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Can boorish DH and clumsy me realistically *learn* to DIY our entire home??

(27 Posts)
justshabby Sat 15-Feb-14 16:48:36

We have inherited two flats. We want to, over the course of 5 years and/or when we have pennies saved, turn them into one family home. One room or area at a time.

A) We have no prior experience or knowledge of anything to do with maintenance. Little jobs like painting a wall and putting Ikea flat-pack furniture together is the extent of our skillz thus far. Neither one of has ever been in the position to renovate a home.

B) We reeeeally want to do this ourselves. Not just to save money on jobs, but because we want to feel proud of ourselves for doing it!

C) My brother also was never given any guidance (our dad wasn't much of a role model in that way) and he managed to do quite a bit like tiling and such. I think if he can, I/we can!

So, please talk to me about your own forays into DIY-land. Are some things doable? Would you do it again? Would you have hired a professional, in hindsight? What jobs are particularly tough? There are a few structural jobs (walls to knock through and such) which we would definitely get a builder in for. Also, what resources should we look out for?

Am I dreaming or could we in fact, teach ourselves to be the next YoungHouseLove??

Trills Sat 15-Feb-14 16:52:39

"Boorish" means crude and bad-mannered and insensitive.

So I would say no, that doesn't sound like someone with whom you want to learn to do a new and difficult thing, because if anything was not perfect he'd be unpleasant about it and blame you and make you feel bad.

Or is that not what you meant?

justshabby Sat 15-Feb-14 16:55:46

No that's not what I meant! I meant something along the lines of clumsy/oafish. blush

Ha, off to a great start then.

justshabby Sat 15-Feb-14 16:56:51

Should say we have a great relationship!

JoinYourPlayfellows Sat 15-Feb-14 17:04:26


Thank you, justshabby - I have this wonderful scene playing in a my head where a boorish man stands around making rude jokes and guffawing while his clumsy wife keeps hitting her thumb with a hammer while she tries to get all the DIY done on her own.

I am not good at this kind of thing, but my DH is. He's a fucking wonder when it comes to figuring out how to do jobs and just doing them.

The thing I'm pretty sure he would say is: some jobs are worth doing yourself and some are not.

Know the difference.

Don't waste money and time doing a job yourself when it would be more efficient to hire a professional.

FiveOwls Sat 15-Feb-14 17:14:30

It depends a bit on the value of your time, and whether the skills you learned would be used again.

For example, my dh and I are both complete assholes when it comes to most forms of DIY beyond the basics. If we were to set about, say, tiling a bathroom, we'd take ten times as long over the job as a competent tradesperson, and would make an inferior job of it. In the extended time it would take us to learn how to do it, and then actually complete the job, we could work (self-employed, so time is money) and earn enough to pay a professional. If we were working as well and trying to fit it into evenings and weekends, then everything would be dragged out even more, which can be dispiriting.

Also, after you've tiled a kitchen and a couple of bathrooms, there'd be no more tiling to be done, so you'd be unlikely to use the skills much. Painting/decorating skills, on the other hand, would be used much more frequently.

So if you pick your DIY jobs carefully and use your time efficiently, you can make savings that you can then use to get a professional to do the other things.

FiveOwls Sat 15-Feb-14 17:17:59

Also, don't underestimate the satisfaction you'd get after successfully planning, financing and managing/overseeing a big renovation job. Even if the actual work is being done by somebody else. That is a job in itself and an achievement not to be sneezed at grin.

Trills Sat 15-Feb-14 17:29:53

That's good then grin

I do think that what you are like as people and how well you work together is a better indicator of how likely you are to succeed and whether it will be "worth it", rather than just how "practical" you think you are.

MooncupGoddess Sat 15-Feb-14 17:36:54

It depends how high your standards are. If you don't mind things potentially looking a bit wonky then go for it... but do as much preparation/reading up in advance as you can.

And don't try plastering. It's proper tricky.

JoinYourPlayfellows Sat 15-Feb-14 17:38:50

Or TRY plastering, because it's actually quite fun.

But only do it somewhere it will never been seen and hire a proper plasterer for the rest grin

Gladvent Sat 15-Feb-14 17:43:55

B&Q is what you need. They have free lessons and loads of advice. I joined their club and have taken DC to kids class which was excellent, really helpful but not patronising man running it. They do adult classes too which are also free if you join their free online loyalty club thingy. But I am left handed and feeble and beyond teaching so haven't tried them. But realise DC need these skills!

isisisis Sat 15-Feb-14 17:46:43

A few years ago DH & I did a decorating course at B&q. Don't know if they still do them but they had loads of different ones on all kinds of DIY. It was taught by an ex tradesman & was only about £10 for 3hours. We were the only ones on ours so got loads of teaching. Obviously, they want you to then buy everything from them but there was no pressure to buy.

isisisis Sat 15-Feb-14 17:47:35

Cross post with gladvent. Forgot they did kids ones as well.

TheZeeTeam Sat 15-Feb-14 17:49:10

If you're going to be the next YHL, can you be a little less perky?! They're bloody annoying at times!

Sandiacre Sat 15-Feb-14 17:50:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

InsertUsernameHere Sat 15-Feb-14 18:05:15

fiveowls has a point. Doing a house can include anything from making the curtains to bricklaying. As well as whether you can do it as well as professionals, also check whether you can do it cheaper. Once you have bought decent kit it might be more expensive to do it. There are some laborious jobs which are worth doing yourself wallpaper removal I'm looking at you . Even when you get professionals in you still do a lot, sourcing, decision making etc. Think about your relationship - do you actually enjoy things like this together or do you end up in a huffy argument after mins? (DH and I fall into the later category). Also do you finish things?? not DH'a strong point Know yourself and play to your strengths.

CommanderShepard Sat 15-Feb-14 18:13:30

We were you. We save up and get people in now although we did do our electrics (DH is qualified). It takes a long time when you're working full time and it is miserable especially when it doesn't turn out like you planned. And nothing ever, ever gets finished.

Glad someone mentioned YHL - I am so skeptical as to the talents of those two. I think there's a very good reason you never see anything up close and their taste in houses 2 and 3 has been all in their mouths I cannot fault their marketing/brand development at all though. They are both from advertising and it shows.

OnePlanOnHouzz Sat 15-Feb-14 18:18:08

Shhh Don't tell him - but I do wish I'd got in a professional tiler to tile our floors - my wonderfully lovely hubby did them, and they are so uneven it makes them hell to clean !!!

Labootin Sat 15-Feb-14 18:22:28

YHL ???

JanePurdy Sat 15-Feb-14 18:56:10

If they can do it you could. If you are willing to learn, take your time & give it a go I don't see why not.

ShoeWhore Sat 15-Feb-14 19:32:16

Have you got children OP? we did loads of stuff when we were young and childfree but now we are old and tired and have 3 dcs it doesn't work so well any more.

As someone said upthread, get an electrician in - certainly for bathrooms kitchens and anything non-trivial it's illegal not to. Plumbing can cause a lot of damage if you get it wrong so I would tread carefully there too. (although you can easily do some jobs eg plumbing a dishwasher into a sink is dead easy - you can buy a totally foolproof kit from B&Q for that)

Dh is really quite good at doing small bits of plastering although wouldn't attempt a whole wall. Between us we are pretty good at decorating (I do big expanses of wall, dh does fiddly bits)

But it does all take forever. I would buy in at least some help if you can afford it or you might end up like us for the third bloody time desperately sorting out the decorating to put it on the market grin

ShoeWhore Sat 15-Feb-14 19:33:01

Reader's Digest big book of DIY is pretty good as a reference manual although of course these days google is your friend where all things DIY are concerned.

BrownSauceSandwich Sat 15-Feb-14 20:25:26

FiveOwls is my new oracle. I'm pretty handy. I've even dabbled in electrics (signed off by a friendly spark). I can Handle a drill, a router and an orbital sander (not at the same time); I can make curtains and roman blinds; I can plan rooms (including kitchens) to look and function exactly as we want them to; I can even do upholstery...

BUT I am learning to let go some control and draft in the experts from time to time. Like the painter decorator... I did a day's overtime in work, earning enough to pay a pro to do what would have taken me a least two day's effort, including all the shitty sanding, cleaning, masking. You totally have to put a value on your time. That doesn't mean you have to contract out everything just because you can afford it. Like I just LOVE the making bits... Woodwork and sewing, so I see that as a hobby. Dabble with everything, but work out what bits you really love, and focus your efforts there when your time and energy is limited.

Remember, nobody knows anything about DIY until they start. Get the Reader's digest book, and also looks at the Haynes' house manuals for overview stuff. Good luck with it!

FiveOwls Sat 15-Feb-14 22:04:36

Heh - glad to be an oracle! - just don't consult me on tiling bathrooms grin

poocatcherchampion Sat 15-Feb-14 22:15:16

we've done tiling, painting wallpaper stripping, removing a fireplace, making curtains and changing light fittings. complete novices.

paid for carpet fitting, bathroom fitting and oven replacement. also new consumer board and some drain and radiator maintenance.

the other thing you need in your arsenal IMO is a contractor or two who are problem solvers. more often one man bands who turn their hands to q few things rather than slick professionals.

we are having great fun. doing bits at a time and trying not to do it in the wrong order and have to re do it. immense satisfaction

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