5 tips for planning a successful DIY home improvement project

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With most of us spending more time at home this year, it’s unsurprising that so many people turned to DIY. In fact, a huge 72% of UK homeowners carried out DIY home improvements during lockdown, according to a study by Confused.com.

Inspired by this newfound enthusiasm for home improvements, we wanted to know how you were getting on with your lockdown home projects. We decided to conduct our own survey of 1,500 homeowners who have undertaken DIY since the UK went into lockdown and we were surprised to find that as many as one in three (33%) people failed to complete their projects.

So, to help you complete your home renovation plan, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite DIY tips to help you complete your future projects.

1. Research is key

Never underestimate the importance of research. Once you’ve been inspired by an idea, you need to find out the project’s cost, complexity and how long it will take to complete. Understanding the scope of the project will help to ensure you’re not left with a hole in your pocket as well as unfinished work.

Almost one in three (31%) of the Brits we surveyed said they will need to call in a professional to help finish or, in some cases, fix the work they started. Having a better understanding of what a project entails can help to avoid this costly mistake.

To help you stay informed, make sure you do your homework before getting started. Researching online can be a good starting point. If you can, it will also be worthwhile to get some DIY advice from a professional or skilled DIYer before you begin too. Someone who’s carried out similar work before can validate your knowledge of the project requirements.


2. Understanding your capabilities

By doing your research, you should know whether you have the skills to carry out your chosen project. Be realistic with what you can do and try to plan for every eventuality as you don’t want to be one of the 31% who needs to call out an expert partway through.

Unless you can confidently carry out the DIY project, you should avoid starting the work. While you may want to take on a challenge, you need to know your limits.

Safety is obviously extremely important, and carrying out DIY work that requires professional fixing could end up being more expensive than paying somebody else to do the complete job.

Pinterest has a lot of inspiration for both small and large projects, as we mentioned in our previous DIY inspirations blog. If you’re new to DIY, it’s probably worth starting small on a basic DIY project and then building up the skills you need for larger renovations in the future.

3. Carry out a risk assessment

Before you take on any DIY task, you should carry out a risk assessment. Be particularly careful if working with potentially dangerous tools or machinery.

There has been a rise in DIY-related injuries recorded in hospitals across the UK throughout the lockdown and periods of restriction. Oldham CCG's chief clinical officer Dr John Patterson warned against anyone taking on ambitious DIY projects that could lead to an injury and Oxford Eye Hospital reported an increase in eye injuries due to people carrying out DIY without eye protection.

Carrying out a risk assessment is just one part of avoiding DIY injuries. It’s essential that you understand safety protocols and always wear the correct protective wear (goggles, gloves, masks, etc.). As mentioned earlier, choosing projects that align with your skill level can also help to reduce your risk.


4. Create a budget

..and stick to it. You want to make sure the project funds don’t run out before you’re finished.

Of those surveyed that failed to complete their project, 20% said that money was the reason they couldn’t finish.

Understanding the cost of the work and materials can help you decide whether the project is realistically affordable before making your initial expenses.


5. Plan your time

Finally, you need to make sure you can dedicate the time your project needs.

Our survey found that the biggest cause of projects not being finished was time management. 34% of those who failed to complete their projects said other jobs or priorities got in the way, while one in five (20%) said the workload became overwhelming.

By doing thorough research and understanding the scope, you can ensure you can commit to the project before you start work.

Given ongoing uncertainties, you may also want to think about how your lifestyle could alter before starting the project. You may currently have a lot of time due to furlough or working fewer hours. But with the situation constantly developing, this may quickly change. It may be worth having a contingency plan in place for if your time capacity or available budget decreases. This will allow you to still plan home renovations even if the future is uncertain.

If you follow these five home improvement tips, you stand a much better chance of finishing your project safely, on-budget and on-time.

To find out more about DIY during lockdown, read our survey results round-up.