DIY Forums

We’ve all spent frustrating hours browsing the web, looking for the exact answer to a question that seems essential to your DIY project, but no one in the world seems to think the same, and you eventually give up, postpone the project, and bemoan the fact that you’ve wasted 3 hours of your life. Well, it really doesn’t have to be that way, as all you need do is visit one of the net’s DIY forums, where there are professional tradesmen, serial DIYers, and many other like minded individuals queuing up to answer your questions.

In order to save you a bit of time, what I would say is that you need to visit a busy forum as with the less well populated ones, you could ask a question today which doesn’t get answered for 3 months, so in compiling my list of recommendations, I’ve narrowed the options down to 3 that are well worth a visit.

With all three, you turn up on the site, register in seconds, and can be asking your question within minutes, and sometimes receive an answer within minutes – it is that simple. You do have to be aware of the rules though, so I would always recommend spending a little time on the site checking guidelines, and understanding the system prior to posting a question or comment. Also, you need to familairise yourself with the various sub-forum categories, so that if you need advice about plumbing, you don’t post the question in the plastering forum. Some people use their real names, but most don’t, and so for individuals who may be slightly nervous about asking what they perceive to be a ‘stupid question’, you can go ahead with no fear of anyone ever knowing your true identity.

Moderators and spammers.

In the vast majority of cases, questions are asked, answers are provided, everyone is happy. If things do get abusive, or any banter gets a bit ‘top shelf”, the forum police or moderators turn up, warn any troublemakers, and things calm down. Persistent offenders just get banned. The other area the moderators operate in is detecting firms that just turn up and spam the forum, recommending their products with links to their own sites. As a forum member, you can even alert the moderators to what you may think is a spamming site.

Drawbacks

The only real drawbacks are the fact that you have no real way of telling if advice is provided by someone with the relevant experience. Having said that, you don’t have to be a mastermind to identify someone who is clearly clueless by having a quick look at the calibre of a selection of their comments. Also, the very nature of many DIY jobs is that the end result can be achieved in different ways, so it can sometimes be difficult to decide whose advice to take when there is more than one plausible route to take. All-in-all though, it’s quick, free advice, which is a pretty good return in my view.

Favourites

For me, Diydoctor suffers from having too many sub-forums, and its not as well populated as the other two. Diynot can sometimes feel a bit too opinionated to me, in that a lot of the members do subscribe to one way of doing things, and all other opinions are ‘wrong’. Now that is by no means across the board, and in many ways is good news as there are certainly guys on their Tiling and Flooring forums, for example, who are excellent professionals, give top notch and well considered advice, but just sometimes I feel they are a little dismissive of what I’d consider to be valid alternative options.

So, the stand out winner for me is Ultimate Handyman or UHM, for many different reasons. Okay, I do have a slight bias here, as I do occasionally post on the forum, but the fact that the site allows me to sign my posts with a link back to this site is one reason it stands head and shoulders above the rest. There are also hundreds of other businesses who sign with their website link, so you can take a look at who you are listening to, and even if you don’t agree with what they say, you’ve got a bit more information to make your decision. Now, you do need to have contributed a hundred or so posts to the site before the admin allow you to link back, but that in itself encourages good firms to spend time on the site, rather than ones who just want to turn up, leave a link, and disappear. It also gives something back to the firms providing the advice. Aside from what I see as this good business incentive, there are clearly hundreds, if not thousands of tradesmen and women who contribute signature free, and just enjoy talking about the job they love, with like minded people. There is one guy on there who has posted 35000 times (not a typo – thirty five thousand!), advising on all manner of plumbing and building related subjects!

A few other extras worth mentioning are that the UHM interface is the most attractive, the sub-forums are well defined and well populated, and it seems to have the most pros and tradesmen compared to the others. Also, members have their own little avatars (pictures or animations that they can add to their profile) which I personally find highly amusing, and along with the huge amount of DIY subject matter available, there is also a ‘lounge’ and ‘jokes’ sub-forum, so everything is basically aimed at creating a DIY community. On the avatar subject, some are just brilliant and entertainment in themselves – if you do visit – find the poster (in the Painting and Decorating Forum) with the elephant on the trampoline, and I guarantee you will spend at least five minutes watching it bounce up and down (why?, I don’t know, but trust me you will).

So for me, UHM is the standout, best DIY forum on the net. Click on the banner below to visit the site, and get involved in a bit of DIY banter!
DIY Forum ultimate handyman

Leave a Reply