Did It Myself—Almost
OVER THE PAST decade, my wife and I have hired others to handle most home improvement projects. It all came down to a lack of time: We had two young children and demanding jobs in the corporate world. But thanks to my recent switch to teaching, I have more free time, so I decided to tackle a few projects this summer. Here are three things I learned:
- Painting is possible. For more than a year, my daughter has been asking to update her room’s color to something other than the “moonlight yellow” she’s had since birth. We didn’t know much about painting, so we took to the internet and found an instructive 10-minute video. After three days of prepping and painting, my daughter’s “filmy green” room looks good. I estimate we saved $300 by doing it ourselves.
- Check for unused supplies. Before heading to the home improvement store, I checked with three neighbors to see if they had painting materials we could use. All three had unused supplies, so we got a running start with ample brushes, rollers and drop cloths. That saved us at least $50.
- Doors are tough. While painting was doable, replacing an exterior door proved difficult. I made an error in placing the original door order. The measurements were only off by a quarter of an inch. Still, I needed to call a handyman to rework the door width. On top of that, while online videos make hanging a door look easy, the weight was such that I couldn’t do it on my own. Result? The handyman ended up hanging the door after he made the width adjustment. While the combined cost of the door and the handyman was reasonable, it would have been more efficient to have him handle it from the start.