You've seen the DIY shows. They seem to pull off home improvement miracles in the span of a weekend. Entire kitchen remodels, backyard barbecues, and man cave makeovers do not happen overnight without an army of professionals and expert video editing skills, but it's hard not to adjust our expectations even when we're aware of the glitz, glamour, and scripting of "reality" television.
We've been at this DIY thing for a while now, and although you see the finished product, there are often (no, always...) mishaps that happen behind the scenes. Every DIYer, from the first-timer to the seasoned expert, has their successes and their failures. We asked some of our Dunn DIY contributors to tell us about their biggest fails and how they were able to turn those fails into wins.
Quick Check Cashier, Dunn Lumber
Once upon a time, before written history, or at least before there were standard building codes on the books in the State of Washington, my condominium was built. Those were the days when, if someone erected a structure, and if they then sneezed at it and it didn't fall down, it was code.
In 1999, I decided to give my unit a face lift. I replaced all the aluminum single-pane windows with the double-pane vinyl variety, replaced all of my flooring, baseboards, and casing, kitchen sink, dishwasher, and stove. My brother and I did most of the work ourselves. I painted. He, having experience in new construction, put in the windows, set in the kitchen sink, prepped the floors for new carpet and vinyl, and installed the baseboard. It was while he was putting in the baseboard that the lack of building standards in the seventies came home to roost.
It was in the evening, and I was picking up some hours working as a hostess at a popular local eatery. The phone rang and on the other end of the line was my brother in a panic—he couldn't find the water shut off. He punctured the water supply line to my kitchen sink while putting in the baseboards on the living room side. As it turned out, the plumber he liked to work with happened to be eating dinner at the restaurant where I was working. I told him what had happened, bought his dinner for him, and dropping to my knees enjoined him, urgently, to take his meal to-go and to depart at once for my house. God bless him he did. Because of the sloppy original construction, the water supply line was situated flush against the drywall with no strike plate behind it. Today, that would never pass inspection.
The upshot of this is: Don't go driving nails into walls until you've located the pipes behind them. What a rookie mistake!
Assistant Manager, Dunn Lumber Kirkland
Last summer my little sister decided she wanted to have her wedding in my parents backyard. With about three months notice my folks were in a scramble to get the place in to tip top shape for all the relatives and friends from both sides to see. On a nice summer day I decided to help by replacing a few posts on the deck that were checking and cracking. After getting some professional tips from my contractor brother-in-law, I went to Dunn Lumber to pick up the lumber and hardware.
One tip was to use Gorilla Glue when connecting the cross braces from the post to the beam. With all my supplies and new found knowledge, I went to work with the confidence of someone who has been building for years. When I got to the point where the Gorilla Glue was recommended I went to town. I was like a kindergartner using Elmer's glue for the first time.
Spoiler Alert! Gorilla Glue expands.
After I finished up I went to grab a bite to eat after a good day of work. I went back after eating to admire my work and enjoy the feeling that comes with accomplishing a project. What I found looked like something out of a 80's sci-fy/horror movie. The Gorilla Glue turned into a foam, expanded through the seams, and dried in a glistening glob of yellowish mess. Lesson learned that day: always read the instructions!
Sales, Dunn Lumber
When my parents and I first moved to the area from Oak Harbor, we built our own house. I was eight years old at the time, but I helped! There were several problems, but the worst was the problem with the plumbing. We had just spent the whole day prior installing all the copper pipes and got them all hooked up and working. Just so happens that the next day we had a big freeze and all the pipes burst. We had to spend the whole next day cutting out the damaged sections and sweating new pipe in the crawl-space. Needless to say, it was very wet, very cold, and very frustrating.
Good news is: I got a lot of practice sweating copper!