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

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

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Mave

6,618 posts

179 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Keep an eye on gumtree, free ads in the supermarket, trade it, recycling centre for tools and furniture. I picked up a workmate for £3 and a wall cabinet for £1 recently from our recycling centre. Kitchen workshop for £10 from trade it. 20 lengths of decking free from gumtree! (I had to remove it and take it away...)

Craikeybaby

9,325 posts

189 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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First of all - congratulations to the OP, but don't get too attached to what you are going to do to the flat until you have exchanged contracts, use the time to hassle your solicitors instead.

Furnishing wise, I just got a bed to start with, then added wardrobes etc as I could afford it, I didn't have a sofa for a few months or a TV for about 6 and even then that was a freebie!

Ask around to see if people have any furniture going, I've just given away a lot of my furniture from my first flat to a friend. Likewise also ask friends if you can borrow tools etc, especially if you have got a lot of things to buy. This leads into the main problem I had living in a flat - storage! As you've already mentioned clever storage solutions are great, but also don't go buying stuff that you will only use once, then need to store. With regards to under-bed storage, it is handy, but the big, flat, plastic storage boxes are under £80.

untruth said:
Sanders- Makita Palm Sander at around £60 is outstanding and very versatile.
I've got this an am pleased with it - sanding the woodwork in our largish living room was quicker than by hand in the tiny box room, will be giving it more of a work out over the next few months as have 10 internal doors that need sanding and painting.

GreenDog said:
I was looking at getting this as a house warming present for my little brother, who is in the same situation as the OP, I have already bought him the Collins book.

StevoCally

189 posts

147 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Got a flat myself almost 1 year ago, no DIY experience prior.

- Paint rollers, trays and decent brushes
- 5 litre pot of Dulex paint white (gone through 2 to do most rooms / base coats)
- 2.5 litre pots of coloured paints I liked
- 2.5 litre pot of gloss white paint (almost done entire property with loads left)
- Lots of masking tape (found Homebase value ones very good for price)
- Multi Purpose Polyfilla (found it didn't crack like the 'fine' version)
- Sandpaper (+block of wood)
- Basic tools like screwdriver set
- Box of various screws, rawl plugs etc
- Whitespirit / Turps
- Stanley knife
- Rags

Borrowed small step ladder and dust sheets off Dad.

Quality of finish is down to prep work - sort out all the little dents and cracks, sand down and clean thoroughly with rags to remove all dust.

Take time to mask up areas to avoid redoing edges, if needed remove light switches and electrical sockets but I found masking was usually fine and quicker, any excess paint wipe off or scrape with stanley knife if cheap white plastic ones.

Worthwhile giving room a good clean and vacuum before painting as you'll be amazed how much dirt can end up on fresh paint, ideally empty the room of all items.

Work logically - do the ceiling, then do the walls (learn how to load brushes/rollers), reapply additional coats if needed as you'll often find the first coat goes patchy (too little paint applied to wall, not keeping edges wet or being too slow) then do the skirts/frames.

For furniture look online and check local forums. I picked up a double Malm + unused Ikea mattress for £50 from someone at work who was redecorating a spare room and no longer needed it and paid £20 for man-with-a-van. I got this about a month after moving in as I slept of the sofa.

I got the wardrobe, drawers and sofa plus curtains + lights as part of flat purchase - does the current owner have anything you like and can make an offer on? Same for the kitchen appliances - only thing I needed was a fridge freezer that I got from a local shop.

Other furniture was added as I found the right item (after decorating each room) and continue to slowly add bits as I need them to spread cost so I don't think you'll need to splash out £2k+ upfront on two beds, coffee tables, rugs, pictures etc as half the fun is seeing each room progress.

Edit; remove masking tape after painting before it fully dries and emulsion paint on brushes/rollers will clean off with just water - I tend to use the shower as a pressure washer till it runs clean.

Edited by StevoCally on Wednesday 4th June 18:58

Craikeybaby

9,325 posts

189 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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As above - not buying stuff for the room until it has been decorated makes things a lot easier.

jas xjr

11,309 posts

203 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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do not forget that there are plenty of how to videos on youtube . i am experienced bodger / diyer but it has helped me out on quite a few occasions .

good preparation always pays dividends , makes all the difference between a sloppy rush job and a quality job .

re the furnishings , ebay all day . also take a look at bidspotter / local auctions too

Wacky Racer

34,133 posts

211 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Re the Emulsion on the walls:-

Use a decent "No loss" brush around 3 - 4 inches, don't mess about with a roller, by the time you have cleaned it out, you will not have saved much time, plus they tend to splash a bit.

Ceilings?

Dulux "Solid" emulsion, comes in a flat tray, ideal for a roller (with extension) emulsion should not drip at all, if you are careful, but put dust sheets on the floor just in case.

(Choose between Silk or Matt finish)

Mobile Chicane

19,564 posts

176 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Craikeybaby said:
As above - not buying stuff for the room until it has been decorated makes things a lot easier.
I'd agree with this.

Also beg, borrow and steal for the short term. You'll invariably change your mind about what really suits the flat / your lifestyle once you're living in the place.

Plus a year or so of living with (serviceable) cast-offs will enable you to save for killer pieces you'll keep, rather than Ikea stuff you'll replace in five years time.

Spudler

3,985 posts

160 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Wacky Racer said:
Re the Emulsion on the walls:-

Use a decent "No loss" brush around 3 - 4 inches, don't mess about with a roller
Different I spose.

Pit Pony

4,188 posts

85 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Any tools that your granddad didn't own, are probably a gimmick ?

EXCEPT THE MOST POWERFULL 240V HAMMER ACTION DRILL which is a must.

northwest monkey

6,262 posts

153 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
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Sir Bagalot said:
okie592 said:
B&Q will shortly be doing away with dulux paint and will be selling off dulux stock for £5-£15 a tin so it would be time to stock up.
Why's that?
Funnily enough I've just seen an advert for B&Q advertising 2 tins of Dulux for £25. If there are any B&Q clearance places near you then they are good for bargains. I picked up 8 interior wooden doors at one a couple of years ago for £72 - should have been £50 eachsmile

northwest monkey

6,262 posts

153 months

Wednesday 4th June 2014
quotequote all
Couple of good tools for you..

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dandy-Paint-Brush-Roller-C...

and

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brushmate-Trade-Brushes-CO...

The roller cleaner will clean and dry the rollers in seconds and the brushmate will keep your brushes ready to use without pissing around with white spirit etc. They seem a bit pricey, but save loads of time and money in the long run.

Blue Oval84

Original Poster:

4,974 posts

125 months

Thursday 5th June 2014
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GreenDog said:
Looks good!

I'm not tempting fate by buying anything until the mortgage is officially approved, advisor says that should be by the end of this week with any luck smile

Bluebarge

4,519 posts

142 months

Thursday 5th June 2014
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Blue Oval84 said:
Looks good!

I'm not tempting fate by buying anything until the mortgage is officially approved, advisor says that should be by the end of this week with any luck smile
No, no, no. nono

Mortgage approval is only half the battle. Nothing, repeat nothing, is decided until you have exchanged contracts. Don't make any plans till that hurdle has been crossed.

OpulentBob

11,452 posts

144 months

Thursday 5th June 2014
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I was in the same boat as you 10 years ago. It's great. Congratulations OP.

Having just decorated for my 10 year anniversary of moving in, I can recommend 2 things.

1. Good paint is worth the extra £££.
2. Don't use any masking tape other than Frog Tape Delicate. It's not cheap but it will not damage anything and it's fantastic to work with.

And I'm a tight-ass so both the above were ignored to start with. Now I realise the error of my ways.

Oh, and for rollers etc, I got a big box of rollers (4 different sizes plus foam, rag etc), liners, trays, an extension, cleaning bits etc from Costco for a tenner.

Craikeybaby

9,325 posts

189 months

Thursday 5th June 2014
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Bluebarge said:
No, no, no. nono

Mortgage approval is only half the battle. Nothing, repeat nothing, is decided until you have exchanged contracts. Don't make any plans till that hurdle has been crossed.
I mentioned this above, but it really is a key point! A friends has lost 4 properties that she's had offers (over the asking price) accepted.

ShortShift811

505 posts

106 months

Thursday 5th June 2014
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Craikeybaby said:
Bluebarge said:
No, no, no. nono

Mortgage approval is only half the battle. Nothing, repeat nothing, is decided until you have exchanged contracts. Don't make any plans till that hurdle has been crossed.
I mentioned this above, but it really is a key point! A friends has lost 4 properties that she's had offers (over the asking price) accepted.
I'm going to third this. We made the error of measuring up, ordering sofas and beds for our new place and setting delivery dates before we'd exchanged. Luckily it all got pushed through (just) in time, but could easily have fallen apart.

On the DIY front, lots of good advice above. I would say think carefully about the task, read up on it twice, then go slowly and use the old adage of measure twice, cut once. Everything really is in the prep. At one stage last year I was revising basic trigonometry to make sure I was putting shelves and a mirror in the right place!