JAsk a pro: If you don’t know how to fix something yourself, you’d probably be better off giving them a call. first. Most of the time.
That’s the advice of 20-year-old plumber Tom Sanderson, who ran his business South Hill Plumbing for 12 of those years until he recently decided to change careers due to the physical tolls of the trade.
“People who try to fix their house themselves screw it up, and that’s probably why you call someone like me,” Sanderson says. “I think people get sucked into the Lowe’s/Home Depot ‘we can do it’ mentality, where really there’s so much skill behind simplistic things.”
Both experienced do-it-yourselfers and self-taught do-it-yourselfers may scoff at these claims, but Sanderson says, more specifically, that it’s not a good idea to mess with your home’s plumbing unless you’re completely confident in what you’re doing. done.
Depending on that confidence and a person’s skills, this may include a seemingly low-risk task like changing faucets. On the other hand, you may be savvy enough to lay ceramic tile or install a new toilet or sink.
While it might make a guy like Sanderson cringe, the last three are all projects that myself or family members have undertaken with great success. More so, these efforts were actually made to replace pass residents’ misfires, and I’m happy to report that the walls haven’t crumbled (yet).
Jthe problem started when i noticed loose caulking around the bottom edge of the shower insert in our home to a late 1940’s bathroom. However, after cleaning it to put on a new strip of silicone sealant, my partner and I noticed pieces of crumbly and damp drywall falling behind the shower insert. Oh oh.
After a week of baths to keep the area dry and prevent it from getting worse, we started the demo the following weekend, to uncover even more problems hidden in the walls. The water damage was bad enough to start rotting a 2 by 4 board in the exterior wall behind the cast iron tub. What we originally (and ridiculously) hoped would be a weekend project turned into a full month of non-stop repairs over the weekend and after work every night to completely tile around the tub, an upgrade upgrade we chose instead of a cheap looking fiberglass shower insert. And yes, living in a house with only one bathroom meant daily trips to a nearby family member to bathe all that time. It’s also the reason why I’m not ready to try to redo the bathroom floors (yet).
While I don’t advise anyone to properly install (and seal) cement board and then lay and grout subway tile, I was able to research and learn by doing. And sure, a pro could probably point out two dozen things I did wrong or did wrong, but the finished product is way better than tons of tiling I’ve seen elsewhere since.
Last year I undertook my second tiling job, installing a stylish kitchen backsplash for my mom as a Mother’s Day gift. Even with this job well done, I don’t plan on becoming a journeyman tile setter anytime soon.
At the same time, there are dozens of housekeeping jobs that I would do never try it on my own, including (after doing the detached garage solo) painting the exterior of a house, although it’s probably a lot less hassle than laying tiles. I will also not touch the plumbing or electricity, or even the installation of an access door to the outside.
Sanderson, the plumber, refers to the old adage “cheap labor is not good, and good labor is not cheap”, but when it comes to your own work – at least in my experience – it doesn’t always follow.
However, I think it’s worth considering this wisdom from Sanderson, who has spent two decades correcting many well-meaning homeowner mistakes: “If you’re going to spend money, spend it on [fixing] things that can make a mess.” ♦
We asked Interior readers on social media to share their recent home improvements
Al Gilson: Construction of a new terrace by the swimming pool. Re-landscaped backyard with 2 cubic yards of river rock where the old larger pool deck was.
Judith Van Dongen: I painted my home office, giving the walls a subtle light green rather than beige. I had to work from my dining room table until the project was complete, which made me empathize with people who don’t have a good workspace at home and had to use their dining table or sofa for a long time while working. of the House.
Janean Jorgensen: Our family gutted the living/dining room, rebuilt the porch, added a bay window, and built cabinetry around the restored fireplace. Then my husband finally quit his day job and became a full-time home improvement contractor.
Kerrie Fernlund: Ripped hardwood floors from the 1940s, repurposed into a bookshelf. We took out a bedroom to open our living room.
Charity Luthy: Construction of a recording studio from a garden shed.
Kasey Knox Wilberding: Paint our kitchen cabinets!
Jessica Hopf: I built a new bookcase for my son.
Eric Reis: I put new insulation in my crawl space. It sucked. But it seems to have made a big difference in reducing my heating bill.
Alison Koch: Painting of kitchen cabinets, painting of main bathroom and cabinets, new carpet, addition on the patio, addition of a pergola and a hot tub. Many DIY projects, including new light fixtures, doorknobs, and hinges, are always looking to bring the 80s out of our home. Putting our gas and travel funds into home updates. ♦