DIY is a great hobby for people who enjoy saving money and who gain great satisfaction from knowing they have “done it themselves” – whether it’s building something the whole family can enjoy: a brick bbq, landscaping a garden or fitting a kitchen.
But it’s not for everybody. Some people just don’t have the skills or aptitude to be let loose with a toolbox.
Many DIYers like to try things out; to experiment. It’s in their blood, and for many it’s what makes the hobby so interesting. “I wonder what will happen if I remove this?” – How many times have you thought that as you consider the benefits of open-plan living and wonder if it’s for you?
When embarking on a DIY project on your home it’s important to carry out research to assess the pros and cons of the job you want to undertake – in the corporate world they call it ‘risk assessment’.
The internet is a great place to start, of course. You will find lots of first-hand stories relating to almost every type of job you can think of. From the guy who put a nail through a water pipe whilst fixing some creaky floorboards, to the guy whose home became inhabitable because of a collapsed ceiling. Sometimes you can claim on your household insurance for such mishaps, but not always.
If you truly want to take up DIY as a hobby you should not let these stories put you off. Instead, you should learn from them and tell yourself you will never be that guy. Although you will be, it’s inevitable – just accept that as part of the ride and learn from your mistakes.
There are all sorts of horror stories on the internet, and they can put off a lot of people from taking up DIY as a hobby. However, if you fully research your projects and start on something fairly simple like tiling a kitchen or laying a small patio, you can build up your confidence and work towards an attic conversion or kitchen extension. It’s about knowing what you are capable of and pushing your limits to you learn more.
That said, when it comes to electricity and water, you might want to bring in the experts until you really know what you are doing.
Newcomers to DIY will have to buy tools, but many of us already have the basics; hammer, screwdrivers, chisels etc, and if cost is a concern, you can always look to the second-hand market. At every car-boot sale I’ve been to there’s been a stall selling old tools – and being old doesn’t make them bad or useless. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle for anyone wanting to get involved with DIY is fear. The fear of things going wrong and the money it will cost to put right those DIY disasters. Starting small with help you get over that hurdle, and if you take your time, do your research and keep your wits about you, you will soon be enjoying a rewarding life as a DIYer.
Picture – Steve Taschuck