Eeek! Just bought my first flat - Inept at DIY :)

Eeek! Just bought my first flat - Inept at DIY :)

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The Don of Croy

5,232 posts

117 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
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Don't buy the cheap stuff...

Things like masking tape - incredibly cheap but if you leave some on for days or weeks it won't come off cleanly, or it takes the under coat off with it. A good merchant (Brewers) will usually stock better tape (as well as DIY sheds).

Sanders - check the vibration/oscillation speed (the higher the better), then sheet sizes/prices.

Drill - I've become a fan of small rechargeables, but again buy wisely. If you can get the 'professional' grade (blue Bosch etc) and look at the battery capacity - 1.5aH min to get a good amount of work done. Unless your dwelling is made of reinforced concrete a small drill driver will create enough holes for shelves, cupboards, even windows if you also use good drill bits. Cordless just gives you more freedom (and arguable less death).

For painting a roller and tray is easy, and just throw away the sleeve (£1.50?) rather than be cleaning for 20 minutes. For oil based woodwork you can get away with cling film around the brush head overnight (remove all excess paint by squeezing into cloth/paper towel/newspaper first) so you can crack on again next day without the clean/rinse/repeat.

Lastly, a professional decorator is bloody quick - and they produce an impressive result IME.

Blue Oval84

Original Poster:

4,896 posts

119 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
quotequote all
Thanks for the tips guys and please keep them coming, I'm taking notes smile

Having been up into the small hours last night figuring out the best way to furnish the place I was rather horrified by the bill I ran up very quickly with Ikea (I figured this has to be one of the cheapest "one stop shop" approaches to furnishing it).

By the time I'd priced up two beds, mattresses, wardrobes, drawers, a couple of pictures and some odds and ends for the kitchen I'd clicked over £2K and I haven't even looked at sofas yet! I think I'll keep DIY to a minimum and just re-coat the walls and some of the glosswork rather than spending a fortune on loads of work which would ultimately restrict the amount of furniture I can afford to buy...

Incidentally, if anyone has advice about anywhere even cheaper than Ikea for bedroom furniture (without buying something that will drop to bits inside a year as per the reviews on Argos website) then I'm all ears.

I'm furnishing two bedrooms as I want a lodger, but am unsure whether I should even bother buying a mattress or leave it until I have a lodger lined up first in case they either have one already or have specific preferences. Will still probably buy the rest of the furniture as I don't imagine many lodgers look for unfurnished rooms(?), and I want to be able to make the most of the photos.

untruth

2,834 posts

147 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
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I can't see much being cheaper (or better) than Ikea.

eBay is always cheapest. You can get some good Ikea, Habitat, John Lewis bargains on there if you hunt around a bit and are willing to go get it.

98elise

17,467 posts

119 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
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Do not buy filler. Buy wickes premixed jointing plaster (meant to be used to fill in joints in plasterboard) Its about £15 for a huge bucket of it, and its all the filler you will ever need.

Its very smooth, easy to sand and I've even used it to fill in after chasing in conduit pipes.

zcacogp

11,239 posts

202 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
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furniture on ebay goes very, very cheaply as it's expensive to transport. If you were careful you could buy a number of items locally, hire a van on a Saturday and pick them all up - total cost would be little more than the cost of the van and the diesel.

Freecycle works similarly but everything is >ahem< free.


Oli.

B17NNS

18,506 posts

205 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
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Your lodger will bring in over £4k pa tax free.

Interest free credit card, pay £350 per month off using your rental income.

After a year, all the stuff is paid for and it didn't cost you a penny.

For certain furniture, don't discount e-bay. I picked up a £2k sofa a couple of years back, a year old for £250.

Decorating doesn't have to be expensive. White ceilings, cream walls (see what shades are on special at the sheds), white gloss work. The place will look clean and fresh. As and when your cash situation improves you can change things.

craigjm

10,966 posts

158 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
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Blue Oval84 said:
By the time I'd priced up two beds, mattresses, wardrobes, drawers, a couple of pictures and some odds and ends for the kitchen I'd clicked over £2K and I haven't even looked at sofas yet!
Don't buy a bed from Ikea because they will be metric sizes and then you are stuck having to buy their mattresses etc. With sofas and things because its your first place go and get stuff from DFS and the like and take full advantage of any buy now pay later type deals you can find.

league67

1,878 posts

161 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
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craigjm said:
Don't buy a bed from Ikea because they will be metric sizes and then you are stuck having to buy their mattresses etc. With sofas and things because its your first place go and get stuff from DFS and the like and take full advantage of any buy now pay later type deals you can find.
I've heard that they are starting UK sizes from summer. I could be wrong. Saying that we had their (Malm?) bed for donkeys years and the only thing that we replaced was couple of slats (completely my fault). Quite a few places are now doing EU sized mattresses. I agree with DFS type outfit for sofas, some of them are ok, especially for lets, and spread of cost is quite useful (their prices are, in my experience, negotiable).

league67

1,878 posts

161 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
quotequote all
98elise said:
Do not buy filler. Buy wickes premixed jointing plaster (meant to be used to fill in joints in plasterboard) Its about £15 for a huge bucket of it, and its all the filler you will ever need.

Its very smooth, easy to sand and I've even used it to fill in after chasing in conduit pipes.
You post that now after I spent absolute fortune on silly fillers. Can you keep it for a while after you open the tub, as that was a problem with fillers, they go off quite quickly once you open them?

Simpo Two

72,925 posts

223 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
quotequote all
98elise said:
Do not buy filler. Buy wickes premixed jointing plaster (meant to be used to fill in joints in plasterboard) Its about £15 for a huge bucket of it, and its all the filler you will ever need.
Good idea if you need lots, but if the OP is only going to use 10cm3. Will the rest of the huge bucket simply take up valuable space in his cupboard until it goes solid and has to be thrown away when he next needs 10cm3 in 5 years' time and finds it rock hard? Maybe an ickle tub would be better.

So regularity of use is important. If you are going to use, say, an SDS drill every month or year, buy a good one. If you are only likely to use it once, buy a cheap one. If you use a drill regularly, cordless is very convenient. If you're not, get mains because the cordless one will be flat when you need it.

Perhaps we need to know what tasks the OP envisages!

tleefox

1,060 posts

106 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
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My top 2 tips;

1) forget about B&Q - get to know your local independent builders merchants and tool shops. They are much better value for money and will give you a much better service (as other have said, placed like Toolstation are much better and cheaper for tools).

2) spend a few wuid on by decent cordless drill and a decent bit set. Again, ignore the crappy £20 Makita or Dewalt sets at B&Q - they are made of straw.

Have fun!

When we bought our last house 2 odd years ago I hated DIY and was terrible at it, but as time goes by and you get the necessary tools and practice it becomes very satisfying and enjoyable.

Bluebarge

4,519 posts

136 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
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Sanders - sandpaper and bit of wood to wrap it round will do if just doing door frames and bits here and there - elbow grease always saves money.

Wait till you get the keys before spending any money, but a decent cordless screwdriver will always come in useful.

If you're spending £2k in Ikea, you're either buying a hell of a lot or the wrong stuff - there are plenty of cheap options in their catalogue, no need to go mad if you own nothing yet.

For beds - mattreses online do all the continental sizes as well for very low prices. If you're skint, a mattress on the floor would do for you, the lodger will expact a bed frame, but Ikea do double bed frames for £100 so no need to go mad. IKEA's ektorp sofa is pretty comfy for £225 and they do even cheaper models (the klippan). A reasonable wardrobe in Ikea is £140. OK, you won't pass it on to your grandchildren but it should give you quite a few years service until you decide you want something else, and IKEA stuff is at least well-designed.

Have a look at your local auction rooms if you want older-style furniture - this is where house clearance stuff ends up.

Blue Oval84

Original Poster:

4,896 posts

119 months

Tuesday 3rd June 2014
quotequote all
Thanks guys, the bed that I've priced up is a standard 5ft King for the main room, and a 4ft 6in for the smaller room.

Pricing wise, rather than getting the cheapest I'm looking for the Malm with underbed storage to help make the most of the space in the flat, I could save £80 by not getting the drawers, but I think I'd regret that as it would be an ideal place for towels, linen etc. (the flat doesn't have loads of space). There are a couple of even cheaper options but they either don't have storage or are the wrong colour. frown

I've had a poke around on eBay and stuff like this seems very cheap but I doubt it's even up to Ikea quality...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-High-Gloss-Black-2-o...

For general day to day use, assembling flat pack etc I thought this may do?
http://www.diy.com/nav/fix/power-tools/drills-driv...

paulrockliffe

10,927 posts

185 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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If you're sanding walls, I can highly recommend getting a sander that allows you to connect a hoover.

Also, don't sand finished paint if you're a perfectionist. The finish is amazing and you'll end up wanting to sand your entire house.

Simpo Two

72,925 posts

223 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
quotequote all
tleefox said:
1) forget about B&Q - get to know your local independent builders merchants and tool shops. They are much better value for money and will give you a much better service (as other have said, placed like Toolstation are much better and cheaper for tools).
Perhaps it's becaue my arse doesn't hang out of my jeans but if I ever visit a Jewsons, Travis Perkins or the like their prices seem far higher that a DIY shed.

Screwfix and Toolstation have good prices and a wide range but work like Argos - if I'm buying tools I like to get my hands on them first, not buy blind. That's why B&Q etc work for me - and you know that you can return it quibble-free within 45 days if you change your mind. All that is worth the odd £5 or £10 extra to me.

If you have any branches of The range near you that is a very good hunting ground for good value DIY stuff.

Blue Oval84 said:
For general day to day use, assembling flat pack etc I thought this may do?
http://www.diy.com/nav/fix/power-tools/drills-driv...
Link not working here.

Bluebarge

4,519 posts

136 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Wickes is another place that is slightly cheaper than your B&Q's etc and you can wander round and browse in the same way.

However, I wouldn't bother doing any shopping until you have exchanged contracts on your new place - what with stamp duty, fees, additional insurances, house insurance etc, you may find you're too skint to do much "toy" shopping right away.

untruth

2,834 posts

147 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Simpo Two said:
Perhaps it's becaue my arse doesn't hang out of my jeans but if I ever visit a Jewsons, Travis Perkins or the like their prices seem far higher that a DIY shed.
Brewers are significantly cheaper for DIY for me - my local one gives me loads of advice and I always find a few free things chucked in my bag or some money knocked off. I just think, in general, you get more out of a good, local and friendly merchants.

SunsetZed

1,196 posts

128 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Don't buy the more expensive bed just because of the underbed drawers, if you want underbed drawers you could always make them yourself. Sure they might not look as nice as the ikea ones but who's going to see them? Plus you can make them to the exact dimensions you want and add internal sections if required, I'm picking up the bits to do just this tonight for our King sized bed. I didn't want full size ones as we have a table next to the bed so I want slightly smaller ones.

These websites might provide some inspiration and it'll be good DIY practice for you!
http://www.familyhandyman.com/bedroom/under-bed-st...
http://www.sasinteriors.net/2014/03/rolling-underb...

Simpo Two

72,925 posts

223 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
quotequote all
untruth said:
I just think, in general, you get more out of a good, local and friendly merchants.
We have a traditional family-run ironmongers here, and they're always my first port of call if I think they have what I need. They're not only cheaper than the sheds but its nice to support a local business.

GreenDog

2,261 posts

150 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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