Home improvement is something that home owners engage in at one time or another. Some of you might improve your home in hopes that your house will sell at a higher price, some of you might improve your home in hopes that it will look nicer for your summer company, and some of you might improve your home merely in hopes of getting your spouse off your back. No matter what drives your reason for home improvement, no kind of home improvement should be started without safety in mind. Before you remember to pick up that extra can of paint from the hardware store, remember to heed the following safety tips:

Know That Ladders can be Dangerous: You don't have to have vertigo to feel out of place on a ladder: ladders have proven to be dangerous for all kinds of people. For this reason, you need to know how to work with ladders before you start your home improvement project. To begin, be sure to place a ladder on an even surface, with its footpads touching the ground. As you set up your ladder, make a point to maintain a proper distance (usually a 1/4 the height of the ladder) from the base of the ladder to the base of whatever you are leaning it against (a tree, a wall, a garage door).

Along these lines, only climb up ladders that are nowhere near electrical or power lines: you may find that the fear of heights isn't warranted next to the fear of electrocution. As you climb the ladder, never go up on the highest rung: it's very easy to lose your balance. Finally, don't try to grab something you can't easily reach while you are on the ladder: stretching on a ladder is often synonymous with falling off a ladder.

Wear Proper Clothing: Wearing safety goggles may remind you of 11th grade chemistry, leaving you wanting to stick your head inside a Bunsen burner at the first mention of the Atom. But, when cutting lumbar, using chemicals, or handling power tools, goggles are essential: what's the point of home improvement if you can't see the results.

In addition to safety goggles, you should also wear thick gloves to protect your hands from getting cut and long pants and long sleeve shirts to protect your legs and arms from flying debris. And, if you are working with or near potent chemicals or dust particles, wear a mask. A mask will prevent you from getting more home improvement products in your lungs than you do on your house.

Don't Dig Your Own Grave: It may seem a little obsessive compulsive to check for power lines before you dig something as simple as a small hole in your backyard, but a two minute phone call to your local electric company could save your life.

Residential areas are filled with underground power lines, power lines that you can't see. But, just because you can't see them doesn't mean they aren't there. You may quite literally be shocked to find that they are located exactly where you're digging.

Use Power Tools Properly: Some people may think that power tool instructions are optional reading or that power tools are great tools to use any way you want. But, using power tools without reading the instructions or using them inappropriately is just asking for trouble. Instead of being careless with your power tools, be careful: don't use them in the rain, don't change blades or open them while they are plugged in, replace dull and broken parts, and only use them for the purpose they are intended. In other words, don't use a power saw to trim your houseplants or to trim something really crazy, like your toe nails.