DIY Precautions and When Not to ‘Do It Yourself’

caution hazard

Providing you take precautions, there are plenty of jobs you can do around the house yourself, things that you can safely tackle whether you are more experienced or not, such as tiling.  But sometimes other work requires that you employ a qualified expert.

We all want to try and save a bit of money where we can, don’t forget that it’s not just the financial aspect you have to consider, but the cost in time too.  If doing the job yourself will take twice as long as an expert, you need to think about whether you can spare that time and whether it will mean using precious holidays up or missing out on paid work for a few days.

You also need to consider whether the job is more intricate or skilled than you can handle.  If there is a chance you could mess something up, you may end up needing to call a professional anyway to put it right.  If so, why not go straight to the pro and get the job done right first time?

No one wants to risk injuring themselves, so remember no DIY job is worth jeopardising your health.  For example, don’t risk going up on the roof to do a repair – leave it to the experts who will have a proper platform and all the necessary safety equipment, plus the expertise required.

When you do decide to DIY, make sure you minimise any risks to yourself, family members and pets.  Wear a mask if the project will create a lot of dust and any other protective clothing as required e.g. gloves to avoid chemicals getting on your skin.  Keep areas well ventilated and be especially careful if using power tools or ladders and have a well- stocked first aid kit on hand, just in case.  Be careful about lifting heavy objects and also work tidily – keep your floor area clear of hazards and clean up after you finish.

Handling certain substances and skilled repair jobs can only be carried out by a fully qualified professional, by law.  For example you need to make sure you employ qualified, gas safe engineers who appear on the Gas Safe register (previously known as CORGI).  Check both the Business Registration Number and Engineer Licence Card Number of your gas engineer on the Gas Safe website to ensure they are genuine.

Making electrical repairs is another job for a professional.  Call in a fully qualified electrician and check out the Electrical Safety First website for all the latest safety advice around electricity in the home.

Remember other hazards too – an older house may contain lead paint, which can be harmful if disturbed, particularly to young children and pregnant women.  So do a test before you start sanding the woodwork down and creating a potentially hazardous dust.  It may be better to leave the paint undisturbed and paint over it, or use a safe method of removal – you can find more info here at the Health & Safety Executive.

Asbestos is another potential hazard sometimes present in an older property; the diagram below shows where it may be lurking and there is more Asbestos information here.

asbestos where it hides
Image: HSE


Do enjoy your home improvements, but take all sensible DIY precautions to stay safe and never take your health for granted!

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