According to a study by Allianz Insurance, 56% of people in the UK rate their DIY skills as “good” or “excellent”. However, the total cost of sorting out botched DIY jobs is a whopping £4.4 billion per year in the UK, suggesting that we aren’t as careful as we could be. Here are a few simple precautions to take that could save you a packet in the long run. Remember also that personal health and safety is the most important consideration when preventing DIY disasters – fingers, toes, and other body parts are, of course, irreplaceable.
Drilling through cables and pipes
One of the reasons I’ve been a bit scared to put up shelves, drilling through electrical cables and pipes is actually very easy to avoid when you know how. A pipe and cable detector (available fairly cheaply from hardware stores, B&Q, and the like) will show you where your pipes and cables are, preventing you from potentially drilling a very costly hole.
I know it’s obvious, but when I start decorating, often I’m so caught up in the excitement of a fresh new paint colour that I neglect to protect the surrounding surfaces. Often, it’s near-impossible to get dried paint out of carpets, which is why it’s so important to use dust sheets, even on those areas where you don't think the paint can possibly get. Wrapping a piece of cloth around your paintbrush handle will stop the paint from dripping and running down your arm – this is especially useful when “cutting in” while painting a ceiling. Another tip is to keep children and pets out of the room you’re painting (if you possibly can!) to avoid accidental paint spillages. Something to bear in mind is that some home insurance policies will cover accidental damage for large areas of spilled paint.
Similarly, when you’re doing any kind of DIY or decorating, move valuable items (TVs, laptops, ornaments) out of the room, and our of harm’s way.
Broken plasterboard sheets
Plasterboard comes in big, and therefore unwieldy, sizes. The key to carrying a plasterboard sheet around is to place it under one arm, and hook a crowbar underneath the bottom edge, giving you the extra reach you need. Carrying this way will avoid expensive breakages.
Dried up paintbrushes and rollers
We’ve all done it – you leave your rollers and trays covered in cling film, promising to come back to them later, and they a few days later, you return to find them dried up, and you have to chuck them away. The solution here is to wrap brushes, rollers and trays in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer. Believe it or not, once the paint has thawed it will be usable as normal. It’s a bit less time consuming than washing your brushes and rollers each day, and definitely a lot easier.