3 Nuggets of wisdom (or words of warning!) for your next DIY project

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As you might be able to tell from my previous blog post, I’ve been DIYing this week. In fact, it’s the final push to complete the renovation of our 50s house and it’s nearly 3 years since we started the project! So, with that in mind, I thought I would share some nuggets of DIY wisdom (or words of warning, perhaps..?!) that I’ve come across during my decorating…

MAKE A PLAN

They say that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And that’s probably why my renovation has taken so long to complete. You see, we never really had a plan because we just wanted to make the house liveable as quickly as possible so that we could move in. Even making a decision to tackle one room at a time would have been enough of a plan but, instead, we launched into the project and before we knew it we were up to our knees in woodchip wallpaper scrapings!

So, after a strong, enthusiastic start, we soon burnt out and ended up with some DIY done, and many rooms still in disarray. And then we halted plans for 6 months just because we needed to rest to get over the first phase of the renovation. That’s when we realised that we should have made a plan. Here’s why:

  • A plan gives you something to work towards and plan out your time effectively.
  • A plan helps you to budget for the total cost of your project and prevent DIY mistakes from damaging your finances.
  • It allows you to get everything you need for the job in advance, minimising interruptions caused by needing to head to Screwfix all the time.
  • Most importantly, it shows you when you’re going off plan and need to rein in your DIYing or budget.

SAFETY FIRST

If you decide to try your hand at home improvements to save money, you should be aware that accidents can happen. The statistics for injuries caused by DIY are enough to put you off altogether. According to home insurance providers β€œthousands of people every single year in the UK and Ireland are injured through DIY alone, and also lose money in repairing their mistakes”. So it’s a good idea to make sure you are as safe as you can possibly be while decorating your home.

  • Always use safety equipment – goggles, gloves and masks are there for a reason and will save your eyesight, skin and lungs while working on your home. Don’t skip the protective gear.
  • Don’t take risks. Just DON’T DO IT. There should be no balancing or over-stretching on ladders, no close cuts with a saw blade, no “I’ll just quickly do it” with a power tool. JUST NO. Be careful and take it slow at all times.
  • If it seems like a job that’s beyond your capabilities, it probably is. There are times when you’ll need the help of a professional and you shouldn’t even attempt to try some tasks yourself. NEVER touch electrics or gas (no, no, NO and again NO), plumbing, and definitely not demolition work.
  • You should even take care if you’re just drilling a hole to hang a picture frame. You need to make sure you’re not drilling into an area with pipes or electrical wiring as both could be catastrophic for your home and for YOU.

If you do cause any accidents to your home while DIYing, your property would only be covered if your home insurance policy included additional accidental damage cover. This can usually be added to our home insurance policy for a comparatively small extra charge so if you plan to DIY, it is strongly suggested that you take it out. After all, you’re decorating to boost the value of your property, right? Not devalue it and invalidate your insurance!

BRING IN THE PROS

Whilst everyone loves a bit of DIY, and there’s a certain satisfaction to stepping back to admire that paint job knowing that you did it all yourself, there’s no shame in realising that some problems might be beyond you. It takes years for plumbers, electricians, gas fitters, plasters, builders and decorators to learn their skills and you should take advantage of their expertise when you need them.

Plus you might be saving yourself money if you get help. Apparently, fixing DIY mistakes is its own cottage industry, worth literally millions. Don’t let that be you. You’ll waste your time, your money and may put yourself in danger (depending on the task). If in doubt, call in a professional, no question about it.

Let me know what DIY or renovating advice you would share in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you learnt from your own decorating project or self-build.



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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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