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The Pitfalls of DIY


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Whenever a situation arises to do with property maintenance we tend to try and rectify the fault ourselves. We even try and carryout the maintenance issue although it is beyond our capabilities

Think back to an issue that you might have encountered recently,

Your kitchen sink taps are leaking and you think rather than asking a qualified plumber to supply and fit new taps you think “I can do that cheaper myself".

So what do you do, I'll tell you, something on the lines of this:

  • Travel to the nearest DIY outlet
  • Spend time looking at all the taps
  • Purchase a new set of taps
  • Return home
  • Start to remove the old set of taps
  • Find that the taps are rusted on and it needs a lot of brute force to remove them (time consuming)
  • Finally remove the old taps
  • Start to fit the new taps only to find that the plumbing doesn't quite match up
  • Return to the DIY outlet
  • Try and explain to the assistant what has happened and what you require
  • Return home after purchasing, you hope the correct part
  • Start to fit the new taps
  • Turn the water back on, only to find that there is a leak coming from the pipe work under the sink.

At this stage you have to make a decision, do I call a plumber (It is a Saturday or Sunday and it will be an emergency call out) and admit to him that you undertook a job that you couldn't actually do, or spend another 3-4 hours scratching my head and getting frustrated until you solve the issue of the leak.

There are cost implications to all DIY and the one issue that plays on everybodys mind is money. Why should I pay a plumber his hourly rate when I can do it myself? Well if you can do it yourself then great, but how long will it take and do you really have the skills to finish it once you have started.

People always grumble about a plumber's hourly charge of say £40.00 - £65.00 but remember a plumber arrives with a van, often the parts needed on board. Compare this to the cost for having your hair done or your nails manicured or a meal out. There will not be much change out of £40.00 from any of them.

Cost is immaterial if you really value your leisure time.

If this sounds familiar then whether it is fitting taps, kitchen units or general redecoration you need to think about this sound piece of advice from Nick Knowles from the BBC programme DIY SOS.

Time, is a big issue when it comes to upgrading your property. You need to work out how much money you can earn per hour doing your usual job and compare it with how much you would pay a contractor.

If it's better financially for you to go to work rather than take time off to do the job, then pay someone else to do it.

"It will also cause less damage to your social life, " added Nick

"If you want to see the kids and still go down the pub in the evening, then a contractor is your best bet".

In addition to this advice from Nick, a contractor from a local office based property maintenance company will guarantee their work and have a set hourly price plus materials.

Try and avoid the advert in your local paper, with only a mobile telephone number as they could be anybody and you will have no guarantee if there are problems in the future. Always chose a professional company that employs top class tradesmen and guarantees their work.

Liz Lucking is the owner of Westone Housing Services in Pterborough, UK and specializes in providing professional property maintenance services for investment landlords.


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