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How to Avoid the Most Common DIY Mistakes

A little DIY can go a long way, but before you get your toolbox out, think about which of your home improvements might be better left to the professionals. Here are some DIY tasks that homeowners get wrong all too often, and ways to avoid obvious mistakes and potential dangers.

Home security

Some homeowners may decide to improve the security of their homes following an increase in burglary in the neighbourhood, or simply decide to secure their new property after moving house. Either way, securing your home is the most important step one can take to ensure safety and a peace of mind.

There are several things security measures homeowners can take to protect their property; you may opt for residential CCTV, or install a classic burglar alarm system. Whether you are looking to keep your family safe or monitoring a home business, installing a residential security system can often be easier said than done.

For example, CCTV cameras may be surprisingly light but that does not mean you can place them anywhere; not all surfaces are suitable, and choosing the incorrect location to install CCTV cameras is where many often homeowners go wrong. In their guide on the subject, Bridger Security point out that DIY CCTV installation necessitates the purchase of a number of separate components, from the cameras to the storage drives. By having a security service provide and install these separate parts, you will reducing the chance of making mistakes or breaching data protection laws.

Burglar alarms are meant to prevent intruders, but homeowners have to preempt all possible entry points for a burglar, and make sure they pick a system that addresses each of them. For example, if your home security system doesn’t cover basement windows or your garage door—both common points of entry for enterprising thieves—it’s an incomplete system. To avoid this mistake, use motion sensors strategically; that way, you don’t have to put burglar sensors on every window, but you can rest easy knowing every point will be covered.

Home plumbing

Calling a plumber can be expensive, which leaves many homeowners tempted to fix the issue themselves. However, even one mistake in your initial fix will determine whether you need to readdress these issues in the future.

While homeowners may think they are on track to making improvements to their bathroom, they may be in line for disaster; bathroom repair is one of the most likely DIY projects to go wrong. For example, a leaky shower is commonly the result of poor waterproofing, and is an expensive, complex problem to fix yourself. You should also take care to ensure your bathroom is properly ventilated, otherwise you could be at risk of mould—a particularly vexing issue if your next task is painting the walls or ceiling.

Home decorating

Decorating can be one of the most exciting parts of home improvement, and after being inspired by interior design programmes or browsing Pinterest for hours on end, many homeowners will like to think they too can be an interior design guru. Yet, even a simple task like painting can be fraught with complications.

Preparing the wall before painting is all too often forgotten, despite the fact this job can dramatically affect the final finish of your walls. Consult your local homeware shop for assistance with choosing the right type of paint to use, and remember to paint a primer coat—a special type of paint used before the finish— which will cover any flaws on the surface. Homeowners should also avoid using cheap brushes and roller covers if they want an even paint job.

Home storage

Shelves are a necessity in every home, and with the constant increase of clutter in our lives, you may feel like adding a few more to your rooms will always help. Still, as tempting as it may be to use your eyes for placing the shelf brackets, not using basic tools like a spirit level (or a spirit level app) and a tape measure can lead to an uneven shelf, which could sending your belongings crashing to the floor. Homeowners should establish a level edge, and draw a pencil line on the wall with a ruler as a guide.

Underestimating the amount of screws and brackets needed is another common mistake homeowners make; skimping on materials could result in your shelf collapsing, so make sure you have plenty of extra fixings, just in case.

Any form of DIY can be a solution to those on a budget, but you have to think about your options before starting, and to pay attention to what would be best left to the experts.

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