DIY for complete and utter n00bs

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Chimpcheng, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Chimpcheng

    Chimpcheng Yup... Giant cow head... Supporter

    Hey all. I've recently become the owner of a new home, and like all previously lived in homes there's a lot to do, not the least of which is painting and decorating.

    We could go the easier but exhorbitantly expensive route of hiring in a professional, but I wonder how much damage could I do if I did a spot of DIY?

    Now, I am a complete and utter n00b when it comes to DIY, the last time I picked up a real paintbrush I was probably 5yo and eating paste. I don't know a thing about filling in holes (the previous owners loved hanging pictures), plaster, drywall, primer, undercoats, matt, emulsion, gloss, silky, blah, blah, blah. Am I just asking for trouble attempting to do these things following YouTube advice or should I seek a professional with the best quote? I mean, I've already accidentally pulled some railings off the wall attempting to remove some awful netting...

    Thanks y'all... :)
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  2. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award


    The serious answer is to be prepared.

    Give yourself time to do the job correctly and don't attempt it in the first place unless you have the correct tools.

    Try and avoid buying cheap paint brushes, you get what you pay for. The same goes for drills. You don't have to spend a fortune, but a name such as Bosch, Black and Decker etc will be better than a B&Q special.
  3. Chimpcheng

    Chimpcheng Yup... Giant cow head... Supporter

    Woah, wait, I need power tools for painting? I was hoping for just paint (that one coat thingy they sell in B&Q), paintbrushes, masking tape and rollers. Oh and a ladder, maybe some overalls so I look the part...
  4. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    If you are going to invest in a ladder I suggest having a look at those 4 way folding ladders.
    The convert from a ladder into a step ladder. Some even cope with different levels such as a set of stairs.
  5. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    The more time you spend preparing the surface the better , if you have to fill a hole let the filler set a little proud of the surface and then sand back.
    If you're really unsure of yourself start somewhere that's not so obvious (spare room?) , so if you do drop a massive clanger you don't have to sit looking at it .
  6. Chimpcheng

    Chimpcheng Yup... Giant cow head... Supporter

    I had no idea such things existed! At the moment there is so much to do to the house, we are trying to save money where we can by doing things ourselves, but, I don't know how to change a shower cubicle, recarpet, put down flooring, etc, etc.

    I can however hook up my PS3... :eek:
  7. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Not the cheapest ladder, but this will serve you well in both the house and garden.

    [ame=""]Aluminium Folding Platform Ladder 4-Way EN 131: Car & Motorbike[/ame]
  8. Chimpcheng

    Chimpcheng Yup... Giant cow head... Supporter

    There's a room under the stairs where the previous owners have left a mysterious mirror... I'm a bit too afraid to touch this as I'm sure there's some sort of The Grudge curse on it...

    Anyway, yeah I'm reading up online about filling holes (oooooooooh snap, that sounded, erm...), and yeah, they suggest the same you do, fill a but more than you need and sand till flush.

    In my head I think it'll be ok, but realistically I'm a bit worried...
  9. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    When you sand somethng back wrap the sandpaper (you get different grades) around a sanding block. If you don't it will not be even and will stand out when painted.
  10. Chimpcheng

    Chimpcheng Yup... Giant cow head... Supporter

    Now it's just getting complex, had to google sanding block, but it makes sense. Cor blimey guv'nor, Mary Poppins was roight, you learn sumfink new everyday...

    Okay, okay, I'm tempting to give it a try...
  11. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Oh dear, this really is bad.
  12. Chimpcheng

    Chimpcheng Yup... Giant cow head... Supporter

    Ok, ok, how about removing cheapskate blue tack off the walls? No matter how hard I roll there's always stuff left, not just the oily residue but actual tack.

    On a forum someone suggested lighter oil, another suggested freezing it with ice then knocking them off, then someone said stick small pieces of White bread over them, so I decided I wasn't going to get a straight answer...
  13. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    Scraper ?
  14. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Get yourself a big book of DIY. Read the apptopriate section htoroughly and spend a long time thinking about the job you're going to do, plan it out carefully. Make sure you have decent kit.

    Given all that there's no reason you shouldn't tackle painting, papering etc.

    And Simon's right; even if the job has no requirement for power tools, you're a man, you have to buy some. :D

  15. Chimpcheng

    Chimpcheng Yup... Giant cow head... Supporter

    They also said that but apparently there's a special one for such a job (who knew?) but I have a feeling they made it up...

    I'm starting to regret getting a four bedroom house now... So much to do... Now, as everyone's favourite mod I command you all to come round to help. There'll be a ten piece bucket of KFC to share...
  16. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I have no idea what these "power tool men" are on about.

    *goes to garage and looks longingly at my power drill, jigsaw, flat sander, detail sander, dremel and ANGLE GRINDER!*

    I'm no macho man but I just plain don't trust a man that can't put up a shelf.

    When it comes to painting, the surface is more important than the painting bit.
    With a decent roller and fill in brush, for the edges and corners, two people can paint a room in a couple of hours.
    It's the filling and sanding that takes the time.

    The only thing I won't touch is electrics.
  17. Chimpcheng

    Chimpcheng Yup... Giant cow head... Supporter

    Shelves are easy, you just assemble the flat pack from Argos and in no time you have a set of shelves for your DVDs... :)
  18. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    It's illegal to do much yourself these days anyway.

  19. WatchfulAbyss

    WatchfulAbyss Active Member

    Well, I would suggest going with a professional if you plan on doing the entire house. I can’t even begin to tell you just how many times a home owner has cost themselves dramatic price increases (what could have been 1200$ can turn into 3000$ for example) due to the fact that we have to go about fixing their mistakes. (Are you doing the trim as well as the walls? And what about ceilings?)

    That said, if you do decide to undertake the project yourself, then I would suggest buying an 18 inch roller (1/2-inch thick nap should be fine) with a pan and drop cloths (oh, and scotch-blue tape), if you go with anything other than flat paint. The reason for the 18 is that satin, or any other glossy paint (latex/acrylic), will flash (show lap marks) if you let any one section of a wall dry too much and paint into it latter. The 18 makes quick work of the rolling area so lessens the chances of this. It should also be noted that while glossy paints tend to be more durable (washable) they will also highlight any imperfections on the wall (the worst will be long stretches of well lit walls). Also, if you go with a glossy finish, try not to make the ban of the cut-in too wide, or it will flash when you roll into it creating a picture frame type effect.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  20. Kuma

    Kuma Lurking about

    As the owner of an old house and an avid DIYer, I'm hoping I can give you some good advice. Unfortunately there's always going to be a lot of trial and error, but if you approach things in a realistic fashion with plenty of common sense and time you can figure a lot of things out.

    Home repair manuals are a great start, as is getting a decent set of tools, but sometimes you can get really excited and start off with too big of a project and end up not only extremely frustrated and overwhelmed but also end up breaking something. Learn with the little stuff first before jumping into the big stuff. I made the mistake of taking on the task of trying to paint my son's bedroom as my first job, and I hadn't painted since watercolors in elementary school when my art teacher told me my bulldog looked like an old boot. Needless to say it did not turn out as well as I had hoped and I am still not happy with it, but I have gotten much better with other painting jobs.

    There's a lot of small simple tasks you can start learning to get comfortable with home repairs. If you're going to try to paint, start off in a small area which not everyone will see if you screw up. For holes in the wall and the like, they have Spackle kits which are pretty self-explanatory and using them on small holes in nondescript areas can help. Plumbing-wise, once you learn how to clean your traps you can tackle some bigger jobs. Walk around a hardware store and think of it as your toy store, and see what they have available and imagine what you can do with it at your house. Little tasks are the best to start with, as they go to bigger tasks in the long run which make your house all the better for it.

    Though I had a bit of an advantage when I first got my house (military training as an engineer), I still didn't have much of a clue as to what I was doing half the time. Since then I've rebuilt and refurnished sinks, painted and spackled my fair share, changed lighting, rewired circuits, replaced all the interiors of my toilets, added tons of child-proofing, fixed my deck, and even done a few carpentry projects. I'm still no DIY guru but it's fun and relaxing for me, and putting it back into my house to make my family's life better is pretty rewarding.

    There are some fantastic videos on Youtube that can help, as well as DIY forums if you really get stuck. Other than that, it's a lot like the martial arts: you can read and watch as much as you want, but eventually it's time to sweat and get to it.

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