There are so many benefits to DIY; the main one perhaps being that you saves money over hiring a professional to do the job for you. Also, you get a great sense of satisfaction and pride completing the work yourself. For some of us, like my husband Ben, it’s even an enjoyable hobby. It’s definitely a hobby that requires some patience, learning and enjoyment, otherwise if you’re like me and don’t necessarily have the skillset or patience then you’ll rush the job and it won’t be perfect. Luckily Ben is a DIY enthusiast so I get to leave all the DIYing up to him!
There are definitely a lot of tips that Ben has learnt in the four years that he’s been doing up our home and I’ll share them with you below.
Here are 5 tips to help ensure you never fail at DIY:
Read the manual
This is the one point I have learnt is most important over the years! Don’t try and attempt to build something by yourself if there is a manual that comes with it! This is especially useful for flatpacked furniture. If you hate reading instructions then luckily most furniture items will come with illustrated manuals nowadays to make life easier. They will also tell you exactly how many pieces and fittings will be in your package, so check this first. You don’t want to get half way through a build only to discover there’s a few screws missing!
Search online for how to videos
Look online for visual manuals too such as video guides. I think when we moved in to our home Ben thought I was quite lazy as I left the flat pack furniture up to him, so I tried to build my office desk and it somehow ended up with a piece upside down and back to front! Now he just takes care of things! I definitely could have done with more of a visual guide to show me exactly what to do. Sometimes the sets of instructions with flat packs are really hard to understand if they’ve been translated poorly. Seeing a visual guide is a massive help in this instance.
Know your skill level
This is so important. Don’t take on a DIY project that is above and beyond your skill level. Obviously you want to gradually step up to a challenge or else you’ll never improve, but if you’ve only just about managed to build a simple table that came with instructions then don’t try and replace your whole bathroom or kitchen by yourself just yet!
Ask an expert
If something is beyond your skill level then you’ll want to ask an expert for advice. They will be able to tell you if it’s something you can undertake yourself or whether it’s best to call in the professionals. Luckily my friend used to be a plumber so when Ben was unsure whether he could replace our bathroom sink single handed, he asked my friend for advice. It turned out with the right tools it was a relevantly straight forward job and he could do it without paying extortionate amounts for a plumber. Always seek advice if you are unsure.
Ben’s best advice is to practice. Build up your skill level and keep practicing. Practice really does make perfect. Just take it one step at a time and don’t get ahead of yourself. You should know the quality of your work and how much expertise you have in an area. It’s OK to make a few mistakes if they aren’t too costly as you will learn from them. For example when we chose to lay our own laminate flooring we cut a few pieces the wrong way accidently! Obviously we lost a bit of money as we couldn’t then use these boards, but it was a great learning experience.
Hopefully these tips will help you to avoid a DIY disaster!