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26 May 2017

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One of the earliest recorded examples of DIY dates back the 6th Century BC, following the discovery of a Greek structure in southern Italy which came complete with flatpack furniture-style assembly instructions.

It’s probably safe to assume that the earliest example of a DIY disaster also dates back to the 6th Century BC too.

DIY is a great way for first time buyers to save a bit of money and do some much-needed odd jobs around their new homes. However, it’s no surprise that the words “DIY” and “disaster” are so often linked. It’s not as easy as it looks!

We’ve looked at some of the most common DIY mistakes so you can learn from other people’s mistakes. Do any of these examples sound familiar?

1. Using the wrong tools

Even if you’ve got a well-stocked toolbox, the chances are that you won’t have all the tools all the time. The danger is that you’ll try and improvise. Using the wrong tool to do a job could sabotage what you’re trying to do and it could even be dangerous.

Rather than risk doing a bad job with the wrong tool, decide if it makes sense to invest in the right one.

Alternatively, ask your friends or pester the new neighbours to see if they have one you can borrow.

2. Not leaving it to a professional

It’s good to show initiative and to try out new things. Unless those new things involve rewiring your house with nothing more than Google and a misguided belief in your own abilities.

The reality is that some jobs like plumbing or electrician work should always be left to a trained specialist. You might think that you can save money by doing them yourself. In reality, it could end up costing you more in the long run if you flood the house or set the attic on fire.

3. Getting your numbers wrong

It may seem silly but more than one DIY job has been scuppered by someone taking the wrong measurements. Always measure, re-measure and re-measure again. It’s a completely avoidable mistake but it’s still a common pitfall when it comes to DIY. A simple miscalculation could waste time and materials and result in a trip to your nearest hardware shop to get more timber.

4. Diving in

It’s sometimes tempting to roll up your sleeves and dive into a job on a whim. Maybe you’ve been looking at that lopsided shelf for weeks and a rainy Saturday seems like a good time to tackle the problem.

Even the smallest jobs need some research and planning. You may think that you know what you’re doing but always do your homework before picking up a tool.

5. Using cheap materials

One of the main reasons to do DIY is to save money but it doesn’t pay to compromise on quality. Remember those TV shows from the nineties that did house makeovers with an excited designer, grumpy tradesmen and a lorryload of cheap MDF and tacky props? The chances are that most of the renovations collapsed within hours of filming.

Always use good quality materials when working on your home. Low quality materials will diminish the end result and are unlikely to last the test of time. It might save you some money in the short term but ultimately it will prove to be a false economy.

6. Biting off more than you can chew

Ambition may be the path to success but it can also lead you down some dark and twisted roads. The most important lesson in DIY is to know your limits and only take on what you can finish. The limitations in question include finance and expertise.

It might sound easy to strip back the plaster in your living room to reveal the brickwork beneath. The problem is that the room could be transformed into a building site if you hit problems or can’t afford to get it finished by a professional.

The history of DIY is littered with rooms that were rendered unusable by overambitious DIYers who took on too much.

7. Not taking safety seriously

It’s easy to turn a blind eye to safety, either through overconfidence or ignorance. You may think that it’s “health and safety gone mad” but you need to view any DIY job as a potentially dangerous project.

Follow recommended safety instructions like wearing goggles, dust masks or gloves, especially if you’re using power tools. It only takes one accident to give you a long term reminder of why those safety instructions are there in the first place.

Still up for the DIY task? Follow our guidelines and you should soon be a DIY champ who’d put the pros to shame!

Are you thinking of buying your own home?

DIY is one thing but another form of Do It Yourself involves walking into your local EBS office to see if you’re eligible for a mortgage. Unlike DIY, it couldn’t be easier to chat with one of our friendly mortgage advisors.

Find out how much you can afford to borrow with our mortgage calculator or book a mortgage meeting to suit you with one of our mortgage experts.

You can also check out our First Time Buyer Guide in the meantime.

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page for the latest home inspiration, news and great competitions.

The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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