It's just under a month now until Easter, and that means bank holidays galore are heading our way.
As a result, you might be thinking about using this time to do a spot of DIY at home. Perhaps you're looking to put your property on the market, or maybe there are just a few odd jobs that need doing around the house.
According to research from myhammer.co.uk, despite a slump in house sales, 60% of UK homeowners plan to make home improvements this year.
What's more, 63% of Brits are planning an interior facelift with a lick of paint, 33% are hoping to carry out a garden overhaul, and a third of Brits are intending to fit a new kitchen or bathroom. Meanwhile, a fifth of people are hoping to carry out larger projects such as a loft conversion or extension.
However, with more than 24% of people having experienced a DIY disaster in the past year, costing an average of £145 to put right, you may find you're better off getting the professionals in! In fact, over half of the women surveyed by myhammer said they didn't trust their partner with anything other than the simplest DIY jobs!
So here, we reveal nine biggest DIY blunders you can make!
1. Starting a job you can't finish
Starting a job around the home can be easy. Finishing it is far more difficult.
As a result, it's important to sit down and plan the job from start to finish to work out whether or not you can complete the job. If you don't think you can realistically manage it, don't start it!
2. Not planning ahead
Leading on from this, make sure you have the correct tools and materials ready to go. Make a list of everything you need in advance and make a trip to your local DIY store if necessary — you don't want to be doing this half way through a job.
If you need to get something delivered, make sure it will arrive in time. I know it's common sense, but you'd be surprised at how many of us forget the basics when it comes to DIY!
You should also ensure you prepare the work surface sufficiently. For example, if you're painting, clean the walls, sand them, and patch up any holes or dented areas before you start. You may also want to apply primer to the walls.
3. Underestimating the cost
DIY might sound like it should be cheaper than hiring a professional. But it can be easy to underestimate how much tools and materials cost. And if you make a big mistake, it'll end up costing you even more.
So when you're working out exactly what you'll need for the job, make sure you draw up a budget and don't miss anything out.
4. Skimping on tools and materials
Similarly, don't be too frugal when it comes to your tools and materials. Do your research to ensure you're getting the right equipment for the job. Cheap tools won't be as hard-wearing and therefore won't last as long.
You should also remember to check your tools carefully each time you use them for signs of wear and tear. If they are in poor condition, replace them.
5. Underestimating the time
It's also easy to think that a certain job will take considerably less time than it actually will. So make sure you sit down and realistically work out how long each step is likely to take. It's far better to overestimate than underestimate, so be generous with your timings, particularly if it's a job you've never done before.
6. Using the wrong paint
Know the difference between using matt and gloss paint indoors, and make sure you switch to special exterior paint if you're planning to paint the outside of your home.
If you're planning to coat wooden decking in the garden, choose a wood stain that is resistant to rain and sun. A linseed oil based stain works best — such as Ronseal Eco Decking Stain.
7. Working in dangerous conditions
Always ensure your work space is safe. Make sure it's clutter-free, there are no spillages on the floor and that tools are put away when you've finished with them. You should also wear safety glasses when you're using power tools and work gloves can come in handy too. It's also a good idea to open windows when you're painting.
8. Inaccurate measuring
If you're measuring something, measure it twice! It's always worth double checking to ensure your measurements are right — otherwise you could find yourself cutting up material incorrectly and having to buy more. It might sound obvious, but again, always overestimate rather than underestimate — you can correct something that's too big, but not something that's too small.
9. Not calling in the professionals
No one likes to admit when they are wrong. But if things aren't going quite to plan, it might be time to give up and call in the professionals before things get worse.
There are, of course, certain jobs you probably shouldn't be carrying out anyway. For example, are you really any good at electrical or plumbing work? And is it really worth taking the risk in case things go seriously wrong?
A really easy way to get quotes from professional tradesmen is by using sites such as myhammer.co.uk, mybuilder.com or yourworkman.co.uk. By using these websites, you can post the job you need doing and wait for the quotes to come in! You'll also be able to read reviews from previous customers.