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DIY & Home Improvement: DIY mistakes you don’t want to make

DIY & Home Improvement: DIY mistakes you don’t want to make

Avoid these amateur blunders to ensure your latest attempts at making a house a better home don’t go awry.

It can be tempting to take on home improvement jobs for yourself. It gives a greater sense of satisfaction when things go right, and saves you money on hiring someone else to do it.


Or at least that’s true in theory. The reality is, though, if you don’t really know what you’re doing even the most relatively simple jobs can soon become nightmarishly expensive due to damaged tools and materials, breakages, and the damage you can cause. Here are 10 major mistakes that are easy to avoid with a little pre-planning, so take a look and be sure to take in the advice rather than risk falling foul of these DIY crimes.



Forgetting a spirit level

If something needs to be straight and level then make sure it is. Always use a spirit level for jobs like putting up a shelf, ensuring you won’t wind up with objects falling off.


Neglecting to use primers 

Not everyone knows that watermarks cannot be covered up by painting over them with a water-based emulsion, regardless of how many coats are applied. But now you do. Instead use an oil-based primer first to seal the stain in, then move to the emulsion.


Failing to plan for the future 

It’s easy to forget that you might need to access something further down the line, particularly when it comes to boxing in or adding panelling to any plumbing related area. There will be leaks at some point, and you will need to get at the pipes, so think ahead and use one removable panel or concealed door in your design.


Spending more (or less) than you need 

You don’t always need to have top of the range kit, but nor do you want sub-standard stuff either. Scrimping on items like paint brushes is a surefire way to cause yourself a headache- they have less bristles, and the bristles they do have are likely to come off and get stuck to your paint. That’s just one example, too.


Not protecting surfaces 

Let’s say you have a skirting board to paint, but a carpeted floor that might suffer if you get any gloss on it. The obvious solution is to pull the carpet back, for example, but this is probably also highly impractical. Cover up what needs to be protected with masking tape, and any other joining surfaces that don’t want to be touched.


Ignoring the need to support shelves properly

If you want (or just need) a shelf on a partition wall it’s vital to first find the studwork behind the plaster, and use this for support. Fail on this and the screws and nails will come out with the slightest weight. The wooden posts you’re looking for act like a backbone and hold the screws tight. If these are in an useless position, though, you can also use cavity fixings that anchor screws to the plaster.

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