So, you’ve bought your dream home, but it’s not quite there yet? Or perhaps you’re looking to flip your first property. If the financial nitty-gritty doesn’t deter people from renovating, then the realisation that they are unskilled and uninformed usually does. But there’s good news; anyone can learn how to renovate a home. You won’t become a master overnight and without prior knowledge, we recommend you outsource high-risk jobs like the electrics in the early days. But most renovation tasks are simple skills executed to a high standard. With so many options to choose from online, you can get the guidance you need to help you master everything from basic DIY to trade techniques, project management, and even home design.
Break yourself in by learning about the materials you’ll be using and get to grips with the required tools and their uses. From drills to screws, hardware and trade stores can be pretty intimidating and costly if you’re not in the know. Luckily there is plenty of free content online. Youtube and Wiki are good places to start. If you can attend workshops, demos or expos, do it! There’s no substitute for hands-on learning. Getting to know local tradespeople and seeking out others in a similar position can work in your favour later.
Below are a few skills we think every handy guy or girl should know ahead of a home renovation to get you started.
On the surface, this one may seem a little basic, but you’d be surprised how many people fail to achieve a quality finish. If you don’t believe us, ask around. Many people now hire decorators or odd job guys from online ads, and things don’t go to plan! So it’s best to do it yourself. Be sure to pick up a roller pole long enough to reach the ceiling. Your general paint brushes can be as cheap as you like, don’t forget the sandpaper, poly filler, and oil or wood-based paint for the doors and boards.
Always aim to complete a room painting job in the following order: ceiling walls, boards, and doors as it can help the room dry faster.
To level up your paint skills, you’ll need to pick an angled brush around 2-2 1/2 inches, wide enough to have control and small enough to be precise, it’s gonna be your best friend for edges and corners. Learning to cut in is easier than messing around with a roll of tape, only for it to pull off paint when you go to remove it. Mastering the basics saves you time, and money and helps you stay sane along the way!
Plumbing is an in-demand skill, and for that reason, things can get extremely expensive pretty quick. Most apprentice plumbers learn about installation, troubleshooting and repair before they tackle the more advanced portions of the profession. So this seems like the perfect place for a home renovator to get going too.
If you’re a total novice start small, a kitchen sink pipe clean-out or a new bathroom fixture installation might not sound like much, but it’ll get you accustomed to the tools and techniques of the trade. After that replacing a cistern or a piece of connecting pipe seems like a breeze, and if you want or need to level up, making sure a new bath or shower will fit correctly won’t seem impossible, probably just a bit stressful.
A word to the wise: caulking is key if you plan to install new fixtures yourself. If you do not caulk properly, it can cause serious damage to your home some of which may not be covered by insurance if they discover you were at fault.
In addition to books and video tutorials, be sure to check out online blog plumbing archives for their step-by-step breakdowns. Don’t forget to refer to the Australian plumbing regulations for your state before you forge ahead. For the most part, as long as you don’t touch the sewers or the drinking water, you can do as you please.
While it may sound intimidating, it’s not a hard skill to learn, and with high labour costs, you could save yourself more than you realise. Detailed and farmhouse tiles are on trend, and prices are definitely on the rise, but if you like the look, it’s worth taking the time, especially if you’re adding it as an accent in a bathroom or kitchen. Tiling is a popular demonstration skill, so if you want to “try before you buy”, get down to a local class or DIY store.
It’s worth watching at least two full tile installations on Youtube. One showing a product similar to what you’re using to be laying and then another on placement and cutting so you’ve covered bases.
Before You Put On Your Hard Hat, Make A Plan
We’re sure you’ve planned and scrapped many details in your home renovation, even at this stage – it’s more of a journey than a race. When deciding what jobs you want to tackle solo, assess your skills, schedule, and long-term plan. Before considering pain points like money and time.. Once the ball starts rolling, you’ll learn on the job without realising it, and as fate would have it, this will help you turn a house into a home.