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blog posts tagged with diy

Top DIY Gadgets Every Home Should Have

Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or not, there are some gadgets and power tools you really should invest in. You don’t necessarily need to be skilled at DIY to use them, but if you do decide to undertake a DIY project such as removing a vertical designer radiator from the wall in order to strip off old wallpaper, a few handy tools will make life so much easier. So what tools and gadgets are worth investing in?

Screwdriver Set

A Multi Purpose Screwdriver Set

Every home should have a set of screwdrivers stashed away in a drawer somewhere. Screwdrivers come in handy for all kinds of things. From opening a plug to change a fuse to tightening up a hinge on a door, there will come a time when you need a screwdriver, so make sure you have at least one of each variety available.

Wallpaper Stripper

Steam Wallpaper Stripper

Scraping off wallpaper by hand is a backbreaking job if you are tackling decades of ugly woodchip painted in magnolia. By contrast, most wallpaper will come off pretty easily if you use a steam wallpaper stripper. The only thing you need to be careful of is that if you get a bit too enthusiastic with the steam, you might notice chunks of plaster falling off too.

Power Drill

Power Drill

You can’t put up a shelf without a power drill. Well, you could, but it might not stay up for more than five minutes. Electric drills are cheap and easy to use. Choose from corded economy drills or upgrade to a cordless drill for outdoor projects. For simple DIY projects, go for a cheap and cheerful brand, but if you plan on building an extension, look at quality brands such as Makita or Bosch.

Electric Screwdriver

Electric Screwdriver

If you are a big fan of flat-pack furniture, an electric screwdriver will make your life an awful lot easier. Instead of sweating away with an old screwdriver, you can get the job done in half the time. And the good thing about electric screwdrivers is that they often come with a selection of multi-functional accessories, such as corkscrews, so if you are struggling to uncork a bottle of wine, pull out your trusty electric screwdriver and get Happy Hour off to a fine start.

Mini Sander

Mini Sander

In order to achieve a professional finish when painting skirting boards and doorframes, you need to sand the wood down to remove lumps, bumps and imperfections. To do this by hand takes ages and the end result is not always that great. Investing in a mini sander will make life a lot easier. You can also use mini sanders to renovate wooden furniture if you fancy introducing a bit of ‘shabby chic’ into your home.

Chop Saw

Chop Saw

Chopping sticks for the fire is a pain when you have to do it by hand. A far easier way of chopping small sticks for kindling is to use a chop saw instead. Chop saws are great if you have a huge pile of timber off-cuts. It takes minutes to zap through a stack of wood and turn it into kindling size pieces. For larger pieces of timber (for example old pallets), a circular saw is a better choice, although this requires more strength to wield for any length of time.

Universal Cutter

Universal Cutter

A universal cutting tool is like a penknife on steroids. With one of these little gadgets you will be able to cut through just about anything: carpets, vinyl flooring, electric cabling, and anything else you need to sever in two.

This is just a small selection of the many DIY gadgets you will find at your local DIY store, but with one or two of these in your garage, you should have most DIY projects covered.

When NOT to Try DIY

Home improvement programmes have become massively popular in recent years. Turn on the TV on any given day and you will be confronted with bright and breezy presenters telling you how to transform your home from an uninspiring box into a palace fit for an A list celebrity. And the best bit? Instead of paying a fortune to a builder or interior designer, if you follow the tips on screen, you can achieve some amazing results with a spot of DIY.

But is it really such a great idea to have a go at complex home improvement projects? Surely it would be better to pay someone else to do the work, even if it’s more expensive. Well, it depends. DIY is obviously going to be cheaper if you have the skills and tools available. It can also be more satisfying to do the job yourself and let you select a stunning designer towel radiator instead of a standard heated towel rail using your savings. However, there are times when you shouldn’t attempt DIY, so if you have a burning desire to have a go at home improvement, give it some serious thought before you pick up any power tools.

The Sharp End

When you don’t know one end of a tool from another, DIY is not a good idea. Power tools are lethal weapons in inexperienced hands. One false move and you could end up in casualty, so start small and work your way up to more complicated jobs.

A Complicated Project

Some DIY tasks are relatively simple. Most people can change a tap washer or put up a shelf without any major problems. You don’t need specialist skills or lots of tools to do simple jobs - some general knowledge will suffice. And even if you do get it wrong, the consequences won’t be too serious.

However, many DIY jobs are not simple and it is these that the amateur DIYer should stay well away from. Some tasks need specialist skills that only a qualified tradesman will have. For example, installing a new central heating boiler should not be attempted unless you are suitably qualified. Whilst a competent DIYer is more than capable of fitting a new radiator or replacing a shower, installing a boiler is a whole different ballgame, so don’t be tempted to ‘have a go’.

A Poor Track Record

If you have spent time in casualty as a result of severing something vital with a power tool, don’t even think about attempting any DIY task, no matter now simple it appears to be. There are some people who just can’t be trusted with a sharp tool, either because they are clumsy or just unskilled. If this sounds like you, pay someone else to do the work instead. Yes, it will be more expensive, but unless your spouse has a huge life insurance policy with your name on it, it is the safer option.

Building Regulations

There are many home improvements where the finished result has to adhere to building regulations. For an experienced builder or tradesman, this won’t be a problem, but if you are an amateur, you probably won’t have a clue about such things. To avoid falling foul of the local housing department, don’t be tempted to cut corners and save money by doing it ‘on the cheap’. Your house might not fall down, but a bad job will definitely cause issues when you want to sell at a later date.

DIY can be enormous fun. It can also be very rewarding as the sense of pride that comes with surveying a completed project is hard to beat. However, DIY is an expensive folly if you attempt a project well beyond your skill set, so never overestimate what you are capable of or you could end up with an expensive repair bill.