. Portland accident attorney Travis Mayor explained various injuries sustained from household projects. Minor injuries like cuts, burns, and sprains can result from home improvement accidents; however, catastrophic personal injuries like brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are often a result of accidents and should definitely be considered. He found that most DIY home improvement injuries occur when there is a lack of tools, safety equipment, or knowledge of the project. People may take on projects that are actually much riskier than they appear. Additionally, they might also not conduct sufficient research regarding the home improvement projects. A combination of these two is a recipe for disaster.


The following home improvement projects are prime examples of tasks people take on, which actually could be much riskier than they appear:

  • Electrical work

  • Gas appliance repairs

  • Plumbing work

  • Roofing repairs

  • Demolition (anything affecting the structural integrity and stability of your home)


Should we leave all of these projects to the experts? Some will argue that a few of the DIY home improvement projects mentioned above are safe. While a plumbing leak or a few broken shingles on the roof can be easily fixed without the need of professional help, it is important to know what you are doing before you stick your head under the toilet or scale the roof. So, how can we prevent DIY home improvement injuries? Below are some helpful suggestions to look over before deciding to take on a DIY home improvement project.


  • Assess ROI of your home improvement project. Before you pour money, time and labor into any household project, ask yourself if the final product will be worth it. Many will want to fix every aspect of their home before putting it on the market, so their home is "perfect". However, that perfection is your perception, not a potential buyers. There are certain home improvement projects that benefit a sale and other projects that won't.
  • Check for permits. A rule of thumb to go by: if multiple permits are required for a home improvement project, it is probably best to seek professional help. Obtaining permits can be a lengthy process, and, depending on where you live, city council’s may be more prone to granting permits to professionals.

  • Determine the size and scope of the home improvement project. Each project will vary depending on the extent of repairs needed. First, assess the project’s current condition then determine how long it will take for you to fix it.

  • Assess the labor needed. How many people are needed to perform this DIY home improvement project? Will there be any heavy lifting? These labor questions should definitely be put into consideration before agreeing to a DIY project

  • Assess the tools and safety equipment needed. The proper tools can make a world of a difference in a DIY home improvement project. Take the time to research what is needed for the project and make sure you have everything. Skipping out on a tool or any safety equipment could double your risk of being injured

  • Recalculate costs: After considering the permits, labor, tools, and all other aspects of the project, will you really be saving that much more money? Will you be saving time? Will your do-it-yourself home improvement project satisfy potential home buyers that come to view the house? Remember, if the finished project won’t appeal to potential buyers, it probably is not worth it.

If you decide to take on a home improvement project, without professional help, make sure you are wearing to correct protective wear including any aprons, glasses, hats etc. Always have a phone nearby, in case an accident does occur; finally, have a first aid kit ready and accessible.


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