18 Nov 2011

DIY Basics

Posted by bcsands

DIY JobsThere comes a time when all of us need to do something in the house – without calling Dad first!

Some of the most popular minor DIY jobs that most of us can manage include painting, hanging pictures, changing light bulbs and cleaning out gutters. Flat pack furniture seems to be more challenging, but with a little patience most of us can also put together a pre-packed table or chairs. From there it’s not a big leap to slightly more ambitious jobs, such as putting up shelves, trimming trees and hedges, sanding floors or even building a garden shed.

Safety first

Whatever your DIY job, be sure to take a few basic safety precautions – these are particularly important for beginners. Safety goggles are essential for most jobs, and you might also need gloves. Always wear shoes that cover your toes – steel-toed boots are best, but please at least wear something strong – dropped tools cause some of the most common DIY injuries!

Use ladders with great care. Make sure they are stable and strong and never go up a ladder when you are on your own. Ideally, ask somebody to hold it for you.

Stay away from electricity! Even when you are simply putting a hook in the wall, make sure you know where the cables are in your house so that you don’t accidentally put a nail through them.

The basic DIY tools

Have a few basic tools handy and you will be able to take on many small jobs. A set of screwdrivers in a range of sizes is invaluable, as is a hammer and a selection of nails. A pair of pliers is another good multipurpose tool – useful for small and big jobs, from fixing a pair of earrings to removing nails from an old fence. Add in a tape measure, a spirit level, a Stanley knife and an adjustable spanner and you will be well-equipped. Keep your tools together in a box or bag so that you know exactly where to put your hands on them in an emergency.

If you are thinking about taking on some more ambitious jobs, then buying a small cordless drill with a range of attachments will be a good investment.

Call in the experts

Beginner home maintainers should always call in the experts for trickier jobs – the most obvious being anything to do with asbestos, electricity or gas, and, for most of us, any plumbing jobs that are more demanding than changing a washer. Other jobs that are probably worthwhile leaving to the experts are wallpapering, plastering and tiling – however careful you are, a professional is likely to get it done much faster and with a much better result.

Learning more

If your first bite of the DIY apple leaves you wanting more, then look at TAFE and community colleges for home maintenance or DIY courses. Some hardware stores also run tutorials on specific skills or activities. Or, if you need help in a hurry, you can always call Dad!

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