The beginners guide to DIY


Photo Credit: pui108diy via Compfight cc

DIY stands for ‘do it yourself’ and refers to household repairs, renovations, creations and improvements that you’d otherwise have to pay someone to do. The biggest reason we undertake DIY is to save money… picking up cheap materials and not having to pay someone else to do the dirty work means you can keep your cash for something else!

Another reason people have a crack at DIY is that it’s really satisfying. There’s nothing more rewarding than finishing a project you’re pleased with before sitting back to enjoy the fruits of your labour. And, as an extra bonus, your friends and family will be suitably impressed too! So, if you’re new to DIY, here’s a basic outline of everything you need to know…

Tools for the job:

There are a number of must-have tools that DIY’ers need to have in their toolkit. To start building your basic kit, invest in the following:

  • A toolbox to put your tools in
  • Safety gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • A screwdriver set
  • A pair of pliers
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A spirit level
  • A tape measure
  • A utility knife
  • An electric drill
  • A torch or flashlight
  • A hacksaw
  • A set of hex keys
  • A chisel
  • A variety of screws, bolts, nails, washers and wall plugs, and a reloading press.

Note that you can also pick these up second hand online, at boot fairs, or in your family member’s garage – you don’t have to buy anything brand new, though some tools will be sharper and more effective if they’ve never been used before. If all else fails or you can’t afford to invest in all these items at once, see if a neighbour or friend will loan you tools in the short term. 

Where to find discount materials:

DIY’ing inevitably means sourcing the materials you need for a job – whether it’s wood to lay in your hallway, paving slabs to improve your front drive or a worktop to polish up for your kitchen, it won’t appear out of thin air. To save money, skip the mainstream suppliers and look for good deals online. Ebay and Gumtree are both work a look, and tradesmen and building sites might be happy to sell you their offcuts very cheaply – if not for free!

Jobs you shouldn’t undertake alone:

Finally, while you’re doubtless eager to get stuck in, there are a number of jobs beginner DIY’ers shouldn’t undertake alone. For instance:

  • Stay away from tasks that have the potential to seriously harm you. This includes anything involving mains electricity and gas pipes.
  • Avoid jobs that require a level of expertise you simply don’t have, such as doing plumbing work or installing Velux windows. (That said, you can buy Velux windows from Ken’s Yard at a cheaper rate than going through a high street retailer and spend your spare cash on a verified installer to achieve a professional finish).

Ultimately, so long as you’re not at serious risk of injury or likely to cause significant damage to your home, give it a go! Paint your own walls, put up your own shelves and take pleasure in tiling the bathroom: your best effort will be good enough!

*This is a collaborative post*


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