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Dion’s DIY tips

30 August 2017

Dion South

Builder, HOMEmade

On the hunt for some practical advice for your own home DIY project? We asked HOMEmade DIY specialist, Dion South, for a few tips to help ‘build’ your knowledge and make the process as stress-free as possible.

What are the five best or handiest tools for a Kiwi home DIYer?

  1. Electric multi tool – these have different cutting blade options that will cut almost anything. They are also safe and easy to use.
  2. Cordless impact drill – drives screws in with ease and won’t strip screw heads.
  3. Dog bar – best hand tool for de-nailing timber.
  4. Electric skill saw – a must for cutting all types of timber.
  5. Orbital electric sander – makes life easy when preparing surfaces for painting.


What questions should homeowners ask when trying to select a builder?

  • It’s important to find out about the builder’s reputation. I’d suggest viewing their recent jobs and talking to clients that they’ve worked with.
  • Check your builder has the relevant qualifications for the job. For example, they should be a licensed building practitioner to carry out any restricted building work.


What do people often forget to budget for when renovating?

People often forget to budget for council and engineering site inspections. But, depending on the scale and size of your project, there can be quite a few throughout the build process.

When you’re adding extra power circuits you may also find that you need to update your switchboard, especially in older homes.

What do you think makes the biggest impact for the smallest budget?

A fresh coat of paint will brighten up any room!

New door and window hardware, and some upbeat pendant lights will also give a big impact and be easy on the wallet.

What’s the best starting point for a home renovation or makeover?

I’d recommend starting by sitting down and making a plan. Design your renovation to your budget. Work out what the comforts in your home are, but also think about what the priorities are to ensure enjoyable living spaces.

What’s your favourite part of being part of HOMEmade? (apart from getting to work with Melissa!)
My favourite part of being part of HOMEmade is the satisfaction of doing things for people who really deserve it.

About the expert

Dion runs his own successful renovations company in Auckland. A builder of 21 years, Dion is known for his eye for detail and most recently has become quite the reno specialist. As the DIY specialist builder for season two of TVNZ1’s Kiwi Living, he was the perfect choice to team up with interior designer Melissa Greenough on the HOMEmade team.  

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