10 Tips for DIY newbies
Let's face it, none of us was born as a skilful tradesman with many years experience and therefore DIY can look quite daunting at times. If you have some concerns before starting your first DIY project that’s a good sign - you're not the first and certainly won’t be the last. Do it yourself is great for saving money and improving your life style, just make sure you know what you are getting into. Here are some of my tips which I'd recommend any DIY newbie to read before staring.
- Know what you're getting into part 1 - Before starting your DIY project, brush up on the work needed and educate yourself by reading a DIY how-to site on-line (such as this one), watching a demonstration video or even asking a friend who has relevant experience. Having motivation is essential to see the project through, but you really need to know how to do the job first.
- Know what you're getting into part 2 - When budgeting your project, keep some budget aside for unforeseen costs – even a professional Project Manager will have a contingency for each project. Having to stop your project before it’s finished due to lack of funds can be avoided if you budget correctly and keep a list of all the materials and their costs as you go along.
- Know what you cannot do – Some things, such as working with gas and most new electrical work, are covered by regulations which prohibit the ordinary DIY’er from carrying out the work even in their own home – don’t rely on old DIY books for guidance; regulations change, old books don’t. The regulations are there for safety sake, don’t try to do these jobs, not only is it against the law but you can endanger yourself and your family.
- Pay attention to health and safety - Make sure to always read safety instructions on all products and tools, and use protective clothing when necessary. Protective clothing such as goggles and gloves won't cost you much and will be of use for years to come.
- Don't buy many tools at first - Although not a classic DIY tip, saving money is one of the reasons we love DIY so don’t splash out on tools unless they are really necessary. If you are the occasional handyman, the chances are you don't need to buy too many tools. If you need a tool designed for one specific task you really don't need to rush and buy it. Instead consider hiring the tools you need or ask around between your family and friends to see if anyone can lend you the tool for the job.
- Start small - To avoid disappointment, possible damage and possible expense of getting a professional to finish it off, make your first DIY project a simple job and get bolder as you gain experience. Although knocking down a wall may look simple enough, more experience DIY veterans and professionals will know to look for possible complications such as what the wall supports, water pipes, electricity cables and other issues.
- Always test - For many DIY projects, particularly for complicated ones always test your skills and materials on a small scale first. This will allow you to try out your tools, ensure you have all the necessary materials and avoid causing any damage. For example, if you decided to re-coat your hardwood floor after several years of use, testing your method first on a small surface area is what most retailers recommend.
- Allow enough time and don't rush the job - When starting your DIY project, the chances are you will discover that whatever it is, it takes longer than you thought. Because there's nothing worse than ending up with half a job done, make sure you allow enough time to complete the work and allow some extra time for complications. Some projects seem to require one weekend, but in reality one weekend could eventually spread across a few.
- Double check it works - When it comes to DIY projects related to health and safety (for example smoke detectors) make sure to double check your work when you finish.
- Enjoy your project.