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Guide to Basic DIY

Do it Yourself (DIY) and Home Improvement Glossary

Why do we DIY?

Using this Guide

Part one: The Basics


Top ten DIY jobs for homeowners

Sequence of work

From foundations to the ground floor slab

Brickwork and blockwork (coming soon)

  • brickwork

  • brickwork and blockwork bonds

  • blockwork

  • mortar

  • scaffolding

  • efflorescence and mortar stains

Roofs, roof coverings and loft conversions (coming soon)

  • introduction

  • pitched roofs

  • roof coverings

  • roof trusses

  • insulation

  • lead flashing

  • loft conversions

Home electrics

  • introduction

  • domestic electricity supply

  • installation

  • electrical circuits checking for faults earthing

Plumbing, central heating and drainage (coming soon)

  • introduction

  • hot and cold water supplies central heating

  • drainage

Plastering, plasterboard and partition walls

  • plastering

  • plasterboard and partition walls

Part two: Projects


1. mixing concrete

2. laying bricks and blocks

3. mixing sand and cement mortar

4. matching mortar colors

5. pointing and jointing brickwork

6. replacing a damaged brick or ceramic tile


7. installing land drainage

8. building a soakaway

9. brick and block paving

10. laying edging stones

11. repointing a patio

12. concreting fence posts

13. basic timber decking

14. building a shed base


15. fixing to masonry

16. screeding a floor

17. laying floor tiles

18. laying on undercoat plaster

19. applying a plaster top coat (skimming)

20. building a partition wall

21. repairing a hole in plasterboard

22. sawing timber

23. pilot holes and countersinking

24. boxing in pipes

25. working with skirting, architraves, coving and dado rails

26. hanging a door

27. fitting a mortise latch

28. making shelves

29. building a cupboard


30. stripping cables and wires

31. wiring a plug


32. repairing a burst pipe

33. repairing a dripping tap

34. replacing a tap

35. curing an air lock in the hot water system

36. unblocking toilets and drains

37. repairing a toilet that won’t flush


38. painting or papering new plaster

39. blocking stains before decoration

40. ceramic tiling

41. wallpapering

42. stripping paint

43. painting timber

Kitchen: Planning and Design

Getting started: Carefully measure up your kitchen in centimetres making a precise scaled plan on a grid.

Measure in a clockwise direction, starting from the door, and note which direction the doors open.
Be careful to check the following:

  • Take the ceiling height at several points.

  • Ensure the kitchen is square by measuring diagonally (or compare opposing walls).

  • Carefully mark the location of existing power points, plumbing, gas supply, air vents and any permanent features such as windows, sills, radiators and boilers.

  • Always check dimensions, if in doubt measure it again.

  • Note the space required for your kitchen appliances.

  • Finally check what the walls are made of to ensure that you buy the correct fixings for your unit.

Planning your kitchen: It's important to design a kitchen that revolves around your needs. Creating a triangle between your cooker, sink and fridge will make a better working environment. This will ensure that your workspace is never cramped, allowing you to move freely between appliances.
The layout you choose will depend on the size and shape of your room - and the position of windows and doors. Plumbing and electrical points can usually be moved, so do not let these restrict your design.
Most kitchens fall into four basic designs, a single line of units, a double line (galley), and an L-shaped or U-shaped kitchen.
By combining cabinets imaginatively to these designs it is easy to totally transform your kitchen to suit your lifestyle.

Working out the detail: Using the dimensions of the cabinets you wish to purchase, sketch your chosen units to scale on a grid. Alternatively, cutting out the shape of the cabinets to scale allows you to move individual units around your kitchen plan and work out the best layout.

Hints & Tips


  • Try to position your sink by a window, so you have a view.

  • Position electrical sockets a minimum distance of 150mm above worktops.

  • Position extractors or cupboards a minimum distance of 750mm above hobs.

  • Use heat or fireproof cable on cookers or hobs.

  • Locate dishwashers and washing machines close to sink to minimise plumbing work.

  • Ensure that wall and floor units are of similar widths-so the doors line up.

  • Keep tall units at the end of the worktop runs, to maximise the working area.

  • Place your hob or free-standing cooker in position this minimises the distance needed to carry hot pans across the walkways in the kitchen.

  • Allow at least 300mm of clear space each side of the hob to allow for protruding pan handles.

  • Position extractor fans on (or close to) outside walls.

  • Allow adequate space around free-standing appliances for easy access, (refer to manufacturers fitting instructions).


  • Locate a cooker or hob beneath a window where curtains could catch fire - or where it is dangerous to reach over to the window.

  • Plan a wall unit above a hob without an extractor fan.

  • Plan a hob next to a tall unit, corner wall or at the end of a run.

  • Plan appliances in a corner.

  • Put an inset sink near worktop joints.

  • Position a sink or cooker near or next to opening doors.

  • Box in boilers or other gas appliances as these require air flow to operate properly and safely.

  • Put a cooker hob under or near electrical sockets.

  • Position cookers next to fridges or freezers.

  • Block up existing air vents if there are gas appliances in the kitchen.

Everything you need to Take Away today

Once you have decided on your units and worktops don't forget the other exciting accessories that can add those finishing touches - such as plinths, pelmets, cornices, handles, decorative legs and wirework.

Consult a plumber if in doubt about the positioning of a sink or dishwasher as it is not always possible to reposition them - you will need to take into account the positions for waste pipes and drains. It is also important to consult a Corgi registered fitter about air vents and an electrician about electrical work.

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About Us...

We're Britain's top resource for DIY (Do-it-Yourself Resources), Home Improvement, Tools, Repair, Lawn and Gardening, and much more. We've partnered with UK's top vendors -- like B&Q, Argos, Homebase and Wesfalia -- to bring you the best products and most-useful information.

Here at Construction Resource Intro, we want to help you make informed DIY decisions when it comes to home construction, improvement and repair. Whether you are repairing a leaky faucet or installing a complete plumbing system in your new home, we have durable and reliable parts for your specific application and budget. We have partnered with the UK's largest DIY resources to give you with the widest possible range of do-it-yourself products. We hand-select do-it-yourself and home improvement vendors. Although this research is time consuming, it is the only way we know to filter vendors that offer quality products that are also reasonably priced and backed by superb customer support.

Our affiliate partners firmly supports environmentally- and socially-responsible practices. In fact, we only partner with suppliers committed to environmental issues, such as energy and waste management, careful timber-sourcing policies, chemical strategy, ethical trading conditions in our supply chain, and participation in supporting community activities

Our core values:

1. Greener supply chains: To continue to build active partnerships with their suppliers to develop more sustainable supply chains for all the products they sell.

2. Product stories: To give their customers confidence that the environmental and social issues associated with the products they buy from us are properly managed.

3. Timber (Wood): To ensure that all their wood and paper products come either from proven, well-managed forests or recycled material.

4. Chemicals: To ensure that the products they sell do not adversely affect the health of their customers or staff or that of their environment.

5. Climate change: To reduce their contribution to climate change by reducing the energy they use to run their premises and transport fleet, and by promoting and selling products that are energy efficient both in their manufacture and use.

6. Packaging: To reduce the amount of packaging associated with their products and, where packaging is unavoidable, to reduce the impact of its use.

7. Product disposal: To reduce the quantity of B&Q products that are thrown away at the end of their useful lives

8. Transport: To reduce the transport impacts of their store operations and other activities.

9. Store waste: To reduce the amount of waste generated by their stores and other activities

10. Respect for the diversity of people: To treat both employees and customers with dignity and respect, and to value diversity and utilise the differences people bring to the business.

11. Ethical trading: To ensure that everyone involved in their supply chains benefits from trading with us.

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Links and Resources:

  • BBC Homes -- DIY -- Planning, Finding a tradesman, Paint calculator, Tool kit, and more.

  • BBC Homes -- Housekeeping: Money-saving shortcuts for the modern home, Green choices, and more.

  • BBC Homes -- Property: Buying, Sellign, Improving, and Moving tips.

  • DIY Doctor -- Hundreds of articles to help you with home-improvement projects.

  • DIY-Fix-it -- Articles and tips on construction trades and home improvement.

  • The DIY School -- take courses to improve your DIY skills and even make it a career.

Updated: Saturday, 2023-06-10 13:08 Pacific Standard Time

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