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The sweet siren song of DIY

home depot

A couple weeks ago, I went to Home Depot to pick up a small fluorescent tube for one of the under-cabinet lights in the kitchen.  I went straight to the light bulbs, grabbed what I needed and headed to the checkout.  Five minutes. In and out.

The sweet siren song of Home Depot beckoned. But I did not succumb.

I resisted the temptation to wander over to the tools. The flooring and bathroom fixtures failed to lure me. And even though I had to walk past the barbecues and patio area to get to my destination, I didn’t pause to browse.

I got what I needed and I got the heck out of there.

Home Depot could not get her claws into me.  Or did she?

I miss DIY

Since our major renovation in 2009, we have been in a holding pattern.  The addition and garage are going to cost us 6 figures. We have been sitting on our hands while watching our savings accumulate slowly.

I have done nothing– nothing— in the last six years.

It helps that I am comfortable with my own laziness. I am quite content to do nothing.

There are times that I look at the amount of work that this house needs and I reminisce about my brief stint as an apartment dweller. I miss the boredom of having nothing to do.

True story:  I was so looking forward to having my own lawn to cut that the first thing I bought for my first house was a lawnmower.  For about a month before moving day, that lawnmower, still in the box, sat in the dining room of my third floor apartment.  Moral of that true story:  be careful what you wish for.  But I digress…

Inspiration from other DIYers

I recently launched my podcast and I have recorded, so far, four interviews with other bloggers and Do-It-Yourselfers.  As I was talking to them, trying to trade home improvement stories, I began to realize just how little I have done in the last half-decade, and how much I miss working on the house.  Talking to other motivated DIYers has given me the kick in the pants that I need to get back in the game, so to speak.

The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone

But there’s a problem. The work crying out for a weekend warrior with a hammer and drill is all interconnected.

For example, I want to build an archway and finish the stairs to the second floor.

arched doorways
Quick sketch of my idea fr the front hallway.

Is that something I could do myself?   Yes. But to do this, I would be messing around with some of the floor tile.  

And the floor tile has some of its own issues.  The grout is cracking and has been coming out in chunks for several years.  That might be because the contractors did not install the tile over a decoupling membrane (like Ditra). Instead, they opted for cement board. I wanted them to use both but that’s a whole other story.  It sucks being being right when being right is going to cost me more money. 

Or perhaps, more simply, the contractors did not mix the grout properly.    At minimum, I will need to re-grout.  Worst case scenario, if the new grout doesn’t hold up, we’ll have to remove the floor and start over.

crumbling grout
Crumbling grout

But it won’t stop in the hallway. The bathroom is directly off the hallway and has the same floor with the same issues. Are we going to have to disassemble the bathroom as well?

It’ll be easier to wait

There will be tilers installing tile in the entry of the addition, so they could fix the tile in the hallway. There will also be framers and drywallers here. It makes sense that they could frame out the stairs and archway at the same time.

And every other project I can conceive has similar issues.  Everything snowballs to the point that it would be better (or at least less overwhelming) to defer to the pros.  Or else it might be something that simply cannot be done until the new addition is built.

It’s time for a “feel-good” project

The hardwood floor in our living room is a disaster.  I was going to wait for the addition, and have the contractors replace it as a “while you are at it” add-on. But there are advantages to doing it now.

If we need an on-site appraisal of our house in order to get a Home Equity Line of Credit, the appraiser may balk at a room with excessively squeaky hardwood floors in desperate need of refinishing. 

A simple weekend project, right?  Just remove the old floor, add some screw to the subfloor to eliminate squeaks and install the new floor and trim.

living room
The living room floor has seen its better days (and is being rather vocal about it)

I might even go as far as sistering the floor joists in the basement to stiffen everything up.  It will add more expense to the project and it might be overkill, but it is something I can do myself.

We may have to delay the addition project until next year thanks to the required septic upgrade. There is no way I am going to sit on my hands for that long.

It’s time to make some sawdust.



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