Guest Post: Avoiding A DIY Disaster
We all make mistakes, but when it comes to DIY these small mistakes can end up costing us a lot of money and a lot of time, if not creating a potential danger to ourselves and our families.
Forgotten Tools, Materials or Equipment
This is possibly one of the most common problems and has varying effects depending on what exactly we’ve forgotten. We do it all the time; go to hang up a picture and realise you forgot to pick up the hammer, or perhaps the nail, you might have just left it out of reach or you might have completely forgotten to but it. Not a big issue, you just put the picture down and go find what you need, right? But what happens when it isn’t something that simple?
People often try to substitute good tools, either by replacing them with something similar or just buying a cheap copy. There’s a reason they’re cheap. But it’s dangerous, trust me. My father was a mechanic, I used to watch him work all the time when I was growing up; he even owned his own mechanic yard. There was one day his jack got stolen, I suppose he figured it was big deal, he started using a pile of bricks to lift the cars, at least until my mother nagged him into going out and buying another jack. He went for a cheap option, put it to work and slid under a lifted VW Golf Cabriolet, the jack gave way and dropped the car on him. He was pretty lucky; just a lost tooth and a decent bump on the head, it could have been a lot worse but it wouldn’t have happened at all if he had been using the right equipment.
It probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t drink and perform manual labour at the same time, but let’s mention it for the sake of covering all the bases. A drink is certainly enjoyable from time to time, but alcohol consumption should be kept for celebrating the completed project at the end of the day. It isn’t just alcohol that you should be cautious of if you want to avoid accidental damage or injury to yourself; feeling unwell or even just tired can cause you to make more mistakes, particularly with more labour intensive areas of DIY. Tackle the DIY and maintenance tasks during times when you’re feeling alert and good, this will make it easier for you to concentrate on the tasks at hand and get them complete faster with much lower chances of you making a mistake.
Empty House makes for Easy Work
Have you ever tried doing DIY with kids in the house? It’s dangerous and difficult, same goes for pets and clutter. If you have something that is going to take a fair amount of time and require a fair amount of concentration then empty the space to do it. Send the kids to a relative for the day, put the pets somewhere out of the way and safe. Clear the clutter and make space for what you’re doing. Plan it ahead of time, consider how much time you need, what materials you need and ensure that when you’re ready to start all you have to do is do it. If you need to run around trying to take back a stolen paintbrush from the dog or dragging children around DIY stores for forgotten materials then you’re only going to end up stressed and counter-productive.
The Impulse Fix
We’ve all done it at least once. We’ve looked at something in our homes and suddenly decided to change it, something that has been nagging at us that we suddenly decide to do something about. However a lack of planning and forethought can lead to problems. Before you strip away your carpets and start laying hardwood floors you should probably ask what you’re going to do with that carpet. Do you have a car or some other way of getting it to the skip? If not it will probably be sitting outside your house, or worse – somewhere inside your house, for the next month or so. Do you have the budget for the hardwood floors? Where are you going to buy them? How are you going to get them back to the house? Have you measured to see how much you need or decided which ones you want? Have you thought about how long your space is going to be without adequate flooring between the beginning and end of this little project?
There are far too many questions that we don’t consider until it’s too late. I saw my mother do it once, after a minor mould problem destroyed her wallpaper she tore it all down in one afternoon. Without any to replace it and no paint it remained bare for two weeks before she finally went and bought some, which she put up in a single afternoon. Then when my father returned home from work that evening he protested, insisting that he absolutely hated the wallpaper she had put up, so he tore it down. They went through three different designs before agreeing on one, which meant that they bought it three different times instead of just finding one that they agreed on in the first place.
Protect your Stuff
Don’t just start a project, think about the items and surfaces that may be at risk of damage. Using masking tape when painting to prevent you from getting paint on surfaces that you aren’t trying to paint, even the carpet. Lay down sheets and use covers to protect your carpets and furniture from paint and dust when performing some general maintenance and decoration tasks. Clear out any clutter or fragile furniture to prevent it from being knocked, damaged or broken during the process of your DIY tasks.
Just because you perfectly measured the wall doesn’t mean you should buy the exact amount of wallpaper you need. What if you make a mistake and need extra to replace it? Things like tiles, carpets, wallpaper and even paint should not be bought in amounts too small; running out is always worse than having more than you need. At least if you have some left over it means you have extra in the future, there are lots of uses for pieces of extra carpet or left-over paint, but if you run out mid job it can be awkward to go back and buy more, particularly if it was a colour or style that was difficult to get a hold of in the first place.
As a general rule you should always ensure that you spend the time to consider every possible aspect, even for simple things. You might only be painting a room, but have you thought about how long the paint will take to dry? What colours you’re going to use and how much paint you’ll need? How many coats you want to give it? Where you’re going to keep everything that was in the room previously and for how long? Even the seemingly simple jobs require preparation and consideration. Think about what you need, safety to yourself and others in the property, think about the decisions that will need to be made and of course the inconveniences that could be caused. Particularly you should give thought to time and expense; how long something will take and how much it is going to cost you.
There is nothing worse than getting half way through a project and suddenly realising you have to stop because you missed something or didn’t give enough consideration to what you needed and what it would cost you.
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