The dos and don'ts of DIY: jobs you can and definitely shouldn't do yourself

Even though certain renovation jobs must be done by a professional, there are many basic ones that homeowners can easily and successfully handle on their own.

Any skill they learn is worthwhile and could save money and time. Besides that, it can be very satisfying and creative. Some such home-renovation jobs include:

Filling interior and exterior gaps

For this task, all you need is a caulk gun. It’s simple to use, as you simply pull back the plunger and insert the tube. Cut the plastic applicator at a 45-degree angle to slow the flow of the caulk.

The sealant can be controlled more easily with a softer touch on the trigger. If you want to re-caulk a space, remove the old caulk with a sharp tool and mineral oil or vinegar.

Tape the area that needs work and apply the caulk. Finish by smoothing the line with a gloved finger or an ice cube to get a smooth surface.

Caulking the exterior and interior can significantly reduce energy bills.

Painting interior walls

This is a relatively straightforward task that many homeowners can handle. With proper preparation, high-quality paint and the right tools, such as brushes, rollers and drop cloths, you can transform the look and feel of a room.

When undertaking this task by yourself, ensure there’s proper surface preparation, such as cleaning and priming, for a smooth and long-lasting finish. This is one of the most common mistakes when DIY painting but it’s crucial because cleaning the work surface thoroughly helps remove any dirt, dust or grease.

If it isn’t done, it can result in poor paint adhesion and a less durable finish. Besides that, patch any holes or cracks and sand rough areas before painting, to achieve a smooth and even surface.

It’s also important to choose good-quality paint for the specific surface and environment. For example, a kitchen will require a paint that’s durable, washable and stain-resistant, while paint for a bedroom should be highly pigmented and long-lasting. A matt finish will be the most suitable.

Installing flooring

Putting in certain types of flooring can be undertaken as a DIY project, especially if you’ve chosen materials that are designed for easy installation, such as laminate or luxury vinyl planks. With research, patience and attention to detail, homeowners can achieve successful and professional results here.

Upgrading fixtures and hardware

Replacing these is a relatively simple way to refresh the look of interior space. They could be old taps, light fixtures or cabinet knobs and handles.

Such updates can make a significant difference to the overall aesthetics of a room and often require only basic handyman tools.

Hanging wallpaper

While wallpaper installation requires attention to detail, patience and proper technique, it’s a task you can try at home.

However, it’s important to choose the right adhesive and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

When it’s time to call in the experts…

■  Structural changes Any alterations that involve changing the structural components of a house, such as removing or adding walls, or modifying load-bearing structures, should be handled by a professional contractor or a structural engineer.

■  Electrical projects These pose significant safety risks if they aren’t done properly, so hire a licensed electrician.

■  Plumbing Installing new plumbing lines, rerouting pipes or working on water heaters should be handled by a licensed plumber.

■ HVAC installations and repairs Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems are intricate and require specialised knowledge.

■ Roofing repairs and replacements Roofing can be a physically demanding and hazardous job and it requires specific skills to ensure a watertight and durable roof.

■ Demolition If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can cause harm to the homeowner and their property.

■  Major renovations For large-scale work, hire a general contractor. They’ll oversee the project, co-ordinate tradespeople, manage permits and ensure the work progresses smoothly.

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