Can you avoid these 5 classic DIY mistakes?

Ah, well, you always said you wanted a conservatory

Image: Steve Johnson

Guest post by: Estelle Page

Do it yourself they said. Look, we’ve put handy guides online they said. Even an amateur can complete it in one day of work they said. Inevitably, DIY projects turn out to be a lot more work than you ever thought. There are some absolutely classic mistakes that people fall into every time and so I hope you can heed the following warnings.

5. Gutting Everything

By far the biggest mistake in any project is biting off more than you can chew. You know the story, you go to replace one of the doors on the kitchen unit and you think you might as well replace the other one at the same time.

Rip them off, you feel like you are really getting somewhere. This is easy. In fact why not replace them all. That will be a good job done. Even better idea; since you are going to the DIY shop you might as well replace the units completely.

A whole new kitchen? Yeah, might as well. “A job worth doing is a job worth doing well” and all that. Except now you are left with a pile of rubble in the middle of the kitchen, the kids are home from school and you end up microwaving macaroni from the safety of the livingroom.

4. Buying Cheap Materials

If you see some discount flat pack furniture piled high near the exit of your DIY megastore, chances are they are looking to get rid of it. It may seem like a good deal at the time, but have you learned nothing from Grand Designs?! Kevin McCloud would be disappointed that you didn’t source locally. Your work would probably fall apart in a matter of minutes. A good test – if you are scared that the kids might break it if they go near it, chances are, deep down, you know that it’s doomed from the start.

3. Inaccurate Measurements

‘About’ is the most dangerous word in the English language. Well it was ‘about’ 37cm is not going to make any difference when your partner leaves you because you did a crappy job repairing the roof and water has been slowly seeping through the ceiling causing damp in the walls…leading to a house move and thousands spent on structurally securing the whole side of your house.

That’s quite an extreme (and made up) example –just set yourself up at your workbench, take some time, and measure everything twice yeah?

2. Failure to Anticipate Chaos

Remember, unless you are a property developer, you are going to need to live around whatever projects you have going on. Just to put that into perspective; if you are replacing the shower and then ripping it out, you will not have a shower until you finish the job. Simple detail; but often overlooked.

1. Incorrect Storage of Materials

Some jobs take time; you are not a professional decorator. Thanks to those tiny brushes that you bought because they were on clearance, it is going to take quite a while to finish painting the entire hallway, most likely more than one day. When you finally get around to finishing the job a week later, you may find that your brushes are stuck ‘sword in the stone’ style in your paint pot.

Make sure you clean all your gear before you put it away – much cheaper than buying another set.