If you’re thinking about buying a property that needs a bit of TLC, there are now more opportunities than ever to roll up those sleeves and learn how to do things yourself.
Thanks to an endless stream of property TV shows, often full of skilled creative types who’ve transformed mundane homes into incredible spaces (you’ve got a lot to answer for George Clark!), more and more of us are hankering for the ability to do more ourselves when it comes to home improvement or renovation projects.
Whether you’re aiming high and have set your sights on learning the art of lime plastering and building a kitchen from scratch, or more grounded and you simply want to learn some basic property maintenance skills, there are opportunities and courses for everyone, regardless of your previous knowledge or skill set.
Getting the fundamentals sorted
- Fixing a dripping tap
- Bleeding a radiator
- Replacing a broken tile in the bathroom
- Repairing the gutter
How many of these would you honestly know how to do?
At The DIY School you can learn how to become a master in a variety of courses ranging from tiling to bricklaying and decorating to woodwork.
If you’re looking for the works, check out their four-day General Home Maintenance Course, available at their Manchester and Birmingham training centres, which you can do weekdays or weekends for £350, and then think about how much money you’ll be able to save over the coming years in unnecessary call out charges.
If you’re based in Central London, take a look at The Goodlife Centre as they offer a range of similar courses, ready to turn you into a Handy Andy (hopefully minus the MDF) in no time at all.
Become a plaster master
Depending on the size of your project, your needs might range from needing to replaster an entire propert, to just needing to replaster certain walls or parts of walls.
If you’re looking to restore a particular feature you may have a need for more specialist plastering skills.
If your renovation project requires work that’s sympathetic to the original building style, such as a grade listed property, or you simply want to restore it to its former glory then you may need specialist plastering skills, usually with lime plaster.
Mike Wye, who specialise in traditional building supplies, offer a one day Lime plastering course for £120, guaranteed to give you the skills you need to get going.
If you’re keen to restore old fibrous plaster moldings, then APC plastering, in Essex, can help you. As specialists in this field, they offer a one week fibrous plastering course, perfect for heritage and period projects, for £500.
Get the full (water) works
If you’ve mastered the basics of plumbing and want to take your plumbing know-how to the next level, the Plumbing Academy can help.
With locations in Bristol, Cardiff, Hertfordshire, Kent, London and Wolverhampton, they offer intensive courses in plumbing and heating, they can also teach you how to fit a bathroom – perfect if you’ve become obsessed with recreating the latest bathroom to trend on Pinterest.
For bigger projects
If you’ve got a bigger project in mind but are still keen to do as much of the work yourself as possible, Able Skills can help.
As an accredited centre providing qualified training from City & Guilds, EAL, CITB and BPEC, they are used by the industry’s best.
While a lot of their courses are aimed at professionals, they also cover introductory courses for beginners and cover a wide range of skills including electrical, plumbing and bricklaying.
What’s more, they have nine training centres around the UK making them a great option wherever you’re based.
Take a look at their five day introduction to bricklaying course (£350).
The Builder Training Centre in Surrey are also worth checking out.
Community spaces and local things to look out for:
Over the past few years there’s been a resurgence in community-led initiatives and groups designed to bring people together and ‘create’.
Often donation or volunteer led, they’re well worth looking out for and can be a great way to get access to tools and equipment as well as meeting like-minded locals.
Men’s Sheds Association is a UK charity with a purpose to create spaces for men to come together and ‘connect, converse and create’ in order to help reduce loneliness and isolation later in life.
Providing workspaces and tools, for any projects you might have in mind, many also offer courses and events for members to get involved with. There are currently around 482 active Men’s Sheds groups in the UK, benefiting an estimated 11,568 men.
Located in Walthamstow, East London, Blackhorse Workshop has become both a home for celebrated local makers and residents alike.
Becoming a member allows you rent workshop space and access their wide range of tools.
They also provide an active calendar of evening and weekend courses, ranging from introductions to woodwork and metalwork, to welding and leatherworking (we can thoroughly recommend both the welding and wood turning courses!).
We’ve found several other centres around the UK offering similar opportunities to locals: