Read This Before Trying That Super Simple DIY Project You Saw On TV

Dated: 05/09/2017

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Reality shows like "Renovation Rescue" and Rehab Addict" inspire many to get off the couch, pick up a hammer, and give DIY a try—but a new study reveals these shows may have a scary side effect: People are wielding tools they have absolutely no idea how to use—and getting injured as a result.

The 'TV effect'

A survey by the Itasca, IL–based National Safety Council reveals that 26% of homeowners in the U.S. who've dabbled in DIY have suffered injuries—or someone in their home has been injured.

We call it the 'TV effect.' Many home improvement hosts are eminently skilled, and that can leave viewers with the false impression that these projects are easy.

With precious few exceptions, TV narratives minimize, simplify,- and often downright lie about the complexity and danger of home improvements.

Many think faulty, malfunctioning tools are to blame, but the tools are often fine. There are simple safety measures that should be followed to reduce the risk.

How to minimize the dangers of DIY

Before you embark on any DIY project—inspired by reality TV or otherwise—make sure to take some simple precautions:

• Know your tools

Learn about the tools before you try and make something with them. For table saws, learn how to use a push stick [which keeps hands out of harm's way] and decide if you need out-feed support [a table or surface that receives what's just been fed through the saw].

• Gear up

You should also wear safety gear such as goggles and gloves. According to the National Safety Council study, 41% of people injured say they got hurt because they weren't wearing protective gear—even though in many cases it was well within reach.

• Know your limits

If you get a sneaking suspicion that a certain home improvement project might be over your head, don’t perform a project that is beyond the scope of your experience and comfort. This is particularly true when using power saws that, with one small mistake, can cause catastrophic injury.

• Take a refresher

Even if you became a pro at wielding that nail gun with ease during your DIY kitchen reno five years ago, if it's been lying in storage for a while, keep in mind your skills might be rusty.

Most people who are do-it-your-selfers forget about the instructions that you bought five years ago. Every time you pull a tool out, you really need to understand how to use it again.

• Proceed with caution

Last but not least, make sure to take what you see on reno TV with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Just because XYZ host on DI-whatever shows skill with a tool in a show designed to make the entire process look simple, that doesn’t have an effect on anything other than one’s perception. Where steel cuts wood is real life. The blade is spinning at 3,500 rpm and will snag a loose garment, spit dust in your eye, or take off your fingers with astounding ease.

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Dan Elam

Elam Real Estate founder DAN ELAM brings nearly a quarter-century of real-estate experience with integrity, compassion, professionalism AND proven results. Dan takes an active role in the day-to-da....

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