Before we moved into our house we definitely viewed the refurb project ahead of us through rose-tinted glasses. A lick of paint here, maybe knock down the odd wall, frolicking in the garden after a strenuous half hour of weed killing. How wrong we were. To do it properly takes time and unfortunately, it’s typically the crap jobs that take the longest. There are, however, the odd jobs that are genuinely very rewarding and things that you may actually choose to do with your spare time, maybe.
Generally speaking, we have got into a flow of splitting DIY jobs between ourselves based on what we’re best at/what’s least enjoyable. Caulking is an exception to this as it’s even more satisfying than spot squeezing so we squabble over who gets to do it. Just a couple of squeezes of caulk gun trigger and that tiny crack that’s been niggling you for weeks has gone forever. A cheeky sweep of the finger (this is starting to sound a bit dodge) and you’re left with a gloriously smooth finish over what was previously a horrid eyesore. Honestly, if you’ve never caulked before you haven’t lived.
Clearly it’s difficult to avoid innuendo in this post so I’m just going to embrace it. There wasn’t a smooth surface in our entire house when we moved in. Walls, skirting, architrave and even ceilings had dents/holes ranging from millimetres to a good few centimetres wide so we’ve become experts in knowing how to deal with this problem.
There’s nowt more pleasing than scraping some wood filler over a dent in the stairs or prodding some Polyfilla into holey wall. Wait for it to dry, a quick hand sand, lick of paint and you would never know it had existed. Such a pleasing job.
Despite having burnt my hand quite badly with a heat gun, I still think it’s a great job. Seeing loads of layers of old paint peel away in one long strip is glorious. At first I was pretty shit at it, but after an hour or two I was approaching Olympic standard heat gunning, taking off approx. 2 miles of paint with every scrape.
Okay so tiling isn’t always great. It can be ridiculously frustrating but when you nail it, you nail it.
The best bit is pushing the grout into the gaps. It’s insanely messy (especially with white tiles and black grout) but seeing the finished result once you’ve sponged off all the excess grout is summat else.
It took me 28 years to find out that I love working with wood. It started with our fitted wardrobes and now I find excuses to make stuff wherever possible including shelving, decking, gates etc. The feeling of creating something from scratch is so rewarding.
The great thing about wood is that it’s pretty forgiving if you cock-up and relatively cheap as long as you’re not buying some wildly exotic hardwood. If I could turn the clock back I wish I’d trained as a carpenter.
A day of concreting is pretty knackering but the satisfaction of laying a level and square pad for our garage move was glorious.
It ended up being cheaper to buy a cement mixer rather than hire one so plenty more concrete projects on the cards until I get forced to sell the bugger.
I’ve not done a great deal of chiselling but my little experience of it has left me wanting more. Our bedroom floorboards looked great but had some sizeable gaps between them which we decided to fill with pine slivers. After gluing and tapping them down into place, out came the chisel to gradually strip away at the sliver until flush with the floorboard. This may not sound particularly enjoyable but there’s something about removing those curly, translucent strips of pine that is irrationally pleasing.
Reading this back makes it very clear that I need to get out more. I guess that recognising these satisfying jobs within all the crappy, unrewarding jobs is what keeps us motivated