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Friday, May 3, 2013

Is it a good idea to do it yourself?

My family are big believers in DIY.  Our motto is … “If you want something done right, do it yourself”.

It started with my grandmother who used to wallpaper and paint.  She was so good at it, she quickly became in demand among family and friends.

My mother made most of our clothes.  Nobody could ever tell the difference between her creations and store bought items. 

When our house was built, my father dug and prepared the foundation.  Dad had done such a good job, the builder said that this wasn’t just a foundation for a house, it was a foundation fit for a fortress.

When my ex and I bought our first house, it was only natural that I tried my hand at wallpapering.  Of all, grandma claimed there was nothing to it.

That wasn’t quite right.  I struggled so much with the first strips of paper and the glue that I nearly pasted myself to the wall.  When I’d finally hung the strip, I noticed it was upside down.

Over time it indeed become easier and along the way I also learned how to paint, do flooring, install a back splash and do minor repairs around the house.

My son took an interest in DIY projects from a very early age.  If I remember correctly, he was only 6 when he handled his first paint roller. 

He gradually took on more and more tasks until eventually he wanted to try his hand installing hardwood flooring.  It would be his DIY exam.  Unfortunately he failed miserably.

Perhaps it wasn’t his fault.  Perhaps it was the poor quality of the boards and the lack of decent measuring and cutting equipment.

He had watched a couple of videos on YouTube and installing hardwood didn’t seem all that difficult.  It was a matter of laying down the boards, clicking them into place and voila, that was it.

Sadly for Dieter it didn’t go so effortlessly.  The boards didn’t click and there were gaps.  Dieter, ever the perfectionist, got very agitated, had a couple of one-way conversations with the good Lord and great Carpenter in the sky and eventually threw in the towel.

To cut a long story short, we called on our neighbor, a contractor who has done flooring (and other projects) for a good number of years.

The first thing he asked was “Where did you buy the flooring?”  When we said “Home Depot” he grunted his disapproval.  In his opinion, what we had bought was nothing less than crap and the number one reason why Dieter’s work was less than perfect.

He took us to a specialty store, guided us to the wood section and then left us to pick a color.  The first thing I noticed was the thickness of the boards.  The Home Depot boards were barely 8 mm thick, while these boards were 16 mm.  In addition, the color was better and the shine was better.  Yes, the new boards were a bit more expensive than the Home Depot boards, but this was really quality flooring.

Which brings me to another thing my family is really good at … speaking in phrases.  One of my parents favorite sayings was … “Goeie koop is dure koop”, meaning, buy it cheap and it will turn out expensive.  

Next Monday the new boards will be delivered and the works can start all over again.  Until then, our place looks like a bomb hit it, and due to lack of a proper bed I’m sleeping on the floor. 

Pictures of the project to follow …

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