Skip to content

Men's Health

Font Size

Don’t Be a Home Improvement Disaster

Before you take on a home improvement project, make sure you know how to do it safely.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

You walk into Home Depot or Lowe's to pick up a lightbulb. Instead, you leave with some new flooring, a circular saw, a framing square, and big ideas about re-tiling your kitchen.

The problem? You've never done anything more than change a lightbulb by yourself.

Recommended Related to Men

How to Write a Thank-You Note

By Tom Chiarella First you remind the person what you are thanking them for. Then you tell them why. That's it. A good thank-you note is a clear and ruddy piece of prose. There are only two moves involved. First you remind the person what you are thanking them for. Then you tell them why. That's it. You sign off, sure. And you might throw in an extra sentence or two for a laugh or a private joke. But it's mostly a chop-chop exercise: two solid, sincere sentences, each touching...

Read the How to Write a Thank-You Note article > >

Growing numbers of Americans are tackling do-it-yourself home improvement projects that once might have been left to professionals. One reason for the shift: Stores like Home Depot, along with TV shows on networks like HGTV or the DIY Network, make it look so easy.

And while it can be rewarding to re-tile your kitchen or even create your own home movie theater, novice do-it-yourselfers may also be putting themselves in harm's way. The CDC recently reported that the number of consumers seeking emergency treatment at hospitals for nail gun injuries rose 200% from 1991 to 2005. The trend is likely due to the increased availability of nail guns at home hardware stores, but no sales data are available to confirm that, according to the CDC.

"I am pretty confident that the number of injuries sustained by do-it-yourselfers is going up," says Nick Zenarosa, MD, the chief of emergency medicine at Baylor Medical Center at Garland in Garland, Texas.

And as an ER doctor, Zenarosa has pretty much seen it all: eye injuries from errant dust and debris, amputated fingers from sawing, facial injuries from nail guns, and broken bones from falling through a not-so-sturdy ceiling while laying insulation.

"What I would do before I embark on a do-it-yourself renovation project is to find someone and have them physically show me what to do," he tells WebMD. "It's tough sometimes to go to a class at a home improvement center because there is really no personalized attention." Many chain stores such as Home Depot do offer group classes focusing on specific renovation projects.

While some people go the DIY route because it is more affordable, "it's a lot more expensive to come to a trauma center because you cut corners and did not use safety equipment," he says.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Man taking blood pressure
doctor holding syringe
Condom Quiz
man running
older couple in bed