DIY Disasters: Not a Laughing Matter

by Annie Deakin - Date: 2009-12-25 - Word Count: 496 Share This!

The television series Home Improvement revolved around a so-called DIY expert who routinely bungled projects, often with hilarious results. In reality, however, mistakes while repairing your home are not funny. 16% of would-be home repairs end up further damaging property, and 20% of people in England admit to having injured themselves or someone else while attempting home repairs. In that small country, nearly 200, 000 people a year end up in the hospital because of bungled home repair jobs.

The major reason for these serious mishaps is people attempting home repairs they are not qualified to do. Many people, especially men, attempt repairs themselves rather than calling in a professional out of a sense of pride. Some men appear to base their self-image upon their perceived ability to repair items in their home, and up to 2/3 of English men surveyed admit to allowing a partner to pressure them into attempting repairs they are not comfortable with. Similarly, some women attempt home repairs in order to prove that they are just as capable as men of performing these repairs.

Unfortunately, these people are the ones most likely to bungle home repair jobs. The consequences can be serious for both their health and their budget. In addition to risking injuries or property damage, amateurs attempting home repair can invalidate their homeowner's insurance policies. This means that the damage caused by improper home repair jobs will not be covered by insurance policies, and in some cases the insurance company may choose to cancel the policy altogether.

For an extra fee, you can often add accidental damage to your existing homeowners policy. Accidental breakage of bathroom fixtures such as sinks and tubs is usually included in basic homeowners coverage, but you will need the extra policy to cover other types of damage, such as hammering nails into pipes. Are such policies really worth it?

The majority of bungled home repairs occur due to errors such as using the wrong tool, attempting repairs without understanding the needed procedures, and repairing items yourself, which require professional assistance. Rather than paying extra insurance fees to cover mishaps coming from misguided repair efforts, wouldn't it be better to simply call a professional?

Although you may have to pay out of pocket for the professional repair person's services, you would be saving yourself the risk of accidental injury or damage to your property.

Whatever you decide, it is important to use common sense. Some home improvement projects are too dangerous to attempt on your own, even if you do have an understanding of what you're doing. If your proposed repairs involve adjusting gas pipes or electric wires, it is best to call a professional. It is simply not worth the risk of killing yourself to attempt these repairs yourself.

DIY home repairs have become popular because of the convenience and the money saved if you do them correctly. However, if you don't know what you're doing, the results could be costly or even deadly; always be careful and use common sense.

Annie is an expert furniture and interior design writer. Her current area of specialism is curtain pole, dressing table and sofa salen
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