mistakes homeowners make

Risky Mistakes Homeowners Love To Make

Every day, Home Improvement store professionals hear and see things from well-intentioned customers that make their blood chill a good few degrees and occasionally stop a few hearts. Like the store professional who spent twenty minutes earnestly trying to explain to an argumentative customer why “fixing” a leak in a gas barbecue with a flammable sealant meant for plumbing applications was not a good, money-saving idea.

Some mistakes – like the one just mentioned – are spectacular, and defy all the laws of safety and common sense. Others are mistakes anyone might unwittingly mistake. But whatever your motivation – saving money, convenience or eagerness to get on with the job – one thing is certain:

Repeating the same mistakes can cost you not only money, but occasionally even lives.

Mistakes Homeowners Make

Here are some riskiest mistakes Home Improvement store professional witness, time and time again…

  • Customers Who Insist On Installing New Flooring Over Old

Home Improvement store professionals universally cite this as the most common mistake homeowners insist on making, in their eagerness to get that nice new floor down (possibly combined with a fear of ripping up the old floor and a natural reluctance to spend more
money).

If you’re thinking of putting down a new floor, it’s in your best interests to find out all the layers involved, first. Take a one-hour free workshop, if your local store offers them. Work the cost of these under layers into your budget, and factor them into your project time frame.

If you don’t remove the old flooring to put down the right sub flooring and underlayment first, your new floor will almost certainly be subject to problems such as:

  • Buckling
  • Warping
  • Premature wear
  • Old imperfections showing through
  • Putting Vapor Barrier On Both Sides Of A Wall

This is a myth that circulates from neighbor to neighbor. “The guy next door did it, and it worked great for him” is a common refrain.

The truth is, vapor barrier is exactly that – a barrier. If you put it on both sides of a wall, it will not keep all moisture out: On the contrary, it is likely to trap moisture in. This means your new wall will be subject to accelerated decay – and almost certainly, toxic mold problems.

Vapor Barrier goes on only one side of a wall: The “warm” side.

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  • Not Using Personal Protection Equipment

Many people get caught out on this one. They don’t realize (until they find themselves suffering actual physical harm) that they should have been using protective equipment. Depending on the task, this type of equipment can include:

  • Oxygen mask
  • Dust mask
  • Welding mask
  • Hard hat
  • Protective gloves
  • Hearing protection
  • Safety goggles or Safety Eyeglasses
  • Safety shoes

(And lots of ventilation, when working with anything liquid or dusty.)

Always check labels or ask store professionals, to determine what protective equipment or precautions you might need, before starting a project.

  • Letting Children Ride Lumber Carts

Every day, store employees see small children “surfing” on lumber carts, sitting underneath propped pieces of heavy lumber, or left alone on them while busy parents try to figure out if they need a 4’ X 4’ post or a 6’ X 4’.

Toddlers perch on top of bags of dusty cement (which contain corrosive – and toxic – lime). Babies lie inside shopping carts besides a tower of heavy paint cans.

Store professionals are instructed to caution parents whenever they see hazards like this, but inevitably get the same reaction when they do: Irritation and sometimes outright rudeness from indignant parents.

Lumber carts not as stable as you might think. They are quite capable of flipping suddenly, as their center of balance shifts.

I was unfortunate enough myself many years ago to witness a two-year-old killed this way. His grandfather’s anguish and the violence of that irreversible, life-taking injury – which could have been so easily prevented had the grandfather realized the danger – is something I wish I could forget.

Make your children’s safety the priority – not your own convenience – when you take them with you into Building Supply or Home Improvement stores. Or else find babysitting for them and leave them at home. If even one parent sees this warning and takes note of it, then perhaps that little boy’s tragic death won’t have been entirely in vain.