Savvy DIY tips and fixing home repair mistakes

It pays to plan any home improvements properly. It’s estimated that DIY blunders cost households on average £100-£150 a year!

Handyman hints for wonky shelves
A little confidence with home improvements is fine, but patience is essential!
RESCUE: take the shelves down, plaster over any holes and allow this to dry fully before trying again.

  • Check your materials. For strong shelves choose close-grain pine or MDF prepared with a water-based undercoat or primer.
    Always use a spirit level.
  • Check at the DIY store what screws and wallplugs suit the type of surface you’re working on.
  • With brackets: fit them 10-15 cm from the end, use central supports too for longer shelves, and screw the shelf to the bracket to avoid tipping.

Disaster decorating tips - Stubborn wall stains
A new lick of paint is not enough to hide water stains and grease marks.
RESCUE: Use a primer paint over the key areas first. This seals the stain so it can’t seep through any new paintwork.

  • Clean walls of dust and grease before painting.
  • Protect other surfaces. And make sure you take off shoes so you don’t tread paint through the house afterwards.

Wallpapering DIY tips
Patterned wallpaper has to be matched with every full length drop so you need to order enough.
RESCUE: Measure the length and height of all the room’s walls (including over doors and windows) then take these measurements with you for the store to calculate what you need. Buy at a shop where they will refund any unused, unopened rolls.

  • Heavier papers are easier to hang and cheaper papers will tear easily.
  • Ensure all rolls come from the same ‘batch’. This means all the rolls were printed at the same time and colours will match up.
  • Use lining paper first if your walls are bumpy. This is hung horizontally, unless you’re just painting over it, in which case hang it vertically.

Savvy tip – get funding for eco home improvements
Find out if you can get your DIY work paid for under the Green Deal offer that helps with costs on energy-saving projects.

Pass it on – home repair essentials

  • Turn off electric supplies where relevant.
  • Before drilling, check where pipes and electricity cables are.
  • Think it through. Door handles and light switches fitted upside down, and doors hanged so they open out not in are surprisingly common mistakes!