13 Cringe-Worthy Home Improvement Fails
Trying to save money can end up costing you more in the long run, check out these incredible DIY fails
Up On a (Leaky) Roof
Renovations are stressful, especially when you have to re-do DIY projects because of mistakes. In the rooftop vent photo, the owner had expanded and remodeled their kitchen, removing an old wood stove Their mistake, according to explains Brian Fish, owner of WIN Home Inspection Mount Vernon, who had to fix the mess: “They opted to run the new exhaust for the range up through the existing vent cap from the wood stove and then attach it to the box vent and screw it to the old stove vent cap. Needless to say the new range vent was not secure or properly installed and so it was prone to leaks.” These are the secrets contractors wish all first-time homeowners knew.
Crawl Space Jenga
“The homeowner, who was trying to stabilize the support beam under the house, tried to fit multiple shims in place,” says Fish. “It would be a better and safer alternative to remove the shims and use one of the larger 4×4 pieces of lumber trimmed to install one solid post for stability as opposed to five or six.”
Don’t Cover Me Up
Partially blocked vents and registers waste energy and money. “The home flipper laid new vinyl flooring in the bathroom, over the floor vent, which would prevent any hot or cold air from making its way into the room,” explains Matthew Steger, ASHI certified inspector and owner of WIN Home Inspection in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “It was apparent he wasn’t concerned if the bathroom was heated or not.”
A basement can be a welcome retreat in the hot summer months, but if you need to waterproof it first, you may want to get the pros involved. This homeowner started out with good intentions but couldn’t quite get the job done. “Fortunately, no one was hurt and RCC was able to shore up the trench and waterproof the basement of the home,” says Jamie Hallett, RCC Waterproofing Consultant. These are the vital tasks homeowners shouldn’t skip.
I guess when you have to go it doesn’t really matter if the toilet is slightly askew. “This DIY-er tried to do the plumbing themselves and mistakenly installed the bottom bracket crooked. Now they’re stuck with a crooked toilet!” says Jesse Fowler, President of Tellus Build. Know when it’s time to hire a contractor.
Exposed beams and vents are cool if you have a loft, but this duct DIY project and the industrial look are definitely out. “These condo owners had decided to vent the range hood themselves. Rather than cutting the ceiling and running the duct through the ceiling, they took the easier route and ran it above the kitchen cabinets,” says James Brock, of Boston Home Inspections. It’s not necessarily dangerous, but this is probably not a desirable focal point if the homeowner ever wants to sell the house. These are the upgrades that make your home look more expensive.
“Measure twice, cut once” is a mantra every carpenter lives by, especially when doing a bathroom makeover. “Dozens of factors need to be taken into account when performing a renovation project, everything from the light switch location to the door swing,” says Brock. “Many times even on new construction I find light switches behind the door.”
There are a few tried-and-true design tricks for pretty curb appeal but this DIY project isn’t one of them. And frankly, curb appeal is the least of this homeowner’s problems. “The obvious issue is the short gutter and the use of some type of flexi pipe for a downspout.” Brock says. “The flashing at the roof isn’t properly installed and the half finished siding and incorrectly installed insulation is of concern. I see nothing but leaks in the future.” Besides the drips from any leaks, these are the other annoying noises you might hear in your house and how to silence them for good.
Waste of a Stairwell
“A homeowner was renovating his house and could not find another way to run the main plumbing waste pipe, so he ran it through the basement stairs. Now he has created an accident waiting to happen,” Brock says. “He also did not install spindles on the basement stair railing to prevent children from falls.”
Brock captions this photo, “When homeowners install their own wiring.” Need we say more? Some electrical repairs or upgrades should be left to the professionals—or you risk getting electrical shock and/or causing a fire.
Watch Your Step
It’s a pain carrying things up and down the stairs, especially when you have a zig zag staircase—but this home improvement could prove especially dangerous if you miss a step. “This homeowner removed the railings and spindles to make it easier for them to carry things upstairs,” Brock says. “They never took into account that a grandma or a child may lose balance and need something to grab. That would be a hard fall.” Try out these expert plumbing tips before you start monkeying with the pipes.
Who Wants to Get Electrocuted?
Every homeowner should know the essentials, especially when it comes to safety issues. In this DIY disaster, did the water spigot get installed first or was it the electrical box? It doesn’t matter because, as Brock says, “Water flows down and doesn’t mix well with live electricity.” These are the things every homeowner needs to know ASAP to protect their investment.
This looks like a convenient way to store a hose. “The homeowner cut the floor joist to fit the garden hose,” says Brock. The problem here is that floor joist is supposed to support the floor. Cutting the floor joist can affect the structural integrity and weaken it.” These storage hacks will banish clutter and have you instantly organized (without putting you in danger).