Be hon­est be­fore DIY

How much can you real­is­ti­cally achieve given other de­mands on your time? Con­sumer Build takes a look at DIY work.

Matamata Chronicle - - Building -

How much can you do? Many peo­ple are ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing out re­pairs and main­te­nance work on their homes, in­clud­ing re­dec­o­rat­ing, such as paint­ing and wall­pa­per­ing. Some peo­ple have the skills needed for more dif­fi­cult ren­o­va­tions and al­ter­ations.

Most of the re­stric­tions on how much you can do your­self come down to skill, time and en­ergy. There may also be work you are not per­mit­ted to do be­cause of le­gal re­stric­tions.

Be re­al­is­tic about what you can achieve – there are many tales about DIY projects which were never fin­ished, or be­came dis­as­ters which needed fix­ing by a qual­i­fied trades­per­son.

On the other hand, do­ing work on your own home can be im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing and save you money. You can also at­tend cour­ses to learn new skills. There are of­ten night or weekend classes on DIY projects run by lo­cal col­leges or ter­tiary in­sti­tutes. Hard­ware stores also run classes oc­ca­sion­ally.

The draw­backs

You may be­lieve af­ter watch­ing a tele­vi­sion show about home makeovers that it looks easy enough. How­ever, you don’t want to get in­volved in a DIY dis­as­ter.

You have to make a num­ber of in­formed de­ci­sions be­fore start­ing a project. For ex­am­ple, if you de­cide to paint the bath­room, think about th­ese is­sues:

Do you have the pa­tience and equip­ment to peel off the old wall­pa­per, plas­ter and sand the wall­board to a smooth enough fin­ish for paint­ing and ap­ply a pro­fes­sional-look­ing coat of paint?

Do you know enough about the prod­ucts, such as how to seal the walls be­fore paint­ing, and how to choose a paint that is wa­ter-re­sis­tant?

When you take off the wall­pa­per, will you be able to re­place any wall­board that is rot­ten or dam­aged and, more im­por­tantly, can you find the source of any damp­ness and deal with it?

If you only have week­ends to work, are you pre­pared to have a half-fin­ished bath­room for a num­ber of weeks? (Dry­ing times can stretch the process out.)

Un­less you can bor­row or al­ready have them, you’ll have to spend money on tools and equip­ment. Buy­ing cheaply is not al­ways eco­nom­i­cal. If you buy a power tool – for ex­am­ple, a cir­cu­lar saw – that you’ll only use once or twice a year, you can prob­a­bly get away with the cheap­est one on the shelf. But if you plan to build a whole deck, you’ll be bet­ter pay­ing out for a more ex­pen­sive but stur­dier op­tion.

DIYers of­ten waste ma­te­ri­als, for ex­am­ple, by mis­cut­ting the wall­board to patch holes. This adds to the cost and low­ers the sav­ings from do­ing it your­self.

Ba­sic DIY ren­o­va­tion tips

There are some ba­sic prin­ci­ples to keep in mind when you are do­ing home ren­o­va­tions, al­ter­ations or main­te­nance work. They may seem ob­vi­ous, but if over­looked, th­ese fac­tors can dis­rupt work in progress:

Know what the le­gal re­stric­tions are on do­ing things your­self. Gen­eral re­dec­o­rat­ing, such as paint­ing, shouldn’t be a prob­lem, but cer­tain work can be done or signed off only by a qual­i­fied trades­per­son.

Talk to your lo­cal coun­cil to find out if you need build­ing con­sent. This needs to be done be­fore you at­tempt projects.

Work in a log­i­cal se­quence to avoid dam­ag­ing work al­ready un­der­taken, for ex­am­ple, paint­ing the walls should come be­fore sand­ing.

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