Anyone who has ever dabbled with DIY will have invariably made mistakes, but as a wise man once said ‘if you’re not making any mistakes then you probably aren’t doing anything at all’. So don’t let making mistakes stop you from tackling those tasks that you’ve had hanging over your head for months. Remember, the longer you leave it the harder it will be to muster up the motivation to get started!
The task isn’t made any easier by the countless Youtube tutorials and TV experts who make everything look easy, it just makes it all the more frustrating when you realise that it isn’t as simple as they would have you believe!
So to help you get started and build confidence in your abilities we’ve put together this guide to the most common DIY mistakes and how best to avoid them!
1. Measuring Incorrectly
This is a classic, and although it might seems obvious, it’s surprising just how often people skip over this all important starting point to almost any project. As the saying goes ‘measure twice cut once’, and it’s worth sticking to this mantra or risk facing all kinds of heartache. Anyone who’s ever measured up poorly and constructed some kitchen cabinets only to find the washing machine doesn’t fit will testify that!
2. Cutting (Too Much) Cost
No one wants a project to cost the earth, after all that’s a big part of the reason for doing it yourself, that said, scrimping too much on materials and tools can serve to work against you rather than with you. If you’re a DIY newbie the costs involved can be overwhelming, but don’t forget quality tools should last for years, if not a lifetime of use if looked after properly. Cheap or poor quality tools can break or perform badly, causing you frustration, and ultimately the need to buy the higher quality tools that you should have bought in the first place.
3. Budget Wisely and Plan Carefully
Just because you might have to spend more on tools than you would like doesn’t mean that all cost planning should go out of the window. In fact quite the opposite is true, and you should determine the full cost of the project both in terms of materials and time, before commencing work. The last thing you want is to get half way through a project and realise that you’ve failed to take into account a host of hidden costs that will ultimately push you way over budget. It’s also wise to factor in an additional 15% on top your estimated budget to cover any extra costs that even your most meticulous planning couldn’t foresee.
4. Make sure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew!
Be realistic. Even with the best will in the world some jobs are best suited to the professionals, or at the very least more than just one pair of hands. So before you start a project ask yourself the question CAN I REALLY DO THIS? Contractors are paid to do their job because they are good at it, so don’t be afraid to enlist their help if you feel you need it.
5. Practice with your tools
If you’re new to a tool, particularly if it’s a power tool then you should definitely take the time to familiarize yourself with it before using it on a ‘live’ project. If you’re not confident with how to use something it’s always worth getting someone with more experience to show you. Remember, power tools can be dangerous if used incorrectly, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
6. Don’t Rush
Remember, if you have a day job you won’t have the same amount of time or energy to dedicate to a project as a professional tradesman, so you shouldn’t expect to be able to complete a project anything like as quickly. Remember as well that it’s easy to burn yourself out, overdoing it after you’ve already done a hard days graft in your day job. So always pace yourself!