Tag: DIY

DDIY-header

 

Lots of us love using bank holidays to try out some DIY, but it’s not always possible to reach for the toolbox. If your time is precious, or you simply lack the confidence, hiring a professional is the best way to ensure a job well done. With the May bank holiday looming, here are some ideas for DIY jobs you might want to leave to the experts.

 

Inspect your Roof Tiles
It goes without saying that care needs to be taken whenever ladders and heights are involved, but care also needs to be taken with fragile roof tiles – what can be a simple job for an experienced roofer can turn into a costly mess if mistakes are made.
Find a Roofer

 

Cut Back your Trees
Climbing trees with tools – whether a powerful chainsaw or an old-fashioned hand-saw – is always a risky proposition. Tree surgeons have specialised equipment and training to deal with unruly branches smartly and safely.
Find a Tree Surgeon

 

Grout the Bathroom
What can seem like a superficially easy job is often riddled with complications, needing just the right materials and a perfect finish. A tiler will be able to do the job quickly and neatly.
Find a Tiler

 

Paint your Living Room
The time-honoured way to update your interior design, painting is a starting point for many DIYers. However, without the right system of coats, it can also be a surefire way to end up with a rough job that never looks quite right. A painter and decorator will know how to get the best results and can save you money in the long run.
Find a Painter and Decorator

 

carpets

 

Fit a New Carpet
Cutting a carpet to fit a room doesn’t seem like the biggest task, but one wrong cut could see you with a pricey, but useless carpet that no longer meets the wall. A practiced carpet fitter can refresh a room in a day.
Find a Carpet Fitter

 

Put up Some Shelves
Another old standby for tool-happy homeowners, putting up shelves is perhaps the quintessential DIY job. But if you’re worried about hitting a wire, ruining your dry wall, or just leaving it wonky, a handyman can help.
Find a Handyman

 

Lay New Paving
It’s not as easy as just putting down some slabs – have you considered sub-grades, sub-bases, drainage, and everything else that needs taking care of? If you’re in any doubt, a driveway paver or landscape gardener can step in.
Find a Driveway Paver | Find a Landscape Gardener

 

Stay Away from Gas and Electrics
While there are many jobs that you can tackle yourself, two areas should definitely be left to the experts: anything involving gas in the home should be dealt with by a gas engineer on the Gas Safety Register, while electrics should be handled by a competent electrician who can self-certify their work.
Find a Gas Engineer | Find an Electrician

 


At MyBuilder, we see jobs posted from massive home renovation projects to small odd jobs around the house. A few decades ago, some of these smaller jobs were done by members of the household, and much like hemming a pair of trousers or sewing up a loose button, it wouldn’t have even been considered to hire someone else to do these jobs. Below we review some of the household tricks your parents should have taught you…

Fix a leaky tap

Mending a dripping tap is something that can take less than five minutes if you have the right tools and some replacement valves or washers. It’s not that hard at all – just remember to cut off the water supply before beginning. One of the hesitancies in tackling taps is the fear of not having running water at all or creating a flood, but the only thing to fear is fear itself. The ‘how to’ can depend on the type of tap, but in general should not be a serious job.

Bleed a radiator

If the heat is not the same at the top and the bottom of your radiator(s), then you probably have air collecting at the top and they need bleeding. It’s a routine and minor maintenance issue that every man, woman and pet should know how to do. All you need is the radiator key and a cloth to catch any drips. Why call in a specialist to do the plumbing equivalent of tying your shoes? Loosen the screw until water comes out, then tighten. Just be careful not to burn yourself!

Change a plug

“Red is hot, blue is not, green and yellow earth the lot.” In the good old days, you had to know which were the earth, live and neutral wires in a plug, and there were lots of different ways to remember which was which.

No one wants to advocate playing around with electrics these days. While sensible from a safety point of view, the great British tinkering culture has taken a real knock. We’re all worse off for it, too!

Put up a bookshelf

Have you ever screwed something into the wall, only to have it slowly and annoyingly sag and then eventually fall right off the wall? Bookshelves are the typical example of this, partly because they end up carrying so much weight. It’s easy enough to place your bookshelf on the wall, get it level and draw circles where the screws go.

The real trick is getting the fixings right, based on the type of wall you have. With a brick wall, you need wall plugs – and good ones. You need to drill deep with a hammer drill and make sure the hole is the right size. Tape an envelope to the wall just underneath the hole to catch all the dust. If you’ve hit loose mortar or plaster, fill the hole and move the shelf somewhere else; if the wall isn’t solid, the bookshelf won’t be either. The plug should be snug and tapped in lightly with a hammer, and make sure the screws are long enough to go all the way into the plugs. There are a few steps so plan on taking up to 30 minutes to do the job, but overall, putting up a bookshelf is a straightforward DIY job that you can teach to your children.

Change fuse in a fusebox

Another activity that’s changed over time is replacing fuse wires in the fuse box of a property. This could be a tricky process that involved inserting fuse wire through a small cylinder, and tying up the ends around tiny screws. Nowadays, modern consumer units remove the need for this, and if simply tripped means the homeowner can turn the relevant switch from off to on. It’s another item in the house that is neatly boxed up and is not exposed (not literally) to the homeowner, meaning less is understood about the process.

Drive a screw

Using electric drills as a screwdriver mostly just ends up stripping the head and making it impossible to remove. You’re really in for it if you ever have to take it out again. What happened to the good old fashioned screw driver and a bit of elbow grease? Much less painful in the long run!

Locate stopcock

It’s one of those situations where you might not need to know this until it becomes a problem, but knowing this beforehand can make things so much easier in an emergency. Stopping the water coming into a property shouldn’t be a common occurrence, but if you needed to immediately stop the water flow (let’s say in a flat where could cause flooding to the flat below), would you know what to do?

We haven’t convinced you to brush up on your DIY? Post your job and our tradesmen will still be happy to help!

As Spring draws closer we can hear the sound of shed doors opening and tool boxes creaking back into life… but alongside DIY comes the inevitable difficulties and horror stories.

At MyBuilder we’ve come across a lot of botched DIY over the years and in every case it was clear the job could have been made easier and safer with the intervention of an expert. We present to you MyBuilder’s DIY You Thought You Could Do… But Can’t!

Tiling

Tiling seems quite straightforward. It’s the familiarity that does it – all that time spent staring at the tiles while in the bath or by the wash basin. How hard could it be? After all, it’s just sticking some tiles to the wall, right? The first challenge is that the surface needs to be perfect. A wavy or bumpy wall looks much worse when tiles are covering it. Secondly, laying tiles is not easy – it takes a lot of practice to get it right. Lastly, once you make a pig’s ear of the tiling, the professional tiler will likely break the tiles trying to get them off. Buying the tiles twice won’t be a nice end to your DIY experiment.

Carpet Fitting
Carpet laying can’t be that hard, right? Just roll it out, measure around the fireplace and.. uh oh, it’s too short! Remember, once you’ve cut the carpet too short there’s no attractive way to fix it and replacing the whole thing is an unnecessary cost. A skilled fitter has the experience of measuring and cutting awkward shapes; they are also much more likely to have all their fingers left after using the troublesome stanley knife!

Building Garden Walls
Everybody knows that bricklaying is a proper building trade. But when it comes to garden and boundary walls, somehow it changes in our mind from building to tinkering in the garden. What gives? It might not seem too important because it’s just in the garden, but white mortar smeared all over the faces of your crooked bricks won’t impress the other half, or your guests. It will also (hopefully) annoy you for the rest of your life and remind you of the value of a professional job. If that doesn’t convince you, think about the time spent. A good bricklayer can lay 1,000 bricks a day to perfection whereas a good DIYer will be lucky to lay 100!

Hanging Doors
Hanging a door is a lot trickier than it sounds. If you screw the hinges into the door frame and it’s slightly off, it’s practically impossible to adjust it. In addition, planing the door is a difficult business; too long and you’re dragging it across the carpet, too short and you’ve got a draught. Getting it wrong will remind you every time you walk through that door why you should have got an expert in. Your hopes of a quality doorway all hinge on a seasoned carpenter.

Tree Surgery
Chopping down trees is lots of fun. It might seem tempting to buy your own toy, errr – chainsaw for the price you’d pay a tree surgeon, but you might regret that decision once you cut your leg off. Chainsaws are seriously dangerous and even trained professionals use protective clothing and special helmets. Even if you’re just pruning a tree with a hand saw, you might do more harm than good to your tree. Knowing where and when to prune is the key – which is why tree surgeons go to college to learn their trade!

Wallpapering
Redecorating is an often underestimated task, taking a lot longer than most of us anticipate. One of the trickiest tasks is wallpapering, especially if you want the patterns to look seamless. In a way, wallpapering is an art form, after all it will be adorning your walls for years to come. The last thing you want is a drunk-looking floral pattern or scruffy ends – have a painter and decorator help you with your fancy feature wall.

Cleaning Gutters
Sunday morning in the rain, with a ladder on a rooftop – something tells us this isn’t going to end well! Heights can be dangerous and any kind of roof work should be left to experienced roofers if at all possible. Yes, it may ‘just be a few leaves’, but is it really worth a tumble from a ladder? We don’t think so!

Laying Turf
You stand there with rolls of turf and a vision of Wembley stadium’s pitch in your back garden, but the outcome looks more like a field after a festival. If turf is not laid correctly you risk uneven surfaces, yellow grass or even bald patches – not a good look for impending summer barbecues. Let a professional take care of the planning, preparation and laying – then you won’t be looking at your neighbour’s lawn ‘green’ with envy.

Demolition
Demolition is not just ‘fun with sledgehammers’. Well, it might mostly be fun with sledgehammers, but dangers lurk in every corner. From broken glass to electricity to smashed fingers, it’s definitely a skill to know which tools to use, when to get people to stand clear, and how to dismantle something. Let the tradesmen have some fun for once!

Architecture
OK, this one might seem a bit unlikely. It would seem that there aren’t many DIY architects. But architecture isn’t just designing a new building. Any changes to the layout of your home is by definition architecture. Many people don’t think of consulting an architect for en-suites, loft conversions or even extensions. Even a badly planned en-suite bathroom can ruin a bedroom by creating dead space and an awkward layout. Builders are usually more than happy to build whatever you ask them to, but you’re going to be the victim of your own bad decisions. A good architect need not be too expensive and what’s the good of having that new extension if you hate living in it?

Do you have anything to add to our list? We’d love to hear your stories.

 

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