Design Green Building & Remodeling

No, These 10 DIY Projects Are Not Essential

You can safely defer these projects without compromising your home or reducing its value.
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Need Versus Want

While some repair projects, such as sealing leaks in a roof or cleaning out a chimney if smoke is filtering into the home, are vital to the health of the house and its occupants, and they should be promptly addressed. Others are not as pressing, and while the following DIY projects might seem important, unless you’re putting your house on the market in a few days, they’re far from essential.

Replacing Flooring

Nothing updates the look and feel of a room more quickly than installing new flooring, but unless you need to remove carpet that was flooded (in which case it presents a mold risk), this is a DIY project that can wait. You’ve put up with that worn carpet or out-of-style linoleum for all these years, so it’s not going to hurt to wait a little longer before replacing it.

Related: 19 Affordable Options for Beautiful Hardwood Flooring

Painting Walls

Applying a coat of paint is only essential if you need to protect unfinished wood from the outdoor elements, but just painting the walls to change their color or to update your room is something than can be done later. Take this time to study online interior design images, and you may even change your mind about the colors you eventually use to paint the walls.

Related: 7 Top Tools for No-Mess Painting

Installing Shutters

Dressing up your home’s exterior by adding shutters to the windows will boost its curb appeal and give it a fresh new look, but it’s not something that has to be done this red hot minute. Instead, keep the lawn neatly mowed, trim the bushes and the hedges, and when the time is right to purchase and install shutters, your entire yard will already be in top shape and the shutters will show all that much better.

Tile Backsplash

You’ve been wanting to update the look of the kitchen for a few years now, and while you may be in the mood to rummage through all the selections of tile at the local home improvement center, since you’ve waited this long, it won’t hurt to wait a bit longer. In fact, by giving yourself additional time to consider exactly what you’d like the finished backsplash to look like, you may end up modifying your current plans and coming up with something you’ll be much happier with in the long run.

Related: 12 Inventive Ideas for a Budget Backsplash

Replace Curtains

New curtains will instantly dress up a drab room, and you can easily find a dozen or so curtain styles in stock at most DIY centers (and hundreds more that you can order), but this DIY project doesn’t come close to being essential. Toss your existing curtains in the laundry for one last washing to remove dust and dirt. Your room will be fresher when you rehang them, and you can shop for new curtains later.

Build Raised Beds

Growing your own vegetables and flowers is a great idea, and ensuring that the soil has good drainage is vital, but constructing raised beds requires purchasing lumber and fasteners and renting power tools if you don’t have the right ones on hand. Instead, plant a regular (ground level) garden this year to give yourself some time to think about exactly how and where you’d like to build the raised beds. You’ll still have plenty of home-grown produce to eat, and you can build the beds later.

Related: 10 Tips for Planning a Raised Garden Bed

Build a Storage Shed

Who doesn’t want extra storage? You may long to clean out the garage and relocate its contents to a storage shed in order to have additional room for a home workshop, but building a storage shed not only means shopping for all the materials, it can also mean visiting your local building authority to obtain a permit. For now, organize the garage’s contents and get rid of the things you no longer need that are taking up extra storage space.

Change Faucets

If your existing faucet is leaking water all over the place, sure, go ahead and replace it, but if you’re just wanting to change out that old sink faucet that’s seen better days with a spiffy new pull-down spray faucet, it can wait. Installing a new faucet often entails making multiple trips to the plumbing supply store to purchase different fittings as the project proceeds.

Pour a Sidewalk

Concrete pathways and sidewalks complement the landscape and define pedestrian areas, but this is one DIY project that likely isn’t essential. If the project is large (more than 5-10 feet in length), you may need to hire an excavator to remove the soil, and you’ll have to purchase the materials to build the sidewalk frame. Pouring concrete is a multi-worker task, so you’ll also need to recruit helpers. It’s a busy project that can wait for another time.

Install a Bath Fan

If the bathroom mirror always steams up when you’re showering, you should probably install a bathroom ventilation fan—at some point—but it won’t hurt to wait a few more months. For now, open a bathroom window after showering and bathing to release the humidity, or use a small floor fan to circulate the moist bathroom air into the rest of the house where it will dissipate.