Europress – DIY Home Improvements review

mind your thumb
Photo of Europress – DIY Home Improvements
£20

Television programmes on interior design seem to be all the rage at the moment. Wednesday evenings are blessed with no fewer than three of the things, all claiming to be able to transform your squalid Bermondsey bedsit into a thing of paradise and wonder.

“Yes! It’s a new series of Home Destruction, the TV program that totally messes up your house. Gasp as an inept interior designer paints your lovely wooden floor with grey emulsion, making your house look like a factory. Thrill as some cretin paints a beautiful pine table in stupid fluorescent colours. Scream as a gang of idiots redesigns your kitchen so that it looks like an explosion in an hallucinogen factory. Next week, Jackson Pollock does make-up, and we show how the orange plastic sofa is back in fashion.”

Behind all the fanciness, however, there’s always a bloke with a drill, sucking through his teeth and muttering ‘two by four’ at every opportunity. If you fancy getting to grips with your own home in such a fundamental way, you may want to invest in a package such as this one. The cheesy introduction does not bode well for the contents of the program itself, but fortunately things get better from then on. Fundamentally, DIY Home Improvements is a database of information on a wide range of tasks that can be carried out around the home. It could just as easily have been written in HTML, but it’s the content that matters.

There are one hundred different tasks covered by DIY Home Improvements, ranging from building a barbecue to re-tiling your bathroom. Plumbing, electrical work, decorating and garden construction tasks are all covered. The guides are all well-written, too, including information on creating solid foundations and accurately splitting bricks and tiles. Each task begins with an overview and is then broken down into the ten or so separate jobs involved. This step-by-step guide is augmented by video footage of real men with power-tools. Other features include a materials calculator, a guide to choosing your tools, links to other programs in the range – Interior Designer and Garden Designer – if you have them and a full glossary with cross-references. About to install some new wall sockets? Check the section on electrical safety first…

Company: Europress

Contact: 01625 855000


Verdict
DIY Home Improvements is short on fancy presentation but long on fact. There's nothing here that can't be found in a printed manual - apart from the occasional 'how to' video, of course - but what is included is well-presented, easily accessible and clearly cross-referenced. Whether you'll have time to refer to it when you inadvertently drill through the water main is another matter, however, as is how you read the section on wiring once you've switched the power off at the mains.