How much can you realistically achieve given other demands on your time? We take a practical look at DIY work.
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Many people are capable of carrying out repairs and maintenance work on their homes, including redecorating, such as painting and wallpapering. Some people have the skills needed for more difficult renovations and alterations.
Most of the restrictions on how much you can do yourself come down to skill, time and energy. There may also be work you are not permitted to do because of legal restrictions.
Be realistic about what you can achieve – there are many tales about DIY projects that were never finished or became disasters in need of fixing by a qualified tradesperson.
On the other hand, doing work on your own home can be immensely satisfying and save you money. You can also attend courses to learn new skills. There are often night or weekend classes on DIY projects run by local colleges, or tertiary institutes. Hardware stores also run classes occasionally.
You may believe after watching a television show about home makeovers that it looks easy enough. However, you don’t want to get involved in a DIY disaster.
You have to make a number of informed decisions before starting a project. For example, if you decide to paint the bathroom, think about these issues:
Unless you can borrow or already have them, you’ll have to spend money on tools and equipment. Buying cheaply is not always economical. If you buy a power tool – for example, a circular saw – that you’ll only use once or twice a year, you can probably get away with the cheapest one on the shelf. But if you plan to build a whole deck, you’ll be better paying out for a more expensive but sturdier option.
DIYers often waste materials, for example, by miscutting the wallboard to patch holes. This adds to the cost and lowers the savings from doing it yourself.
There are some basic principles to keep in mind when you are doing home renovations, alterations or maintenance work. They may seem obvious, but if overlooked, these factors can disrupt work in progress:
Don’t assume your insurance policy will automatically cover any accidents that occur while you are doing DIY work. Before starting, contact your insurance company, tell them what you are proposing to do and make sure your house and contents insurance covers that work.
Note that work done without a building consent may not be insured under your insurance policy. Check with your insurance company. At any rate, it is illegal to undertake building work that requires a consent without one. This is not only for your protection, but for that of future owners.
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