Home renovation tips and tricks, so you can DIY with success

27 November 2017

DIY is ingrained in Kiwi culture. Giving it a crack yourself can save loads of money and give you a real sense of achievement. But it can also lead to disaster that costs more to fix than engaging a tradie right from the start.

Before you grab your toolbox and tie on your builder’s apron, here are some things to consider.

YouTube is a great way to learn

There are a lot of DIY videos on YouTube offering a variety of renovation-related lessons. To fuel your ideas, learn new skills and see if there is a simpler way to achieve what you want, it’s always worth doing a quick search before embarking on a project. Just make sure the video was made by a credible source.

Measure twice, cut once

You can’t make building materials grow once you’ve cut them, so measure twice and write the measurements down – with illustrations to make sure you know what the numbers mean. In older houses nothing is square or level, so accurate measuring is even more important. 

Take photos before you shop

Before you hit the hardware or building supply store, take photos with your phone. Showing staff what you’re doing can help with identifying the right tools, materials and fixtures. 

Painting is fun, preparation is not 

The words “just needs a coat of paint” are said lightly, but doing the job properly means cleaning, sanding, masking, undercoating and top-coating. If you skimp on preparation, you’ll get a result that doesn’t make you happy. Pro tip: Using water-based paint on the ceiling means that when you clean fly marks from the ceiling, the cleaning marks will be visible. Oil based acrylics avoid this.

Ask someone who knows

Don’t be scared to ask for help. Whether it’s a mate who has done it before, a salesperson at a hardware store or a friend-of-a-friend who is in the trade, people are usually happy to offer advice. If anyone actually offers to lend a hand, pay them back with a meal out or a gift voucher.

Jobs that are best left to the experts

  • Electrical work must be signed off by a registered electrician. Considering the risk of electrocution or fire, we recommend you pay an expert rather than attempting it yourself. Likewise, installation of heatpumps requires a qualified refrigeration engineer to correctly install piping and manage the gas.
  • Plumbing work is another area best left to the professionals. Sanitary plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying jobs must be carried out by authorised plumbers or drainlayers. As a homeowner, you are allowed to install dishwashers and washing machines, replace or repair taps, and change ball valves and plugs.
  • Wall removal is a tricky area. Before you pick up the sledgehammer, pay an expert to confirm if a wall is structural or not. Also check with the council to find out if you need to apply for building consent- do this BEFORE you start work, as the council can request the work be demolished if it doesn’t comply with standards.

When to get us involved

If your home project involves alterations or demolition to parts of your home, it’s best to get in touch with us or your Adviser / Broker before you get going. That’s because there are often conditions within your insurance policy that could void your policy and require you to take out separate insurance to cover your project.

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