Measure Twice, Cut Once – How to avoid DIY disaster

These days, many of us fancy ourselves as master craftsmen and will try our hand at DIY in a bid to save money. In fact, it is reported that DIY helped people make nationwide savings in the tens of millions of pounds.

However, for some, DIY can actually prove to be something of a false economy (as well as an embarrassment), because if something goes wrong, they are forced to bring in outside help to fix the issue.


According to AA home insurance, 1 in 10 projects end in disaster that cost £100 or more to fix. Common disasters include drilling through water pipes, spilling paint, electric shocks, smashed glass, falling from a ladder – the list goes on.

So how can we avoid being that unlucky statistic? What steps can we take to avoid disaster?

1) Safety first – besides buying your tools and materials, ensure you have things like safety goggles, gloves and perhaps even a hardhat. Remember, popping on a pair of goggles is a lot easier than removing wood shavings or other things from your unprotected eyes!

2) Don’t even think about starting your project until you’ve planned it down to the last detail. Make a rough design on paper; purchase more materials than you need so that you have spares; timetable each stage and stick to it. If things start to go off plan, you’ll know it’s a good idea to stop and re-evaluate the project.

3) Understand your house – you need to be familiar with where the plumbing and electrics of the house are laid, and whether or not your DIY project will affect them. Drilling through water pipes is one of the most common disasters that occur, and can result in serious damage to your property. And hitting the electrics can do serious damage to you!

4) Follow instructions to the letter. Most people (men especially) tend to think they are above the menial task of reading the instructions on highly important and useful products like Ronseal wood stain. If the tin says “Use only in a well-ventilated area”, then make sure you do it! Ronseal does exactly what it says on the tin, so why can’t YOU do what it says on the tin? Instructions are there for a reason!

5) Don’t skimp on the costs – being a Scrooge when it comes to DIY is a recipe for disaster. Remember the old adage “you get what you pay for”. And if there are stages of your project that you lack confidence in, then don’t be afraid to hire a contractor to help with those parts. Better it takes longer with better results than getting a rapid yet slapdash job done.

By following the above steps, coupled with a healthy dollop of common sense, you will easily avoid the road to disaster in your future DIY projects. In summary – don’t rush, be safe, and thoroughly prepare for every eventuality.

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