You might be the kind of person that likes to do just about anything in the home. Of course, you could be someone who calls in the professionals for something as simple as changing a lightbulb. A bit of DIY is always the cheaper option and if you can get results by getting your hands dirty, there are plenty of reasons to do so.
It doesn’t come easily to everyone, but if you want full control and have faith in your skills, then this do it yourself approach can work, especially when you make extensive use of the following 10 tips!
1. Start with a Plan
Home refurbishment is something you can come back to as and when you like, just as long as you have a plan in mind. Indeed, depending on how extensive your refurbishment plans are, you won’t even finish a room in a day, let alone the whole house. It’s easy to move around between jobs in an effort to do as much as you can as quickly as possible. However, it’s just as easy to lose focus and end up wasting time.
No matter your ambitions, you don’t want the project to drag on any longer than it has to, so take a few hours, or even days and weeks, to ensure you have a firm understanding of exactly what needs to be done, where you need to do it and, ideally, when you hope to have it done by.
2. Take Some Professional Advice
Even when you plan to do the work yourself, there’s never any harm in canvassing opinions from those around you. If you have a friend or colleague in the trade, their professional eye can spot things you might have missed in the planning stage. If you’re really lucky, or they are really helpful, you might even gain yourself an unpaid volunteer!
3. Set Yourself a Budget and Stick to It
Home refurbishment can be a costly business, especially if there’s a lot to do. Given your plans to do most of the work yourself, the chances are that you want to keep costs low. If you set a budget, your project has far more chance of working out as you won’t run into issues with running out of cash before you finish. When you know the total spend, you can also avoid focusing too hard on one room and neglecting others.
4. Consider How Long the Project will Take and Set Deadlines
Whether you’re still in the planning stage or haven’t even started yet, you cannot overlook the fact that timescales matter. DIY projects often feel exciting to begin with, especially when you visualise the outcome. However, the act of doing the work, which might take months, requires motivation every time you set to work, and it’s not easy. If you fear you might slip, set deadlines to work to so that you never fall too far behind.
5. Don’t Overlook Safety Requirements
As an amateur working in your own home, you don’t run the risk of a site visit from the health and safety inspector. However, just because you don’t have to ensure that your work area is safe, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. If it’s advisable to wear specific protective equipment while using certain tools, ensure that you do.
Don’t just consider your own safety either. The chances are that your most prized possessions reside in your home with you. You don’t want damage or breakages, so ensure that each room is clutter-free before you embark on any significant work.
6. Time Spent on Preparation Pays Off
This tip isn’t DIY specific, but the fact is that you’ll have a far easier time getting things done if you go above and beyond your initial plan and prepare to work hard. This could involve moving furniture long before you get to work, or it could mean taking a trip to the hardware store for whatever materials you’re likely to require in the coming days.
7. Use the Right Products for Each Job
You might not be a professional, but access to the internet means you have no excuse not to canvas expert opinion. If you want to paint outside, ensure you use waterproof, weather-resistant paint. If you're going to reseal a sink, use a sealant that protects against water and is specially designed for bathroom or kitchen use.
8. Ensure You Have the Right Tools Before You Start
Some DIYers are happy to pick up new tools as they go. We prefer the approach where you have all the tools you’ll need before you start. While the first option means that you can easily spread the cost without concern, you might finish part of the job, look back on it and realise that it could be so much easier if you had the tools you have now. When something is easy, motivation comes as standard, so endeavour to ensure that you’re not being held back by your equipment.
9. Don’t Worry if You’re Not an Expert
Nobody is born a DIY expert or tradesman and it takes many hours of practice to reach a good standard. Guides and tips can be massively helpful when you’re inexperienced, but nothing beats rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. The more effort you put in, the better the results you’ll get out and crucially, the mistakes only get made in your own home. Not only will you not let anyone down, but you won’t have to travel far to put things right.
10. Know Your Limits
There will be parts of the job that, in spite of your best intentions, you’re simply not cut out for. Unless you’re fully qualified, you should never interfere with gas appliances. While not legally required in the same way, it’s rarely a good idea to play with electrics unsupervised. Some parts of any refurbishment will need you to call in the experts. Don’t view it as a failure; see it as a way to ensure the best overall results by pulling in knowledge and resources from wherever you can.