If your DIY CV features little more than a splash of emulsion on a living room wall and putting together a flat-pack wardrobe from Ikea, you may not feel confident enough to tackle some of the more challenging jobs. This leaves you with two possible outcomes: either you don’t get that hardwood floor you’ve always wanted, or you have to shell out to get tradesmen in to do the work for you. Yet many of the jobs which strike fear into the amateur DIY-er are not actually that complicated.
There are numerous guides out there offering step-by-step advice on how to complete certain jobs, such as laying laminate flooring, hooking up a radiator or tiling a bathroom – as this example from the Channel 4 website shows. These are very useful, but amateur DIY enthusiasts should also have some tips on how to approach jobs so that they avoid potential mishaps that could result – at best – in a botched and untidy job, and at worst in a trip to A&E. This interactive feature from Ironmongery Direct, using data from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, gives you a score based on your skill set and your planned activity to predict the likelihood of you having an accident. Obviously it’s a light-hearted piece, but it does highlight the important fact that around 220,000 Brits end up in hospital after DIY mishaps every year.
To give you the best chance of avoiding an accident, you need to know what the typical pitfalls are:
Give yourself time
Being rushed seriously increases your chances of making a mistake – especially when you’re trying something new. So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to do the job, and be prepared to extend that deadline if you have to.
Practice with your power tools
If you’re using drills, nail guns or other power tools, make sure you practice using them before you start. Get a scrap bit of wood and have a few practice runs; when you’re doing the job for real you’ll be concentrating on getting it right, so it’s better if the process of using the tool is a bit more familiar. This includes getting used to the weight of the tool, as this can catch a lot of people out.
Don’t overdo it
Tired limbs are another primary cause of accidents, as fatigue makes your movements sloppy. If you don’t have much DIY experience then you may find that hammering, sanding and drilling is much harder work than you thought, so work in short bursts to allow your hands and arms regular breaks.
Lastly, getting the right tools for the job also means staying protected, so use goggles when shards may be flying around, gloves when heat is involved and a face mask if potentially hazardous materials are being used.