Isn’t it great being a DIY hero?
You see a problem; you fix the problem. You get to use tools, basking in the warmth of your masculinity, while your wife looks on with a proud smile and your kids praise you for your skills and…
… Ah, okay, back to reality with a bump it is then.
DIY is one of those traditional “man” areas that it’s tough to shake. We’re meant to be able to grab the appropriate tool and fix anything that goes wrong with our homes, all while showing off a Coke-ad worthy smile. In reality, we begin projects, forget about projects, start a new project because the first project isn’t going our way… the list goes on and on.
So, rather than continuing to blindly wander into the same DIY disasters year-in-year-out, there are four essential questions you need to ask before you begin your new idea.
“Do I Really Know What I’m Doing?”
Let’s say you’re moving a radiator to create more space in your bathroom. Do you know what you’re doing?
Okay, let’s try that one again: do you know what you’re doing beyond watching a few YouTube videos and assuming you can figure it out as you go?
There’s a big difference between actually knowing and guessing you can just fumble your way through. Don’t mistake the two, or you’re going to end up with a flooded bathroom and water running out of the light fixture of the room below.
“Do I Need Professional Help?”
For the more ornery among us, the answer to this question is always going to be “no”. Some guys could be asked this at the prospect of rebuilding the great pyramids at Giza, and they’d still say they could finish it in an afternoon, no architects or stone masons required.
You’re not going to do that. If you’re rewiring the bedroom, you’re going to call an electrician, so you don’t electrocute yourself, aren’t you? If you’re looking into a Guardian roof you’re going to bring in the professionals, so you don’t kill yourself falling off a ladder – right? If you’re… well, you get the idea. Talk to professionals, get help where needed, stay alive to appreciate the fruits of your labour. It’s pretty simple really.
“Do I Have A Clear, Concise Plan?”
Going with the flow and seeing what happens are fine for an afternoon wandering around a national park, but not so much for your home renovation plans. The only way you can know how to correctly sequence the work you’re doing is if you plan it. It’s no good painting a room and then realising the walls needed a new coat of plaster or that the furniture is now smeared in paint as you didn’t protect it well enough.
“Do I Have The Materials and Tools I Need?”
Realising you need a different kind of material in the middle of a project is just going to slow everything down. It’s also no fun to realise you’ve run out of paintbrushes mid-wall and have to lope to the nearest DIY store, still covered in paint, in search of reinforcements.
Always overestimate on this point. If you think you need ten screws, get 15 as a backup. It’s easy to lose tools in the midst of the chaos of working, so it’s better to have spares than having to spend time chasing them around. It’ll make the job go quicker and be finished to the best standard too, which is the whole point to this endeavour.