Getting jobs around the house done can be a lot of fun and extremely rewarding. But if you aren’t adequately prepared for the task you can often do more harm than good – here are six of the most common DIY mistakes and how you can avoid making them.
1. Not using a spirit level
Putting up a shelf is one of those classic DIY jobs that everyone should know how to do. Unfortunately in reality this isn’t the case and even many people who understand the principles of putting up the shelf often get it wrong. For example, it may be tempting to save some time and not bother using a spirit level, but doing so may get the initial job done quicker but it will cause you problems down the line with items falling over or sliding off.
Worse still, you may use one shelf as your example for how to put up the others – this could result in all of the shelves being out of alignment. Use a spirit level to ensure that the edge is perfectly straight.
2. Relying on the ‘quick fix’
We’ve all opted for a quick fix solution to a problem just to get it sorted as soon as possible. With busy lives it’s only natural that sometimes you’ll pick the easiest option to get it sorted out. However, this becomes a problem when every DIY task in your home is covered up with a quick fix. If you are simply masking a problem rather than dealing with it, inevitably it will crop up again and bring even more issues with it. Any time you use a quick fix you should make a note to go back when you have more time and carry out proper work.
3. Painting without preparation
Too many people think that a new coat of paint can simply be applied over the top of the previous surface without carrying out any preparation work. Doing so will give you an uneven finish that won’t look fantastic and is more likely to chip, blister and flake. So before you paint your walls you should first sand them down – remember any bumps or ridges will show up with the new coat of paint. After sanding you should clean the walls to ensure there is nothing on them that could irritate or mess up the paint.
When you’re done, don’t forget to clean your paint brushes.
4. Taking the wrong measurements
There’s nothing more frustrating than doing a large portion of the work on a job, only to find out that you’ve bought fixtures that are the wrong size. Perhaps the most aggravating aspect of this is that it can be easily avoided by double-checking any measures you make. Getting the wrong size fixtures not only means the expense of ordering new ones, it also wastes your time.
5. Saving money with the cheap option
It’s always tempting to use the cheapest material available to get the job done. The problem is that this can actually leave you out of pocket in the long run. This applies to virtually every situation from flooring and paint to tools. Remember, if you’re going to get a lot of use out of them you want them to be quality. It’s unfortunately the case that cheaper items are often of lower quality so this also makes them more likely to break or wear down quickly. Ultimately you’ll end up shelling out more money for replacements. The cheapest option is always a false economy.
6. Not understanding your limitations
Finishing a great DIY project can be enormously satisfying and you can take a lot of pleasure from doing a great job on your home. But it’s important to recognise that you shouldn’t try to take on tasks that are outside of your comfort zone. If you need any work done that involves anything that you don’t have any experience in, you should consider hiring a professional. DIY can be fun, but you also need to know when not to do it yourself.
Mike James, an independent content writer in the property and maintenance industry – working together on this occasion with Yorkshire-based furniture specialist Quality Ironmongery, who were consulted over the information in this post.