Starter Home Rookie Mistakes
I’ve recently purchased a new home and I’m in the process of sprucing up the place. Some things work out just fine and others, well, not so much. If you too just bought that “fixer upper”, you might want to continue on and learn from some of the mishaps that I’ve encountered on my journey, and maybe fill me (and the rest of the young, starting out world) in on some of your tips to turn this “project” into our “dream homes”!
I painted my entire house, wall to wall, ceiling to floor. Yes, I painted the floor, not on purpose of course. After a while you start to feel over confident in your painting ability (or maybe just lazy) and decide not to put the paper down on the floor to cover any spills that might happen, The First Pride Was A Riot Shirt. Please don’t do that or you’ll be paying for it later on, on your hands and knees scrubbing away. I recommend “Goof-Off”, by the way, if you do decide to go this route. Just put the paper down!
I learned about this great invention called PRIMER. Primer goes on the walls and ceiling before you start painting. This may sound like extra work (and it is), but what a difference it will make to cover up all those spots and smells from the previous owner. Too bad I learned about this AFTER I was 3/4 done painting.
Even before the primer, make sure you spackle the walls and ceiling to fill in any holes that may be there. Don’t forget to sand it down to make that wall straighter than Bill Clinton. If you have to, hire a real professional (not dad) to do this, for it makes all the difference.
Ut-oh, might want to turn off that fuse box!
You did take off all those electrical outlets and light switch panels before you painted, right? Well, if you got most of them, you’re already better off than me. Now I recommend changing those outlets and switches to brand new shiny ones. I had my brother change all those outlets and switches, not that I’m scared or anything, I would’ve rather had him get shocked than me (brotherly love). What a difference it makes by having new outlets and light switch panels for a mere 68 cents a piece.
Light fixtures and Fans on the other hand, not so cheap, but do make your rooms look a lot sweeter. I did put these up myself, so I’m pretty sure anyone can do it, I just recommend having someone there to hold it up as you put in that fan or fixture so you don’t drop it, Having 2 hands to work on wires is better than 1 (and not to mention twice the potential of being shocked).
Microwave, Refrigerator, Oven
My father did my whole kitchen over including installing the cabinets and counter top, microwave into the wall, sink, tiles, pretty much everything. I was at work during most of this so I don’t really know how he did it, just know that hey, he’s good for something ($). It really turned out amazing though, and I recommend everyone to do over their kitchen (it makes the little woman happier as well).
I got to do the wallpaper for the kitchen. I recommend buying an immense amount, especially if it’s your 1st time doing this (much will end up in the garbage). I hear people do this in less than an hour. Well it took me over a week! Make sure that 1st piece you put up isn’t crooked (remember, be Bill Clinton) so the rest of this job you do won’t end up looking like the leaning tower of pisa. Then when you go to hang up pictures, you have to hang them up crooked to compensate!
All in all, my wallpaper job didn’t come out that bad (next time I’d just paint it, GOOF-OFF baby!)
Don’t rip off all the old curtains in your house and throw them away, just to realize you spent all your money on way too much wallpaper, and now you can’t afford to get new ones. After 2 grueling weeks of not being able to walk around the house naked, I finally went to my local Kmart and bought some nice curtains for all the rooms. I strongly recommend measuring your windows 1st. I bought 4 curtains for my room and didn’t realize it, but 1 window is twice the length of my other. When I went back to the store to buy another 1 to cover the entire window, they were out of stock Ever since I’ve been returning to Kmart, and to my distress they’re always out of stock (I think they discontinued this set)
Measure everything so you don’t get stuck out there without a complete set (or don’t shop at Kmart, your choice).
Repeat after me
“The Grass is Green”
Find out when the best time to plant grass seed is. I, of course didnt, and found a “great deal” on grass seed. I bought a ton of it, planted it in the beginning of July, and it all burnt up and turned brown come August. I’m going to try again next year, a little earlier, perhaps. So now I ask you, what color’s your grass?
Invest in a Nail Gun!
Before you start, find a dump near you that will take construction waste. If you don’t, you might drive to your local dump with a truck full of “goodies” for them, just for them to send you to another sanitation sight a half an hour away. After that, (and I can’t stress this enough) invest in a nail gun! The world’s wimpiest man doesn’t need the workout he’d get from hammering in the massive amount of nails you’ll need for this job. (By the way, I’m stronger than ever now. Bring it Ah-nold!)
Don’t start your roof on a windy, Autumn day. You may think this is obvious for safety reasons (and your right, no one likes the embarrassment of going to the emergency room because you fell off your roof), but my reason is simply because you’ll be sweeping leaves off your roof all day, which is cutting into your quality hammering time. (you did get that nail gun right? Good.) So unless you’re a janitor and think you need some practice, wait for a nice day to do the job.
I may sound a little paranoid, but make sure the power lines on your house are fully insulated. You don’t want to end up like my brother. He was simply throwing the shingle half way off the roof to measure how much he needed to cut off, when he hit the power lines on the side, leading to my house, First Pride! The shingle clapped the lines together, and I swear it was July 4th all over again at my Uncle’s house (explosions happening way too close for comfort). Luckily, we weren’t drunk and got away from that craziness. So call your energy provider BEFORE you go near wires on the roof if you see anything that you may think is dangerous.
Now that my roof is completely in tact, I never want to go up there again. May I recommend investing in the best roof possible. 30, 50, 100 year warranty even! Don’t even make your grandkids go up there to repeat that nonsense. Your goal is to make sure that roof outlasts your grandkids grandkids! That is unless you plan to sell it, then put a cheap roof up there and let the next owners deal with it. HA!
Don’t think, just click.
You’ve been warned.
Make your life a lot easier. buy a nail gun before you decide to put up a new roof, or do any work that involves a lot of nailing.
Siding and windows.
My father asked me to rip off the window panels to get an accurate measurement so he can order new windows for me. After I broke half the panels and did my measurments, he managed to come over the next night and get THE CORRECT measurements and order new windows.
A few days later, we decided to rip the siding down in the front of the house. So I did this myself, very easy, rips right off. Problem? You bet! Turns out theres no insulation, or anything for that matter, underneath my windows. Now I have huge gaping holes underneath all my windows. At night the temperature has been reaching about 25 degrees! So, it’s either have huge holes in my house and freeze, or put broken window panels back up. I went with “Option C”, and that’s stick old sweatshirts in between the holes and bought the biggest space heater Home Depot had to offer.
Please know what’s going on in between the walls before you start ripping things down and not having the materials right away to put up (helps a little if you’re careful when taking off your window panels as well).
We’ll be putting up the siding and windows soon, bound to screw something up, I’ll let you know.
Red, Red De-e-eck
sing it like UB40
Stay together for me-e-e.
Don’t let me fall through.
I won’t tear you apart.
You’ll be a true work of art.
Red, Red deck you’re going to look so fine, have fun parties, all of the time….ok that’s enough. So i started painting my deck red (if you couldn’t tell) and never finished. The only thing more embarrassing than having an old, ratty deck, is having an old, ratty deck half painted! So I guess the moral of this story is to start what you finish. Don’t be lazy and don’t make up excuses to not finish it (The Price is Right will be on tomorrow). Afterwards, you can enjoy all the red wine you want on your freshly painted, shiny, like-new deck.
P.S. The song is now stuck in my head too, it’s okay.
I’m sure I didn’t add nearly as many mistakes as I’ve made with this new house. I’ll be updating often and as I work on new projects. I just hope you’ve learned something through my mistakes, (no, not that Bill Clinton’s starter home must’ve been amazing) and that’s HIRE A PROFESSIONAL! For everything and anything, no job too small! I, of course won’t, due to the lack of funds and the pride that so stubbornly won’t disintegrate.