The 4 things we all wish we knew at the start of our DIY journey

The 4 things we all wish we knew at the start of our DIY journey

While we may very well be great at the various concepts of interior design and renovations in general, sometimes we could look back and wish we knew certain things at the very outset of our DIY journey. We all have to start somewhere, so if you’re looking to pass some wise information on, here are a few things that can make all the difference.

Quality tools are worth the investment

Whether it’s something as little as wood screws or a screwdriver set, high-quality tools are definitely worth your time and money. High-quality tools and implements tend to have better ergonomics, are built better, and this means that they’re also more durable, which can save you money in the long run and reduce your frustrations.

Sometimes we can’t justify a major expense, but while they say a shoddy workman blames their tools, if there are huge problems in your DIY journey, it could very well be that the things you bought are way too cheap to be effective in the long run.

Proper planning will save time and money

Sometimes we have that approach where we think we should just start something. While this could be beneficial with a small project where you’re learning the ropes and figuring out what you can and cannot do, the reality is that if you’re attempting to renovate a home or undertake a major project, you’ve got to research the potential challenges and solutions beforehand.

Consider the various factors such as weather, drying times, availability, accurate costs and unexpected expenses, as well as create a detailed project plan including material lists, step-by-step procedures and timelines. As the saying goes – fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Safety first

You should always use appropriate protective equipment, and while many of us don’t think we need to read the instructions, sometimes following all the manuals and safety guidelines can make a major difference.

When it comes to safety, keep your work area clean and organised, as this will prevent accidents, particularly with sharp tools around. Also, take the time to learn proper techniques for lifting and handling materials to reduce injury.

Start small and build up

Starting out should be dealing with simple projects that require fewer skills and tools, then gradually increase the complexity alongside our confidence. Each project is an opportunity to develop new skills, and we could certainly feel frustrated that we’re not developing as quickly as others, but we need to understand that quality work often takes time. Therefore, we should remember that precise or difficult tasks don’t benefit from rushing through. It’s okay to make mistakes, and while we should take breaks to avoid mistakes that come from fatigue, every mistake is a learning opportunity.

We need to be prepared to problem-solve and to adapt when things do go wrong. It could be very easy to be a perfectionist about it, but don’t let this hinder your progress. You have all the tools at your disposal as long as you remember to develop those fundamental skills. Stay updated on new tools, techniques and materials, but also remember that seeking insight can help people, new and old to DIY, approach their projects with greater knowledge, realistic expectations and a higher rate of success.

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Taking on a fixer-upper – jobs to tackle first

Taking on a fixer-upper - jobs to tackle first

Buying a fixer-upper has multiple benefits. If you buy a house that isn’t in pristine condition, the asking price will probably be much lower, so there’s a golden opportunity to add value and put your stamp on your new home. There are downsides, but being methodical and organised can help you reduce risks and save money. In this guide, we’ve outlined some essential jobs to tackle first.

Wiring and electrics

Outdated wiring and electrical systems can be dangerous. If you’re taking on a project and the property needs rewiring or significant upgrades, it’s best to seek expert advice and address issues as a priority. Contact reputable local companies and get recommendations from people you trust and community social media groups. Get multiple quotes and compare prices. Make sure you understand the scale and type of work required, and ask for a full, written breakdown of costs. Always ensure that contractors have the relevant insurance, permits and licences. Many people like to get stuck in when it comes to DIY jobs, but anything that involves electrics or gas should be left to the professionals.

Roof repairs or replacement

The roof plays a critical role in protecting the property from the elements. If your new home has a damaged roof or there are signs of wear and tear or leaks, contact local roofing firms. It’s important to sort the roof out as quickly as possible to prevent further issues such as leaks and damp patches. It’s worth exploring the option of completely replacing the roof if it’s an old house as you’re likely to need frequent repairs in the coming years.

Windows and doors

Replacing old windows and doors has multiple benefits. New windows and doors are more energy-efficient than older examples, which will save you money on energy bills, and they can also look stylish and smart. Modern windows and doors offer enhanced security and privacy, and they can also boost curb appeal. As well as replacing old or damaged doors and windows, you may also want to consider adding extra windows to maximise natural light. Contact glass suppliers to find out more about features like roof lights, lanterns and skylights. Adding more light will make your rooms look bigger and brighter. It’s beneficial to compare quotes and consider different designs and styles before you decide what to do and which company to choose.

Layout changes

Older houses often have different layouts and floor plans to newer properties. If you’re modernising an old house, you may want to alter the layout to suit your lifestyle and your requirements. It’s common for new homes to have bigger kitchens and open-plan living areas, for example. More traditional properties usually have a larger number of smaller rooms. Knocking down walls can help you maximise usable space and design rooms that are better suited to your family. It’s better to draw up plans during the early stages of the renovation than to modify the layout later.

There are lots of advantages to buying a fixer-upper, but there’s often a lot of work involved. If you’re taking on a large-scale renovation project, focus on priority tasks. Examples include updating the electrics or rewiring the property, replacing windows and doors, repairing the roof and adjusting the layout of your living spaces.

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Expanding your homeowner skill set, one step at a time

Expanding your homeowner skill set, one step at a time

It’s a satisfying feeling when you become a homeowner. You have your own space, your own property, your own investment to look after. Success or failure, it all comes down to your own planning and effort. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Yet, living as a homeowner is also a skill. While renting is surely not as financially stable as owning your own place (paying someone else’s mortgage instead of your own is, of course, less ideal), it gives peace of mind when a landlord or property agent is fully responsible for any maintenance issues that materialise. As a homeowner, you will need to learn all this for yourself, or pay for someone else to do it out of your own pocket.

In this post, then, we hope to simplify that approach. Let’s consider some of the vital knowledge you should add to your homeowner skill set.

Develop your painting techniques

Painting may not be a task that needs to be carried out on a regular basis, but it’s an easy and elementary skill to learn. Carrying out a quality paint job can quickly freshen up a room and transform the décor, and it’s a simple method for changing up the visual profile of a space without shelling out too much cash. Learning to strip wallpaper, prime walls and skirting, cut in and effectively (and neatly) apply paint with a roller and brush is a worthwhile effort.

Invest in a complete toolbox

You can never tell when you’ll need to carry out the array of DIY household tasks that could arise. For that reason, it’s a good idea to start compiling a toolbox with high-quality basics like screwdrivers, wrenches, a hammer, pliers, a drill, a spirit level and a tape measure, at the very least. You can buy tools from reputable retailers and make sure every job is covered. From that point on, you’ll at least have the means to carry out most basic DIY jobs. From then on, all you’ll need to consider will be your technique, which will develop with time and practice.

Understand how to manage damp

If you live in an old house in a temperate or cold climate, damp is an issue you’ll likely encounter. Ultimately, it’s about managing moisture build-up in your home, and not letting it linger on walls and windows to the point where it becomes a problem. You’ll recognise what damp smells like when you first experience it; a musty, mushroomy odour that feels unhealthy to inhale. That’s because it is; often, mould can lead to toxic spores that can damage your airways and cause illness. Using anti-mould spray, inspecting walls and woodwork for rot, ventilating your home correctly and using dehumidifiers to counter the moist conditions is a necessity. If you can get a handle on how to recognise and deal with damp, you can resolve a good deal of preventable DIY repair issues.

With this useful advice, you’ll be certain to start expanding your homeowner skill set one step at a time. Before too long, a possible repair will inspire you to action, instead of it feeling like an overwhelming burden.

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Expanding your homeowner skill set, one step at a time

Expanding your homeowner skill set, one step at a time

It’s a satisfying feeling when you become a homeowner. You have your own space, your own property, your own investment to look after. Success or failure, it all comes down to your own planning and effort. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Yet, living as a homeowner is also a skill. While renting is surely not as financially stable as owning your own place (paying someone else’s mortgage instead of your own is, of course, less ideal), it gives peace of mind when a landlord or property agent is fully responsible for any maintenance issues that materialise. As a homeowner, you will need to learn all this for yourself, or pay for someone else to do it out of your own pocket.

In this post, then, we hope to simplify that approach. Let’s consider some of the vital knowledge you should add to your homeowner skill set.

Develop your painting techniques

Painting may not be a task that needs to be carried out on a regular basis, but it’s an easy and elementary skill to learn. Carrying out a quality paint job can quickly freshen up a room and transform the décor, and it’s a simple method for changing up the visual profile of a space without shelling out too much cash. Learning to strip wallpaper, prime walls and skirting, cut in and effectively (and neatly) apply paint with a roller and brush is a worthwhile effort.

Invest in a complete toolbox

You can never tell when you’ll need to carry out the array of DIY household tasks that could arise. For that reason, it’s a good idea to start compiling a toolbox with high-quality basics like screwdrivers, wrenches, a hammer, pliers, a drill, a spirit level and a tape measure, at the very least. You can buy tools from reputable retailers and make sure every job is covered. From that point on, you’ll at least have the means to carry out most basic DIY jobs. From then on, all you’ll need to consider will be your technique, which will develop with time and practice.

Understand how to manage damp

If you live in an old house in a temperate or cold climate, damp is an issue you’ll likely encounter. Ultimately, it’s about managing moisture build-up in your home, and not letting it linger on walls and windows to the point where it becomes a problem. You’ll recognise what damp smells like when you first experience it; a musty, mushroomy odour that feels unhealthy to inhale. That’s because it is; often, mould can lead to toxic spores that can damage your airways and cause illness. Using anti-mould spray, inspecting walls and woodwork for rot, ventilating your home correctly and using dehumidifiers to counter the moist conditions is a necessity. If you can get a handle on how to recognise and deal with damp, you can resolve a good deal of preventable DIY repair issues.

With this useful advice, you’ll be certain to start expanding your homeowner skill set one step at a time. Before too long, a possible repair will inspire you to action, instead of it feeling like an overwhelming burden.

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