If like many across the UK, you’ve suddenly found yourself with time to spare at home, you may be tempted to have a bash at a few of those niggling odd jobs that have been hanging around for a while. At DoorsDirect, we pride ourselves on making life as easy as possible for you to fit your own sliding doors, but not all home improvements are as straightforward. Here, we share our top ten tips for ensuring your projects go smoothly and safely.
#1 Ensure your workplace is clean and well organised.
It may sound like a no brainer, but a few rogue tools left on the floor or an ill-placed dust sheet could see you putting extra pressure on the NHS at an already-difficult time! Keeping walkways clear and positioning tools safely is especially important if you have children, pets, (or clumsy relatives) self-isolating with you.
#2 Take your time and don't rush what you’re doing.
Rushing the job will leave you more prone to accidents. Plan the project before you start work and don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed, particularly when lifting or working at height. Don’t be tempted to skip reading all the safety labels and instructions on the materials you buy. Also bear in mind, that with many DIY and hardware shops closed, you may not be able to source everything you need to do the job properly.
#3 Use ladders with care.
Ladders are one of the leading causes of DIY accidents. Make sure yours are sturdy and in good condition. A-frame ladders should always be locked in the open position and placed on a level surface. If you’re leaning the ladder against a wall or other vertical surface, make sure there is a 1ft spread at the base for every 4ft of height. Never lean to one side as you could lose balance, and never leave tools on the platform - it’s a head injury waiting to happen!
#4 Use the right tools for the job and know how to use them.
Always use the correct tools for the job and consider investing in, or borrowing, high-quality equipment as it is likely to be quicker and safer in the long run. If you’re using electrical tools, ensure you’ve read the instructions carefully and be sure to switch off and unplug before fitting any parts, and after you’ve finished.
#5 Wear the right gear.
Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing or jewellery that could get caught on tools or surfaces. Safety goggles, gloves and dust masks are a must when working with hazardous materials such as spray paint, metal or glass, or in a dusty environment e.g. sanding or sawing wood.
#6 Clear the air.
Keep the room well ventilated when painting or using any substance that creates toxic fumes, (the last thing your neighbours want to hear at this time is a house full of people coughing), and never smoke while painting or standing near a freshly painted area.
#7 Be a bright spark.
Electric is another huge cause of DIY injuries and it needs to be treated with respect. Always check wires with a non-contact voltage tester before touching them and be careful not to drill into walls where wires may be present. Never perform electrical work when standing on an aluminium ladder and ever use tools with frayed cords or disabled guards.
#8 Seek professional help when necessary.
No, we’re not talking emotional support here. It may be tempting to keep costs down, but certain jobs are best done by qualified professionals. In the UK, electrical and plumbing work is often certifiable by a professional, and any gas works should only be carried out by a gas safe registered engineer.
At the moment, most trades are only offering emergency repairs in people’s homes to minimise the spread of infection, so consider putting off any non-urgent work until the pandemic pandemonium is over.
#9 Have a first-aid kit at the ready.
A well-stocked first-aid kit is essential in any home, and even more so where amateur home renovators are at large! Where possible, have someone you trust around to support in case of an accident or ensure you have a phone at hand in case of emergency.
#10 Tidy up properly once you’re done.
Store tools and substances safely and securely, out of reach of children and pets, and ensure any waste materials are disposed of correctly. You should never pour leftover paint or solvents down the drain, as this can be damaging to the environment. You should also ensure that anyone collecting waste on your behalf is licensed to do so. Your local council waste recycling facility should be able to advise you if you’re unsure. There may also be local non-profit initiatives in your area offering to recycle paint and other materials, though you may need to store these until facilities reopen.
Unfortunately, we just don’t know what will happen over the coming weeks, and you may find that some projects will have to wait until the storm has passed. If in doubt, you can always use this time to research and plan your future home improvement projects. Our office and warehouse are currently closed, but we are still available to take orders and send out samples when requested. Call us at 01423 50 20 40 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.