Do It Yourself – DIY – is one of those divisive subjects: you either love it and can’t wait to find your next project, or you can’t stand it, but you know you have to do it for the sake of your home.
If you’re wondering whether to DIY or not to DIY, here’s some advice on home improvement.
Should you do it yourself or call in a professional?
The answer depends on a lot of things. Ask yourself …
- Is this something I can do? Do I have the right skills? For example, if you want to carry out a rewiring project, does it need to be carried out by a certified professional? You could be breaking the law if you DIY.
- Will my home insurance cover me if I mess up? Your home insurance may not cover you if you cause damage to your property that results in you making a claim.
- Do I have the time to do this? Putting up a shelf may take an hour – remodelling your kitchen can take many weeks.
- Do I have the strength and stamina for the job? For example, if you have problems with your knees or back, laying floor tiles may be very uncomfortable for you.
- Would it be cheaper – both financially and timewise – to employ a professional? For example, if you want to redecorate your hallway, factor in the costs for your actual time spent doing it, plus the cost of the equipment needed.
If you decide to go down the professional route, it makes sense to get three quotes – as well as checking that your tradesperson is insured should they do anything wrong (ask them for sight of their public liability insurance).
Ask around for recommendations!
Always keep in mind that restrictive covenants may prevent you from making changes to your property, so it’s vital you check.
Ramp up your DIY skills
You’ve decided you want to ramp up your DIY skills, so what next?
Pick a home repair project that can be completed in less than a day and with tools you have already at your disposal, not specialist equipment that you have to hire. Start relatively ‘small’ so you can build your confidence, for example:
- Paint one of your rooms.
- Put up pictures.
- Replace a toilet seat.
- Draft exclude a window.
- Lay insulation in the loft.
Do not, as your first project, attempt:
- Knocking down walls.
- Anything electrical related.
- Anything related to the roof – or a project involving scaffolding.
Keep the initial projects simple, so you don’t lose focus, become disheartened and give up. You want a quick win to show you how easy and simple home improvements can be.
Need DIY help?
If you aren’t that handy with a hammer or you don’t know your screwdriver from your chisel, here’s some advice: do your research. There are plenty of online tutorials on YouTube as well as dedicated websites – for example:
- The DIY Doers Club encourage and show you how to learn new skills to save you money, time and give you the confidence to undertake any DIY project
- The DIY School. These guys will tutor you and guide you through anything you might require to improve every part of your home
Check online to see if there are any practical skills courses available where you can attend and get ‘hands-on’. For example, if you need to replace the bathroom, you might want to do a five-day basic plumbing course.
Or, if you are carrying out a simpler home repair project, you could sign up for a one day DIY plastering course.
Visiting one of the many DIY events around the UK could provide you with the home improvement inspiration that you are looking for:
Doing up furniture
Doing up furniture is a great starting point for a DIY enthusiast with little experience.
If you are beyond changing light bulbs and already have an attic fully-insulated, one DIY project which you could undertake is doing up furniture.
Once you have completed your first DIY project, you may decide that you are a natural at it and want to do more. Or, you could decide that home repair is best left to the professionals. It’s your decision!