Ever witty ESPC Marketing Manager and DIY Dad Neil Harrison covers DIY and gets behind what it means!


What does DIY stand for? To me it depends on where you are in the process. It may start off being ‘Do It Yourself’ before rapidly descending into ‘Destroy It Yourself’. Or if procrastination kicks in, and before the destruction begins, through the words of others it becomes ‘Done It Yet’?

For others, DIY is a calling. They are the person their ‘other half’ gets to boast about because they have just finished the extension with the new bathroom as well as family room in between servicing the car and all in one weekend.

These are two extremes and most will find themselves at some point in between.

Me, myself and DIY

My own tale of DIY has progressed over the years. I would now turn my hand to laying laminate flooring, hanging wallpaper, painting, changing switches, sockets and light fittings. This is not meant as a catalogue of achievement more as a demonstration of improvement over time.

What has often helped is getting that ‘handy at home friend’ (HHF) round the house and getting them to show me what to do. An exchange of two hours of their time for a few beers is the usual currency for this deal. When you combine this with watching a few videos on You Tube, the thought of DIY becomes less daunting. The phrase ‘tricks of the trade’ exists as there are easier and better ways of doing things if you know about them.

For example, during my first attempt to hang lining paper I watched the videos on YouTube and had the plumb bob tool to make sure the first sheet of paper was straight. However, if you are in a traditional Edinburgh tenement the idea of a perfectly flat and straight wall may not exist. After an hour or trying to work out why the line was not straight, the HHF came round and promptly chucked the plumb bob away for me to line the first piece using one corner of the room. After all, it was just lining paper, it did not need to be perfect as the paint would cover any sins.

top tip

Neil’s top tips for DIY beginners

  1. If the power keeps going off in your house, the plug socket you just replaced has probably not been wired right.
  2. Put paste on the paper rather than the wall. I have never had a good experience with wallpaper that allows you to put the paste on the wall first.
  3. If anyone ever offers to help you paint, say yes only if they will also do the edges. There is nothing worse than a helper who will only use the roller.
  4. If laying laminate floor and using a hand saw, do not do the work the day before you run a marathon. All those cuts make it a sweaty job and not good for rest or carbohydrate loading...
  5. Think about the true saving from DIY. Yes you are saving on the cost of a professional but include a consideration of your time, what kit you need to buy to be able to do the job and, are you going to be happy with the end result based on your level of skill?
  6. Find your HFFs. Just because it is DIY does not mean you cannot ask for help.

lingo alert2

DIY: What do the numbers say?

Take a look at our Let's talk DIY infographic below. Despite only a quarter of the male population nationwide enjoying DIY, a recent survey by Checkatrade.com has revealed that that three quarters of men would rather tackle DIY themselves than pay a professional tradesperson

Although, that doesn’t stop a whopping three quarters of men saying that they’d rather tackle DIY themselves than pay a professional tradesperson – with 6% going one step further and attempting to install new boilers and double glazing themselves to save a few pounds!

Nearly a third of men said that they were completely satisfied with the state of their home and planned to make no improvements over the next 12 months. Other top findings were:

  • On average, men nationwide plan to spend just over £4000 on DIY in the next 12 months.
  • If money were no object, men in Sheffield are almost 6 times more likely to re-decorate than those in Southampton.
  • In a world where money is not a concern, a quarter of men would opt for a new bathroom or kitchen – but nearly half think that an extension would add more value to their home.
  • More men plan to redecorate in the next 12 months than make any other home improvement – almost half in fact.

Go online

Fancy finding a property to dig your DIY hands into? Find the perfect property in Edinburgh or anywhere else in our area overviews locations to make home. If you are one of those who hate DIY then you’ll also find a lot of properties that need absolutely no work at all!

Keep checking our ESPC Blog too for more regular posts from our staff and property experts which cover a wide range of topics and new facts about the property sector. You can take our Facebook Poll too to let us know your thoughts on DIY and a range of other topics!