October 09, 2007 10:45 ET

Nail down your plans before picking up your hammer

Preparation is key to saving yourself from home reno heartache

Attention: Assignment Editor, Home/Garden Editor, Lifestyle Editor TORONTO, ON, INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY--(Marketwire - Oct. 9, 2007) - Do-it-yourself renos are a great way to revitalize your home - but they can be more trouble than they are worth when you're not prepared.

Before you pick your new fixtures, paint colours and flooring, the most important thing is to have a solid plan. And with the average renovation costing more than $10,000, the priority should be to get the job done right the first time - unfortunately that's not always the case.

"The biggest problems people encounter are poor planning and not knowing their limitations," says Bryan Baeumler, professional contractor and host of HGTV's Disaster DIY. "I'm not against homeowners taking on projects themselves - the key is laying out the work that needs to be done. It may take some time up front, but it will save hours of frustration and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in wasted supplies."

Understanding that people take on their own home projects for many different reasons, Baeumler has some tips that can go a long way to make sure any DIY undertaking is as good as it can be.

Blueprint for a successful DIY project:
- Budget - decide on a budget and add 15 to 20 per cent for contingencies
- Plan - lay out a blueprint of what you want to do, include sketches and collect pictures of your vision
- Research - attend how-to seminars, talk to other do-it-yourselfers and educate yourself (most suppliers and manufacturers have instructional websites)
- Schedule - create a timeline and do your best to stick to it
- Be realistic - know your abilities and skill set (there's no shame in calling for backup)

"I've seen it all, and it's amazing what people will do to their homes," says Baeumler. "My crew and I saved a near do-it-yourself disaster after a home-owner knocked out most of her home's supporting walls to create a larger space. Things could have turned out very badly - all because the homeowner simply didn't know better."

Baeulmer has a number of considerations for people looking to take on their own renovations - everything from basic skills and tools to common do-it-yourself mistakes and things you should leave to the pros.

Five things every do-it-yourselfer should know how to do:
- Secure a nail or screw
- Identify a circuit breaker
- Use a drill and saw
- Patch drywall
- Cap a water line

Top 10 do-it-yourself tool kit essentials:
- Measuring tape - everything has to be measured (twice)
- Carpenter's pencil - their flat shape prevents them from rolling
- Hammer - key for pounding in or pulling out nails, as well as for demolition projects
- Multi-head screwdriver - multiple bits can handle a variety of projects tackled by the average do-it-yourselfer
- 4' Level - ideal for hanging pictures, framing walls, hanging doors, even installing cabinets
- Cordless drill - designed for drilling precision holes and setting screws
- Adjustable wrench - ideal for awkward fastening jobs
- Ratchet set - for loosening and tightening those tricky nuts and bolts
- Current tester - a 'must have' when testing for live wires
- Flashlight - invaluable when you blow a breaker

Common DIY mistakes:
- Removing load-bearing walls without installing the proper supports
- Using the wrong tools or materials for a job - i.e. drywall in the shower
- Overloading circuits or not grounding wires properly
- Improper plumbing ventilation

Projects better left to the pros:
- Most electrical work
- Structural projects
- Plumbing installations
- Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) projects
- Roofing

For more information on Disaster DIY visit

About Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting

Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting offers Canadians 13 well-branded specialty television channels boasting targeted, high-quality programming from Canada and around the world. Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting channels include Showcase, Food Network, HGTV, Slice, History Television, Showcase Action, Showcase Diva, BBC Canada, BBC Kids, National Geographic Channel, IFC, Discovery Health and Fine Living. For further information, please visit HGTV is an Alliance Atlantis Network.

-30- /For further information: Jennifer Knox
Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting


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