DIY, but be selective
Some of the best ways to spruce up your property while keeping the costs down at the same time
IF YOU own property there is a good chance you’ll try your hand at improving it. But what jobs should you attempt to do yourself?
According to professional renovator Cherie Barber, founder of Renovating for Profit, DIY projects can be a great way to keep costs down on a renovation.
But she does believe you have to be selective about which projects you DIY and which you outsource.
Other experts, including Cathy Morrissey, founder of The Reno Chick, say even the most inexperienced DIYer can still find ways to be productive when renovating.
“You may, for example, be hopeless with a hammer but a gun with a calculator, so play to your strengths and manage the reno budget,” Ms Morrissey said.
Here are five of the best ways to spruce up your property.
It isn’t glamorous but the first job of any home refurbishment should always be vigorous cleaning, Ms Morrissey says.
Don’t forget walls, skirting boards, ceilings, lights, window dressings, including removing any redundant hooks and brackets left over from former curtain installations.
“Get outside with a gurney and high-pressure hose your front driveway, any concrete, pavers, the front facade, the fence and then move inside to give every surface a really good once over,” Ms Morrissey said.
“It’s so important to do this – anyone can do it – because you can then see what is broken, what needs fixing, to help you draft a ‘to do’ list of jobs.”
2. Preparation works
Save big bucks in labour costs by doing some of the prep work before any qualified tradespeople show up.
Perhaps you have solid timber floorboards under your current daggy carpet, which you’ll engage a specialist to sand and polish?
Save time and money by pulling up and removing the old carpet and sweeping the area, Ms Morrissey suggests.
It’s one of the first things you learn at kindergarten, so there’s nothing to stop renovators from brightening their homes with paint.
Natasha Dickins, furniture builder, DIY expert and founder of Little Red Industries says a range of paint products have made it easy to freshen up properties for low cost.
“Anyone can paint, be it concrete paving and driveway paint, garage door paint or metal fence paint, and it makes a huge difference,” she said.
4. Outdoor working bee
Create a more welcoming space by refreshing your front yard, Ms Barber suggests. The same applies to any backyard area. “Transform old paths or the concrete driveway with some simple additions of surrounding garden beds using old sleepers or rolled out turf,” she said.
Dickins agrees that tidying up your garden is one of the simplest ways to DIY.
“If you can afford a pair of scissors, just cut it (bushes) back and it will instantly look better,” she says.
5. Minor kitchen/bathroom tweaks
“Budget-friendly cosmetic changes are great options that will instantly improve the look of your home,” Ms Barber said.
“The kitchen and bathroom are great areas to focus on. For the kitchen, brighten up the space with some laminate paint to refresh the benchtops or benchtop resurfacing to revamp the space.”
Other ideas include buying a “grout pen” to apply fresh bathroom grout in bathrooms and replacing the covers on light switches, Ms Dickins said.
DIY jobs to avoid
Engage a qualified tradesperson for any property renovations or restorations involving: plumbing, electrical, structural works, including removing load-bearing walls, installing kitchens and sanding/polishing wooden floors, unless you are proficient with industry-grade machinery.
“Even if you are a competent handyman on the weekends, rather than take on a skilled project yourself to save money, some things are better left to the experts as you could actually end up devaluing your property,” Ms Barber said.