8 Common DIY Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Sometimes things go wrong when we’re working on our DIY project and there is nothing that can be done about it, we just have to pick ourselves up and learn from it so we don’t make the same DIY mistakes in future.

Hopefully, with this article, we can minimise the amount of time you spend regretting your choices and maximise the amount of time you’ll spend basking in the self-assured glow of successfully putting up a shelf.


DIY Mistakes #1: Too Much Too Soon

We’ve all been there, sat watching a home renovation show on a Sunday and thinking “Yeah I can do that” but then, instead of a lovely new dividing wall, you end up covered in plaster and tears while frantically searching for the number of a real plasterer.

How To Avoid This Mistake – There is nothing wrong with being ambitious but you really need to take a real objective look at your skillset and manage your expectations.

If you are brand new to DIY then start with the little things like changing a fuse, emptying the sink trap, maybe even get the pressure washer out. Little wins now bring big victories later!

DIY Mistakes #2: Measure Once Cut Twice

Never let yourself be tempted to “eyeball” it. This is a quick way to end up with a ruined workpiece and a hurried trip to a packed builder’s merchant to get some expensive new materials. The worst thing about this mistake is that it’s so easily avoided.

How To Avoid This Mistake – Take the time to get your tape measure and spirit level out. Taking those extra 30 seconds to check and re-check your measurements before cutting will save you so much time queuing up in B&Q.

Get yourself some good quality measuring tools, some good quality clamps to hold the piece, and some good quality tools to ensure you get the best quality result. Just because its DIY doesn’t mean you can’t work like a pro.

DIY Mistakes #3: Wrong Tools For The Job

It’s safe to say that you know the difference between a hammer and a screwdriver but what about the difference between a PZ2 and PH2 screwdriver bit? A very small difference but it can make a very big impact on your job.

How To Avoid This Mistake – Take the extra time to go through the job list and work out what tools you need. It is also a good idea to work out what variations of those tools as you could just say “saw” but there are hundreds of varieties of saws with different specialisations.

Start small and simple and build your way up. There are too many different tools to name let alone learn but it is important that you know the select few tools you need and know them well!

DIY Mistakes #4: Instructions? Na, I’ll be alright

Here’s how its going to go. You get home with your nice new project all ready to get going, you set everything up and the dreaded instruction manual comes out. “Do I really need instructions to put together a chair? Na, in the bin they go”. Obviously, you end up doing something wrong and now you have to fish the instructions out of the bin with your tail between your legs.

How To Avoid This Mistake – Simple one really. Read the manual! You wouldn’t try and assemble a LEGO set without looking at the instructions so why is this chair any different?

You need to be able to comprehend the steps involved in putting together the basic structure and only when you understand how they fit together you can add it whatever personal touches you want.

Its just easier to spend 30 seconds giving the manual a once over, trust us.

DIY Mistakes #5: This’ll do the job… Right?

Put down the £1 drill bit set from your local Pound themed store, you would have better luck blowing on the material and hoping a hole appears.

You may have heard the phrase “let the tool do the work” and it does ring true for quality tools but “let the cheap tool do the shoddy work” isn’t quite as catchy

How To Avoid This Mistake – If you want a quality result then you absolutely must use quality tools, its as simple as that.

A cheap Chinesium drill bit is not only going to destroy your self esteem but will also destroy the lovely piece you were working on, so spend the extra fiver today and save the tenners worth of headaches tomorrow.

DIY Mistakes #6: Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine

HSE might not have much to do with the project you’re building in your garden but that does not mean the same risks aren’t present.

It’s all too easy to fall into the “It wont happen to me” trap but, if you chance it one too many times, you’ll be the sorry individual getting stitches in A&E and promising to wear all the gear all the time.

How To Avoid This Mistake – Cut out the middle man! Don’t wait to be injured before you protect yourself, do it now! It really doesn’t take much, if you have a pair of good quality safety gloves on, your safety glasses on, fireproof clothing, and perhaps some steel toes you’ll be among the best protected DIY’ers out there.

It really doesn’t take much.

DIY Mistakes #7: You don’t have to do all that. It’ll work fine

Good prep work is the secret to getting that perfect finish. This is more for painting, but the general idea is applicable for anything really. If the job is rushed then the result will almost certainly look rushed.

How To Avoid This Mistake – Spend the time cleaning surfaces, applying the tape, vacuuming up the dust, and putting down dust sheets before you start your project. You don’t want to finish that lovely coat of paint off with a great big ball of dust stuck to it.

DIY Mistakes #8: How hard can it be?

You may think you know all there is to know about plumbing but there is always someone out there who knows more and, more importantly, knows how to fix whatever it is you have just broken.

Its all fine and well us sitting here telling you not to bite off more than you can chew but how can you become better if you don’t push yourself?

How To Avoid This Mistake – Ask for help and advice! We’re not saying you should give up and go running for the phonebook at the first sign of trouble but sometimes just speaking to a friend in the trades or a quick search online (or even a quick call to ITS) will steer you in the right direction to get the best possible result with whatever project you’re working on.

We tried not to be too specific with this list and not to teach you to suck eggs at the same time so we hope you can take away a few tips from this that will help you finally finish that dusty old DIY project in the shed or that shiny new staircase that you keep putting off.

We always want to hear from you and help where we can so leave a comment below or just give us a call on 0208 532 5000 and we would be happy to help you out as best we can!

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