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 bathroom radiator instead of a standard eco 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.
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.