When you finally buy your first home, you may well be starting off on a project to make it safe and suitable for your family's needs and tastes. Whether it's a full scale renovation project or simply replacing a few fixtures and fittings here and there, I thought I'd share a few ways that you can save money by learning a little home maintenance from home.
Sometimes, even if we can just do a little of the ground or prep work before calling in a professional for the big jobs, we can save a heap of cash which can be spent in much more exciting ways. For example, removing old plaster before having it refreshed could take your plasterer a few days but this prep work (although messy and tedious) is something you can do; Three days wages saved and you control the mess.
It goes without saying that for some jobs you just have to face facts and call in a pro, it's not always safe to try things yourself and in some cases you may end up causing more work if something goes wrong, defeating the object of DIYing entirely. There's absolutely no shame in skipping the DIY if it's not for you and letting the pros take the reigns, but for many of us this just isn't an option and so saving those precious pennies where we can is an absolute must. There are plenty of jobs you can get stuck into though around the home, even with little or no experience. Sometimes, just knowing what is achievable and where best to look for advice and direction is all you need.
From our experience in home renovation, with lots of super steep learning curves along the way, here's a few tips to becoming a real pro at DIY, saving money and building confidence along the way.
YouTube (is your new best friend)
YouTube is your best friend when it comes to learning new DIY skills. Watching someone in real time do the job that needs to be done can be a really great way to learn and there's some amazing channels out there, so look for someone that clicks with you and get stuck in. You can pause and rewind at any time too, so you needn't feel rushed and can always pop out for supplies when needed. These 'how to' videos also give you a chance to think 'nope, that's not for me', before you get stuck in or cause further issues.
Now I'm not suggesting you attempt to rewire your home as you're likely to end up like a pile of crispy bacon if it goes wrong, but there are lots of small things you can learn to save a fortune. Small jobs like fitting new sockets, switches, and light fittings are all super easy to do. If something goes wrong and your trip switches are continually going off, you'll need to do a little fault finding. Fault finding with an electrician charging by the hour can be a lengthy and expensive process, when it's really just unplugging all your appliances one by one to see what is causing the trip. If all your appliances can be ruled out, this is where the pro electrician comes in to see if there's a fault in the wiring. Dabbling with electrics sounds scary, but it's a lot easier than you think and as long as everything is switched off at the mains, it's pretty safe to do. Just be realistic and sensible about what you can do with zero training!
Changing taps, fixing taps, adding or replacing pipes, replacing showers/fittings and even draining radiators to remove when decorating are all simple jobs that we can learn without having to pay an expensive plumber to sort on our behalf. Call them in for big jobs and emergencies, but in a lot of cases just like with electric jobs, if it's all switched off while you work there's little to worry about.
Carpentry is definitely a skill that most people leave to the experts. There are a few things you can try though such as fixing floorboards, fitting skirting boards, picture rails, kitchen cupboards that won't leave you dizzy. Getting to grips with wood work can be really handy especially if you have an old home that's likely to need a few fix ups here and there.
Masonry work for most of us would include things like fixing garden walls, replacing bricks in walls, anything really involving stone or brick. This one is just really down to what you think you can realistically do by yourself, without dabbling in things that interfere with the structural properties of your home and surroundings.
Painting & Decorating
This is perhaps the one we all tend to get stuck into a bit more. With nothing permanent to damage and a lot less risk, this is where most of us DIY folk start out and it can be a lot of fun. I always think that it's worth living in your home for a while first to get a feel of what colours and decor would suit it. Once you've decided on your options, you can get wallpapering and painting. Once again YouTube can give you tips on everything from getting those perfect straight edges, hanging wallpaper and anything else you can think of to beautify your home.
This sounds like an awful lot to learn, but if you're setting out on a project home and can afford to take things one at a time, you can have fun and learn along the way. Always call in an expert if you're not sure, know your limits and don't be embarrassed to ask for help if needed, but always have a try. There are lots of short courses at local colleges as well as online, so if you feel you want to learn more, go for it!
Are you a confident DIYer?