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DIY Disaster Stories

Will Stein

As a child, Will Stein was moved to a new home and enrolled in a new school every year, as his parents looked to escape debt and inch their way to pro...

As a child, Will Stein was moved to a new home and enrolled in a new school every year, as his parents looked to escape debt and inch their way to pro...

Feb 8 5 minutes read

When you don’t read instructions, things can go horribly wrong horribly fast.

One day while Steph was installing the expensive ceiling fan his wife had chosen, he saw a tag with printing on it. Because he was a seasoned DIYer he was eager to start. He figured he read the seemingly unimportant tag afterwards. When he finished, he proudly called his wife in to admire it. As he flicked it on, the fan unscrewed itself from the threaded support pipe and came whirling to the floor. It was a wreck, there were scratches on the floor, and you can probably guess what his wife had to say. When he read the tag, it said, ‘After screwing in the pipe, use the locking screw provided to lock the pipe onto the main support.’


Watch your step, you might just fall through the ceiling! 

John and his wife stripped back their bathroom for remodeling and tore up the sub-floor so they could shim and level the joists. His plumber friend helped with the plumbing, tacking plywood strips on the joists to set the height of the toilet flange. The next day, he went into the bathroom to get to work and stood on a plywood strip. It broke, causing him to fall between the joists into the living room. The entire suspended ceiling collapsed and miraculously he landed on the couch. While he sat there counting his blessings that he didn’t have any remarkable injuries, John’s wife came in to discover him covered in debris and still clutching his hammer.


Always have a partner with you not just for support but for safety reasons. 

In the garage of their first home, Andy and his wife had a swing-up door. One day, he decided to replace the springs, so he opened the door and propped it up with a piece of scrap timber. The old springs were stretched out and not hard to remove. But he couldn’t stretch the new ones enough with the door open and had to grab the timber to let it down. Uh-oh! The door was so heavy it crashed down and sent him sliding on his posterior across the floor. Luckily, he only had bruises on his backside and scraped elbows.


Secure the ladder, always secure the ladder. 

A few times a year, Dan and his wife Kelly climb onto their roof to blow off the leaves that have accumulated, as well as clean the skylights. Dan puts up the ladder and goes first, blowing off debris while Kelly rakes and cleans below. She then joins him with a hose and cleaning supplies, and together they work as a team. The last time up however, the hose got tangled with the ladder and sent it tumbling to the ground. The skylights were sealed, and they had no phones on them and the neighbours weren’t about. Then he had the idea to try and lasso the ladder. After several goes, he was able to hook a ladder rung with the sprayer handle and pull up the ladder. Thank goodness!


Multi-tasking isn’t always the solution to everything. 

The garage roof trim had come loose, so Alex hooked up his nail gun to an air compressor, got on a ladder and nailed the piece back up. While he was at it, Alex decided to fill the joint as well. He put a new caulk tube in his fancy air-driven caulking gun, got on the ladder and placed the nozzle in the corner of the gable. As luck would have it, when Alex pulled the trigger the tube exploded, covering himself, the garage, the shrubs, and his nice car with caulk. It turns out Alex hadn’t adjusted the air pressure setting when he changed from his nail gun to the caulking gun. As I am sure you can imagine caulk is hard to get out of your hair.


In conclusion: While we have good intentions to fix or create new things ourselves for the sake of saving a little money, things don’t always go the way we plan them. How do you know when to do it yourself and when to call a professional? It is your duty as a self proclaimed DIYer to know the difference between saving a little money and spending far more than you intended to.

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