Acquiring some basic DIY skills and knowledge is a goal every homeowner should aim for. Aside from potentially saving you a lot of money, there are few things more rewarding and satisfying than being able to use and enjoy something you’ve made with your own two hands. That said, there are always going to be times when it’s better to call in the professionals – either because the job is potentially dangerous (such as dealing with electrical wiring or gas lines) or simply because it’s the kind of job you have to get right first time and can’t practice for.
Here we take a look at some of the most common home improvement projects, which you can (and should!) confidently tackle on your own, and which you should rather leave to the experts.
DIY: Basic wall repair, prepping, priming and repainting
Applying a new lick of paint to the walls of rooms which have seen better days will always be one of the cornerstones of home improvement – and if you’re new to DIY, then this is a great first tool to add to your belt.
Call a Pro: If you suspect structural damage to walls
Whether it’s as a result of a particularly nasty storm, water damage, or simply inferior workmanship when your home was first built, structural damage which affects the integrity of your home is not an issue you should try and resolve yourself – especially where load-bearing walls are involved. While structural damage is usually obvious, other signs often include windows and doors that don’t shut like they used to or refuse to open at all, cracks (especially if there appears to be rust seeping through them) and cracks in wooden structures.
DIY: Basic smart features in your home
Back in the early days of smart home technology, consumers frequently didn’t have a lot of options, simply because many devices weren’t compatible with each other. Now, with the arrival of smart hubs and voice assistants that do talk nicely to each other, it’s possible to add several smart features yourself without expert advice.
Call a Pro: Full-on Home Automation
While adding some nifty gadgets here and there is one thing, large scale smart home automation is still better left to the professionals, especially if you’re looking to add lots of value to the eventual selling price of your home. From dimming the lights, locking all the doors and arming the security system with one touch of a button on your smartphone, to cleverly hidden speakers, multi-room audio and home cinemas – getting professional advice and guidance on the products that will best suit you and your family’s unique needs and lifestyle is still the best route to take.
DIY: Basic bathroom upgrades
While many beginner DIY-ers are nervous around any room which contains plumbing, (and perhaps conjures up mental pictures of a flooded house) there are actually a surprising number of jobs you can tackle in the bathroom without help. This includes basic tiling and flooring, installing mirrors, towel rails and grab bars, and replacing faucets for an updated look.
Call a Pro: Bathroom extensions, plumbing and ventilation
Larger jobs will require the assistance of an expert. These include installing underfloor heating, major tiling work, moving or installing plumbing and pipes, running ventilation and expanding the size of the bathroom itself.
DIY: Ad hoc improvements
Installing new shelves, trim and door or cabinet handles are all great DIY projects around the rest of the home that make good projects for amateurs and novices.
Call a Pro: Major additions
Masonry work, roof and gutter work, the installation of skylights and solar panels, and adding new siding should be left to the pros.
DIY: Yard improvements
Call a Pro: Landscaping, irrigation and swimming pools
Putting in a swimming pool, adding sprinklers and irrigation, running electricity to any external structures and major deck work is best left to the experts.
And introducing the middle ground – the art of BIY (Buy It Yourself)
So, what if you’ve tried your hand at DIY and found you’re not quite as talented as you might have hoped? You can still save money and be more involved in the process by shopping around for fixtures and fittings you like, hunting for the best deals and steals, purchasing these and then having them installed by a professional for you.