Humans pride themselves on their ability to tackle any task DIY style. While many are well skilled to take on the task of decorating or building their own home, others seem to have less luck with the hands on approach. It seems that while some tasks are performed with grace and skill, others rely on sheer good luck and a sense of humour to get them through.
Resene has gathered together some funny DIY stories from decorators for you to enjoy.
If you have a funny decorating story of your own to share we'd love to hear from you - submit your funny DIY story.
Thank you to all the adventurous DIYers who have sent tales of their exploits to us.
Painting the lounge, gnome-style?
With all the furniture piled up in the middle of the lounge, all the preparation done; light switches taped and redundant curtain rods removed, holes stopped and filled…
I was painting my way round the walls, moving my drop cloth as I went. Almost tripping over a very long curtain rod (the kind with a drawstring), I picked it up to move it. With that, the weight at the end of the drawstring became airborne, then dropped, unseen, behind the heap of couches and pillows, with an ominous 'plop'. Yes, right into the open can of turquoise paint! In shock reaction, and with all the skill of a fly-fishing garden gnome, I pulled back, only to watch the dripping, swinging weight do what dripping, swinging weights do!
Now I know why those garden gnomes never move! From: Ceri
We were repainting one of our teenage daughter’s rooms. You know, one different bright colour per wall and white on ceiling. Anyway, she wanted the carpet removed to have polished tongue and groove floor but I couldn’t be bothered so said “NO!”
We had her desk, chair and bed in the middle of the room and I had the tins of paint out of the way, yeah, on top of the desk.
I decided to pull the desk one side to get more working room and you guessed it, the side panel collapsed! 2 tins (4L and new) of bright paint fell (actually 4 tins fell but 2 remained intact) and opened up onto the carpet!!
Guess who didn’t want to clean the carpet and guess what flooring our daughter got to go with her multi-coloured room?! From: Winsome
It’s a wrap
We were prepping our toilet, bathroom, and long hallway for painting, so I took hours to painstakingly put painter’s tape along the skirting, then took a few more hours taping two layers of industrial protective ‘floor plastic wrap’ onto the newly polished wooden floors. For some reason I didn't realise there was a slightly tacky side (to face downwards) and a non-tacky side. When my partner got home, he walked straight down the hall to the toilet, with his bare feet sticking to the plastic wrap the whole way and tearing it all up off the floor. He was laughing as he walked into the lounge with a 2 metre long piece hanging off the back of his foot like a piece of loo paper. I had to lay fresh sheets all over again the following day! From: Roz
My DIY story is about my husband as I am sure he has nine lives. He is a real trier and eventually succeeds in most DIY ventures he attempts. Unfortunately a lot goes wrong before he reaches perfection. The worst is when he is wiring the house. Yes that's right, rewiring our house! Don't get me wrong, the job he does is excellent as long as I or someone else is there to switch the main off. Most people make this mistake maybe once in a lifetime, my hubby has made this mistake 4 TIMES and lived to tell the story.
Once he wanted to put our automatic door opener on the other shed door, so he went out there and cut the plug off. He was flung off the ladder and on to the concrete because "HE FORGOT TO TURN OFF THE POWER". Another time he was putting a plug in the hallway from a plug in the lounge. The wire was old and had frayed. He was thrown to the other end of the lounge and into our ranch-slider. On two other occasions while wiring the house and shed he has been thrown through the air.
My hubby needs to attempt some safer DIY projects. I want to do up our son's bedroom - what trouble can he possibly get up to painting? Worried But Loving Wife. From: Kirstin
My parents were overseas and I decided to paint the eaves and soffits of their house. The easel type ladder was used to get under the job and the oil based paint brushed on the edges prior to rolling the broad areas. I was using a 1 litre can of paint in one hand and paint brush in the other. One leg of the ladder suddenly pressed into the soft flower garden soil and I fell onto the soft garden and lawn. The can of oil based paint had an even softer landing on the side of my face. Paint poured over the side of my head, into my ear, into my hair, over my now closed eyes and mouth. I didn't want to open the closed orifices so headed off to the workshop like a blind man. I found rags and began the hour long clean up. Inevitably some paint and turps found its way into my eyes which stung. That was about 30 years ago and I'm still painting houses! From: Ian
It all happened about 5 months ago. We own a beach house over at Kawhia and needed to have the trees cut near the road just in case they fell and caused damage. Instead of hiring a professional to do the job my husband decided to take the job on along with a German friend of his. They went there for the weekend to do the job but before they even attempted to trim/cut the trees they thought that they deserved a little drink of beer.
While intoxicated, the German climbed the ladder to cut some branches while my husband waited on the ground to navigate and stop branches landing on the road (the main road into Kawhia in fact!) They were on a roll until both made a mistake. They cut a branch and let it land on a powerline. The line snapped and was flashing around throwing sparks everywhere. My husband was in shock and could almost see his life flash before his eyes and the German was swearing in his native language.
Because these powerlines were the ones that ran into the Kawhia township it cut off the power into Kawhia for four hours until they were repaired. We were forced to pay the $800 fee for the call out and equipment. It was a costly lesson that it is sometimes best to call in the professionals rather than a Do It Yourself. From: Lynn
One day I was converting the outside porch at the front door to a study. The front door was built on the wrong side of the house. I had to add concrete to level up the slab. I had nearly finished when I ran out of materials. I still had half a barrow load to go. In the distance I could hear the neighbour mixing concrete so I rang him. No problem I will mix half a barrow and put it on the ute and you can drive it back he said. I drove carefully back, no problem.
His dog heard the ute go without him and, not wanting to miss anything, took a direct line to our place, through the swamp. As I arrived he was standing in the wet concrete. Needless to say he got a strong piece of abuse. The dog panicked and ran through the front door down to the far bedroom and I found him standing with muddy and concrete covered feet on my daughter's bed. He was cornered but no way was he going to surrender. I had to drive back and get his owner to retrieve him. Needless to say the clean up had become a major task and the concrete was going off rapidly. An hour or two later we all had a good laugh. From: Roger
Steady as she goes
I was decorating the dining room and my husband kept finding jobs to do out on the farm to avoid helping. Finally I asked him to go up the ladder to strip the highest part of the wallpaper. He moved the ladder and I told him it wasn't secure. "She'll be right" he said, climbing up. Next minute, the ladder started to slip, my hubby fell and the ladder smashed into the back of our wall unit. All the cupboards opened, wine glasses smashed and the phone jack was ripped out of the wall. The moral of this story is when doing it yourself DO IT YOURSELF... don't ask for help!!!! From: The Bolgers
My Dad wanted to surprise my Mum by painting the bedroom a nice colour that she liked. He went to the shop and brought a colour that he thought she would like, then went home and painted the bedroom. When Mum came home, Dad showed her his work. She laughed and laughed. Dad asked her what was wrong. She asked what colour did he think it was. He said "peach". "Nope" she said, "it's bright orange". He forgot he was colour blind! Mum had to go with him the next time to buy another colour. From: Amanda
A friend of mine and I were building a deck on the front and side of the house and also putting a big ranch-slider on the side of the house where there had been no door before. We cut a massive hole in the side of the house for the ranch-slider and then told my wife that we had had enough of the job. We promptly left and went and had lunch at the pub, leaving my wife with a very large hole in the side of the house and a worried look on her face. Needless to say we came back a little later and fitted the new ranch-slider. From: Bryce
Asleep on the job
The funniest thing that happened to my Dad was when he was trying to fix chairs for our deck. He had just finished putting them together and decided to try them out. He was sitting on one, and everything seemed to be going great until he fell asleep on it. He was rudely awoken by a crack and a snap, and ended up sitting on the floor. Let's just say that that was the last time my Dad ever fell asleep on the job. From: Krissie
Thirty years ago we had just bought our first house in London and started redecorating. We chose the regency stripe, cut, pasted, climbed ladders and tried sticking the wallpaper to the wall. We tried everything, but as we let go, it slid down. As a last resort, we pinned it, using drawing pins for every drop. Two weeks later, we ripped the whole lot off and painted the walls... we have never wallpapered again! From: Janet
The toilet roll holder had fallen off the wall and left a hole. My sister brought a can of Space Invader and told her husband to squirt a little bit in the hole so that when it went hard they could put the toilet roll holder back up. Think that's easy? It should be. Her husband squirted the whole can in. The whole wall bulged in the toilet and in the bedroom on the other side. My sister now does any handyman tasks in the house! From: Cara
My friend was lowering the ceiling in his lounge by putting up new Michaelangelo tiles. Not liking the idea of painting them afterwards he decided to paint them first. He painted them all, stacked them up and went to bed. Of course they all stuck together! The next day they were inseparable so off he went to buy some more. After eventually getting them up onto the roof and painting them, he found that his hammer was missing! You guessed it, he'd left it on a beam inside the new ceiling. Not wanting to redo it again, he mumbled something about needing a new one anyway and went and bought one! So much for DIY, it would have been cheaper to pay an expert! From: Kathy
I was flatting with a girlfriend in Mt Albert who came to meet me after work and we walked home. As we walked she was a great talker and told me all about her day, as I too shared the various happenings in my day. The walk took about an hour and as soon as I arrived home a trip to the toilet was in order. Sitting down on the toilet, I noticed it was very wet - she had failed to tell me in all the stories on the way home that she had painted the toilet seat that day!!!! From: Coralie
We brought our first home with some friends with the plan to do it up and sell it. The only piece of DIY knowledge that I possessed was that I knew which end of the hammer to hold and so I looked to my friend Nick for directions. Nick at the time was a roof layer and would collect all sorts of materials from building sites whether he needed them or not. His motto was 'I'm pretty sure that I could use this'. One month after moving in he brought home a window that he said was a skylight and suggested we install it in the bathroom. Of course Nick had all the gear so we lifted the roof, installed the window, waterproofed it and admired the natural light streaming into the bathroom. Two months later the window cracked. Then it began to leak constantly. In an attempt to stop the leaks he put down more silicon. There was some improvement -it only leaked when it rained heavily and the wind blew in a certain direction. They moved on after three years and we stayed on for another seven. My wife calls it 'the little water feature that Nick left us' and he is constantly reminded each year when our families holiday together. From: Dawson Family
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
Last year we decided to repaint our bathroom as we had sold our first home and wanted to make it look nicer for the new owners. We spent hours painting it all and left the house. We came back the next day for the final cleanup. To our horror, when we walked into the bathroom, the paint had bubbled, and some of it was looking like melted wax!!!! As the new owners were moving in the next day, we had no choice but to leave it how it was... luckily we never heard anything from them. From: James
Fashionable before its time
Shortly before we were married we decided it would be nice to spruce up our very dated formal lounge in our Victorian Terrace house. While still at the planning stage (i.e. deciding what shade of green to use), my dear husband mentioned our plans over a few lunchtime beers to his mates (all merchant navy officers at home on leave). They decided how pleased I would be to come home and find the chore done, so you can imagine my face when I opened the door after a long day at the office to find a three quarter finished lime green lounge. I might add that this was well before lime green was a fashionable colour! I took one look at their still slightly inebriated grinning faces, burst into tears, spluttered 'Change it' and left. I guess I should have been more specific as change it they did -to a vibrant fluoro orange! It stayed that colour until we sold the house to an amused couple a few years later.
Then there was the time when I came home from work to find the same mates (again on leave from the merchant navy and again a tad inebriated) had decided to help my dear husband remove a wall between a box room and a bedroom. Pity they didn't realise it was a supporting wall, as in supporting the roof! I'm glad I wasn't home for that one! By the time I saw it, most of the damage had been repaired and dear husband had resolved to never, ever again mention home improvement to his mates at the pub. It has worked, and we are still married! From: Lesley
When we moved into our new house, Dad liked everything except the wallpaper, so one weekend he decided to re-wallpaper. This was going well until the weekend ended and there was still a strip to do. He said he would do it next weekend, but next weekend came along and it was never done. Then months and years passed until finally 10 years later when we decided to move house he wallpapered the strip. It only took 2 minutes to do, the same time it takes to brush your teeth in the morning. I can't understand why he didn't just wallpaper it in the first place when it only took 2 minutes! From: Corey
A friend of ours went to buy a house - a lovely house that looked as though it had been recently decorated. They liked it, put in an offer and brought the place. Then the surprise came when they went to move in. The last people had presumably been in a hurry to paint or couldn't be bothered. Instead of removing the furniture they just went around it, so as you can imagine even with the furniture removed, in some ways the furniture was still there. There were shapes left on the wall depicting where a tallboy was, a chest of drawers, bookshelves and so on. How frustrating! From: Judy
I prepared some window frames for painting in windy Featherston only to have the wind catch one and take it off the hinges. My wife caught it by the bottom of the window and gently lowered it to the ground, but the whole frame now has to be rebuilt. From: David
On the safe side
My husband is usually really careful with his DIY efforts being a Virgo, but one day he slipped up. I noticed two screws protruding from our dining room wall. Why? He'd used extra long ones (to be safe!) to attach a mirror to the shower room next door! Fortunately I had some Resene Forest Green left to touch up the damage. From: Angela
Walk the plank
We were building a new deck on our house and had the joists etc in place and were saving up for the deck-tread. In the interim we had some loose planks on top for 'safe' passage to and from the sliding door. I was out there one day having just potted up some seedlings and made my way carefully back along a plank. Unfortunately the end of the plank was not resting on a joist. When I got to the end I went down between the joists and my seedlings became airborne over my head. My visiting friend had to help me back up. I had a big gash on my thigh and she took me into the nearest Medical Centre for stitches. The main thing we learnt from this was just how quickly you can find the money needed to complete a job when you have to. Also, when stepping out onto a plank -ensure that it is resting on a support of some sort first! By the way -the seedlings landed right side up and other than needing to be pushed back more securely into the potting mix, they went on to grow well!! From: Donna
What goes up must come down
My husband Jim is NOT a DIY man, but trying! When I asked him to put up a wallpaper border with an interesting pattern around the top of our (high stud) bathroom wall, he was reluctant to say the least. But he allowed himself to be persuaded and then, as is the nature of the man, he insisted on doing it all himself. He chose the border wallpaper ("I know where I can get it really cheap!") and got the equipment ready ("This is a good ladder - my Dad used it for forty years!") He wanted to do it all by himself ("I know what I'm doing - you go shopping or something and leave me to it!")
We hadn't actually left the house when the poor old ladder collapsed... then, re-equipped with a neighbour's ladder, he got started. We got out. On our return he took us in proudly to show us his job. You should have seen his face when he opened the door with a flourish only to reveal the border all in a state of coming off the wall. Some of it had already curled up on the floor. He couldn't believe his eyes! As we wiped away tears of laughter, I explained to him that, "Some wallpaper borders are pre-pasted. some are not." So much for cheap wallpapers! It seemed that the wet border went up alright, but as the water dried out so it came down! The moral of the story (and useful Bonus Tips):
We bought our house a few years ago now with the intention of "doing-it-up" within a couple of years. That has now become the five year plan after discovering that every owner since year dot has "done-it-up" to their taste, leaving layers of paint and wallpaper for us to remove and walls to patch up. The latest owner, prior to us, was a developer whose idea of wallpapering was to use enamel paint as glue, and who enjoyed papering over large holes made by door handles (I believe that almost every wall in our house had one such hole that we would eventually discover). The worst thing that we discovered, however, was during the bathroom revamp, when, upon ripping out the old cast iron bathtub, we found a beautifully woven rat's nest with some of my husband's socks woven in. Everything became clear to me at that stage -the noise in the wall behind my head when I sat on the couch was probably the jolly rat after a pilgrimage to our laundry to pick up another of Scott's socks! People often talk about the strange occurrence that happens when one out of every pair of socks goes missing, but we know the truth. From: Nikki
My ex and his friends owned a few rental houses in Hamilton. One day we were doing one of them up before tenants moved in. The guys decided they were going to install a shower in the main bathroom, simple right? Wrong! Very, very wrong! It was in the middle of winter on what was a very cold day. The shower was installed by three of the boys (none of them are the best DIY'ers I have ever known). After a few hours and much abuse towards the poor shower it was finally in. The grand unveiling was announced and the shower was turned on. It actually went, the problem was it went all over the walls, the floor and the roof (I'm sure you get the idea!). My main worry before breaking into fits of laughter was whether the water would damage the wiring and cause a short circuit. They finally managed to get the shower working properly and we were able to return to Auckland with a few wet and cold males who were pleased they had finally got the job done. From: Rosemary
My Father was put in charge of painting and decorating the lounge. My Mum was forced to take us out of the house because of all the swearing coming from my Dad. We came back a few hours later to a silent and calm Dad. We were all pretty impressed by the job my Dad had done. Mum was relieved and we were off the hook. A couple of days later my Mum went to retrieve some of her favourite cookbooks from the newly decorated lounge. She was dumbstruck when she took the books off the shelves to find my Dad had actually painted around the books rather than take them off the shelves. The swearing started again. From: Kuljit
I remember, many years ago as a child, Dad fixing everything from a leaking tap to a broken armchair. He managed to spend twice as long on each job, but wow was it done to perfection. This particular day after many, many hours of scraping, sanding and lastly painting, the kitchen was finally completed. It looked fantastic and I remember for a few days' afterward he would sit and admire his handiwork and rightly so. My Dad went out for a while and my Mum was sweeping the floor rather vigorously. She swept so hard that, to my Mum's horror, the end of the broom handle smashed though the newly painted cupboard door. After much screaming and many choice words she managed to control herself and gather her thoughts. Quickly she flew into action. Dad called and was on his way home. My mother's arms were just a blur somewhat resembling propellers. Frantically she grabbed the colour chart and matched the same colour on the cupboard, cut out the colour chart colour, glued it to the door and with a quick dash of paint you could not tell it was there. To Mum's and our relief, he noticed nothing. PHEW! Not bad thinking for a matter of 20 minutes or so. From: Marinava
Wehad our house on the market and someone had just signed up - it was all a done deal. My father (in his wisdom) decided that since he had the paint, he would paint the lounge ceiling for the new owners. He was painting away, then got down to move the ladder, but he forgot that he had a full can of paint sitting on top of the ladder! It went down the newly wallpapered walls, over the furniture and all over the brand new carpet!! Oooops! (I cannot repeat what he actually said). Technically the house was no longer ours. As the new owners wouldn't be too pleased with the big white paint spill, it was all hands on deck in a big hurry. The sheets got pulled off beds because we didn't have time to look for rags (which would have been too small anyway). It took us a while but believe it or not we managed to get every little speck of white paint off the walls and out of the carpet.
If that wasn't bad enough - a week later Dad decided to touch up the outside frame of the kitchen window. He was painting away and then lost his footing. This time he was determined he was not going to spill any paint. One minute Dad was visible through the kitchen window, then he disappeared from view very quickly. We went rushing outside to see if he was okay (and to check the damage!). There he was lying on the ground flat on his back holding the can of paint upright with a big smile on his face - he managed to not spill one drop!! After that he was banned from doing any more painting - until we shifted! From: Lucy
Match that door
I asked my 20 year old son to paint the passage in our house plus all the doors. He removed every single door and took over a month to paint them. It gave communal living a whole different meaning and I became a lot closer to my family than I wanted to be. I got sick of waiting and finished them off myself. Unfortunately he didn't mark each door as to which room it came from, so I had great fun trying to find which door went with which room. It is now all back together, thank goodness, but it is the last time I ask him to do any painting around here! From: Janis
A few weeks ago my Mum and Dad decided to repaint all the ceilings in our house because we'd had a leak in the ceiling that we'd just plastered over. With an open 10L pail of ceiling paint at his feet, Dad picked just the right moment to fall off the chair. He got one foot caught in the side of the chair and splashed the other one into the paint, tipping it over and painting (what we found after lifting the sheets we'd put down) to be quite a large patch of our carpet a nice shade of WHITE! Needless to say, Mum was not impressed, and a few words were muttered that I'd never heard come out of my mother's mouth in my life! Mum ended up painting the ceiling and Dad went and had a beer. From: James
Hole in one
Three days before Christmas, my husband Richard and I moved into our first home. Being our first home, it is a DIYer's delight with a pink exterior to be painted, grease stained carpet to be replaced, and lots of other issues (we are finding more everyday, funnily enough!). Wanting to enjoy our Christmas, Richard decided to start out with a simple task before tackling the more labour intensive tasks after the New Year.
How hard could it be, after all, to get a phone connection into our study so we could have internet access? Deciding to run a phone cable through the roof from the phone jack in the garage, in order to feed it through the ceiling of our study, Richard ventured up the manhole in the garage roof with the phone cable and crawled along the narrow space towards the dining room. As I guided him towards the study, I received a great fright as I saw his foot come flying through the ceiling in the study and plaster flying everywhere. He had not realised that he was no longer walking along the beam. Managing to correct himself and regain his composure, Richard eventually fed the phone cable through to the study and then returned slowly to the entry-hole in the garage roof.
At this stage, I reminded him that he also needed to bring the other end of the cable back with him in order to plug that into the phone jack in the garage, rather than leaving it lying in the roof. When he did return the second time with the cable, the board and plaster he perched himself on in the garage gave way, dramatically increasing the size of the entry hole to the roof.
We now have an internet connection in the study... but we also have two damaged ceilings, Richard has a badly sprained arm that took the impact of his second fall, and, best of all, we have all our other DIY adventures to look forward to! From: Meredith
Midway through Gibbing our hallway, the telephone rang. When the conversation finished, the phone was put down on a dwang out of the way. At the end of the evening, while standing back admiring the curved piece of wall, the phone rang again. Whoops!!! It was still on the dwang, behind the newly Gibbed wall. In the panic of wetting and curving the Gib to fit around the wall, we forgot to remove the phone. In the end we had to remove another piece of lining from the other side to retrieve it. From: Andrew
Fit to drink?
While I was painting the ceiling with white paint, the paint fell off the ladder hook. My cat thought it was milk and started drinking it! It's funny to look back on now, but not so funny when it happened with me busy trying to remove paint off the cat without getting more (paw) paint spread across the (wrecked) carpet. You can imagine the chaotic scene! From: Tony
Not long after we were married, my wife and I were putting up a curtain rail in our bedroom. Being newlyweds, we were a bit disorganised as far as having the right sort of ladder to help with the job. I was standing on a wobbly table about the middle of the window, screwing in a fitting for the curtain rail. My wife had a smaller stool and I asked her to place it a couple of feet from the table so I could step off onto it. She placed it not quite where I had pointed, so I said, "No, not there, over there", and pointed to the spot where I wanted the stool placed. My wife moved the stool, but again not to the spot where I wanted it. Again I asked her to move it. This time she did move it to the correct spot and I began to step off the higher table down onto the stool. However, my wife thought I was being silly about my requests to keep moving the stool, and assumed it still was not in the correct spot. So as I was halfway off the table, and committed to stepping onto the stool, my wife moved the stool!
Of course, now there was nothing for me to stand on, and my momentum sent me falling to the ground, totally out of control. I smashed "head first" into my stereo system in the corner of the room. Fortunately, I wasn't badly hurt, although when my wife saw the blood streaming from my right ear she did scream rather loudly! When I cleared some of the blood away, we could see I had ripped a piece off the top of my ear. My wife does not drive, so I had to drive us both down to Accident and Emergency, get a tetanus shot and a couple of stitches in my ear!
The DIY lesson we learnt from this is, don't fool around, and make sure you have all the right equipment before you start! From: Mark
Hitting the spot
My parents decided to do up their kitchen and put in nice wooden shelves and a wall oven. They even decided to polish the floors. Halfway through doing the kitchen up I said to my Dad, I wonder what it would look like with the wall between the lounge and dining room gone. Dad's reply was it would open things up but he wasn't too sure if Mum would like it. Before he had a chance to say anything else, I had put a sledgehammer through the wall. Needless to say the wall did go, but they had to remove electrical wires and put in a supporting beam and so on. The conclusion to this story is that I am not allowed to do any decorating and Dad's tip is that if anyone has a daughter like me don't mention renovation. From: Diane
My fussy husband likes to mow his lawns to look like bowling greens. He has been known to sweep dirt from the lawns after holes have been dug and filled in, but it gets worse. After mowing the lawns one day, our cat proceeded to catch and eat a bird on the "bowling green". There were feathers everywhere. What's the best way to clean feathers off the lawn? Yes that right,". Yes that’s right, we arrived home to find him cleaning them up with the indoor vacuum cleaner. Like he said, “well it was the best way to get rid of all the feathers”. From: Wendy
On impulse we decided to buy new carpet for the lounge and dining rooms. Afterwards we decided that before we had it laid we should redecorate the lounge. While pondering how to do this we decided that there was no point in repainting/wallpapering until after we had demolished the false ceiling and returned it to the original height. We also thought that at the same time we would move a wall to build a windowseat and bookcases. While discussing these alterations with a builder and talking added value, we decided that altering the bathroom would add considerably more value for money to the house than titivating the lounge. However, we could not alter the bathroom until we had shifted the linen cupboard. This could only be achieved by altering our daughter's bedroom to accommodate the new linen cupboard and wardrobe and by shifting the bedroom door.
So, around $12,000 later we have run out of money, the bathroom has been successfully altered but not decorated, the bedroom is successfully altered but not completely decorated, the lounge ceiling and carpet have been removed, the fire surround stripped, the doors and frames partially stripped and the damaged walls replastered. No walls have been moved, no windowseat and bookcases built. We have used hundreds of screws trying to stop the floorboards from squeaking (unsuccessfully), but THE NEW CARPET IS STILL NOT LAID!
What started out as a simple replacement of carpet (to be done by someone else) has led from the redecoration of one room to the structural alteration and redecoration (eventually) of three rooms. It has meant months or perhaps years of no more free weekends or evenings, sore shoulders from too much sanding and a garden overrun with weeds due to neglect.
The moral of this story is NEVER BUY CARPET ON IMPULSE! You never know where it might lead. From: Nichol Family
I had been hounding my companion for months to paint the dingy and dull laundry. We lived in a large, old character house, but the laundry was the eyesore of the house. It only had one small window so the natural light was poor. He kept saying I'll get around to it, but just kept putting it off. He agreed to help put in reticulation at a friend's house and managed to squeeze this in before going away with his job (welding) for four weeks. Consequently, we had a "little disagreement" about doing other people's odd jobs and not getting around to our laundry.
The weekend after he left I decided to do it myself. I am not that flash a painter, but I thought I would have a go. I thought I did a pretty good job and it did seem to brighten the room up a bit. Two days before he was due back I got a phone call at work. It was my companion. He said he had come back early and had a surprise for me. When I got home he led me to the laundry, where the smell of paint hit me. The welding job had finished early. He felt bad about our disagreement, and had decided to surprise me by painting the laundry. "A bloody twit did the last job, it was really sloppy," he said. Do you think I could convince him I painted it while he was away? From: E Regan
Twinkle twinkle little star
After a long, hard day of redecorating our lounge with a blue colour, I stepped out with a mate to have a few beers not realising I had left the door wide open. Our neighbour's 5 year old son Jeremy came in and started to flick white paint everywhere all over my long hard day's painting. When I returned to add another layer I found my girlfriend was just opening the door to see the white dots everywhere. As Jeremy ran past me with white paint all over his hands I knew right then something had gone wrong. I ran quickly to the door and the look on my girlfriend's face would make anyone scared, I mean VERY scared.
It was supposed to be a surprise for her to see her favourite colour on the wall, but then it was ruined by white dots. I knew I had to make up an excuse and fast, so with my intelligent mind I came up with these words 'Honey remember on our first date when we sat underneath the stars, well that is what this is so we can always remember that night'. Immediately she blushed brightly and she asked me to marry her! I've always thanked Jeremy for doing what he did and he is my best man. From: G Williams
I painted the living room ceiling using a thickish oil paint. To make life easy (or so I thought) I had the tray on a stool so I didn't need to come so far down the ladder. The stool was about waist height and rectangular, in fact perfect for the shape of a paint tray. All was going well until my cat decided to help. He jumped up on the stool to get a better view of what was going on. He wasn't pleased to find himself in the paint tray and jumped out and ran around the house leaving paw prints of white paint over my carpet and rugs until I could catch him. Have you tried to hold a struggling cat with paws in the air and wash them with turps? I really only got one paw clean and had to put him outside. From: Sally
Behind closed door
Some friends of ours just bought a house. They were so happy about getting their house that they had everything moved in and set up in five hours. Days went by and then they found the downfalls. My family and I had gone to visit my friends at their new home and my 2 year old was playing in one of the rooms. When he walked out he must have remembered to close the door. When we went to open it we couldn't! We tried everything to get the door open. In the end we had to take the hinges off the closed window from the outside. When we did that, we found that the window was nailed shut. We had to de-nail the window and in doing so found that the area around the window was rotten and had been freshly painted. We looked around and found that other windows were exactly the same. It pays to have the hawk eye look with you when you buy a new home! From: Tina
I have found it is always best to supervise my husband when painting. Many years back now, when our first-born was not quite two, my husband James set about to give our kitchen a fresh coat of paint. Dad's helper of course wanted to be involved, so James opened the nearest cupboard and found the red food colouring and brushes that I use for cake decorating. He found a large piece of paper, opened up the food colouring and proceeded to show our baby how to paint like Dad. Once first-born was happily painting just like Dad, hubby returned to his painting and forgot all about our baby he was meant to be supervising. I returned from the shops to find our little chap sitting in the middle of the lounge floor with a large puddle of red food colouring all over the carpet. Luckily the insurance company was very helpful replacing the carpet. From: Kerry
I painted my deck bright blue and although I had fenced the deck off with cardboard, my cat managed to walk all over the blue paint and then all over my partner's company car! He was not impressed when he saw all the blue paw prints all over his car. From: Michelle
I heard the funniest way to get your husband to do the painting through my wife's aunt. She told us how she persuaded her husband to do the painting inside and outside of their home. They had been living there for at least 35 years with it never being 'finished'! One day she decided it was time to make things happen, so she started graffiti writing obscene messages on the walls! He would read them and reply with equally obscene remarks until all the walls were covered with graffiti. Of course, he did the painting eventually. My wife brought me a paintbrush and roller to give me the message, but she ended up starting, which causes me to take over to do it properly! Our house is quarter finished! From: Marcus
Expect the unexpected
This story actually stars the WIFE as the DIY disaster queen. I have been watching lots of the DIY fixit jobs and always it's the guy that gets it... well, for all you blokes out there, meet my wife Aroha!!!! While at work doing my civil servant duty I got home at midnight in the middle of winter. All I wanted was to come home to a warm kitchen and loving family, only to find my wife had taken to the kitchen wall with a chainsaw/jack hammer, chisel, hammer - you name it, she probably used it. The following month it was the wallpaper in the dining room half on half off. Then there's the hole over the fireplace covered now by a mirror, half painted rooms upstairs - and yes I did say rooms, 4 in fact. And I haven't even started with the outside. I am a harassed husband with a DIY DISASTER WIFE. Three years have gone now and it's still the same. From: Peter
My Dad and brother tried to divide our garage into both a garage and an office. They thought they were pretty handy at stuff like that, putting up plasterboard on the walls and roof and so on. But after a recent downpour in the Hawkes Bay with lots of rain in only 30/60 minutes, we discovered that the job wasn't all that great. When we went outside to use the computer the next day, the whole floor of the office was about 80mm deep in water!! We were just lucky that the computer hard-drive and all the plugs weren't sitting on the ground!! From: Angela
My parents decided to lift and renovate our 8 year old house, which was still not finished. Mum picked the colour of the upstairs bathroom without Dad and then painted it while he was away. When Dad got back we had a bright yellow bathroom and a big frog shower curtain. He hated the colour and swore and cursed about it, so mum decided to paint over it without sanding or anything. The bathroom is still unfinished and is a half yellow and a half browny colour as the blue paint she used to paint over it was too light. Dad has promised to sand and repaint it but I'm sure it'll take another 7 years. From: Beckah
'Til the cows come home
During my university summer break I worked on a dairy farm. Between milkings I was set to do odd jobs around the farm. The owner of the farm was a grumpy old man who always resented change with the excuse that the cows wouldn't adapt! One of my jobs was to paint the inside of the milking shed, which was a very dull unpleasant yellow. The son and I took some chipped paint to the store to get a match just as the father had instructed. At the shop we saw a beautiful bright yellow, so we decided to take our chances. We went home and I painted the milking shed. It was fantastic, the shed looked clean and a lot bigger - it felt like the sun was shining inside! The cows walked in and sniffed at the paint, but otherwise were not worried... I think they even liked the change. Then the father arrived. Despite the shed still being yellow he did not like it. He instructed me to repaint the shed back to the old yellow, all before the next milking so as not to upset the cows!!! Some things never change. From: Lis
The hole story
My husband is not one to want to pay anyone to do alterations, so he decided to redo our bathroom himself. Our home is a bit of a doer upper and it was taking a long time to get this task completely finished. We had one piece of Seratone left to go on - the one that runs along the front of the bath. I had waited almost 2 years to have this job done, but he really had done a pretty good job on everything. As I was giving my niece a bath one night I noticed a soft spot in the flooring, only the size of a saucer. I thought, oh well, not a major problem... boy was I wrong! It turned out that all that hard work my husband had done was a huge waste of time. We had to have the bathroom completely redone by a builder because the floor had rotted, not to mention the rotten walls in the bathroom, the laundry room and part of the hallway floor. But at least I have a new bath and that last piece of Seratone has finally been put up on the front of the bath. From: Jacqui
Years ago my grandfather and father had built a hayshed over the side of a small cliff towards the back of our farm and it required painting. They rigged up a form of scaffolding on the back of the truck at the bottom of the hayshed and proceeded to start painting the shed with red paint. Somehow, my grandfather managed to fall from the very top and landed across the plank. Unfortunately, the paint also fell and, like the movies, most of it landed on his head! As my Dad and Uncle rushed to help Poppa, fearing the worst, he sat up and cried "Never mind me, save the paint!" They took him up to the house a mile away to get him cleaned up and checked out and, as you can imagine, like all good comedies, my grandmother happened to see him coming down the road and thought he was covered in blood! They still have a good laugh over this one! From: Julie
Not your average gem
My husband is a Jeweller, not a Handyman. And it shows... When we got our new dishwasher, Clint decided he could plumb it in himself quite easily. So he and his trusty cordless drill got out a 5cm (approx.) hole saw bit for a piece of piping that was about 2.5cm in diameter. He proceeded to drill firstly a hole in the side of the cupboard (he didn't install it under the bench, but beside it), so he could get to the waste trap. He then drilled a hole through the floor to get to the water mains, which are under the house. Unfortunately, he didn't check where he was drilling. Once the hole was finished, he realised he could actually see the grass outside through the hole because the top storey of our house slightly overhangs the bottom storey. How did he fix it? He simply went outside and made another hole in the side of the basement to put the pipe back through to under the house. I think he should stick to jewellery. From: Amanda
No point crying over spilt milk
When I was painting the last room in our old house I ran out of ceiling paint. My darling wife rushed down to the hardware store to purchase the last litre I required to finish the ceiling. She came back with the cheapest paint she could lay her hands on. It was like painting with green milk, splatters everywhere and see through. It took five coats of milk (paint) before I ran out and then I had to go back and buy a quality ceiling paint and start all over.
My advice is: 1) Don't send your wife to buy paint, 2) Don't try painting with milk, and 3) You get what you pay for. From: Giles
While painting Mum's beach house one day last summer, her partner descended the ladder and got his overalls caught, losing his balance. Thankfully the ladder was firmly in place and could hold his weight. The funny bit was yet to come -a tour bus stopped outside and tourists started taking photos while he just hung there. From: Anon
Our church was re-building. The concrete had been poured and smoothed over. There were a heap of children from the neighbourhood helping and watching. Most of the day my dear wife was telling the children 'Don't walk on the new concrete'. They were very obedient and walked around it so that it would look nice when it had dried. Towards the end of the day, who was it that came out a door with a tray of cups of tea and muffins and tripped and dropped the lot on the new concrete? Yes, my dear wife! She will never live this down! From: Stephen
I always thought wallpapering was easy. After all, I had helped my parents often enough, but Dad always did the hanging. When my children were quite small I decided to redecorate. Yes, a patterned wallpaper with lots of animals was going up on the walls - well, it would be when I got down to the job. I cleared the table and spread it with newspaper, measured out the first roll and then swept the large paste covered brush over the paper. Into the bedroom I went with the bottom tucked up just the way Dad had done. I pressed it against the wall and down it went on an angle. I pulled it off and tried again. Each time it twisted or buckled its way down.
Frustration took over as the effects of the time and attempts at hanging the impossible 8' length began to show on the paper. In fury I crunched the large strip of wallpaper up into a ball and threw it on the floor -not a good thing to do when I was already short on wallpaper. I sat and looked at that wall and the strip of paper that had defeated me. In good Kiwi fashion, the jack of all trades/Kiwis can do anything vein pulsated in me. I picked up the ball of mushy wallpaper and began to unravel it. I climbed the stepladder once more. Carefully and slowly I smoothed the creases against the wall working my way down the steps as I went. I stood back and looked at this final attempt. The strip of wallpaper was up in the right place. It was at this point, I learned how forgiving damp pasted wallpaper is. It was almost impossible to see the abuse that had been rendered to that strip but for two small permanent creased marks in just two small places.
I completed the room (it looked great) before venturing forth and wallpapering my son's room. Many home renovation jobs have been tackled since giving this Kiwi a sense of pride in her own DIY. From: Alyse
Before last year's midsummer hailstorm in the Wairarapa, we were preparing to paint the walls and ceilings in the lounge, and the ceiling in the kitchen. All the walls had been stripped of wallpaper in the lounge and all that needed doing was the ceiling. Then the hailstorm hit, and the ceiling in the lounge was flooded. We came home to find water dripping through the roof and from the lightbulb as we turned it on!! Thank goodness for the frantically busy on call electrician who allayed our fears about electrocution!! The insurance painters finally made our ceiling a far finer finish than we could ever have done.
We didn't get any replacement carpet however as it was too old, so we decided that this was the time to hire the floor sander and hit the rimu floors. After carefully filling the nails in the main room, we ran out of filler and bought some more from a certain warehouse. My wife spent more time filling, and waiting.... and waiting... for the potent smelling filler to set. It seemed to have set, so she began to sand, but the filler smudged everywhere across the nice rimu - any varnish over this and it would look like smears. So she had to get it out of the nail holes and replace it with the correct stuff.
There were no available professional floorsanders able to help, so my wife hired a floorsanding machine. It must have been quite a sight! If it hit the wall, then the sand belt would rip off, and it would take the next five minutes to unscrew the $5 paper, and put on a fresh one. There weren't many surplus ones to return to the hire centre, let's just put it that way!
On varnishing day, it was a stinking hot day and the one detail we had forgotten was to varnish when it's not too hot. As we mopped it on with speedbrushes, it began to set really fast, "Quick" said hubby to wife "It's setting, and quick, there's some pouring down the hole in the floor." Not knowing much about varnishing, we thought the next coat would cover up the diagonal strokes you could see in one area, however three coats later, it didn't. The rest of the job looked pretty good with the lovely varnish, but we now have a mat over the less than perfect area, and hope that in a few years we will have another go, and this time be a little wiser. From: Phil
My husband (how many funny DIY stories start like that?) was changing a light fitting outside. He had to drill some new holes for the fitting. While up the ladder with his electric drill he decided to be cautious, climbed down and told me he was going to turn off the power as he would be drilling close to the wiring. (Remember, the drill was ELECTRIC!) From: Stuart Family
Last summer I made the fateful decision to paint my bedroom. I was so organised I borrowed a pair of my partner's trousers to paint in and everything! I looked kind of silly in them though, me being XS and he being XL. They looked like clown pants, but I tied them all together with a belt and thought I'd be right. The belt kept the pants up alright, and left handy vents around my waist where all the fabric had bunched up. These came in handy when I spilt 2L of paint down my pants! My knickers got soaked with lime green paint and dried to my skin while I was rolling around on the floor in fits of laughter. I paid for my mirth later though - I had to soak them off with meths!!! From: Emma
When in doubt, don't. With great enthusiasm my husband painted the bargeboard after we had removed the old guttering. The paint was the same colour as the new long run Colorcote guttering due to arrive in 2 days. He worked until dusk and completed the painting. Next morning there were large gaps on the bargeboards free of the new paint colour. The evening and morning dew had been the culprit. Learn from this tale and if in doubt about the drying time, don't paint - leave it for another day. From: Carolyn
I had saved up to buy some expensive wallpaper for my lounge and when I finally had the wallpaper I couldn't find a professional to do the job right away (I just couldn't wait). My partner's friend said he had papered his mother's house so would do the job for me. As soon as he started I could tell he didn't know what he was doing. He cut the paper with scissors (all crooked). Instead of using tools he smoothed it over with his hands. It was all crooked. I rushed out to find my partner to tell him how worried I was. When I returned he had done one whole wall and it was full of air bubbles. That night I had to rip it all down and ended up painting the walls myself. Next time I'll be more patient and wait for the professionals, instead of wanting it all done yesterday. From: Donna
Limited shelf life
I love my husband dearly, but in our earlier years of marriage,DIY was not his strongest attribute. As I was going out with a girlfriend that day he asked, "Any odd jobs needed doing?"
Quickly I responded to seize the moment, so to speak, and said we really need a shelf behind the door in the toilet to put spare toilet rolls and smellies and so on. Now being a basic 60s house, our toilet is the size of a postage stamp and approximately 6 feet long by the width of the door itself.
My girlfriend and I left knowing the task was not too daunting and we returned some six hours later to a tiny voice calling from the toilet vicinity. He had erected the shelf, very straight, and very secure behind the toilet door... but the width of the shelf prevented him from opening the door and he was trapped. My girlfriend and I rolled about the hallway laughing. What I really meant was for him to put the shelf above the door, which is behind as you walk in.
Now we sit and look at the two holes in the door and can laugh. (Dads don't try this at home, taking a shelf down when someone is bursting is not that quick!) From: Sonia
Fall from grace
My father was painting the roof, standing at the top of the ladder to finish the last metre of painting. He had the paint can on the roof and was reaching into it from the ladder, which was working fine. As he finished each piece of roof, he got down and moved the ladder along. Halfway along where the ground slopes, he had to stretch to reach. Before long we heard a crash outside, and went out to find Dad on his butt on the ground, drenched in green roof paint. You can imagine the clean up! From: Tama
Five years ago, we were expecting our first child. My husband thought it would be a good idea to DIY the spare bedroom for the new baby. We got stuck in... off came the old plaster board, up went the new. All that was left to do was to paint - no problem for my man who can be a bit clumsy.
During the marathon painting session, I decided to take a pit stop and let hubby take the reins. Not even two minutes later swearing was coming from the nursery to be. My husband attempted to walk down our hallway covered in paint. Yes you guessed it. He had knocked over the paint tray, which was perched on a ladder. The end result was one very messy t-shirt, shorts and jandals, not to mention the drop sheet! All looked very hilarious. From: Nadine
Having just completed the renovation of our bathroom, I decided to paint the ceiling in white acrylic. Because the manufacturer recommended that the paint had special properties, and therefore (or so I thought!!) it was unnecessary to prime the plasterboard ceiling, I decided to put two coats of the semi-gloss on. I finished the job at 10pm and awoke at 7am to find that the paint was peeling off. With the words of a "wise ol' soldier" (i.e. if you're going to do it right, do it properly) ringing in the back of my mind, I quickly peeled the paint off, rubbed it back down, sealed, primed and finish coated the job which now looks exceptional!!! My tip... If you're going to do something, do it properly the first time. From: Kevin
Our first major DIY job was to totally renovate and upgrade a 1930's workers cottage in Onehunga. Having returned from a bit of shopping one day I stood chatting to my husband, Cam, who was in the process of dismantling the horrible kitchen cabinetry and investigating the plumbing behind. As he gently tapped at a stubborn piece of wood, the main pipe to the kitchen broke and water began flooding the area. Cam yelled at me to turn the water off, and as the kitchen was in the rear of the house and the mains water tap was out the front by the road I had to run down a footpath and across the driveway. As I ran, I suddenly slipped on some gravel -promptly hit my head on the concrete and knocked myself out! A couple of minutes later I came to, wondering grumpily why on earth Cam had not come out to help me, when I realised that he must still have his finger in the pipe trying to stop the flow of water. I crawled to the water mains tap and turned it off, at which time Cam came out the front of the house wondering why on earth it had taken so long to turn the water off. As soon as he saw the blood dripping from the side of my face and the beginnings of a shiner on my eye, I think he understood! Perhaps a tip might be: Never run on gravel in high-heeled sandals? From: Megan
It was in the late 1980s and my mother in law was coming to stay. She was a compulsive cleaner and an even worse snob. All I can say is, it was late, I was desperate, so I rushed out to the Howick Resene ColorShop, bought some pretty flowered wallpaper and paint, and started redecorating my tatty lounge late on a Friday night. She was arriving the next morning at 8am. I did nearly all of it before my husband came home from the pub. He took pity on me, and said - "let me do the last bit of that wall corner for you, you look tired".
I got up early the next morning to clean the lounge again thoroughly. Actually, on first sight, all looked lovely. I remember the wallpaper; it was bronze and green flowers on an off white background... (well, it WAS the 80s!!). I put a vase of fresh flowers on the table and kept my fingers crossed.
Madam Hitler arrived, stepped in the front door, and within 10 seconds, said to me "why is your wallpaper hung upside down over in that corner?" My husband had hung the paper upside down and the bronze and green flowers drooped downwards,instead of up! From: Frances
Never, I say never, buy your paint at the demo yard! Yes, I learnt a valuable lesson about three weeks ago, and all because I wanted to save a few pennies on painting the house.
My husband and I are buying our first home and I am the only worker in the family. Anyway I knew the house badly needed a paint job, but I wanted to save a few dollars. While wandering around our local demo yard I spotted several boxes of white paint at a really good price. You would have thought I would have had the brains to ask why so much good looking paint was being sold so cheap, but no, I was having a blonde day and in my excitement at such a find, all common sense went flying out the window.
To cut a long story short, I bought six cans of white latex paint and last weekend I decided to start the painting. I conned my eldest daughter into helping me and it all went wonderfully. We were amazed, the paint dried in less than an hour and we were able to do the second coat. We thought we were just the bee's knees, instead we were just delusional. The back of the house looked great, but three days later we discovered something about our lovely paint, it did not set. Just add water and watch it run was the motto here for the day. And now we have to spend more money to get it off the house and buy good quality paint. If only I had not been such a cheapskate. Well there you go, a lesson learnt the hard way. Still at least we can laugh about it and thank goodness we did not paint the whole house! From: Sharon
So far the only thing we have painted in our house is the roof (I might add my husband has yet to put on the final coat, I fear I may be waiting a while). I was going out for the afternoon, and Evan my husband was getting ready to start the preparation for painting the roof. I left and everything was fine. He was climbing onto the roof and was going to waterblast it before painting. I arrived home a couple of hours later and he was still on the roof waterblasting. I yelled up to see when he was going to start painting. He explained he had just finished and was about to start. I thought great, so far so good. I walked into the house to find my kitchen slowly being flooded, water was gushing from the ceiling tiles. Out I ran and told him to quit waterblasting. It was then that I saw he had been waterblasting up the roof, not down. Subsequently he had filled our ceiling with water that we just had to wait to drip out. Our tip would have to be: always waterblast down the roof and never up! From: Sarah
My Mum had just got out of hospital after major surgery on her back. She had to have 8 weeks off work and I thought it would be nice to do her gardens for her. The first thing I dug into was the sprinkler system, which I couldn't see. Then I thought it would be okay if I pruned a few trees I thought were too bushy. I found out afterwards that Mum had taken three years to get them that bushy. In the end I wish I hadn't started. She thought it was really sweet but I felt really bad as the garden was worse off than when I had started. Oops! From: Danielle
My granddaughter was told that Mum and Dad were going to paint her bedroom in the near future. She had been watching her father painting her baby brother's bedroom so she thought she would have a go at doing her own. She managed to get a testpot of paint and a paintbrush out of the laundry cupboard and started on her bedroom. The testpot colour was lime green and she had it everywhere -curtains, windows, walls, duvet cover, carpet... you name it, it was there! Of course, Mum yelled and granddaughter said she was only trying to help. At the time granddaughter was only three years old. To this day she has still not had her bedroom painted and she goes to school next month. From: Cynthia
Ghosts in the darkness
My niece started to paint our sitting room. She was all fired up and painted the white undercoat. She slept in our sitting room that night and woke up to 'see' ghosts of people in the sitting room and on the walls. Our walls have still got that one coat of paint on and we have not seen her in our house since! From: Bradie
When we were expecting our first baby my husband decided to decorate the baby's room. We had picked out the wallpaper and were advised to strip back the original paper first before we even started. This should have been a relatively easy job -until we realised that there were five layers of paper on the wall and I am sure one of them was superglued on. We hired a steamer to help but all that did was drip a steady stream of water onto the carpet - the steam could not even penetrate the wallpaper. My husband then decided to get the metal scraper onto the wallpaper. He was, by this time, getting very uptight, angry, annoyed - you name it... he was feeling it. He dug the metal scraper into the wallpaper and pushed with all his might. Crack, smash - straight through the wall. Not only did we still have the wallpaper on the wall, now we had a gaping hole.
A quick phone call to my dad to ask for help as to how to fix the hole and he gave us the best advice anyone could have given us. Why he did not tell us this at the very beginning I have no idea. He told us to get a professional in to do the whole job. Guess what, we did and the room looked lovely when it was finished. From: Sharlene
If you are not an electrician I've found it's unwise to put in a heated towel rack - you tend to get a nasty shock. However I'm pleased to report that it works!!! From: Tony
Size does matter
We are re-doing our toilet and bathroom, and Mum and Dad decided it was easy enough for them to do themselves. Well the toilet looks okay - after we bought a new toilet since the one they bought didn't fit, was far too small and left a whopper of a gap in the wall and on the floor. But after the new basin was put in (even though it sprays everywhere when you turn it on) and the walls were all painted, and the second new toilet was put in it looks awesome. If only I could say the same about the bathroom. What a mess!! We bought a beautiful recycled rimu vanity top that looked awesome off, but when we went to put it on, we realised it was NOT going to work. The hole for the new basin had already been cut, and it was in the wrong place. If we had used it as it was, we would've had to take the drawers off the vanity unit because the basin was too deep. As I type we are hopefully getting a new one made in the shop!! Next there's the taps for the bath - I don't think even Dad knows what he did. The handles don't fit on, so we have a place for the water to come out. The tap fits fine, but there's nowhere to turn it on because the handles don't fit!!!
During our DIY renovations, we have changed all our bathroom and toilet fittings to chrome, the toilet roll holder, drawer handles, taps, towel racks etc and even a new tooth brush holder. Pity our tooth brushes didn't fit! Next time I think we are going to have to check everything fits first, before we buy them! Now all we have to do is wait for all the things we sent back to come back, and then there's painting - what a fun job, and I bet I'll have to do it! From: Alix
Just as Trev put the last finishing touches of Resene Limeade on our aunt's kitchen wall, the new fridge arrived. Once they installed the new fridge, Trev and the delivery bloke lugged the old one out onto the front porch. That was when Trev had his Big Idea to turn the fridge into a fish smoker and take it up to the bach. The big weekend arrived. The lads were suitably impressed with Trev's fish smoker. The weather was brilliant, and the fishing was superb. Trev stoked up the smoker with charcoal and manuka chips, and once the charcoal had reduced to a bed of glowing embers he laid the fish on the racks, just as described in the DIY magazine our Aunt had given him for Xmas. After a happy night of yarns around the fire with a few crates of beer, Trev and the lads hit the sack, or rather, the sleeping bags. It had been a perfect day. The night was not so perfect. At 3 am the lads were woken by a loud crash. The plastic shelf mountings in the fridge had melted and the weight of cascading fish mixed with molten plastic had caused the crash. Poor Trev... he knew he would never live it down! From: Briar
I was painting my kitchen and had opened the tin of paint and was in the process of stirring it. I placed the tin lid on the dropsheet. My cat came in to see what I was up to and walked on the tin lid, which of course had paint on it! She got a huge fright and ran through the house leaving paint paw prints everywhere! DIY tip: don't paint with animals! From: Rachel
Water sport motivation
Three and a half years ago we decided to extend our house rather than shift. This was done with great enthusiasm and plans of having it all finished in ONE year. Alterations were made to nearly every room in the house. A big job you say. Yes it was but I was told by my loving partner we would get it all sorted and finished to my liking ASAP.
Three and a half years later we have finished one room - only five to go. This one room was achieved after lots of pushing and complaining. After a holiday at a beach over Christmas, we have now come home and completed another room. How did I get him to do it? Easy. He wants to buy a boat. I said 'No, not until my house is finished'. He now wants to get the house finished as quick as he can. Maybe this year it will happen. From: Sandra
My Dad's friend had rental properties and didn't like spending a lot of money on them. He went to repaint the exterior and found a few holes needed fixing and plugging. Rather than going to the hassle of replacing weatherboards he would fill the gaps with newspaper and paint over them. We think he may have been related to Steptoe and son! From: Helen
Slippery when wet
My husband Richard climbed on the roof one morning with a ten litre pail of paint in one hand and a brush in the other. He didn't see the spot of dew just over the ridge. I heard an almighty bang and ran outside to see him splattered in paint with his feet resting in the guttering, which had stopped him sliding right off! He still had the paint pail in one hand and the brush in the other! He said he didn't want to waste any paint! From: Helena
A little goes a long way
There I was, painting my bedroom apricot - a very original colour for a girl! Anyway, I had these rollup blinds that had been around since the 70's that were a lovely brown colour. I couldn't help myself... the rollerbrush went swishing apricot over one blind. Except the roller blind snapped up inside itself and sprayed the carpet with lovely apricot paint too! As I was only planning to paint the wall, I had only put newspaper down under the blind and around the edge of room. The landlord who had donated the paint was not too happy. Neither were we when we found ghosts in the house (but that's another story). From: Mee
My parents had just painted the walls in the hallway in our old house a light yellow colour, when my older brother (at the time 2 years old) got a tub full of bright pink zinc and Vaseline, squashed his hands in the tubs and painted pictures all over the freshly painted hallway walls. My mum was furious. It just would not come off so they had to paint all the walls all over again. They hid the zinc and Vaseline on the highest shelves away from my brother's creative little fingers. From: Kelle
My Dad likes to 'fix' things. He is always pottering about the house, starting DIY jobs and never actually getting around to finishing them. At the moment, thanks to my father, we have a half dug up driveway, an old chevette station wagon (that doesn't go) sitting on the lawn, a trampoline with no legs gathering dust in the backyard, a laundry that we are all afraid to enter for fear of having a half finished shelf fall onto us, and a garage so full of junk you can't even fit a car into it. But, as horrific as this all sounds, home wouldn't be home without my Dad working on some project or another. And as for the junk, well, I doubt we'll ever fully appreciate Dad for his collecting and storing abilities, but I think we've all learned to live with it by now, despite the odd outburst of protest from my mother! From: Ellen
Last minute master
When we were fairly new to this country my Mum came for a visit. My husband thought he could drywall our spare room just in time before her visit. And indeed, the night before she would arrive he had the room painted and ready for me to clean and move the furniture back in. I was well impressed, until I dusted the walls... he had been so keen to get on with the painting that he had not sufficiently cleaned the walls after paperfaced plasterboard stopping. Luckily my Mum was so glad to see us she didn’t mind the funny paint effects on the wall. From: Hanne & Matthijs
Wot a stud
My husband had built a set of storage cupboards for the garage in our new home. On completion, and as they were heavy to lift, he enlisted the help of our son to lift them and bolt them to the wall. They carefully used a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall and marked the position of them. My husband then proceeded to hammer a couple of nails into the wall, top and bottom to indicate where the bolts were to go to attach the cupboards to the wall. Just then our son asked if we had a gas bottle in the garage that was leaking, as he could smell gas. Suddenly we could all smell the strong odour of gas and on checking the gas bottle decided it wasn't coming from there. We realised that the gas hot water cylinder was on the outside of the house right where my husband had hammered in the nails and the gas pipes were in the wall. The gas was immediately turned off, the holesaw was produced to cut a hole in the wall to survey the damage and sure enough, the stud finder had done an excellent job of not only finding the studs but also finding the gas pipes. My husband had done an equally excellent job of hammering two nails straight through the middle of the gas pipes. As it was a weekend and we had to get a repairman in to fix the damage the homemade cupboard job turned out to be more expensive than anticipated. From: Joy
My wife decided she would like to shift the kitchen into the spare bedroom at the back of the house. She asked me what I thought as I was about to leave for work. I said we would look at it when I got home. When I arrived home there was this great big hole through the wall. She just wanted to see what it looked like looking out over her garden. Margaret had used my sledgehammer and knocked a hole through the stucco and plaster walls. It was now too late - we had to continue with the project. We now have this wonderful kitchen with French doors opening out onto a deck and looking over our beautiful back garden. It is great for entertaining and everyone comments on the improvement. From: David
I have a roof with a 45 degree pitch and had a couple of minor mishaps whilst painting it. I put my extension ladder over the pitch so that the bottom rungs went down one side and the top rungs down the other. The only trouble is that it was a bit short, so I had to jump up to catch the first rung. One time, as I leapt up onto the rung, the bucket of paint ended up going all over me, leaving me covered from head to toe and stranded. I screamed for the wife, who threw me up a broom. I spread as much of it as I could, out of the gutter and back on to the roof. The only trouble was, that to get to the ladder that I had used to climb onto the roof, I had to, on my belly, crawl back across though the thick, slippery, wet paint, with my feet firmly fixed to the spouting for support - yes, some mothers do have them. During the same painting project, I also had a mishap when the ladder slipped and I ended up clinging to the spouting with one hand and the scaffold with the other. I had to let go and drop to the ground, while placing my feet through the rungs of the fallen ladder - a feat I pulled off while the wife was looking on (it was her job to hold the ladder, but she got bored, saw a weed in the garden and let go to pull it out) without coming to any grievous bodily harm. Unfortunately, these are true stories and the wife is having serious misgivings about letting me attack this job next time. From: Peter
The last straw
It was a cold spring day in the Wairarapa, when a small group of Gladstone farmers set about planning and building the world's biggest scarecrow. The face for the world's biggest scarecrow was made of wool bags and sewn together with twine at the pub on Friday night.
On the side of a cold hillside the scarecrow's head and face were assembled. His hat was made of bright yellow nova flow pipe. The framing was steel welded together by the local engineer. The group of swandri-clad farmers wrapped the nova flow pipe around the metal to form the hat.
The sun broke through the crowds and a group from the community assembled down at a large old barn. They laid out 15 metres of shade cloth 5 metres wide. This was the fabric for the clothes for the scarecrow. The Resene paints had been bought and the lid of the first pail was opened to reveal bright orange. Accompanied by a cheer the group set to, with paintbrushes and pottle filled with paint. Young and old painted the scarecrow's shirt that was laid out on the grass and held down with pitchforks at the four corners. Hours later white paint was used to paint white circles to be his three shirt buttons. Black paint outlined the bowtie that was filled in with bright pink with blue circular dots. A group stood watching and making suggestions as the team painted, a farm dog pitched in, walking the orange paint on his paws across the white of the middle button.
The nose for the face was a blue plastic barrel that was attached to the sacking and it was decided to paint his eyes with bold black paint one eye open and one shut, his one open eye iris was blue. Ruby red paint for his mouth. The torso and vest for the scarecrow was near completion when the rain started. At first it was only light then very heavy. Like ants carrying a piece of bread the community got underneath the sacking lifting it above their heads and hurried the canvas into the woolshed to lie the scarecrow's shirt outstretched.
Some of the paint had run and fused with other colours so when there was a break in the weather and the sun once more poked its head back through, the workers lifted the body above their heads once more and hurried it back out onto the grass to resume painting, and fixing his figure. While some painted, others were making the scarecrow's hair and arms. His arms were made of windsocks, his hair of binder twine. It was long hair with the intention of having it flowing in the breeze with the view of hills and valleys behind.
The following Sunday at 6.30am, a helicopter lifted the bright yellow hat onto the one hundred foot high water tower that was to be the body for the scarecrow.
A group of farmers hauled the body and face of the scarecrow up the one hundred feet high tower, using ropes and pulleys on four sides. The scarecrow creaked and moaned as the farmers hauled on ropes as a fierce northerly wind pinned his body to the tower. Yet the scarecrow remained smiling down on the men as they grimaced and strained to haul this majestic sight to the top of the tower. The scarecrow stood short of the top of the tower by a few metres but the exercise was deemed triumphant. The orange ochre vested thin giant stood towering over the sheep, the native bush and the legends of the valley, his one eye open taking in a view as far away as Carterton and Masterton.
The next night his gay colours had washed away. Winds of sixty miles per hour had raced through Gladstone ripping his arms off and laying bare his body to be pressed against the slimy old tower. The tower had stood there sixty odd years against the elements of the wind but the new fella wasn't brave enough to bear it. His blue nose (a 40 gallon plastic barrel) had been torn off and had completely disappeared, while his two arms flapped in the paddock below.
Somehow he just wasn't built to last. From: Jayne
My husband and I were expecting our first baby, and had moved into our home. We were erecting a fence around our property, and Steven was using a double hole digger (petrol powered). Not being able to use it properly, I decided to give him a hand. I was eight months pregnant, and no matter what he said I was determined to have this fence up before my baby was born. For some reason, he let go of the digger, and I was left holding on to it, being swivelled through the air. He finally managed to stop the machine. Because I was dizzy, I fell into the ready-to-pour-cement, butt first. Amazingly neither our baby nor I were hurt.
On another DIY occasion, we were planting shrubs on our hillside and I told him to get his footing right before attempting to dig holes. But does he listen? No, so he is left scrambling, trying to get his footing. All the dirt is falling away, and he actually looks like a cartoon character trying to hang on for dear life. I, in the meantime, am laughing. He told me not to laugh, but does a wife ever listen to her husband? From: Makere
While renovating our home my wife said that my painting left a lot to be desired, saying that I missed that bit and this bit, you get the story. I said to stop being picky, that I did a wonderful job, and it all looked great -that was until I got contact lenses. I was more shocked than my wife. Result = Apologised to wife, ate humble pie and repainted the lot. From: Todd
My husband and I had just moved into our first flat (just before we were married) and while he was at work one day I thought it would be good to put all the new things away. We had been given an electric knife as a present and I thought that I would put it up on the wall in its bracket. Not having many tools I decided to use the hammer instead of the screwdriver I was supposed to have used. First of all I got the screw in wrong. Then when I tried to take the screw out the hammer slipped, and I ended up with a black eye! From: Julie
Welcome to my DIY nightmare! My husband and I have just moved back here from the UK - the country where everything seems to get done when and more importantly - how you want it. We bought a house that was in desperate need of some TLC, having been in a rental for the previous four years. From day one, it proved to be a nightmare!! We started by ripping off wallpaper and tearing up carpets -easy enough jobs, however we decided to get the professionals in to do our wallpapering and painting. After mulling over colour schemes for ages, we finally settled on colours that we liked and it was all go. I came in one day and it was all going well - looking good. I came in the next and the paperhanger had decided to go with a totally different paper in one room - seemed he didn't agree with what we had planned. After shouting a bit, crying a bit and pulling my hair out a bit, I discovered the reason why -the shop had run out of the paper that the rest of the house was done with. Since then, well, where do I start? The wallpaper has shrunk and you can see all the joins, it's peeling and it's only been up two months, I have paint on every surface imaginable, and a prominent balding spot on my head!! From: Jeana
Not so mellow yellow
We had spent the previous Sunday selecting the appropriate shade of yellow from the paint chart with the intention of painting during the week. It looked a nice shade of sunshine for a dark hallway. "Hello honey" said my husband in a surprise phone call to me at work, "I just wanted to let you know I've done a little something to the hallway. Thought you might like the warning before you got home." This was a cause for serious concern. Much DIY had been done on our 30 year old house and it had always been left as a pleasant surprise for my return home.
When I opened the front door, the most amazing wall of yellow fluorescence hit my eyes. Friends (planted conveniently so I could not damage the husband in public) suggested unconvincingly that maybe we could get used to it or it would look better in the dark. A week's worth of the strongest willpower didn't work. Thank goodness for understanding paint store assistants who have seen it all before! We are now the grateful owners of a Tuscan gold hallway and addicted to testpots. From: Kim
Had filled up the trailer with rubbish as you do when you have just taken on a 50 year old neglected bach and garden. There were three of us and one of the others (the only male one actually) suggested we take the trailer off the car to turn it around. I said I thought it might get away on us... "no, no it will be fine...". Needless to say it did get away on us, almost went through the side of the mansion next door (what a way to meet your neighbours) BUT I managed to wedge myself between it and a tree to stop it!!! I'm now sitting at home with broken ribs looking at all the things I could be painting!! From: Kim
Some years ago my father painted the kitchen. At the end of the day he began cleaning up. With a fairly full tin of paint in his hand he made his way to the washhouse, tripped on the groundsheet covering the floor and literally threw the tin of paint at the fly screen door!! What landed in the porchway could be cleaned up eventually, but it took weeks to pick all the paint out of the little holes in the fly screen! We had to use a needle and it would take nearly an hour to do a 15 cm square! Dad declared then and there that he was not cut out to be a painter, and we kids behaved perfectly for weeks as the punishment for misdemeanours was 2 or 3 hours on "the door"! From: Maryn
My partner decided to do up his lounge and kitchen area at least 5 years ago. It all started when one day he became keen and stripped the lounge of all its paper. Rushing out to buy the paper required, he hung up 2 strips of the paper around the newly installed fire and decided to wait and see if he liked it. 5 years have gone by and the two strips remain. Naturally they have faded and now become a little less trendy. We are now left with 9 rolls of the unused paper. Then about 6 months ago he also decided that it would be great to knock out the old fire and put in French doors looking out onto an existing patio, extend a couple of walls and add downlights... the end result... I now have French doors but step out into the hole left by the old chimney, no cornices, still no paper, no stopping and to top it off, when the downlights were put in the ceiling roof has bowed from where he walked on it!!!
I have now decided that it is not really a good idea to let tradespeople loose on their own house unless you are prepared to wait at least 20 years to have anything actually finished. People wonder why I start laughing when they come and visit and ask if we have started renovations! From: Nicola
After deciding to put our house on the market, we knew that there was a bit of builder's bog in the window sill and we decided we needed to fix it up. We had bought the house from a builder who we thought would have renovated the house properly. Little did we know that this builder wasn't so honest. My husband started chiselling away at the bog only to discover that the "hole" was also filled with a 1997 telephone book and some plastic shopping bags. 1997 was the year we bought the house so no doubt it was the builder who we bought the house from who had put it there. TIP: Be extra careful when looking a buying a house from developers/builders. Some builders are only in for a quick sale. From: Sharon
My Mum and Dad had decided to give their house a much needed facelift. Mum had been watching all the DIY programmes and buying all the magazines to assist with this transformation. My parents also both have two large black and tan dogs, both of which are a little hyperactive at times. One is a Doberman cross and the other is just nuts. Mum decided that the colour scheme for the hallway was going to be yellow with purple/lilac trim. Dad was painting away rolling this bright yellow on the walls with the paint tray lying on the ground and, yes, the mad dog stepped in it. If that wasn't bad enough, the shock made her leap into the air putting yellow paint over the carpet, which they weren't planning to replace and herself. She now has yellow paint on every paw somewhat resembling nail polish and big yellow tiger-like stripes across her side. From: Emma
My Dad began installing a spa pool around the time I was 6 and a half years old, which was supposed to be finished for my seventh (7th) birthday so I could have a pool party. My Dad finally got it going on my seventeenth (17!!) birthday, but for one night only. The pump and heater unit, from years of disuse, blew up. The spa is still not finished and I will be turning 25 this year. My Dad has now started on the bathroom... From: Natalie
Always let the male of the house think you are useless. My partner and I are finally doing up his house after owning it for 3 years and doing absolutely nothing on it -before I came along I think this even extended to cleaning!
Anyway, I was given the job of colour consultant and off we went to Resene to get some paint. I was quite excited about getting my hands amongst it all. Paint bought we went home to start room number one. Not trusted to do a good job of preparing the room (believe me woman's lib hackles were up), I was however allowed to paint one wall. Thinking I was doing a great job of it, I proudly finished and displayed it to my partner who promptly held his head on a weird angle hard up against the wall and began to critique the job. Now I ask you, how many people come into your house and press their heads hard up against your walls? Since then I have been allowed to do the middle of the walls (but not to go near any edges) and am hinted at madly about how I would be better off starting to cook dinner. Not such a bad thing as the extensive DIY project has now become Vic you sit in the sun as obnoxious perfectionist paints away madly. I say leave him to it! From: Victoria
Years ago while painting a bedroom ceiling, I found my ring had disappeared. I searched the room, carefully shaking out the plastic sheets that lay on the floor, but with no luck. I spent ages crawling on my hands and knees between the room and the laundry where we were cleaning out the brushes, but sadly still no luck, my lovely ring had just vanished into thin air. About a year later we were painting another ceiling in the house. The paint level was getting near the bottom of the tin when I noticed a lump sitting there. Pulling out what I thought was a lump of paint, I couldn't believe it when I saw it was my ring. After all those months there it was. I now make sure I don't wear any rings while painting, except the one that won't come off my finger! From: Jackie
My Dad decided to boldly go where many a man has gone before: up onto the roof to clean the top of the chimney. My Dad loves it on the roof - he can see for miles and nobody bothers him. In fact if you put the TV up there so he could watch the rugby league he would be in his element! It was a sunny Sunday morning and Dad decided to take advantage of the good weather and get up onto the roof and get the chimney cleaned. Mum stood in the kitchen and watched Dad carry the ladder around to the back of the house and lean it against the overhang. Mum came out and told him to be careful and that she would be back in a couple of hours from church. Dad mumbled an acknowledgement and Mum went to church.
Dad scaled the ladder and made his way onto the roof. But to his horror just as he lifted his foot off the top step of the ladder there was an almighty crash as the ladder tumbled to the ground. Dad had forgotten to put the safety clip on the ladder. Dad figured that he may as well start on the chimney and Mum would have to help him get down when she got home. Little did he know that the hot New Zealand sun wasn't the only hazard he would have to deal with up there on the roof.
Waiting in the branches of a nearby tree was a pair of myna birds who had chicks in a nest somewhere in the roof. They saw my Dad as a potential threat to the safety of their chicks and decided to dive bomb him to force him off the roof. The birds took turns plummeting down towards my Dad and swerving away at the very last minute. My Dad had to keep diving for cover behind the chimney so that the birds couldn't make contact with his now very sunburnt back. Two hours, a lot of sunburn, a newly developed fear of mynas and an incredibly clean chimney went by and Mum came home.
"Love?"called Dad from the roof. Mum didn't hear his calling and proceeded with tidying up and making lunch. Dad called and called and even banged on the roof wherever he figured Mum would be. Mum had been home 20 minutes before she finally heard him and came outside. She looked up to find a very sunburnt, very shaken husband and a VERY clean chimney. Once she had got over laughing she rescued him from the roof and made him a cup of tea. Note to all readers and to my Dad: Safety catches on ladders are there for a reason. This reason is so that (a) they do not collapse when you are on them, and (b) so that the ladder is still there when you want to get down!! From: Monique
The house that jack built
My Dad decided that it might be a good idea to put some downlights into his ceiling in his lounge, so he cut a hole in the plasterboard, only to find a beam going across the middle of the hole. So he cut another hole, and then another... the result -sure, he now has very nice downlights in that part of the room but they don't go that well with the areas where he's had to stick the plasterboard back in, plaster and then repaint (they're pretty obvious!) The irony - he built the house and he's an electrician! From: Rachael
We wanted to change the look of our son's room but my wife didn't like wallpaper and I didn't like paint, so I started wallpapering. The next day I found out that my wife had painted over the wallpaper with the same colour. From: Rick
Our neighbour used waterbased chalking compound to fill the cracks in his swimming pool. The moment he filled the pool the chalking compound just washed away! From: James
My mother was redecorating her bedroom. She had been painting the ceiling in the morning and had left the job unfinished when her friends had arrived for a visit. It was a hot day and before long they had enjoyed a couple of drinks. After they left, Mum decided to continue with her painting. She had everything ready, climbed the first two rungs of the ladder and fell back into a pail of paint. She was fine, but laughing so hard that it was up to my brother and I to spray wash the paint from her backside. I've never painted with her since! From: Kara
My kindhearted husband heard a bird tweeting and flapping inside the wall cavity. He went up into the loft and beneath the house and decided that it had fallen from its rooftop nest and was stuck. He couldn't find any other way to rescue the tiny sparrow so in the end he took to the wall with his Stanley knife, leaving a 4 inch square hole in the centre of the wall! The baby bird escaped and hubby felt like a thoroughly decent human being. He spent the rest of his rare day off doing a DIY repair job! From: Kathryn
My father is a DIY nightmare. He is always building or trying to fix things and is just dreadful at it. He built a chicken house once and the chickens wouldn't live in it! Even they have taste. He has built a few gates around the section and they always end up falling down slightly so they drag on the ground. He is currently building a porch over our deck and my mother is cringing. From: Lianne
Here's a little girl DIY logic that would confuse any guy... it's a case of your eyes telling you one thing and your DIY sister-in-law telling you another. We visited our sister-in-law at her newly purchased home. As we entered she said "Don't take any notice of the walls in the lounge - I'm in the throes of considering a colour change and have just been testing colours." When we entered the lounge, one wall was painted navy blue except for a large rectangle in the middle that was cream. My husband said, "Oh, you're looking to go to a neutral cream colour?" She replied."No, actually I was thinking of painting the lounge navy but didn't bother to take the mirror down until after applying the paint!". From: Michelle
Always check where you are going to need electrical sockets BEFORE you do your stopping and painting. My ex-husband (the DIYer to end all DIYers) forgot to check where the extractor fan socket went. I had to pay an electrician to come in and shift it one metre up the wall! Not to mention the fact that he glued the kitchen units to the wall BEFORE the kitchen had been stopped or painted! Talk about an obstacle course! From: Elizabeth
Clear as mud
My cousin was helping his Dad paint the house. Everything was fine up until his Dad asked him to sand the windows. Moments later, his Dad entered the room to find my cousin sanding the actual glass! From: Geoff
I had decided to take on renovating my Mum's house. Thinking I could do this all in 18 months or so while working full time, has proved a bigger task than expected. Deciding that I would sand back all the windowsills to their original rimu state seemed like a good idea. Anyone who has sanded windows will know what an awful job this is. While showing a friend one day the progress I had made, he kindly pointed out that I had scratched all the glass while sanding! I now know to keep the sandpaper well away from the glass. From: Emma
Our family recently replaced a large amount of fencing on our farm. It was my job during the school holidays to paint it all black with a spray gun. We had been having quite a few problems with the spray gun over the previous week and my father had been getting increasingly impatient with it. One morning while I was trying to get the gun cleared of hardened paint that I hadn't cleaned away properly the night before, my father stormed over exclaiming that he was sick of paying me (minimum wage mind you) and not getting any results. He had decided that he could fix it much faster. The only thing is that I hadn't told him that it was spraying in all directions due to the blockage. Well, next thing I turn around to find his full business suit covered in black paint half an hour before he was meant to be at a meeting. Needless to say he was not impressed! From: Jacob
Dad's little helper
My husband and I rent a house off his parent's family trust. My husband, full of energy one day, decided to strip all the mouldy wallpaper off our former bedroom. Keen to join in on the action was little Miss 18 month old Megan - our mischievous daughter. In next to no time the pair of them had removed an entire room of wallpaper. Megan was so pleased with herself that, while Mum and Dad were not watching, she got an urge to start stripping the hallway wallpaper off the walls, which is relatively new. But she didn't just strip one spot... Little Miss Megan stripped wallpaper at a height of below 2 feet all down the hallway - just over her height. Ever so pleased with herself Mum and Dad are now stuck with the task of repairing the bedroom and also the hallway, of which my husband's parents who own the house are currently unaware of the 'toddler alterations'. From: E Taylor
My dear husband was finishing off the odd bits that were in need of repair before we were to sell our home. He saw marks on the door frames and decided to get his ever handy Resene white paint out for a few touch up jobs. After completing those touch ups, he stood back and admired his work, then called the family in to admire it too. The potential owner popped around later that afternoon. After some small talk, she told how her partner had the gall to paint over some dirty marks on the doors, instead of finding a cloth to wipe up the mess. My dear husband looked sheepish and stood in front of his once admired paintwork and hoped she wouldn't notice. From: David and Sharyn
When the old man gets the paint and brush out I get that sick feeling of knowing what's about to happen. I cover up what I can and get told "Don't panic, you don't have any confidence in me"- yes, he's so right - I don't trust him. I still have the remains of paint on my lovely car when he was cleaning a paintbrush in turps and shook it all over the side of my car. He gave me one of those looks that he is so good at and told me that being waterbased paint it will wash off. Sure it would have, but not after it's been there a week or so! From: Anne
Buying our first home - a do-up 1913 double bay villa - for the princely sum of $80,000 we thought we'd scored a bargain. The inspections and valuations were all great, the area was nice and it had a lovely section with sea views. Prior to moving in, we looked at all the right books, planned renovations, budgets and colour schemes, determined to do it the right way from the start - not ending up with a large unfinished mess like everybody else did. Now four months into "The Project" we have (with the help of professionals) successfully done the following:
Had a wall and coal range removed to make a bigger kitchen/dining area resulting in 2 uneven ceiling heights with mismatched batons and a large hole in between. This now means an entire new false ceiling must be made.
Taken out the old bath, only to find there was no floor underneath it and the waste drainage pipe went straight onto the dirt floor.
Fitted two new sets of French doors according to the instructions accompanying them, only for them to warp and now not shut properly.
Bought a new toilet to replace the old cracked one. The plumber had fitted the bowl and then got the cistern out of its box to find it was cracked through the middle and unusable.
We had to use a bucket for one week while they got a new one from Italy (because there were none left in stock).
Taken down the scrim in the lounge and exposed a large hole in the wall, which now constitutes free air conditioning (except we're in Dunedin and don't need it).
Started ripping up the lino in the kitchen to expose the floorboards, finding out after doing about a third of it that it is asbestos based and needs to be removed professionally (costing a fortune).
Started heat gun stripping the hallway skirting and architraves, resulting in a small fire on the carpet.
So to summarise, we have started four different rooms, none anywhere near completion and have just had to tell the builder to stop due to us running out of money. We now understand the complexities and frustrations of DIY, and have joined everybody else in the everything started, nothing finished department. Time to call in good old Dad to lend a hand I think! From: Charlotte
About 1 year ago I went into hospital for a check up and found out I had to stay. I was told I was going to stay for about a fortnight. On my last day, my Mum came to pick me up and take me home. When I got home my room was BRIGHT lime GREEN!! It was this time last year I was in hospital and I've just been back in there with a broken arm! I'm now wondering what colour my room will be when I get home tomorrow! From: James
From pillar to post
My parents offered to help my husband and me build a fence down the driveway. A big working weekend was planned with the arrival of Mum and Dad at noon on Saturday. My husband and Dad started work with much enthusiasm on the first hole at 1pm. At 1:15pm, Dad walked up the stairs holding his head and said that he'd had a bit of a bump, but it should be fine. The A&E doctor gave him 4 stitches and some painkillers for the inevitable headache! Upon pulling up to the driveway, I found my husband and not-so-fit mother struggling, determined to get one post in. With a funny look on their faces they told me they were finishing up and would meet us inside. Once in, they told us that my husband tried to use the posthole borer by himself, nearly ripping his arm out of his socket and was now in a lot of pain. By 4pm we were all packed up inside the house admiring the handiwork from the big working weekend - a solitary pole standing at the top of the driveway - I'm sure it was laughing at us! From: Tracy
A few years ago my husband was working on a fishing boat and was away at sea. In those days we had an old fashioned flush toilet. It was one of those metal cisterns with a ball and chain and was high on the wall. It had started to rust and would drip on you as you sat on the toilet. It had become so bad that you had to put a bucket on your head as you sat there! My husband wasn't due back for several weeks, so I decided to fix it myself. I got some underwater putty, shut the water off and drained the cistern. The gap between the top of the cistern and the ceiling was only about a foot, so I couldn't look inside. I just had to feel my way around. I found the hole and filled it with putty. I refilled the cistern and the leak was gone. A triumph or so I thought. Later when I went to flush the toilet, the chain wouldn't yank. It was totally immobile. I now couldn't empty the cistern at all! So I had to put my arm in under the water and grope around. It was then that the workings of the toilet became clear and I realised that I had puttied the base plate to the bottom of the cistern. I then spent a day trying to gently chisel off the putty, while underwater and rammed against the ceiling. I did eventually manage it and went on to do the repair properly. We have since got a new toilet but the old one was quite a talking point. Children could never work out how to flush it. From: Beverley
Aim to catch redhanded
Moral of this story: DON'T LEAVE YOUR PAINT IN THE CAR!! I did - all 20 litres of it, and at 1.30am I got a knock on my door. I opened it to find two large policemen asking me if I owned a black Subaru station wagon? Yep, someone had nabbed my car and used it to rob the bakery down the road. My boyfriend and I jumped into his car and spent all night driving around town looking for my car but to no avail. The next morning I went up to the bakery to find out what had been stolen from them. "Just $20 in coins from the till" they said. I said "great" and bought a doughnut to distract me from my sorrow - "but they found the car that did it two blocks over". The doughnut and I flew out the door. Sure enough they had found my car... minus the 20 litres of paint, which was worth far more than the slim pickings that the bakery had provided. Somewhere out there is a thief's wife with a nice freshly painted lounge - on me. It was Resene paint too. From: Lee
While painting the back portion of the house this summer, the wife having just finished one side of the sunroom, decided she had better move onto the other side. Instead of putting the lid on the paint to move the still reasonably full pail of paint while trying to avoid the very large plank of wood in her way, she carefully moved over the deck so as not to spill the paint. Unfortunately she caught her foot on the side of the plank, and before she knew it her foot had received a rather impromptu coat of paint as had the unsealed deck. After a few profanities and a very red face, she flicked the paint loaded shoe off the deck and stumbled to settle the paint pail onto the deck where it continued to drip happily.
The kids came running to see what all the noise was about and upon seeing the mess quickly ran the hose and gathered up scrubbing brushes as the paint rapidly soaked into the deck. There the little gems stayed busily scrubbing away at the paint and getting rather wet in the process... a great way for them to spend a hot afternoon.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for me), while all this was happening I was stuck up on the carport painting the eaves... a pretty safe place to be in respect to the steam that was rising from the deck area. From: S Elliott
In the dogbox
About a month ago my partner and I brought a new house in Wellington. We spent about 3 months searching looking for the dream home and somewhere safe for our 3 pets - 1 dog and 2 cats. We found and promptly brought our house. The only thing was, there was no sheltered area outside to put the dog kennel. So I set about building one. The posts went in and the frame went up, and all that was left to do was the Laserlite roofing.
After waiting for a fine day I finally got out to put the roof on. The first 2 sheets went on with no problems at all. The last 2 however, required me getting up onto the roof to secure them down. After swinging off the support beams to make sure they would take my weight I hoisted myself up and got to work. With one sheet left, my partner came out with afternoon tea (good girl she is!) so I stood up to stretch. One of the support beams under me promptly gave way and sent me straight down onto one of the main beams... right between the legs!!! All the missus could do was laugh as I straddled this beam groaning in agony. I'm pleased to say that the beam held firm and after a week's R & R, the roof is now finished. From: Bruce
My 3 year old son saw that the paint and wallpaper was peeling off the wall and so he got some sticking plasters and stuck them to the wall. When I asked him why, he said "house hurts mummy". From: Karen
Three years ago I painted my bedroom a dusky blue colour (even the ceiling). Well, my painting isn't really that hot, but I swear there is a picture of a man on my ceiling. Last year my current fiancé walked into my life - and he is the spitting image of my DIY blunder on my ceiling. I think it's fate. From: Kirsty
Our 6 year old townhouse, which we were so proud of, is fast becoming a mess. The trouble is, when we had it built we ran out of money and had to seal, plaster and paint the exterior ourselves. We don't know what we did wrong, but with all the heavy rain this spring/summer, our home has sprung leaks all over and the edges of paintwork and carpet corners are becoming quite water damaged. Yes, we've tried to rectify the situation. We've had another job done to fix up the exterior, but we still have problems. Halfway down the two storeyed house there is a crack developing, just like a badly iced cake. Now we know we are going to have to re-do the job... or, taking our DIY work history into account, have the job re-done. We need all the help we can get! From: Jim and Diane
A shattering experience
Philip was 18 years old and two years into his Carpentry/Joinery apprenticeship. Like today's modern youth he thought he knew everything. One day while he was alone at the Joinery shop, the local farmer Sid came in and asked for old Bill. He wanted Bill to cut him some glass, a task Bill had often done before. Philip had never cut glass before in his life but he did know Sid gave old Bill $10 for cutting it for him. "It's no problem, Bill's not here but I can cut glass, no trouble at all," Philip said.
Sid had about 20 pieces of glass on the back of his truck and Philip was armed with a glasscutter he had been given, but never used. Sid gave Philip a number of sizes he needed the glass to be cut to then Philip started to work. Philip had no idea how the glasscutter worked. It did work over time, forward and backward, backward and forward but it didn't cut. Sid began to look worried and asked him if he knew what he was doing. Philip answered "don't worry it's all under control"... then the first piece broke, the second piece broke, the third and eventually they all had broken. Sid just looked at all the broken pieces with amazement and disbelief and so did I, because I had been looking on from a short distance away laughing so hard that I had started to cry.
The best laugh came last when Philip said to Sid. "Sorry they are all broken but I did try, so do I still get the $10?" To this day Sid has never answered Philip's question! From: Mike
In the dark
Birds eating tomatoes from garden. Went shopping, came home, hubby solving problem. Shade house erected approximately 3m x 3m, totally covering garden. Result: No ripe tomatoes all season! From: Jan
My husband and I have been renovating our house since we moved in. When we had completed the wash house and toilet area, John thought that it would look good if he put three screws and little plugs in them just along the tub in the wash house. He was using his drill and drilling them in when he heard some water dripping. He had finished the first then went on to the second one and the water dripping got worse. He then decided he had better take out the screw he just put in. Little Luke was watching Dad. The water came out the screw hole and hit the toilet wall that had just been papered.
John yelled for help but I was at the clothesline and didn't hear him so he sent Luke out to get me. Poor Luke just couldn't get the words out! I managed to say "Does Dad need me?" All Luke could do was nod. I went inside to a flood. I got some towels while John ran and turned the water off. Needless to say it was then a quick trip to the plumbing shop for some pipe, connectors and glue. Luke had great news for Kindy the next day. From: Meriani
Back in my varsity days, our landlord decided to do a bit of DIY around our flat. It was around exam time and we were all beavering away in our rooms studying. The landlord came and went and we pretty much had nothing to do with him. One particular day however, when he was beginning to paint the eaves of the roof, he bought his transistor radio with him, much to our disgust as we were all trying to cram knowledge into our beer soaked brains.
My flatmate needed a break and unbeknown to the rest of us decided to pop out and get some refreshments with the intent of annoying the landlord. She crept up below his ladder while he wasn't looking and turned his radio up to full volume, then ran away without him seeing. Instead of it having the desired effect of causing the landlord to descend muttering and cursing to turn the radio down, he just carried on seemingly unbothered. After about 5 minutes, my other flatmate, unaware of the events leading to the blaring radio, became highly frustrated and stormed out of the flat to give the painter a piece of her mind. How dare he be so loud, and inconsiderate, especially over exam time etc etc!!!! The poor landlord copped it well and truly, and the flatmate who had played the initial trick returned from the dairy to find a full on argument in progress! From: Anna
My husband and I bought an 80 year old villa with a wood panelled bathroom. As a first time DIYer and a perfectionist, I applied a small amount of paint stripper behind the bathroom door intending to 'test patch' an area before tackling what seemed like an enormous job. While doing this, the telephone rang. After a lengthy phone call with a good friend I returned to the bathroom to find that my 'helpful husband' had applied paint stripper to the entire bathroom. We soon discovered that there were approximately eight coats of paint that were literally impossible to remove - what a mess!! It took a lot of hard work to rectify his helping hand. From: Sarah
Getting a handle on the situation
We were staying at the bach and needed to get into the second garage. Pop had changed things around, but he's not the best DIY man there is. There was no place for a key and no handle. After two days of not being able to get in, the kids came up from the beach to wash their wetsuits around the side. At the front of the shed they found tape but no water. After some time we figured out that if you pulled the tape from the wall, a rod came out and this raised the door to the shed. Who would have known the tape was the handle to the door? From: Lisa and Gavin
Wet wet wet
I was painting up our chest of drawers during winter for my 2 year old son in Thomas colours using Resene testpots. I had finished the job after sanding and masking to get all the colours right. As the weather was getting bad, I shifted the chest and drawers inside the garage from under the carport so they wouldn't get wet. Two days later I went to get it to put inside when I noticed the garage had flooded and all the chest and drawers had warped out of shape and wouldn't fit - it would have been safer outside. What a waste of a lot of hard work! From: Mark
We had finished painting the interior of our bach and had quite a bit of paint left over. Our daughter decided it was just what she needed for her place, so my husband put two large plastic buckets of paint in the boot of her car. When she got home and went to get the paint out, it was to find that both cans had tipped over, and there was paint everywhere. The next day when we drove over to visit, we were puzzled to spot two lines of paint lasting all the way from our house to hers. Yes, it had dripped out onto the road and left a trail that lasted for absolutely ages. This caused great mirth to our family but great puzzlement to everyone else! From: Barbara
If you have a funny decorating story of your own to share we'd love to hear from you - submit your funny DIY story.
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