Do-It-Yourself Home Projects: Balancing Cost and Risk

Ever see a beautiful DIY home project on Pinterest and think, “That doesn’t look so hard”? Then, five hours later, you’re cleaning paint off the floor, nursing an open wound and Googling Home Depot’s return policy. What went wrong?

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As easy as some of these Pinterest wizards make it seem, DIY projects aren’t always accessible to amateurs, and sometimes they can have dire consequences if you don’t know what you’re doing. Protecting yourself is the most important element of completing a DIY project, so be sure to live by these five essential rules before you bust out the toolbox.

1. Protect your eyes

Exposing your eyes to toxic fumes can cause permanent damage, so you’ll want to make sure they stay protected at all times. Especially when you’re working with saws and hammers, wearing protective eyewear can prevent dust, wood chips and other pieces of debris from coming into contact with your eyes. Not to mention, keeping your eyes protected helps you see better and remain focused on the project at hand, which prevents a number of other potential accidents.

2. Protect your body

Beyond just your eyes, you’ve got to keep your whole body covered when working on a DIY home project. Make sure you equip yourself with the proper gear that each project calls for. For example, if you’ll be repairing a roof, you’ll need protective headgear, gloves and durable, protective clothing. Work boots that offer protection are especially crucial in a home improvement work environment, so you can avoid injury if something falls or scrapes your feet, or just to enhance stability while working. Whenever possible, have a work buddy to offer backup support and protection.

3. Inspect your tools

If you’re an amateur do-it-yourselfer, there’s a good chance your tools aren’t in mint condition. Before getting started on a project, make sure to thoroughly inspect the equipment you’ll be working with. Even though replacing old tools probably isn’t in your DIY budget, you’ll end up losing more money (not to mention risking your safety) by using sub-par tools that perform badly.

4. Cover your mouth

…and your nose too, if you can. Every facial orifice is at risk of being exposed to some of the seemingly harmless elements of your project, from harsh chemicals to sawdust. Even if your environment seems safe, you should make your health a priority by always wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose. To protect your ears from both exposure and noise, invest in a good pair of earplugs.

5. Be smart with electricity

You can’t be too careful when you’re working around electricity. Wear rubber-soled shoes to reduce your risk of electrocution, and be sure to work in a dry environment. Make sure electrical items are fully powered off, and then wait several minutes afterward to be safe before you touch anything. If you’re not sure about certain projects, contact a professional to make sure you’re taking all necessary precautions.

DIY projects might save you money, but don’t trade lower cost for higher risk. With these five tips in mind, you can balance price and safety and post your own awe-inspiring Pinterest pictures of your do-it-yourself home improvement project.

Joseph is a technology buff with a knack for DIY projects. In his spare time, he enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands he uses.