We are a nation of Do-It-Yourselfers – and that’s official. Six out of 10 adults claim to be good or very good at DIY but 12 per cent of people admit that creating a DIY disaster costing hundreds of pounds to remedy, according to a recent survey.
Easy DIY jobs…
• Decorating. Make sure you unscrew electrical sockets and light switch covers to get the best finish, use a long-handled roller for ceilings (and a mini one for behind radiators);
• Bleed radiators. Buy a key from a radiator shop, turn heating off and open each radiator valve – air escapes but as soon as water seeps out, the job is done;
• Putting up shelves. Get appropriate size and strength brackets and timber, use a spirit level to get it straight and rawle plugs to keep those screws in;
• Filling wall cracks. Apply the wet filler, let it dry thoroughly, then sandpaper flat and smooth before you paint over;
• Seal window draughts. Old sashes or loose-fitting windows leak hot air out so fill with self-adhesive foam weather strips. Use the smallest size to do the task to keep it neat.
…but leave these to the professionals
• Any work involving gas can produce leaks, fires or carbon monoxide poisoning and must be left to a Gas Safe-registered professional listed on www.gassaferegister.co.uk;
• Complicated electrical work can also be dangerous if botched so use a professional electrician with certification to handle Part P buildings regulations;
• Frozen water pipes have to be replaced by a professional familiar with cutting, bridging and welding pipes if necessary (but you can lag the new ones to prevent a repeat);
• Roofing should be left to those who understand building regulations and best eco-practice regarding membranes, bitumen and tiles, and with access to appropriate scaffolding;
• Unblocking drains is easy with the right length, diameter and strength of brush, but most DIY-ers use small makeshift items which get stuck and worsen the problem.