Daz and Albert's DIY Guide
At one time, doing more than general spring cleaning - and perhaps a little decorating was considered best left to the adventurous. Plumbing and electricity were there for professionals to take care of, and 'calling a man in' was part of our way of life. Over the past twenty years there has been a quiet revolution, and people from all walks of life have found themselves with far more responsibility for their home maintenance and repairs. Skilled tradesmen willing to tackle the small fiddly repair jobs are difficult to find - and if you do find a good one you may have to wait weeks for a call.
Labour charges have risen enormously, and even small jobs can cost a lot when charges are made for visits, for taking away and returning appliances, and even for diagnose-. ing faults. Having tried tackling jobs themselves, many have found that if you follow the 'rules', it is not that difficult after all In fact there can be a very considerable sense of achievement and satisfaction when you say,
'Well, actually I did it myself '
Of course, there will always be areas best left to the professional, and it is not the purpose of this book to lead you into trouble. Where there may be danger, where the work could be very heavy and demanding, or where you may just not have the time, I will endeavour to warn you and point you ln the right direction for help. My experience over many years is that you will always find many helpful experts - in stores, factorises and in the many professional associations. People are always ready to offer a word of advice, or offer literature or contacts, but what they don't like is being asked to help clean up a mess when you've had a go at a job and failed! With every job,-make sure you understand what to do, what you need and where the snags lie before you do anything.
In that way you will avoid the pitfalls. Treat home maintenance and repair work as something about which you will never finish learning. Keep a scrap book, and jot in it any hints and tips you pick up; useful cuttings from magazines and newspapers; trade contacts, addresses of suppliers of unusual materials, colour cards, quotes for jobs - and so on. You will find such reference invaluable and it will smooth your path. One essential for success is an adequate kit of tools, for having the right tool for the job can transform a situation. Many jobs which seem complicated become simple
When the right tool is applied, and money spent on good quality equipment is never wasted.
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Remember absorbent surfaces such as bare plaster take more paint, than surfaces which are merely to be repainted. Textured and relief materials also take considerably more than a smooth surface. Changing from one colour to another where there is a considerable difference may call for two coats of undercoat. Top coats have very little, if any, covering power. When measuring up, divide surfaces into Measurable rectangles then add them all together. Window frames are hard.
Count a window as a solid area by multiplying width by height. Shop around for paint, as quality materials can be bought at very considerable discounts. And buying one large can is usually less expensive than a lot of smaller ones. It also (insures that the colour is consistent, as batches can and do vary slightly. You will find the batch number on the can. Remember also that paint coverage can vary from type to type, so don't generalise. Choose your paint, then check on the can to find the recommended coverage.