Well, a lot. No matter whether it’s renovating a house or changing a light bulb, if you do it yourself but don’t have a clue of what you’re doing, there’s a surprising big room for errors. Now, we’re not saying to leave everything to the experts (where would be the fun in that?). But do learn from the mistakes of others.
Intro picture above by Pete Wright
It sounds like such a charming idea, buying an old ruin with acres of land in the Algarve for a price that will get you a dinghy 1-bedroom flat in London. Then moving over to the south of Portugal and renovating the place yourself as it’ll save money and give you something to do apart from drinking cheap wine.
It is a charming idea, and each year hundreds of people do exactly that. And then they struggle with all sorts of things, like the tiles they want not being available and the shop saying they’ll be there on Monday. Which is technically true, but they’ve failed to add ‘in February 2018’.
Or workmen turning up at 11.35am (if they turn up at all) and leaving for lunch again at midday. And there not being any building permission for that swimming pool so now they just have a giant hole in their garden. (Hint: check if all the necessary documents and permits are there and add at least 25% to your planned budget).
With all the materials there and the bureaucratic drama finally solved, it’s time for wine. And to give up on that plan of creating your own table out of driftwood and instead buy an assembly pack from IKEA in Loulé as it’ll definitely be mid 2017 when you’ve managed to cut through all the red tape. Or, if you’re still determined, it’s now time to start renovating your rotting ruin in to a palatial paradise.
No, we’re not going to tell you how to renovate or repair your house. There are already dozens of websites out there with useful info (and tons of videos). Plus: we don’t want to be responsible for you f*cking it all up just because we suggested to skimp on isolation materials or to tile the bathroom walls with broken azulejos. Instead, learn from DIY mistakes that other people have made.
Because there’s a lot that can go wrong when building. We don’t want to raise the finger and whine on about health and safety in the workplace and that you should always wear a helmet, even when opening a bucket of paint. However, we do want to show you some not too clever situations that should be avoided.
So, go to the original article in our magazine, look at the video there, and get the hang of how it’s NOT done properly. And if you’re afterwards thinking ‘Gee, good thing I watched that, as that was exactly how I planned to link up my electrics, floating on a flip flop in a paddling pool’, then maybe don’t throw away the phone number of that handyman just yet…