STYLE

Bryan Baeumler shares tips to avoid common DIY blunders in book 'Measure Twice'

02/25/2015 04:09 EST | Updated 04/27/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - "Disaster DIY" host Bryan Baeumler has helped many do-it-yourselfers learn from the errors of their home reno wrecks.

But in his new guide to avoiding DIY blunders, the contractor is casting a wider net, aimed at people wanting to take on repair work and those looking to enlist professionals.

"You should understand the very basics of structure and how the house is actually held up above you ... of 'where does your water come from?' and 'how does the hydro get in and turn on your lightbulb?'" said Baeumler, author of "Measure Twice" (Collins).

"If you're hiring someone to do work it's the same thing: you don't have to know how to do it, but you should have a basic understanding of how things are done so that you can keep your eye on things and you can spot any potential problems."

"Measure Twice" offers a comprehensive list of nearly 200 mistakes to steer clear of in upgrades, renos and installations, from minor fixes to larger structural changes.

Among Baeumler's DIY don'ts:

— trying to drywall a ceiling alone

— leaving insufficient space around windows and entry doors for foam insulation

— improperly removing load-bearing walls

— basing paint colour solely on a chip and being cheap with supplies

There are critical tasks that Baeumler thinks untrained and unlicensed homeowners should avoid, such as electrical work.

"It can void your insurance if you've done electrical work on your own and you haven't pulled a permit or had an inspection on it," he said.

"You can burn your house down and end up with a smouldering hole in the ground that you still owe a lot of money on — and your insurance company is not going to cover it."

He said homeowners should earmark 25 to 30 per cent of their renovation budgets for unforeseen problems, which aren't uncommon.

"It's very, very, very infrequent that I open a wall and don't find an issue that we need to address, or something in the home that needs to be fixed," said Baeumler, who also hosts HGTV Canada shows "Leave it to Bryan" and "House of Bryan."

"There's always upgrades, changes and surprises."

Many people tend to have a "disposable mentality" with respect to housing, seeking to simply move on to a new home rather than making investments for the long-term.

But Baeumler thinks homeowners will become increasingly interested in improving the energy efficiency and longevity of their houses.

"Low-carrying and operating costs of the home ultimately adds value to the home," he said.

"Saving money every month leaves a lot of money in your bank account to actually upgrade and buy those granite countertops and other decorative items for your house."

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