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.
Sales & Marketing, Dunn Lumber
While doing a minor remodel to our small kitchen we had one of those "It's funny now" episodes.
Our small condominium needed a little freshening up and we decided to re-carpet the entry and living area plus give a new look to the kitchen floor and kitchen cabinets. Carpeting and pad were replaced, looked great, and felt great underfoot. Next came the kitchen. This was one of those very small, narrow, "hall-like" kitchens off the entry. Such a small place could handle something dramatic without overwhelming the eye, so we took a risk and installed black and white floor tiles on-the-bias and accented with pink paint on the few number of cabinet doors. (Think black/white/pink argyle and you're getting the color scheme....trust me, it looked great).
Of course cabinets take a lot of wear and tear so we chose a durable, oil-based, glossy pink paint. We poured the pink paint into a roller tray, and right at the end of the painting project we set the paint roller tray the shelf of a step stool. We stepped back to admire our handiwork and the new look. Of course that would be the moment our cat decided to climb the step stool and topple the paint tray down onto the...you guessed it...brand-new carpeting! Just in case you're wondering, pink, oil-based paint doesn't come out of carpet! The cat lived, the splattered paint on the walls cleaned off just fine, and since the carpeting was new it was easy (albeit at a price) to have a section cut out and replaced without showing a seam.
Note to self: Lock the cat away when painting!
Contributor, Dunn DIY
I learned at a young age, from watching my dad fixing and building things, that something always goes wrong. If you sit down and think through all the possibilities you can avoid some of the problems, but it’s always important to remember that some things are out of your control.
A couple weeks ago we were building a picnic table for Dunn DIY. We were following a plan for a table and benches that looked great. Leif Winnem at the Bellevue store had precut our wood. It was a simple straightforward project except for three unforeseen problems.
First our drill bit didn’t fit our screw heads well. Before the table was finished there were many screws half drilled, with their heads stripped. And there was us, without any means of removing them (I am never leaving the house without a vice grip again). Second crisis: Our plans gave no instructions about how far apart the legs should be from the center of the table. We drilled where we saw fit, only to realize too late that there wasn’t enough room left for our braces. Thirdly, the person who wrote our plans apparently didn't understand the concept of nominal measurements in lumber. For those of you who aren’t in the lumber business or have never tried to measure a 2x4 let me explain.... Although we call it a 2x4 the board in question is actually 1 ½ x 3 ½. If you write plans based on a 2x4 being two inches by four inches, or a 2x6 being two inches by six inches, everything’s going to get a little off.
At the close of the day we had an awkward wobbly table with unusually large gaps between the tabletop boards with random screws sticking out underneath. Needless to say it was quite a learning experience, and we will be building a new picnic table (with new plans!) next week.