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  • Writer's pictureJosh Brook

DIY Renovator Problems

Be aware when purchasing a home if it has been renovated, and if so, were the renovations done by a professional builder or was it an DIY handyman job?

DIY Home renovations

Many homeowners choose to do DIY renovations to save money and add value to the property. Unless the renovations are done by qualified tradesperson with the necessary skills it could end up a disaster.

With the current trend of DIY home renovation shows, and 'how to' videos on Youtube it is tempting to try and save money and improve a property yourself.

The truth is that builders and tradesmen did not learn their trade by watching television! It takes years of on-the-job training and study.

Things to look out for are:

  • Poor finishes

  • Poor paintwork

  • Bad tiling

  • Badly fitted cabinetry and floorboards

I know about a house sold and when the new owners moved in they discovered that the previous owner had painted around a non-fixed wall cabinet and not behind it! So the whole lounge room had to be repainted! It wasn't picked up by the building inspector because they never moved the wall unit to look behind it and it's not something you would expect to have to do!

As a building inspector, I've seen horrific DIY jobs that needed to be made aware to the potential buyer (my client) saving them thousands of dollars.


Buying a property to renovate without a building inspection

Buying a run down property to renovate can have underlying problems such as damp, rot, plumbing issues, termite damage or other major structural defects. Find out as much about a property as possible before you buy and hire a qualified building inspector to discover any hidden problems.


If you are not qualified to lift tiling, paint and knock out walls then don't do it. In the end it may end up costing you way than you budgeted for by having to bring in a professional to rectify your mistakes. Never knock down an internal wall without the advice of a builder because you could cause massive damage to the home.

Ignoring rules and regulations

If you choose to ignore local council and other regulations it will eventually catch up with you, so do not undertake any work without first checking the following:

  • Do you need planning permission?

  • Do your renovations meet building Standards?

  • Are you part of a Strata title or community land?

  • Will it infringe on your neighbours?

  • Are safety measures in place?

Not measuring up.

The series of photographs below are of how not to build a laundry/toilet combination. The washing machine was fitted in under the bench before the toilet was installed. The problem is, that when the original washing machine broke down and had to be replaced it couldn't be removed because the toilet was in the way. Eventually the bench top had to be removed and it took a number of men to lift the washing machine out and replace the new one over the toilet!

Pest Inspections Southern Sydney

The tiny toilet/laundry is so small the washing machine door can't open fully.

Building Inspections Southern Sydney

Totally impractical!

Beware the DIY home renovator

Another problem with this particular house is it was built over Council sewer mains! This property is now experiencing back flow to the toilet and if the pipes can't be flushed out it will be an extremely expensive problem to fix for the owner.

There are many pitfalls for the DIY renovator so be smart and get professional help if you are not qualified yourself.

Need advice? Call Josh on 0400 292 226 for a thorough building or pest inspection.

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