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Deciding what to DIY

If you own property, DIY improvements are a tempting way to save money. But which jobs should you attempt to do yourself, and what should you leave to professionals?

Deciding what to DIY

22 September 2022

If you own property, DIY improvements are a tempting way to save money. But which jobs should you attempt to do yourself, and what should you leave to professionals?

According to professional renovator Cherie Barber, Founder of Renovating for Profit, DIY projects can be a great way to keep costs down on a renovation.

But she does believe you have to be selective about which projects you DIY and which ones you outsource.

Here are four ways to spruce up your property.

1.     Deep clean 

It isn’t glamorous, but the first job of any home refurbishment should always be vigorous cleaning, Cathy Morrissey, Founder of The Reno Chick, says. Don’t forget walls, skirting boards, ceilings and lights.

“Get outside with a gurney and high-pressure hose your front driveway, any concrete, pavers, the front facade, the fence and then move inside to give every surface a really good once over,” Morrissey says. 

“It’s so important to do this – anyone can do it – because you can then see what is broken, what needs fixing, to help you draft a ‘to do’ list of jobs.” 

2.     Preparation works 

You could save on labour costs by doing some of the prep work before any qualified tradespeople show up. 

Perhaps you have solid timber floorboards under your current daggy carpet, which you’ll engage a specialist to sand and polish? 

Or maybe you’ll transform old paths or the concrete driveway with some simple additions of surrounding garden beds using rolled out turf or old sleepers. 

Save time and money by pulling up and removing the old carpet and sweeping the area, Morrissey suggests.

3.     Paint 

It’s one of the first things you learn at kindergarten, so there’s nothing to stop renovators from brightening their homes with paint. 

Anyone can paint, be it concrete paving and driveway paint, garage door paint or metal fence paint, and it makes a huge difference,” Natasha Dickins, Furniture Builder, DIY Expert and Founder of Little Red Industries says.

Dickins says a range of paint products have made it easy to freshen up properties for low cost. 

4.     Minor kitchen and bathroom tweaks 

“Budget friendly cosmetic changes are great options that will instantly improve the look of your home,” Barber says. 

“The kitchen and bathroom are great areas to focus on. For the kitchen, brighten up the space with some laminate paint to refresh the bench tops and revamp the area.”

Other ideas include buying a “grout pen” to apply fresh grout in bathrooms and replacing the covers on light switches, Dickins says. 

“Light switches can tend to look dirty after a while but are really easy to freshen up by just adding new plates – it doesn’t impact the wiring.”

When to seek professional advice 

When undertaking DIY jobs around the home, there are some jobs that should only be completed by a qualified professional. If you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to seek advice from an expert before undertaking any work. 

Some of the renovation works that require a qualified tradesperson include:  

  • Plumbing works 
  • Electrical works 
  • Structural works, including removing load-bearing walls 
  • Installing kitchens 
  • Sanding or polishing wooden floors.  

“Even if you are a competent handyman on the weekends, rather than take on a skilled project yourself to save money, some things are better left to the experts as you could actually end up devaluing your property,” Barber says. 

This article was originally published on as ‘Which DIY jobs should you do yourself?

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