There are mixed messages in the media about DIY. Sometimes it appears to be on the up, with DIY retail superstores posting ever higher levels of profit and yet in some newspapers and industry magazines DIY is cited to be declining, with homeowners doing less and less of their own repairs and improvements.
How do you feel about DIY tasks? Would you willingly pass these jobs over to someone else or do you relish the challenge of getting stuck in? What would you class as a DIY disaster – something physical, like paint spillage, or perhaps something more emotional such as miscalculating the required budget?
We’ve come up with a list of DIY mistakes, but we’d love to hear from you on any you think we’ve missed?
1. Underestimating the cost
A lot of DIY tasks are attempted because we believe that doing it ourselves will ultimately be more cost effective than hiring in a professional, however it’s easy to underestimate how much materials are going to cost, plus the cost of buying the required tools to do the job if you don’t already own these.
Start the job and get it wrong, and you could be faced with even higher costs than had you gone directly to a professional. Ensure that before you start a DIY project you work out exactly what you’re going to need, draw up a budget and be realistic about your own level of confidence in completing the task. This conveniently leads on to our second point..
2. Underestimating the time..
It’s very easy to “guess-timate” that a job will take much less time than it actually will. Be sure to sit down and try and work out how long the whole project, from start to finish, will take. If it’s a task that you’ve never carried out before, then be generous with your timings – better to get the job done ahead of time than get half way through and realise you’re running out of time.
3. Starting but not finishing a project
Starting a DIY project is the easy part.. Completing it seems to be the problem! As with the budget, it’s key to create a plan prior to commencing the job. Work out what the project entails from start to finish in order to assess whether you can complete the job, either based on your skill sets or, as with point 2, based on the amount of time you have available – a weekend is not enough time to complete a DIY task that realistically requires five days! If you are unlikely to be able to complete the task then don’t start it!
4. Not planning ahead
Number four on our list could be seen as labouring home the same point, but really the top four are very closely linked. As the saying goes “fail to plan = plan to fail”! It’s essential that, as with point 3, when you create your plan for the project you incorporate a list of everything you will need to have to hand to get the job done. By doing this you can purchase your required materials and tools in advance and make a single trip to the appropriate DIY / timber / decorating store or place a single order for delivery, safe in the knowledge that you have planned ahead and your delivery will arrive in time to get started.
You should also ensure you prepare your working area appropriately. So, if you’re painting ensure that you clean the walls, sand them, and patch them up before you start, rather than just attacking the wall with your chosen colour! The devil is in the detail, proper preparation will result in a professional finish.
Now onto the “practical” mistakes…
5. Poor measurements
As any professional will tell you – “measure twice, cut once”! Always double check your measurements to ensure they’re right. That extra check will ultimately save you money. If you don’t check your measurements you may end of cutting your materials to the wrong lengths and having to purchase them again to get it right. Try to allow an extra millimetre or two on measurements – you can always cut things down, but you can’t stick bits back on if you’ve cut too small!
6. Not knowing your products
It’s essential that you fully understand the products required for your chosen task. Know the difference between matt and gloss paint, understand your eggshell and emulsion! If you’re using timber or sheet materials, research what is right for your project, be sure that the materials you use sit well in the environment you’re putting them into – for example, don’t put something that reacts badly to moisture in your bathroom.
7. Economising in the wrong areas
It has to be said, with DIY projects “buy cheap, buy twice” rears it’s head a lot! There are some instances where saving a few pennies is a great idea, but with a home project that you’re completing in order to improve your environment, don’t scrimp. Cheap materials won’t last – cheap timber will warp, cheap paint will peel or will need far more coats than you anticipate, cheap fittings will need replacing… Far better to spend a little more at the beginning to have a job that lasts AND looks good.
One survey states that 6 out of 10 adults said they are good or very good at DIY, while only 7% rate their skills as very bad, yet DIY disasters cost an annual average of £138.70 per household, which doesn’t seem to excessive until you learn that this equates to more than £3billion across the whole of the UK!
Where would you place yourself in the good, bad or just mediocre scale of DIY?
Whatever your level of expertise, Forestrall Timber and Fencing Merchants are here to help you with your materials. Our full price list can be downloaded here or you can head to the website for more details about the company and our delivery areas. If you’d like to have a chat with someone about your requirements, call us now on 01474 444150.