“I am woman hear me roar”…”anything you can do I can do better”…”can we fix it, yes we can!” I like to listen to motivational songs whilst I’m demolishing a bathroom, painting a bedroom or tiling an alfresco. I do however find myself easily distracted and at times just a little over-confident in my abilities. So whilst I like to think I’m up for any DIY challenge that comes my way, in reality mistakes can be costly and more time consuming that getting an experienced tradesman in to do the job.
Are you physically able?
Demolishing a bathroom to make way for a renovation can be a lot of fun and taking a sledge hammer to a mouldy old vanity unit can be a great way to relieve any pent up frustrations. During my first attempt at a bathroom renovation I had an absolutely smashing time (yes…terrible I know) and even more so when I got to the shower screen.
I’m an enormous 5 foot nothing, 50kg female and carrying a large sheet of old-fashioned ‘safety’ glass through a doorway and out into the skip was not a small task. I was reminded of this as I picked up shards of glass from my living room carpet over the next week.
In contrast though, shortly after I’d avoided death by a thousand cuts I attempted chipping up tiles and went straight through the suspended floor, might have been a good idea to check the flooring material before I ate all that spinach…
Does it need approval?
I used to regularly assist my partner in his landscaping endeavours and did everything from lawn moving to paving through to retaining walls. This was a wonderful experience and a good money earner but on one occasion could have landed us in some very deep water. In the ACT retaining walls are required by law to be no more than 900mm off ground height. The 1200mm retaining wall that was installed at this particular client’s home subsequently had to be demolished at our cost and then re-built to standard at our cost and we were very lucky to avoid a fine (I knew those crocodile tears would work one day). Always check the development approvals required in your state before attempting any major DIY project.
How much will it cost to clean up?
As physically short as I am, so too is my attention span. I also frequently burn cakes in the oven because I get distracted by a tv show, or phone call, or shiny things in a catalogue. Knowing this about myself requires that I plan my renovations in small stages at times when I can devote my full (albeit limited) attention to the task at hand. My friend whom recently attempted a large scale painting project however, was not so privileged.
I devoted my Saturday to assisting her as I am now regarded amongst friends as Ms DIY-er (much more flattering than some of my previous nicknames). I turned up bright and early at her place with all my gear in hand, ready to paint her bedroom for a start, foolishly thinking she would have already moved furniture and put down drop sheets, alas not. So after watching her shuffle things about for an hour, cover things over and tell me all about the book she was reading I was already on my second beer.
The paint that she had purchased was cheap and nasty, so too was the masking tape and the rollers. Although I had some good tools with me, she was eager to participate and so pressed on with her own style of painting. By the 8th beer I’d plain given up trying to educate her on how to paint and sat back to watch her swirl and blot paint all over the room. I returned the following day after the hangover subsided to observe what was the majority her ‘handy-work’ and after viewing was not willing to admit to anyone that I’d actually assisted with the project.
She had mistakenly used enamel on one wall after I had left and subsequently had to pay a professional painter two weeks later to strip the paint and repaint the entire bedroom at twice the price of getting them in to do it in the first place. Lesson learned? Probably not…