Our guide to DIY and home improvements
Sydney Embray

Our guide to DIY and home improvements

First published date February 24 2016 Amended date February 25 2016

How would it feel to know you don’t have to choose between putting up with that ugly bathroom tile and paying a small fortune to have it replaced? Even if you’ve never even touched a screwdriver or put on a pair of work gloves, you’re likely aware of the DIY trend. Bloggers, TV presenters and writers have made it known that DIY can be easy, fun, and affordable.  Sound interesting?  Of course it does!  We’ve collected a host of DIY courses for all levels, so whether you’re a complete beginner or a regular Tommy Walsh, you’ll have fun learning the tricks of the trade and get some low-cost, high-quality upgrades for your home or vehicle.

DIY courses don’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, either.  Search through our comprehensive list of courses to find the best one for you, and get started on your own project.


Benefits of doing it yourself!

Where do we even begin?  DIY is one of the most rewarding skills you can add to your set.  Doing your own improvements and maintenance is not only cheaper, but it allows you to put your own touch on the things you love.   A course in DIY will give you the skills and know-how to tackle any job, big or small.  You’ll gain much more than a more beautiful and functional lifestyle, too- doing a DIY project is a great confidence booster.  Whether it’s installing new flooring, adding unique touches to your home, or keeping your car up to date, you’ll soon learn DIY is far more than three little letters. .


What to expect

Most courses, from home improvement to home maintenance, will cover a few key components.  DIY is all about using your hands to manifest your creativity into something useful, so you’ll spend time honing your problem-solving and creative skills.  To make sure you and others stay safe throughout your project, you’ll learn the importance of adhering to safety measures and following regulations.  The course will also cover the usage of equipment like power tools and chemicals.  All in all, a DIY course will benefit you far beyond that set of shelves you’ve been dreaming about putting up, as it provides you with the skills, know-how, and confidence to create for the rest of your life.


A few terms to know


Warp: Carpentry projects are among some of the most popular among DIY-ers, but if there’s anything that takes the fun right out of building, it’s seeing the wood contort and twist beyond repair before you’re finished.  Timber will warp under especially hot, moist, or dry conditions. It’s best to work in a temperate environment if possible, and if not, work fast before the wood has a chance to warp.


Key: When applying a layer of paint or varnish to your project, it’s important to establish a key first.  Created by rubbing fine-grit sandpaper on the surface you wish to finish, a key is nothing more than a surface that’s been roughed up enough to give the paint or varnish something to stick to.  It’s a simple way to give projects a durable, professional-grade finish.


Dry rot: Yet another scourge of carpentry—dry rot is a fungus that consumes and weakens timber.  It thrives in moist conditions but takes a while to set in, so it’s usually found in floorboards and rafters where it’s hidden by drywall, plaster, and flooring.  Look for dry rot when remodelling: if you catch it early, you can put your DIY skills to use replacing the affected beams and keep your home in good condition.


Strip: This one’s a bit trickier—the meaning is different depending on what you’re referring to.  If you were to strip a table, for example, you would be applying chemicals and a quite a bit of elbow grease to remove a layer of paint or varnish from the wood.  But a stripped screw is another thing altogether. A screw is stripped when the groove on the head no longer catches the driver—the driver will spin on the head without turning the screw.  To add even more confusion, a stripped screw hole means the wood or metal you’re connecting no longer catches the screw’s thread, or the spiralled metal on the length of the screw.  You’ll learn to navigate them all and much more in a course on DIY.


By Sydney Embray 

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