Author Topic: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?  (Read 8063 times)

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« on: March 21, 2017, 06:05:06 AM »
My husband and I are moving into a new house and, well, let's say it's got a lot of potential. We haven't got loads of money to spend but I have got a lot of time and enjoy DIY so we're trying to decide what's worth doing to the house. I'm 5'2" and not particularly strong. I'd say I'm a practical person and while I've not done any of these before (we've never had a house we can change), I've done woodwork and painted furniture and so on.

So, how hard are these things going to be to do single-handed? If there's anything that'll be a nightmare with one person but a doddle with two I can ask my dad to help but I don't want to use up all my favours at once.

- Take up carpet
- Lay laminate flooring in rooms
- Lay laminate flooring up stairs
- Paint stairs and attach stair runner (goes round a corner)
- Replace interior door (including adding door handle)
- Paint walls
- Paint ceilings
- Replace light fixtures
- Add ceiling rose
- Put up picture rail (decorative)
- Paint kitchen cupboards (doors only)
- Replace cupboard door handles in kitchen
- Put up a washing line
- Put built in shelves under the stairs

I'd just like some estimation of difficulty for one person to factor into my "is it worth douing?" calculations.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7880
  • Location: United States
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 06:33:28 AM »
I'm 5'0" and very weak and I've done some of the things on your list. Most are no problem, IMO.

- Take up carpet   -  (I had to cut it out in squares, where DH did rooms where he just took out giant strips. So it took me much longer.)
- Lay laminate flooring in rooms  (I was slow, but it got done.)
- Lay laminate flooring up stairs  (DH did this one, but the idea is about the same as the floors. Your size shouldn't matter.)
- Paint stairs and attach stair runner (goes round a corner)  (Haven't done this)
- Replace interior door (including adding door handle)  (I couldn't do a solid wood door, but I've done lightweight doors. Handles aren't hard.)
- Paint walls (no problems!)
- Paint ceilings  (I had to outsource this one, as I have neck problems, but telescoping tools mean your size shouldn't matter.)
- Replace light fixtures  (DH always does this, so I can't say.)
- Add ceiling rose (If you have proper ladders/scaffolding, shouldn't be an issue.)
- Put up picture rail (decorative)  (I haven't done this, but I'm sure you could.)
- Paint kitchen cupboards (doors only)  (No problem. Done this.)
- Replace cupboard door handles in kitchen  (No problem. Done this.)
- Put up a washing line  (I don't know what this means.)
- Put built in shelves under the stairs  (As long as you can carry them, shouldn't be an issue. I love furniture sliders, but in our house we have to get things downstairs, and that can be hard.)

andy85

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Louisville, KY
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 06:37:56 AM »
they all honestly sound doable for 1 person, although some of them may take forever going at it solo: laying flooring, pulling up carpet, painting cabinets...things like that. You may need another person to help move all of the pulled up carpet out of the house...but i think everything else is totally doable. Putting up a door by yourself can be a bit tricky to balance and align, but not impossible. If you have the time, then you should be able to do about everything on the list.

cerat0n1a

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1307
  • Location: England
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2017, 06:38:32 AM »
My husband and I are moving into a new house and, well, let's say it's got a lot of potential. We haven't got loads of money to spend but I have got a lot of time and enjoy DIY so we're trying to decide what's worth doing to the house. I'm 5'2" and not particularly strong. I'd say I'm a practical person and while I've not done any of these before (we've never had a house we can change), I've done woodwork and painted furniture and so on.

So, how hard are these things going to be to do single-handed? If there's anything that'll be a nightmare with one person but a doddle with two I can ask my dad to help but I don't want to use up all my favours at once.

- Take up carpet
- Lay laminate flooring in rooms
- Lay laminate flooring up stairs
- Paint stairs and attach stair runner (goes round a corner)
- Replace interior door (including adding door handle)
- Paint walls
- Paint ceilings
- Replace light fixtures
- Add ceiling rose
- Put up picture rail (decorative)
- Paint kitchen cupboards (doors only)
- Replace cupboard door handles in kitchen
- Put up a washing line
- Put built in shelves under the stairs

I'd just like some estimation of difficulty for one person to factor into my "is it worth douing?" calculations.

I'd say you could do all of those things, based on your description.

Taking up carpet is unskilled, but potentially heavy. Laminate flooring for a normal room with straight walls is not too difficult, provided you can measure and cut accurately and don't rush it. Likewise shelves. The most difficult job on the list, IMO, is hanging a door. There's plenty of online guides on how to do it, but it does require you to cut out a mortise on the door and frame to put the hinge into - and to be able to lift the door up.

shawndoggy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 303
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 06:39:54 AM »
the "hard" stuff on your list is definitely the laminate flooring and shelf building.

Finally in my 40s I decided no more cheap tools.  Pros don't use cheap tools.  Fancy tools won't turn my work to pro level, but they at least remove one of the barriers.

If you are doing the flooring, I'd definitely invest in a nice miter saw.

On the painting, pretty much anybody can do that.  Paint before you pull the carpet and then you don't even really need to worry about making a mess.

CowboyAndIndian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1332
  • Location: NJ, USA
    • KOWines: Deep discount wine/spirits store.
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 06:44:01 AM »

- Take up carpet
- Lay laminate flooring in rooms
- Lay laminate flooring up stairs
- Paint stairs and attach stair runner (goes round a corner)
- Replace interior door (including adding door handle)
- Paint walls
- Paint ceilings
- Replace light fixtures
- Add ceiling rose
- Put up picture rail (decorative)
- Paint kitchen cupboards (doors only)
- Replace cupboard door handles in kitchen
- Put up a washing line
- Put built in shelves under the stairs


None of these are in the hard category.  Buy some basic tools, a cordless drill driver and a mitre saw. For painting, get good quality brushes.

Painting should be the easiest. Just you tube how to paint. Use high quality paints, since with a good paint you can get away with lesser coats compared to cheaper paint.

I would put these three as the hardest
- Lay laminate flooring in rooms
- Lay laminate flooring up stairs
- Replace interior door (including adding door handle)

They are not physically limiting, but you have to cut laminate and that would need some skill.

MightyAl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 133
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 07:23:12 AM »

- Take up carpet
- Lay laminate flooring in rooms
- Lay laminate flooring up stairs
- Paint stairs and attach stair runner (goes round a corner)
- Replace interior door (including adding door handle)
- Paint walls
- Paint ceilings
- Replace light fixtures
- Add ceiling rose
- Put up picture rail (decorative)
- Paint kitchen cupboards (doors only)
- Replace cupboard door handles in kitchen
- Put up a washing line
- Put built in shelves under the stairs

- Taking up carpet is fairly easy.  I layed carpet for a couple summers and we would roll the whole thing up and take it out with a couple guys.  If you want to do it by yourself then cut the carpet into manageable strips and roll it up. 
- laminate flooring is not bad on a floor
- laminate flooring on stairs will be tedious because there will be a lot of cuts but if you take your time it is not hard
- Painting is not hard but make sure you invest in good tools.  Don't buy the cheapest brush and roller.  A good brush if maintained will last years and makes cutting in worlds easier.  A good roller will hold paint and put it on evenly.
- Hanging a new door is a little involved and recessing hinges and cutting holes for handles is a little more technical and difficult if you don't have the right tools.  This one could be better off hiring out or asking for a favor.
- You already have the tools for paining so all of these painting tasks are cake now.
- Light fixtures are fairly simple once you understand what is involved.  Safety is paramount here and always make sure the breaker is turned off especially in an older house because who knows what is going on with the circuits. 
- Ceiling rose is fairly simple and straightforward but could get tricky if the drywall is wavy
- Do you mean chair rail?  If so this is a bit involved in order to get right. 
- Painting again.  No problem.
- Putting hardware on cabinets is not bad.  I always make a jig so I can get the holes put in the same place every time and get it done quickly.  If there is already hardware and holes then the easiest  way to go is to replace with hardware that has the same mounting otherwise you need cover plates, new doors, or try to fill the holes and paint.
- Wash line and shelves.  Easy.

Go get em.  There is no better feeling then finishing a DIY job at home.  At least for me there isn't.

paddedhat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2233
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 07:48:07 AM »
All of these projects are quite doable for a single human. The picture rail, crown molding, or similar can be a bit of a shit show when done alone. Your best friend is a prop to hold the other end of the moldings. An adjustable, telescoping extension handle for a paint roller can be pretty useful in this case.

I would strongly advise that you give some second thoughts to using laminate on the stairs. I'm no fan of the stuff in general, but stairs are often a disaster. The proprietary nosing is ridiculously obscenely expensive. It takes a lot of professional trim carpenter grade skills to end up with a well done job, and the entire installation is often far from durable, with prematurely worn and loose nosings being a common feature on many installations I have seen. 

trollwithamustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 646
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 07:55:50 AM »
They are all totally doable. When in doubt measure again and allow yourself time to figure it out. (seriously, who cares if you do it 10% or 200% slower than a pro? you did it for your self)

Consider painting before you replace the floors... if there is an oops. Not that I have ever done that. nope.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 08:20:14 AM »

All of this is doable....  I've pretty much done all of it single handed.

Trim work and setting doors will be much easier to handle single handed if you have a finishing nail gun.  Even a brad nailer would help.  You wouldn't want the door held in place with brads, but they'd be enough for you to get it in one place and plumb, then come back and sturdy it up with finish nails/screws.

Noahjoe

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 64
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 08:45:38 AM »
All of this can be done. A few things:

1. Learn what tools you need to do it correctly. Buy good tools (there are a few exceptions which you can find out about on various handyman forums or youtube). An air compressor, finish nailer, miter saw, good level, good cordless drills/impact drivers are fabulous investments.
2. If something is a struggle, there's ALWAYS an easier way. Youtube this easier way. Whether it's calculating cuts, hanging a door, how to lay your laminate, building square boxes/drawers, etc.
     b. You can generally tell if a Youtuber is full of shit. Use good judgment.
3. Family Handyman is a terrific magazine for a novice, because it teaches you the tricks of the trade.
4. If you happen to live near a Menards/small lumberyard, their employees generally have knowledge relating to their department. They are VERY helpful in my experience. If you live near a Home Depot or Lowes, just use Youtube.

I'll say it again: if something seems like a real struggle, there's ALWAYS an easier way.

Linea_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4706
  • Location: Norway
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 08:54:11 AM »
The only thing I'm unsure about is the ceiling rose. The rest is totally doable if you take your time to do it properly. Preparation is half the work, with painting sometimes more than half the work. L
We have done most of the things on your list. My husband is an engineer and pretty handy and likes to do things properly. I am not a handy person, but have helped with his instructions. The result has always been very neat.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 11:28:02 AM »
Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I was also wondering - several people have mentioned painting walls before doing the floor. Is there anything else about order that will make a big difference? Like, if you decide to put up a picture rail you should/shouldn't paint the wall first?

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6086
  • Location: BC
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2017, 11:39:37 AM »
A second person is nice for carpet take up. Very heavy work unless you cut very small.

Also an interior door is easier if someone holds it level while you adjust. Especially if you are doing the whole thing with replacing jamb and shims, too.

Laminate takes a long time. One or two person can be the same pace, but double the overall speed, if you work independently, except that with two you may split who cuts and carries and who lays as getting up and down on your knees is tiring and takes a lot of time.

 Painting cupboards is more about prep and knowing what products to use, it turns out great or horrible, independent of your skill - more about knowledge.

I would try it all.

ETA -- corrected for severe grammatical errors!  OMG.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 10:50:37 PM by Goldielocks »

Kroaler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 778
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2017, 02:22:57 PM »
Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I was also wondering - several people have mentioned painting walls before doing the floor. Is there anything else about order that will make a big difference? Like, if you decide to put up a picture rail you should/shouldn't paint the wall first?

Your not doing all this but here is the order for a normal "Flip"
http://www.homefixers.com/downloads/homefixers_fifty_steps.pdf

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2017, 04:22:04 PM »
Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I was also wondering - several people have mentioned painting walls before doing the floor. Is there anything else about order that will make a big difference? Like, if you decide to put up a picture rail you should/shouldn't paint the wall first?

Your not doing all this but here is the order for a normal "Flip"
http://www.homefixers.com/downloads/homefixers_fifty_steps.pdf

Wow, what a useful document! Thanks so much!

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11535
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2017, 05:18:14 PM »
Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I was also wondering - several people have mentioned painting walls before doing the floor. Is there anything else about order that will make a big difference? Like, if you decide to put up a picture rail you should/shouldn't paint the wall first?

Your not doing all this but here is the order for a normal "Flip"
http://www.homefixers.com/downloads/homefixers_fifty_steps.pdf

Wow, what a useful document! Thanks so much!

That is awesome! Thanks for sharing it. I wish I'd seen it months ago!

Dreamer - have you been following the Barnhouse thread? We've done much of what you are contemplating - and some that you are not. I would say most of your list is at the basic DIY level with some encroaching on the advanced level. All of it I would be comfortable doing single-handed. But I like to work alone.

seattlecyclone

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4686
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2017, 05:31:51 PM »
All these things are very doable. I've done many of them myself with no previous experience. One general piece of advice is to start in an area where mistakes would be less visible, if possible. For example if you've never painted a room before you might want to start with a bedroom, or even a closet. You will make some small mistakes and you will learn from them. By the time you get to the living room you'll be better at it and the result will look nicer.

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4895
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2017, 06:10:47 PM »

- Take up carpet
Only a problem if the padding underneath it is covered in pee stains... :)   This is easy.

- Lay laminate flooring in rooms
Easy.  Is this a floating floor, or will you be nailing it down?  You may want a pneumatic hammer instead of a honking big mallet if you are nailing.

- Lay laminate flooring up stairs
More custom fits, so much slower than a floor.   I'm guessing this is nailed or glued down? 

- Paint stairs and attach stair runner (goes round a corner)
Painting is straightforward.  Never done a stair runner.  That's the carpet on the stair treads?  Why do both laminate floor and carpet?  Just more stuff to wear out and vacuuming carpet on stairs is a pain.

- Replace interior door (including adding door handle)
Easy.

- Paint walls
Your shoulders will get sore, but otherwise easy.  Haven't tried painting interior walls with a paint sprayer, but I hear it's faster and easier.  A bit worried about breathing in paint , though...

- Paint ceilings
Ditto, only more soreness.

- Replace light fixtures
Usually easy, occasionally hard.  Depends on how much of a hash the last person who worked on it  made of it.

- Add ceiling rose
Don't know.

- Put up picture rail (decorative)
Not even sure what that is.

- Paint kitchen cupboards (doors only)
Easy.

- Replace cupboard door handles in kitchen
Easy.

- Put up a washing line
Do you have to dig holes and put up posts?  Or do you have ready-made end connection points.  Easy if you do, a bit harder if you don't.  The tasks are easy, but concrete comes in REALLY heavy bags that might well give you a problem.  (Me too!)

- Put built in shelves under the stairs
Unless the access to it is really awkward, pretty easy.

If you want the final results enough to pay for the tools and materials, it's worth doing.    All of the skills you will learn will be worth it to know.

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1557
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2017, 10:03:50 AM »
YouTube has lots of very helpful videos - but you will need to go thru some not-so-helpful ones.
Yard/garage sales and estate sales are very good for finding some great deals on tools - old hand tools were made better than the new ones are. 
There are many tools you can rent that make certain jobs easier, faster, better.
If NextDoor (.com & app) is active in your area, they are a great source of info and referrals.  Very good to have if a project turns out more complicated than you expected (which has a way of happening).
Also, you can often learn things just from getting an estimate; what they'd do, how they'd do it...  it's also encouraging to know how much money you're saving.
Or you can offer to pay an experienced professional for an evaluation and recommendation.

Tiger Stache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
  • Location: NOLA
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2017, 12:23:36 PM »
- Take up carpet No
- Lay laminate flooring in rooms No, just may be tedious
- Lay laminate flooring up stairs No, just may be tedious
- Paint stairs and attach stair runner (goes round a corner) Doesn't sound like it would be
- Replace interior door (including adding door handle) might be tough getting door aligned, and how heavy would it be?
- Paint walls No
- Paint ceilings No, as long as you have ladder
- Replace light fixtures Probably not
- Add ceiling rose Probably not
- Put up picture rail (decorative) No
- Paint kitchen cupboards (doors only)  No
- Replace cupboard door handles in kitchen No
- Put up a washing line No
- Put built in shelves under the stairs Probably not

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2017, 12:38:16 PM »
The stairs thing is an either/or - either to do laminate up the stairs or to paint them (and put a runner down if the paint is too slippery). The advice on here and watching a few Youtube videos makes me think I will end up weeping if I try to laminate the stairs, so paint it shall be, I reckon. Haven't had a chance to look under the carpet yet, though, and not sure what I'll find...

cerat0n1a

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1307
  • Location: England
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2017, 01:32:00 PM »
Haven't had a chance to look under the carpet yet, though, and not sure what I'll find...

We lived with a seventies monstrosity of fireplace for about a year, before unscrewing it from the wall to find a very nice stone fireplace hidden behind it, the kind of thing that people pay thousands of pounds to have installed. You might find that under your carpets are some nice floorboards that can be sanded & varnished instead of putting down laminate.

PDXTabs

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 898
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2017, 02:59:33 PM »
My mom is 5'2" and 65 years old. She definitely does all that stuff. You will need a second hand when moving the laminate flooring.

Frugal Lizard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1639
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2017, 03:21:23 PM »
I am 5'4" and used to be very thin, now a little more rounded but not much muscle to speak of. I am much more able now that I weigh more than 108 pounds.
And I have done some of the jobs on the list before I gained all this padding.
All of the jobs require some muscle and endurance.  If I haven't painted a room in a long time, my wrist gets tired doing the cutting in between the ceiling and the walls.

 Take up carpet
- hardest part was getting it out of the house - reeking of cat urine - and it was closest to my face carrying it up the basement stairs.  Getting it up off the floor was fairly easy with full protective gear and vise grips and not being frugal on the blades of the cutting knife. 

- Lay laminate flooring in rooms
I put down a cork floor in our sunroom by myself last year and that just took time.  I only had a few extra pieces because I bought the last of a lot for super cheap so I couldn't make a cutting mistake.

- Lay laminate flooring up stairs
I was not able to do this as the tread kit did not fit our stairs so Hubs took over and had to run all the risers through a planer to make them thinner.  so that was a fail

- Paint stairs and attach stair runner (goes round a corner)
Have painted steps - and added some clean sand into the paint to make them not slippery.  I used oil paint for the durability but I don't think you can buy it anymore.  Sorry no experience with carpeting.

- Replace interior door (including adding door handle)
Have not done this.  My hubs likes me to help him hold things every now and then when he does a door swap.  I have replaced the handles/dead bolt including installing new.  I rely on Hubs to keep the chisel sharp.

- Paint walls
Easy work IMO - but watch some videos to pick up some tricks to get a really superior result and buy a good paint brush. 

- Paint ceilings
Fairly easy - but buy a good roller cage and telescopic extension arm that easily attaches and doesn't collapse mid-roll.  Do not cheap out on the gear or the paint. And if you get a ladder - look for a sturdy but lighter ladder.  I hate our ladder, it is so heavy.  I have difficulty getting it down from the hangers in the garage and have pinched my fingers so many times trying to make it taller.

- Replace light fixtures
If the fixture is heavy, I need help.  I get tired really quickly with my arms over my head and have next to no strength working overhead.  We both hate Ikea light fixtures because they are so damn complicated to install but it has nothing to with skills or strength.

- Add ceiling rose
Never done this but with the right glue and some careful measuring and a light weight nailer it might be possible.  I would think having a really good tape measure that doesn't collapse constantly would be critical.

- Put up picture rail (decorative)
Hubs and I did this together because we made our own plate rails from crappy lumber that was free.  Getting the wonky long pieces on the crooked old walls so that it looked straight was a major PITA even with four hands. 

- Paint kitchen cupboards (doors only)
Tip:  number the doors on a non-visible edge so that you can put them back on the right cupboard including the drawers.  I did our bathroom vanity for a brand new but highly frugal result.  There were only two drawers and appear to be the same but not exactly as it turned out.  Fortunately figuring out just two drawers was pretty easy. 

- Replace cupboard door handles in kitchen
Piece of cake - hardest part is finding inexpensive replacements with the same distance between the screws but if you are painting the fronts you can fill the old holes and drill new ones.  Make a jig so that the holes are all in exactly the same place.

- Put up a washing line
I put in the umbrella drying line by myself - including restoring the lawn.  But the big pulley one with the lift drilled into the brick wall and the other end up a huge dead tree trunk - didn't do that myself.  The umbrella thing works great.  When we did the big high traditional line, I was still off the feeling that clotheslines had to be in the back yard and there wasn't room for an umbrella one.  When our dryer broke, I decided to get more drying space and the front yard was where there was space and sunshine.  Hubs didn't say much when he came home and it was installed but confessed he wouldn't have put it there if I had asked him.

- Put built in shelves under the stairs
Haven't done this myself.

I started out pretty afraid of power tools.  What I have found is they are less intimidating if I am wearing ear protection and I am the one turning them on.  I have not yet overcome my fear of the router or the table saw but I am fairly comfortable with the chop saw, drills, sawsall, skill saw, jig saw and vibrating sanders.  The nailer and compressor are kind of freaky but I just take a deep breath and hit the trigger.  The belt sander is pretty scary and I avoid it.  The hammer thingy with explosive things and the tile saw are just too loud.

Biggest thing for me is to take it slowly and work at my pace. 

If my arms are getting too tired, I just take a break. 

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2017, 05:08:46 PM »
Haven't had a chance to look under the carpet yet, though, and not sure what I'll find...

We lived with a seventies monstrosity of fireplace for about a year, before unscrewing it from the wall to find a very nice stone fireplace hidden behind it, the kind of thing that people pay thousands of pounds to have installed. You might find that under your carpets are some nice floorboards that can be sanded & varnished instead of putting down laminate.

Here's hoping! But half the rooms have laminate already, so I'm assuming there is not some glory underneath the carpet, and also it would be nice to match the laminate in the other rooms.

Frugal Lizard: Thanks, this is all really helpful advice. I think I'm starting to get an order of priority, based on necessity, cost and difficulty!

Linea_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4706
  • Location: Norway
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2017, 02:15:21 AM »
About paint:

Please use water based paint. It is 100% more easy to clean brushes then with oil based paint.

When you have a paint job over several days, you don't need to clean the brush in between. Just wrap the brush in plastic and put it in the fridge. Professional painters do this too.

There is a special floor paint available, which tolerates more than normal paint. Use that on the staircase.

redbird

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2017, 07:57:37 AM »
Don't own a house right now (working on it!) but I owned a house in the past. The living room area had a TERRIBLE looking floor. It was very solid and fine structurally, it just badly needed to be sanded and refinished. The previous owners just covered it up with a very large rug. Husband and I didn't have the tools or knowledge to sand/finish the floor. So instead, he bought laminate floor and installed it himself. He did the job almost exclusively alone. I helped him in minor ways with cutting, but it was mostly all him. I can't remember how long it took him since he did this about 10 years ago now. It definitely took him at least a month to do, since he only had time to work on it on the weekends and he took it slow since he'd never done it before. He had to buy a saw to do it, but the expensive saw purchase was worth it since he's used it for lots of other projects over the years.

So I think you can do it, but I agree that it's one of the harder things you'll have to do. Take it slow, measure the room and parts out carefully, and make sure you have a little bit more than you need since 1) you'll most likely mess up a few pieces accidentally since you'll be learning and 2) walls generally aren't built perfectly straight. You'll end up having to cut some pieces smaller to fill gaps and may not be able to use the parts you chopped off later depending on the size/shape.

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2914
  • Location: WDC
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2017, 02:14:34 PM »
About paint:

Please use water based paint. It is 100% more easy to clean brushes then with oil based paint.

When you have a paint job over several days, you don't need to clean the brush in between. Just wrap the brush in plastic and put it in the fridge. Professional painters do this too.

There is a special floor paint available, which tolerates more than normal paint. Use that on the staircase.

A few more painting tips:

As soon as you open a can of paint, use a hammer to tap the blade of a screwdriver through the rim of the can.  So when you pour the paint out of the can, the stuff in the rim goes back into the can rather than down the sides of the can. 

when you're done with the paint and putting it away for a while, close the lid tightly, then store the can upside down.  If there are any air holes, they will immediately be "sealed" with the paint, and your paint will stay fresh much longer and won't dry out.

Linea_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4706
  • Location: Norway
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2017, 02:02:31 AM »
I forgot to mention some things:

Buy good quality brushes. They paint a lot better than el-cheapo brushes that loose hair during painting and are also more precise. But don't forget to clean them properly when you finished painting. If you will likely not clean well, then you'd better buy the cheap brushes.

You'll need different size brushes, one for the bigger surfaces and one for the small edges.

Invest in a lot of painter's tape. We think the cheapest tape with the highest turnover works best.

There is also plastic floor cover on a role that has integrated tape. This is very smart. Alternative is to just buy plastic and tape it to the wall yourself, which is a bit of a hassle.

Walls are easiest to paint with a roller. What kind of roller depends on the surface of the wall. The more uneven the surface is and the more paint is needed to cover it, the more fluffy the roller should be. For a flat surface this is not necessary. For any corners of the wall, you'll need a normal brush and in some cases a small roller.

Rollers can also be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge over night. And need to be cleaned well afterwards. Than they can last for years. If treated well, good painting tools are a good investment, as they let you paint the house by yourself with a neat result.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2017, 08:51:03 AM »
This is great! I'm really excited now! So, I think the plan is (not in order):

Take up the carpet, laminate the rooms and paint the stairs (floor paint, so no runner unless we find we need one later)
Paint all the walls and ceilings
Put up picture rails downstairs but not upstairs
Paint the kitchen cupboards and replace the handles if I can find some with the exact same hole spacing and size

Seems like an achievable amount of work for me to do single-handed and are all in the "will make a huge difference" category.

Shinplaster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1332
  • Location: up in Canada complaining about the weather
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2017, 02:07:10 PM »
If you are painting ceilings white, get the tinted ceiling paint.  It will be pink (or whatever colour a particular brand uses) while wet, but white when dry.  Makes it so much easier to see where you've been, and not miss spots.

When using a roller, keep the handle/attachment to roller side opposite from the wet edge. (if you are painting left to right, handle on the right.) There will be slightly more pressure on that end, and it can leave lines in the paint.  If you keep the lines on the leading edge, you smooth them out as you go.

Post photos when you're done - I love seeing how paint and small renovations can improve a space.

Linea_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4706
  • Location: Norway
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2017, 04:18:39 AM »
This is great! I'm really excited now! So, I think the plan is (not in order):

Take up the carpet, laminate the rooms and paint the stairs (floor paint, so no runner unless we find we need one later)
Paint all the walls and ceilings
Put up picture rails downstairs but not upstairs
Paint the kitchen cupboards and replace the handles if I can find some with the exact same hole spacing and size

Seems like an achievable amount of work for me to do single-handed and are all in the "will make a huge difference" category.

It is smart to start with painting the ceiling. The paint will drip. You can buy rollers and a long handle bar, so that you can stand on the floor. This will save you from pain in your arms. My DH could paint the second floor (second building layer) of our house that way on the outside. It beats standing on a staircase. Although you will need the staircase for the finer detailed painting of the rims.

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 442
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2017, 11:03:17 PM »
I spent about 2 years reno'ing my place top to bottom

- Take up carpet
easy
- Lay laminate flooring in rooms
- Lay laminate flooring up stairs
depends on the laminate.  i had one that the entire row had to be clipped together before being clipped to the finished sections.  that needed 2 people.  if you don't have one that clips at the end it can easily be a one person job.  try to have your cutting station near by if possible otherwise you do a lot of running to get cuts done between rows.  chop saws or mitre saws are SO WORTH IT FOR THIS!!!!  easy cuts accurately each time
- Paint stairs and attach stair runner (goes round a corner)
- Replace interior door (including adding door handle)
simple.  its lining up two peices and putting some screws through the bolt
- Paint walls
time consuming but i painted almost my entire house by my self.  get the paint with the primer in it, it saves a LOT of coats and a LOT of time.  i sure wish i had, it covers color and blocks it much better too.  don't cheap out on decent paint. 
- Paint ceilings
depend on the type of material.  if its a hard stipple or drywall its fine.  time consuming but easy enough if you can paint a wall.  the color changing stuff is nice.  make sure if you go left to right on one coating, then go up and down the ceiling on the other one. otherwise its easy to miss areas.  if its a soft stipple that crumbles then its a pain in the ass and likely is worth removing otherwise you can't ever touch it
- Replace light fixtures
once you do one, its easy enough to repeat.  be doubly careful that all sources of electricity are turned off.  big kitchen or dining room ones may need a 2nd hand to help hold it while wiring.  small fixtures are nice to have an extra person but it depends on how big it is and awkward
- Add ceiling rose
no clue
- Put up picture rail (decorative)
- Paint kitchen cupboards (doors only)
fussy work.  don't cheap out on the paint.  depends on what sort of coating is on the doors too
- Replace cupboard door handles in kitchen
just make sure you find handles that have the same hole patterns, then its usually just removing a screw or two
- Put up a washing line
not a clue, depends on what you are hanging it from
- Put built in shelves under the stairs
not very hard to buy pre made metal 'L' brackets.  if you want a 10in shelf, buy one that has a 8 to 10 in length, level it and square it to the wall, set a board on top, and screw the board to the bracket from under the shelf.  quick and easy shelving

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2518
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2017, 04:29:44 AM »
To replace a light fitting be yourself: have a look at what is holding the old fitting up and make a suitable hook. Sometimes a wire coathanger or spare piece of flex works well. Use this to support the weight of the new fitting so that you can use both hands to place the wires and screw them in. I like to use a bright headtorch even where the light is good - it just makes the work clearer to see.

If you are thinking about a new ceiling rose - check which way the joists above it run. If you can run between the joists it is far easier than through them. If they run the 'wrong' way then think about whether you can live with the cable running on the ceiling covered in plastic trunking.

I'd try to do the picture rail and door with a second person if possible. If not possible then a laser line (Quigo is the brand but cheaper options are available) will help loads. The challenge is holding it up and level while simultaneously stepping back to check it is level. Maybe a mirror on the other side of the room would help? For the door, a bunch of blocks of wood at different heights to hold the weight of the door will help.

Before you drill into anything make sure there isn't a cable in the wall - if you are working alone this is more important. If the wiring on the light switch looks atypical assume that there will be diagonal cable runs and check with a meter.

Alim Nassor

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 164
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2017, 12:14:14 AM »
If you are going to lay any kind of wood or vinyl flooring, I highly recommend a good oscillating too to undercut door frames.  before I bought one I spent way too much time fitting flooring around thee door frames.  With the oscillating tool, it takes less than a minute to undercut the frame so the flooring slides right under it.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2017, 04:36:01 AM »
We went round yesterday and measured up and had a proper look at things (first time we've seen the house empty, without any furniture). I took a load of photos too.

In both of the upstairs rooms, there's this thing about the walls. I guess it's paper that's been painted over several times peeling off, but I'm confused about what's behind it. The house is a classic red brick Victorian terrace and it's dark and damp. I've attached two photos (sorry they're not closer up). In the photo of the yellow room, you can see the paper peeling off under the window. In the photo of the blue room, you can see what's behind it. They're both external walls, and to my untrained eye I guess it looks like concrete. The peeling isn't everywhere, just in a few places, but where it is peeling it's really bad.

So... what is it? And what should I do? Should I peel all the paper off, prime the walls and paint? Should I stick the paper back on? Should I peel the paper off and replace it?

---

Good news, though - I had a look under the carpet and it looks like it's painted floorboards in good condition, so I think what we might do is just take up the carpet and sand and paint the floors, instead of laying laminate. Seems like it'll be cheaper and less stress, especially as I remembered wrong and it's only the hallway, landing and stairs that are carpeted.

---

Bad news, though... OMG THE MOULD. IT'S EVERYWHERE. The previous tenant did NOT take care of the place at all, and I know for a fact she blocked up some of the vents, but still. It makes me want to cry. What can I do about it?? We live somewhere that has mould problems right now and I just can't take it again. I've looked at anti-mould paints online, but they say that if you paint over them they're no longer effective, and I so want some nice colours in my life. Is there a chance that if I just clean the place properly with mould killer and then we make sure to actually ventilate it, the mould might not come back?


shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2017, 04:43:51 AM »
And the yellow room.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2518
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2017, 05:05:42 AM »
I found an oxygen based bleach and ventilation worked well for mould.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2518
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2017, 05:14:46 AM »
I'd guess that the damp has condensed on the wall so the wallpaper won't stick any more. I think there will be more mould underneath the paper (sorry). I'd peel the loose paper off and see whether I can replace it in patches.


Linea_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4706
  • Location: Norway
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2017, 05:22:25 AM »
I would strip the walls to make sure to find all mould. And install maybe electrical ventilation. Mould can be unhealthy and cayse allergi. You want to make sure it's gone.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2017, 06:52:52 AM »
I'd guess that the damp has condensed on the wall so the wallpaper won't stick any more. I think there will be more mould underneath the paper (sorry). I'd peel the loose paper off and see whether I can replace it in patches.

Do I have to replace the paper? What even is it?

After a bit of internet searching, my conclusion is that what I can see underneath is drywall/sheetrock.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 06:55:05 AM by shelivesthedream »

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2017, 07:04:41 AM »
I'd guess that the damp has condensed on the wall so the wallpaper won't stick any more. I think there will be more mould underneath the paper (sorry). I'd peel the loose paper off and see whether I can replace it in patches.

Do I have to replace the paper? What even is it?

After a bit of internet searching, my conclusion is that what I can see underneath is drywall/sheetrock.

The question I'd have now: is the paper wall paper (probably painted over)?  Or is it the outside layer of paper of the drywall?  Or both?

If you are seeing something that is white and crumbly... you're now inside the drywall.  You'll probably want to skim coat it with something like joint compound.
If you are seeing a layer of paper (in the US, when you strip wall paper off of drywall, it will take the top layer of the wallpaper off and you'll be left with brown paper).  If you can get it smooth again, you could paint or wall paper over it.  If not, you'll have to skim coat it or texture it with joint compound.

I am  wildly guessing this is wall paper that has been painted over and is now peeling off.  It's a personal choice... but I just don't like wall paper.  If I could get to drywall that still had a layer of the outside paper on it, I'd knock the nubs of the paper off, texture the wall and repaint.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2518
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2017, 07:30:36 AM »
It could be lining paper (plain wallpaper). This is what I'd use to replace it with.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2017, 07:33:35 AM »
I'd guess that the damp has condensed on the wall so the wallpaper won't stick any more. I think there will be more mould underneath the paper (sorry). I'd peel the loose paper off and see whether I can replace it in patches.

Do I have to replace the paper? What even is it?

After a bit of internet searching, my conclusion is that what I can see underneath is drywall/sheetrock.

The question I'd have now: is the paper wall paper (probably painted over)?  Or is it the outside layer of paper of the drywall?  Or both?

If you are seeing something that is white and crumbly... you're now inside the drywall.  You'll probably want to skim coat it with something like joint compound.
If you are seeing a layer of paper (in the US, when you strip wall paper off of drywall, it will take the top layer of the wallpaper off and you'll be left with brown paper).  If you can get it smooth again, you could paint or wall paper over it.  If not, you'll have to skim coat it or texture it with joint compound.

I am  wildly guessing this is wall paper that has been painted over and is now peeling off.  It's a personal choice... but I just don't like wall paper.  If I could get to drywall that still had a layer of the outside paper on it, I'd knock the nubs of the paper off, texture the wall and repaint.

Neither, as far as I can tell! I'm seeing something that's grey and solid. It is this sort of colour: http://www.drywallandplastering.com/images/textures/finishLrg.jpg and ever so slightly textured. The paper itself feels like extra-stiff wallpaper to me, and I can see the joins in the walls at roughly wallpaper-appropriate intervals, and I can see three or four layers of paint colour that would explain the stiffness. But I'm not very experienced so I wouldn't necessarily know for sure.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #45 on: April 01, 2017, 08:55:26 AM »
I'd guess that the damp has condensed on the wall so the wallpaper won't stick any more. I think there will be more mould underneath the paper (sorry). I'd peel the loose paper off and see whether I can replace it in patches.

Do I have to replace the paper? What even is it?

After a bit of internet searching, my conclusion is that what I can see underneath is drywall/sheetrock.

The question I'd have now: is the paper wall paper (probably painted over)?  Or is it the outside layer of paper of the drywall?  Or both?

If you are seeing something that is white and crumbly... you're now inside the drywall.  You'll probably want to skim coat it with something like joint compound.
If you are seeing a layer of paper (in the US, when you strip wall paper off of drywall, it will take the top layer of the wallpaper off and you'll be left with brown paper).  If you can get it smooth again, you could paint or wall paper over it.  If not, you'll have to skim coat it or texture it with joint compound.

I am  wildly guessing this is wall paper that has been painted over and is now peeling off.  It's a personal choice... but I just don't like wall paper.  If I could get to drywall that still had a layer of the outside paper on it, I'd knock the nubs of the paper off, texture the wall and repaint.

Neither, as far as I can tell! I'm seeing something that's grey and solid. It is this sort of colour: http://www.drywallandplastering.com/images/textures/finishLrg.jpg and ever so slightly textured. The paper itself feels like extra-stiff wallpaper to me, and I can see the joins in the walls at roughly wallpaper-appropriate intervals, and I can see three or four layers of paint colour that would explain the stiffness. But I'm not very experienced so I wouldn't necessarily know for sure.

Okay, if you are seeing gray paper ... that's the "normal" outside of drywall.  When I've removed wallpaper from drywall, I always end up tearing the gray ever-so-slightly.  (It is a thick paper that is light gray on the outside and brown underneath).

If you're getting to straight drywall... and you can strip the whole room cleanly: good for you!

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6086
  • Location: BC
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #46 on: April 01, 2017, 09:27:38 AM »
I think you may be in luck.

With a 1925 home, you could have lath and plaster instead of drywall (gyproc). Looks like you have drywall.   IMO, what you have is wallpaper that was put up with a water soluable glue, that was painted over.   When the moisture problem started, the wallpaper is delaminating, and leaving the drywall behind.   Because you can see the grey (and the nail head in the blue room picture), this means that removing the wallpaper should not be a nightmare for you.

I would start with the worst room, and score the wallpaper (they sell tools for this) to get through the paint / possibly vinyl surface.   Then steam the room / apply damp rags to the walls to moisten the glue, and 2 hours later, remove the wall paper.  When it works, the paper just peels away without scraping.... 

For mold issues -- you need to cut away and dispose of moldy drywall, paper, carpet (if any).  But the wood can just be treated with a bleach solution (or mildew solution), left to dry, and recovered or painted with stain block.  The mold is on the surface of the wood, and as long as you don't have rot, the stains may be visible, but you kill the mold.

If you have a fair amount of mold, I would wear a mask while tackling it, as it can cause you to cough for a few months after due to quasi-allergic type reactions even if you are not sensitive to mold already.   That said, I only started to wear a mask for this type of work, and I am fine.

Images -- easy wallpaper removal of vinyl paper with water soluable glue;  wallpaper removal tool; ugly old wallpaper that requires excessive scraping

dorothyc

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 250
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #47 on: April 05, 2017, 08:19:30 AM »
You might check out Kristi Linnauer's blog at Addicted2Decorating.com. She does almost everything herself as her husband is disabled. She has some good posts on painting and what power tools to buy.

dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 599
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #48 on: April 05, 2017, 10:56:57 AM »
I've removed a lot of wallpaper in my day. Some came off easy, some almost impossible, and a lot of in between.


If it isn't coming off easy to start, I highly recommend you buy (or borrow if you can find a friend) the steamer I linked below. It is a god send. You basically score the wallpaper, steam it, and then scrape. On difficult wallpaper you have to do 2 runs, one for the paper and one for the glue.

https://www.amazon.com/Wagner-0282018-Steamer-1-Gallon-Wallpaper/dp/B0009XEL4O

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4432
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Am insane to do any of these things single-handed?
« Reply #49 on: April 05, 2017, 03:11:38 PM »
OK guys, phase one is planned for the end of next week. The landlord has some proper builders in sorting out the shower (where part of the damp problem is coming from, we reckon) so I don't know what I'll be able to get to, but my ideal would be to paint the hallway, stairs and landing in white (from a pale peach), to paint the dining room (red to a dark blue), and maybe to take up the carpet (hallway, stairs and landing).

I'm also planning to have a closer look at what's going on with the upstairs wallpaper...