There’s nothing quite like the feeling of when DIY goes right. Forever onwards you’ll be able to tell guests that you tiled that yourself, or you installed those lights or – did I mention, we knocked this wall down ourselves? It’s a fantastic sense of accomplishment. However, there’s also nothing quite like when DIY goes sour. If you’re out of your depth and something goes wrong it can be a real pain (not to mention a huge cost) to get it sorted.
There are some things that the DIY novice shouldn’t attempt at all, and some things that – with a bit of research – can be fairly easy. We’ve put together a list of 6 deceptively difficult home improvements that are most likely to cause you problems.
On paper, tearing down a wall is a very satisfying and not too difficult job. You probably already know about load-bearing walls, which can’t be torn down, and walls which are important for fire safety in your home. Hopefully you’ve had the demolition signed off by an expert and you feel confident that there will be no negative repercussions of removing the wall from your home. However, the task itself is also tricky.
If you’ve never knocked down a wall in your home before you may have an idea of how much mess it will make. This idea is wrong. It will make at least twice as much mess as that.
The most common mistake with demolition projects is being under-prepared for the amount of rubble, the splintered laths and piles of old nails and – above all – the all encompassing dust that will be created.
The best way to avoid problems is to feel like you’re over prepared. Hire a skip if you can. If not, have enough people on hand with lots of rubble bags (and cars they’re not too precious about) constantly clearing away so you stay on top of the mess. Tape off all rooms you don’t need to access. Put down polythene everywhere you can and be prepared for a good few hours with an industrial hoover afterwards.
2. Installing kitchen cabinets
This is another one which seems easier than it really is. You’ve probably already tackled a fair few IKEA wardrobes and you installed those lovely shelves with no problem. Kitchens are a bit more problematic.
Everything in a kitchen, regardless of whether or not it’s a fitted kitchen, is much less forgiving than other installation projects. Firstly, you’ve got all of your appliances to think about. They need to be specific distances away from sockets, gas mains or water supplies. You’ve also got to think about your countertops. More than likely you’ve spent a fair amount of money on wood or stone for your kitchen counters so any errors will be very costly.
The solution for this is either to get a professional kitchen fitter in or to just allow yourself enough time to be meticulously careful. That well used phrase “measure twice, cut once” springs to mind. Accept, don’t just measure twice. Measure as many times as you need until you’re absolutely sure.
People tend to think painting is so easy that anyone could do it. In actuality, painting can still stump DIY novices.
Most errors tend to be down to the wrong type of paint being used. If you go to a DIY store and stand in the paint aisle you’ll soon see there’s a kind of paint for every imaginable surface. If you use the wrong one for the task at hand you’ll have issues down the line.
Most home improvement shops will help you sort through the paints designated for walls, cabinets, or exteriors.
For instance, you may need a high-moisture paint for the bathroom, otherwise it can bubble or blister. Before laying down a coat, make sure you’re using the correct type of paint for the application.
As with most forms of DIY there are lots of kinds of grouting, lots of kinds of tiles and lots of options with the tools you can use. It’s important to get each of these elements right otherwise you’ll face problems.
One of the issues a lot of people have with DIY tiling is that something that might take a tiler a morning will take a novice a few days. So, often it’s actually worth getting a professional in.
If you’re new to tiling it’s always best to start with something small and not hugely important. That way there’s less risk for if it doesn’t go perfectly. Take care and research the products and equipment you’re using.
5. Hanging doors
Hanging doors is another one of those tasks that will take a professional very little time but for a first-timer it’s a lot of measuring, planning, tentative cutting and often still problems.
How hard can it be? It’s just 2 hinges!
Getting the angle, weight and allowing for carpet or floor angle are all elements which make hanging a door a very unforgiving task. Even when you’re very careful there can still be issues with the function of the door after it’s been hung.
6. “For now” repairs (or Bodging, as you may know it)
We’ve all done it. Something unexpectedly breaks, leaks, or moves, and you want it sorted as quickly and cheaply as possible.
But without a proper repair, you might be causing even more damage to the home. Damage which will cost you lots of time and money down the line.
Since the bodge-job keeps working, the repair gets moved further and further down the list. Until something goes wrong, and you’re causing even more damage and increasing the cost of the eventual repair. It’s better to do it right the first time or find a pro to assits you.