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Avoiding DIY disasters

Top five DIY disasters and how to avoid them.

Inspired to dig out those tools and paintbrushes and start that job you’ve been putting off all year? Good for you! Especially since we as a nation seem to be doing less and less DIY* these days as more and more activities compete for our time.

But before you get stuck in, check out our guide to five of the most common DIY mistakes and how to avoid them. You and anyone you share your home with will be glad you did!

1. Paint where you don’t want it

The mantra here is ‘preparation is key’. While you might want to get to stuck straight into the fun part of painting, i.e. getting the new colour on the walls, using plenty of masking tape will save you a whole world of pain. If it’s a wall, think doorframes, skirting boards, ceilings and light switch panels. If it’s a skirting board, think carpets. And make sure your tape is very low tack unless you want to remove paint from the surfaces you stick it on!

2. Drilling into a cable or pipe

Having a proper drill makes DIY a lot easier, but the last thing you want to do is drill through an electric cable or water pipe. Luckily, you can get a handy gadget that detects cables, water and gas pipes from most good DIY stores. It’s a small investment that will give you a lot of peace of mind.

3. Wonky shelves

Do you have a spirit level? If not, get one. Yes, you may believe you’ll be able to judge whether that shelf is straight just by looking at it, but it’s a lot harder than you think. And few things will irritate you more than a slanted shelf. Proper tradespeople never put anything up without a spirit level and neither should you.

4. Cutting it wrong

There’s a good reason why the joiner’s favourite phrase is ‘measure twice, cut once’. There’s a weird phenomenon that happens when we try and read tape measures where the actual length turns out to be either slightly bigger or slightly smaller than it needs to be. So always measure twice before cutting. If you don’t you’ll only end up buying more wood and cursing yourself!

5. Flaky, bubbling paint

Want an interesting, flaking-off effect on your freshly plastered wall? Then slap any old paint onto it without preparing the surface properly. In all seriousness: do your research and make sure you’re putting the right kind of paint onto your surface. Most new surfaces, like wood and plaster need to be primed and undercoated with special made-for-the-job paint before you add that colour you love. So check you’ve got the right stuff before you start.

Or, of course, you could just leave the work to a pro. Check out First Utility Home Services provided by our partner bizzby for easy access to trusted local tradespeople for all your household jobs, from cleaning to plumbing and everything else in between.


* Based on research carried out by Mintel.

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Important information regarding our advice and tips

We try to make sure that the information we include in our blog is correct. Unfortunately information can become out dated, and we can’t guarantee that we won’t ever make a mistake. With that in mind, we accept no responsibility (including loss, damage or injury) for your use of the advice on our blog, or the wider website. Please always consult a professional if you intend to carry out DIY and you’re not fully confident in doing it yourself.

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