Have you been looking at your floors recently and thinking it’s high time they were upgraded? Or maybe the tiles in your shower could use a revamp or a storage cabinet on the front porch would be nice for all your Christmas lights and the tap over the kitchen sink is beginning to look a bit dejected. Switching it out with something bright and shiny would be doing it a favour. Many would see what needs doing and just call in the experts, but for the few, the proud, the DIYers, they view such projects as challenges to be eagerly tackled by none other than themselves.
Depending on the difficulty and scope of the repair or rebuild, not to mention the level of your expertise, a DIY job can be a great way to save money and get that sense of satisfaction that others miss when they hire professionals. There are two important questions you need to ask yourself before you begin. Do you know your limitations? Do you have the proper tools? Ambition is one thing, but absolutely nuts is another. Don’t run before you can walk and don’t start ripping out fixtures if you don’t know a screwdriver from an allen key.
Anyone who has had the experience of, for example, changing a tyre on a car without the correct tools, will tell you that it’s no fun at all. I remember once that I had the jack but couldn’t find the metal piece anywhere that hooked in to raise it up. All I could find was a wooden spoon, so I had to slot in the handle of that to get some leverage. I eventually got the car to rise, but not before spoon shrapnel had flown everywhere with every twist. Wood just isn’t built to take that kind of pressure.
The same lesson can be applied to DIY projects in the home. Not only can the wrong tools significantly lengthen the amount of time it takes to do the job, they can actually ruin your efforts and end up costing you more money than if you had just paid someone else to do it.
Everyone should have a basic set of tools in their home. This would include at the very least a hammer, various screwdrivers, a socket set, adjustable wrench, measuring tape and tool belt. A level is also a good idea unless you like your curtain rods on a gradient.
If you have never taken on a DIY project before, do some research. Buy books, ask friends with more experience than yourself, and don’t skip steps no matter how small and insignificant they may seem. Compare it to baking a cake. You only need a small amount of baking powder in the recipe, but if you leave it out you end up with a dense discus not a beautifully risen confection.
Let’s say you want to hang a heavy picture from your drywall. There is a right way and wrong way to tackle even something as simple as this. The wrong way? Bang a nail or screw directly into the wall and hang your picture on it. Odds are good that not long after your artwork will hit the deck and a nice hole will be left behind. The right way is to buy an anchor that you install first. This will
create a much stronger base for your
screw and therefore your picture.
As you become more confident you can start purchasing electric tools that make many jobs a breeze. If you have the money, you might want to go with cordless rather than the alternative for obvious reasons. There are a number of different brands to consider, and if you’re not sure what to choose, go to one of our friendly neighbourhood stores to ask for advice. It’s best to go armed with as much information as possible, i.e. what you’re planning to use the tool for, whether it’s mainly an indoors or outdoors project and how versatile you need it to be (the “attachments” conversation). There is no wrong question to ask and sales staff will be happy to help you. Remember that a question (or more) a day keeps the repairman away!