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Nailed It: Five Common DIY Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
The first signs of spring will soon be stirring, and this might inspire you to finally get around to that nagging DIY project. This can be an exciting endeavour, but if you are not experienced at home improvement projects, it is all too easy to make mistakes. Most of the time, these can be avoided with some careful planning and preparation.
Although it’s tempting to rush in and get going, particularly if you have limited time available, being well prepared can save you the time and effort of undoing costly mistakes in the long run. Here are some common pitfalls to watch out for.
Not measuring up correctly
Whether you are installing a new bathroom or just wallpapering a feature wall in your bedroom, it’s essential to take the time to measure up properly. This means that you will buy the correct amount of materials and cut them accordingly to fit, thus reducing wastage. An incorrect measurement means you will never be really satisfied with the result of your work.
Double or even triple check your measurements, using the same tape measure each time, and ensuring that you are holding it straight and flat. When writing them down be very clear which area you are referring to, to avoid confusion.
Using the wrong tools
When it comes to tools, amateur DIYers tend to fall into two categories of error: they either decide to make do with whatever happens to be lying around the garage or in their toolkit, or they rush out and buy an array of expensive and sometimes unnecessary tools at the outset. Both of these approaches can lead to costly mistakes.
Take some time before you begin to familiarise yourself with exactly what tools you will need for the job, and spend some time learning how to use them correctly. This means that you are far less likely to cause any costly damage to the materials or surface, or injure yourself or others. Never try to make do with an inappropriate tool as this is a recipe for disaster.
On the other hand, larger tools such as drills and saws can be expensive and significantly add to the cost of your project. It may be possible to rent them from DIY centres or borrow them from tool libraries or friends and family. If you are not sure how to use these tools, ask the staff or owners for guidance, or watch ‘how to’ videos that are widely available online.
Not observing safety precautions
DIY accidents are a common cause for A&E visits, especially around bank holidays! Make sure that you don’t swell the numbers by taking safety precautions. Wear protective eyewear and gloves when appropriate, particularly if you are cutting glass or using power tools. If you are drilling, sawing, sanding, or demolishing a wall, wear a mask for dust protection.
Always check ladders for stability before climbing, and where suitable sturdy flat shoes, preferably boots with reinforced toe caps rather than trainers. Avoid wearing excessively loose baggy clothing, and tie long hair back. Keep your working area clean and tidy, and make sure kids and pets are kept out of the way.
Make sure that all your tools are in good working order before operation. Using blunt tools means that you will have to apply more force for them to be effective, increasing the risk of accidents, so always sharpen blades before you begin.
Not testing out paint colours
If you are repainting a surface as a part of your DIY project, it’s always a good idea to get some sample shades of your chosen colour or colours first. This is because often the paint tones look different to the sample swatch once they are applied to a wall, and can take on different hues depending on the source of the light.
Get tester pots of at least three different variants of each colour and paint test swatches next to each other on the wall. Be patient and wait for them to dry out thoroughly, and make sure you look at them in full natural daylight. This will give you a chance to see the subtle undertones of the paint, and make sure that you are really happy with it before committing.
Not applying sealant
If you are working on a bathroom or kitchen project, then it’s essential that you apply sealant around areas such as shower trays, bath tubs, and sinks. This will ensure that the product is held in place safely and is more resistant to mould growth and leaks.
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