To DIY or not to DIY
Planning a renovation? You might be tempted to go down the DIY route. We don’t blame you – renovation costs are rising, so tackling a bit of the labour yourself can end up saving you a lot of money. There are loads of small jobs you can do on your own, but some things are best left to the professionals.
Here are the top six jobs that we think you should probably leave to the professionals:
Replacing the odd lightbulb, switching a smoke detector battery or even putting up a batten light fitting are tasks most people can do on their own. But anything that requires wiring should be done by a registered electrician. Make a list of all the electrical work required for your reno and ask your sparky if they can smash it out in one go to save them charging multiple call-out fees.
If you’re adding an extension, site clearing for the new build might be a simple matter of shuffling a few pots around and moving the outdoor seating off to the side. Anything that requires clearing trees, levelling large areas or altering retaining walls will require a professional. When you submit your DA, be sure to include any tree removal or large-scale alterations to the existing land.
Depending on your level of experience (and confidence), you might be happy to tackle the flooring on your own. With a level surface and the right tools, laminate flooring can go down a treat. Floating floorboards, too. But if your base layer is off-kilter or you need to make loads of cuts to fit around walls, cabinets and benches, getting a flooring specialist to lay it down will be your best bet.
Painting and plastering
Painting is one of those jobs that almost everyone has the ability to do, just not the patience. As long as you have a good set of brushes, rollers and painter’s tape, you’ll be able to tackle the indoor painting on your own. If you’re looking to paint the exterior and want a certain textured finish, calling in the pros is the best way to ensure consistency and coverage.
Small plastering jobs like patching up holes where picture hooks once hung can be done in minutes with a bit of builder’s putty, but larger holes will require a professional’s touch to look seamless.
Things like cleaning drains, changing washers and replacing tap or shower heads are usually fine to DIY. If you’re having new pipes put in, you may consider digging the trench yourself to cut down labour costs, but new pipes and installing sinks should generally be left to a plumber.
Replacing a tile here and there should be an easy job, as long as you’re comfortable grouting. Even adding the odd splashback across a small area can be a simple DIY. If you’re retiling an entire bathroom, however, you may want to call in the pros. Tile placement is really important, especially with taps, drains and fittings needing to sit in specific positions – so consider bringing in a tiler for those larger jobs requiring more precision.
If you’re really keen to get hands-on with your reno, make sure you put in a few hours of research. Watch tutorials online, speak to tradespeople and read up on the products you’re working with. If you don’t have all the tools, find out what you can hire or ask your mates. And if things go wrong, don’t be afraid to call in the experts – there are always points for effort.