Home Improvement Fails
Tales of DIY woe from our readers
In our February and March issues, we asked readers to share photos and stories about do-it-yourself (DIY) projects around the house that didn’t quite go as planned. Happens to the best of us. These are a few of our favorites from those of you who can now look back and laugh.
Never step on the drywall! I was installing attic insulation when I suddenly fell through the ceiling. Luckily, I held the joist and was safe. The hole was fixed by a professional, and I learned from him that one can only walk on the joists — never try the drywall!
Batteries Not Included
We were excited to receive a Ring Wi-Fi security doorbell after watching TV ads of its success in keeping away package thieves. While visiting, our son prepared the online tech settings needed and said all we had to do was replace our old doorbell with the new one. Sounded easy!
We live in a two-story home and the semi-labeled breaker box is upstairs. My husband went upstairs to the breaker and told me to keep ringing our old doorbell while he flipped the breaker switches to see which one turned off the electricity to the doorbell. There are 28 different switches which he proceeded to turn off and on while I was continuing to ring the doorbell.
After turning off all 28 switches, I was still “loudly” ringing our doorbell. So he started over and did it all again in case he had missed one. Again we still had ringing bells. Every clock in the house, appliances and computer screens were all blinking due to the disruption! Eventually I realized the chime box was in the downstairs hall and maybe that would give us a clue or turn-off switch.
Turns out our old hard-wired doorbell was operating off batteries!
Instant Kitchen Renovation
While replacing our over-the-stove microwave, I let go of the microwave to rearrange something and it fell forward, hitting my head and smashing our glass top cooktop. Apparently the holding pin was not installed properly with the old one. So not only did we have a new microwave, but had to purchase a new glass cooktop.
Over dinner drinks that evening, we laughed at the experience. New micro, new cooktop — and a scratched, sore head.
Jack Stawicki, West Jefferson, A member of Blue Ridge Energy
How to Paint a Floor
I love doing DIY projects. I decided to paint my bathroom cabinets in a crackle finish, using a technique I saw on TV using Elmer’s glue. My first mistake? I did not take the doors off. To save time, I left them on and started painting.
I painted my base coat, let it dry, and applied a coat of Elmer’s glue on top. While the glue is still wet you paint your second color on top of the wet glue. When it dries the glue will make the top layer of paint crack open, giving you that crackle finish.
Well it sounded easy enough, except for when I added the second coat of paint onto the wet glue, after about four minutes I thought it was cracking … but the paint was actually sliding off. It seriously all fell off the cabinets onto the floor, which ruined my bathroom floor.
This was a major disaster.
Tips on how to get it right the first time