This Is the Most Common Home Repair Mistake a Taskrabbit Sees on the Job

published Jun 5, 2023
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woman measuring wall with measuring tape
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During her peak busy time as freelancer on the app Taskrabbit, a “tasker” named Lindsay completed about 32 home repair tasks for strangers (homeowners and renters in Brooklyn) in a month — in addition to her office day job. 

Lindsay, who is a licensed contractor based in Brooklyn, joined Taskrabbit to save a little extra money for her now-wife’s engagement ring, and she’s since completed over 100 tasks on the app (and even more through her personal business). And in that time, she’s seen a lot of the same errors from DIYers pop up over and over again — often because they call on her to come make the fix. Here’s the most common mistake she sees and how to avoid it.

The most common missteps have to do with hanging heavy objects.

“It seems simple to attach something to a wall, but there are actually a lot of variables,” Lindsay says. “Are there studs nearby? Do you have drywall or gypsum? Is there a fireproofing layer in the wall? Are there electrical or plumbing lines you need to worry about? Is there brick behind the wall?”

The risk is high for these sorts of tasks, Lindsay adds, both in the hanging process and later, if an unsecured piece falls. “A serious mistake in mounting could cause personal injury or significant wall damage,” she says. “And if you make a mistake and need drywall repair, you’d definitely want to hire a professional to get it to look just right again.” (Drywall is one task that even experienced renovators say they’ll never take on again because it’s so tricky to do well.)

It’s no wonder that mounting is one of her most-booked tasks, then. Her advice: “If you’re not sure of what you’re doing, it really is best to hire a professional and equally important to hire someone who you are confident that they know what they are doing, too.”

Those who take a stab at hanging items themselves without doing their research first are prone to overcorrecting, resulting in the single most common hanging mistake Lindsay sees.

The single biggest mistake with hanging heavy items isn’t actually what you’d think. 

Rather than ripping holes in the wall due to improper mounting, people often put holes in the wall that aren’t actually necessary. “I think people tend to approach stuff with a lot of overkill because they’re so worried that it’s going to go wrong, but what that ends up doing is just putting additional holes in the wall,” Lindsay says.

But if you’re putting extra screws in the wall without locating a stud or using a drywall anchor, they’re not all that helpful. And if you are using drywall anchors, you’re just creating more work for yourself later, especially if you’re a renter — all those holes will have to be filled!

If you’re using an anchor in its intended way, Lindsay says, you can trust what the pound rating is. “So if something says that it’s going to hold 50 pounds, it’s going to hold 50 pounds. You don’t need to put eight of them. I think sometimes people are like, ‘I better put eight of these screws to make sure it’s really on there.’

Here’s how to hang things on the wall like a pro.

Using only what you need will help reduce the amount of work you need to put into reversal on move-out. Lindsay recommends picture hangers like these that are held in place with a nail; you’ll create one nail hole but still have a hook for heavy-duty (about 100-pound) support. She also recommends a laser level and a picture frame hanger helper tool like this to ensure your display looks perfectly aligned. When you’re done, it will look like a job done by a pro.