A Lighthearted Look At DIY Disasters

by Rachel Laurendeau on November 6, 2013

repair plumbing DanvilleI was recently looking through a blog showing all sorts of Pinterest fails. You know, the ones where you try to make your own dishwasher soap and it ends up overflowing all over your brand new floors, or the one where you’re trying to take adorable photos of your kids but they don’t cooperate and the baby spits up all over the toddler’s hair. Or my personal favorite, the one where you try to recreate this incredibly beautiful multi-layer cake that is supposed to be simple and “never fail” only to find it takes 7 hours and was a definite fail.

And so, of course, I started thinking about home improvement fails. Those DIY projects that really should have been left up to the pros but that we were too stubborn (or cheap) to let anyone else do. Here are three of my favorite examples, good for a laugh but hopefully you’ll learn from our mistakes.

1. A relative of mine needed to have the stucco on his home redone. In order to save a few bucks, he decided he would remove the stucco and wire himself and hire someone to apply the new stucco. Doesn’t sound like a bad idea, until: he borrowed scaffolding from a buddy, set it up by himself on unstable ground and proceeded to start pulling away on the stucco. Next thing he knew he was face down on the ground with a cracked rib, needing to head to the ER. Did I mention he had never used scaffolding before and is afraid of heights?

2. One of my clients was having a new home custom built. Half way through the process, they decided they wanted the laundry room on the second floor instead of in the basement. But, not wanting to pay the change order fees to change the plumbing, and thinking himself quite the handyman/plumber, the client decided to wait and do the extra plumbing himself. Within a week of moving into the house, his not-so-handy work ended up causing major water damage on both the first and second floors of the house.

3. When we were building our place, my husband had put up extra bracings in the walls for hanging heavy pieces of artwork as well as the swivel bracket to hang the flat screen TV. The problem? We didn’t correctly map out where the bracings were before the drywall went up, then had to guesstimate as to their positions only to have the very heavy TV and bracket come out of the wall on the very first day. To this day, the TV is sitting on a stand instead of hanging from the wall.

What do all of these DIY disaster stories have in common? Basically, the homeowners thinking they had more skill than they really did. The lesson to be learned: when home improvement projects are out of your field of knowledge or experience, contact an expert who can help you.

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