Author Topic: Your small DIY victories  (Read 23436 times)

MsLogica

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #50 on: April 29, 2012, 02:31:45 PM »
I spent an hour today crawling around in the loft space laying new insulation.  Only a third of it is done, and I may never regain the use of my knees, but I am glad that I'm doing it myself and not paying someone else to do it!

happy

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #51 on: July 22, 2012, 07:30:33 AM »
Single mum here - sink or swim:

painting, including wall repairs, wallpapering - removal and reapply
reseal timber deck
install bamboo shielding to balcony
put together flat pack furniture
Basic sewing repars eg sew on buttons, take up hems etc
putting up curtain rails ( and curtains)
toilet float valve adjustment
fitted draft excluder strips to external doors
supervised teen son fitting insulation, phone lines and internet connections
temporary repair of cracked sewer pipes
replace elements on stove
unblock sink
turn down hot water tank thermostat
minor repairs of furniture/household items requiring screws/nails/glueing
clear gutters on rooftop,
shred garden waste,
split wood but pretty slow
replace fuse
hang pictures
reframe pictures using old frames
snake/venomous spider/rodent dispatching
ie anything that requires a can-do attitude and a bit of common sense but not too much skill!
Over the years I've surprised my self with what I have done just by staying calm and trying to figure it out.





jwystup

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #52 on: July 22, 2012, 07:02:40 PM »
I'd say today was a victory. I rewired and updated the bathroom light fixture(s) today! I may have pictures once the bathroom is 100% complete, but there are still holes in the walls and paint to be painted.

Before: an outdated light on either side of the medicine cabinet, with a wire running to the light switch on top of the drywall (wtf??) and an outlet off of that that we had fixed a while back when we had a pro around (the outlet just didn't work).

I desperately wanted the fixture to live above the mirror instead of to the sides (sort of blinding when going in close to do some makeup!) and obviously that switch wire needed to be changed. I tore the paneling down off the walls (1/2 way up, like cheap-ass wainscoting) last weekend and that's where the ugly wire was sitting, not really hidden but blending in a little bit.

I've done smaller electrical things before but none of this magnitude. I went and bought some wire and a new fixture this morning. Took from about 11am to around 5pm to do it all. I thought I'd never get the wire to fish through the ceiling! Lots of holes and a very messy floor later, I was very nervous to flip the switch. Put a bulb in, turned the breaker back on, got my boyfriend for the "big reveal" and it worked! I got very lucky with some placements of existing wires and it was a lot of work but I'm so glad I did it!

I still need to patch up the holes but since pulling down paneling a lot of that needs to be done anyways. Can't wait until I can paint and call it done-for-now. The room still needs a new vanity and mirror but that'll happen later.

carolinakaren

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2012, 04:00:35 PM »
John repaired our outdoor dining umbrella in much the same way Velocistar repaired the drying rack.  I do my own painting, and am also pretty good at unclogging drains.  I've effed up the garbage disposal drain so bad a few times that I was standing on the countertop with a plunger!! :)  Usually I call my Dad on the phone for moral support and guidance and then jump in.....

carolinakaren

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2012, 04:07:09 PM »
Oh, and since John is much more advanced at this stuff than I, he is currently coffering the ceiling in our den and kitchen.  The drywall came loose and almost caved in....it was covered with yucky popcorn that is hard to match and we decided to do something that would look good and anchor the ceiling forever.

jdoolin

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #55 on: July 27, 2012, 01:50:07 PM »
The cord for my wife's curling iron was mangled and wire was exposed, so I replaced it with one from an old, dead touch lamp we were throwing out.  Just a little soldering and electrical tape.  Even the lamp itself, several years ago I salvaged with the touch mechanism stopped working.  I just added one of those in-line cord switches.

Also fixed my guitar amp with some soldering skill (hmm... you could probably write a Get Rich With: A Soldering Iron article).

Fixed our electric range twice, replaced a bearing in the clothes dryer twice (which we now use much less, thanks to MMM's suggestion).

I've probably saved thousands in car repairs and maintenance in the last few years, including replacing an entire ENGINE.  :-)

strider3700

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #56 on: July 29, 2012, 03:42:33 PM »
old water heater was on it's last legs so I replaced it.  old was an Electric 40 gallon 3500 watt 9 year warranty that had been installed wrong.  Someone replaced the original di-electric nipples with some longer galvanized ones  and then connected it directly to the copper plumbing.   Massive rust at the nipple to tank connection 7 years later was the cause of failure.  Note to anyone not aware - don't mix different metals where water is involved.   Rust is far more likely to occur there....     Anyways the old tank was also right in the middle of the walkway to my office.    So I went to a new 60 gallon tank, which is bottom feed due to new efficiency rules in the province and since the plumbing was changing for that I relocated it 5 feet over where an old useless closet was.   The old closet was removed then the new tank went in.   After replumbing I went to use a junction box to extend the wiring but found that the old tank had been wired with 14-2  when it should have been at least 12-2.  The new tank is 4500 watts and should have 10-2 wiring.  Sure enough trying the old wiring resulted in it heating up and popping the breaker.    2 hours later I'd run 30 feet of 10-2  and everything works.    Now all that remains is getting the temperature set correctly and wrapping the tank up really good with insulation.    The new 60 has  a lot higher standby losses then the old 40.   

Anyway all of this came to just shy of $700 doing it myself.   I didn't bother getting quotes from a pro.  I'd guess they'd be at least double  since a direct replacement of a gas tank that I paid someone to do was $600 for the tank $1200 installed...

madgeylou

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #57 on: July 29, 2012, 04:10:05 PM »
i fixed my toilet today! i feel a little dumb that it took me this long to do it, because it literally took 5 minute and 5 dollars. but i've never done anything like that before, so i'm irrationally pleased. :)

next i want to try to change out the kitchen faucet -- how hard is that?

carolinakaren

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #58 on: July 29, 2012, 06:00:26 PM »
Congratulations on fixing the toilet!!  I could use a new faucet too, but I don't know how hard that would be.... Maybe we will both learn that trick soon.

jwystup

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #59 on: July 29, 2012, 07:12:16 PM »
Also fixed my guitar amp with some soldering skill (hmm... you could probably write a Get Rich With: A Soldering Iron article).

Agreed! I recently replaced the a/c jack on my boyfriend's laptop, the original was wiggly (still connected to the board, I think the piece itself got crappy). It would go back and forth between being "plugged in" and "on battery". The hardest part was taking the machine apart since I had to take the motherboard completely out to replace the piece. It cost me less than $2 for the part and I had the soldering iron & solder. I think it might've cost more than $2 if I took it somewhere (but what self respecting programmer takes a computer somewhere to get fixed?)


@madgeylou & @carolinakaren, replacing a faucet is super easy. I did it once when I was in high school!! My parents are borderline hoarders and on a few occasions I just went crazy and cleaned different areas where *things* were collecting. One time there was a new faucet laying around for so long, I just did it! I think the hardest part was that I had to replace the pieces that go from the connections where the off valves are to the faucet and I had to make a few trips to the store since I had no idea what I was doing. It's just a matter of taking out what was there and putting in a new thing the same way the old thing was hooked up. I like doing stuff like that because it's easy. Go for it!

KingZ

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #60 on: September 02, 2012, 09:12:48 PM »
Nothing like a water heater going kaput on a holiday weekend...I had no plans so this gave me a good project.  Three years ago this would have been hired out.  After looking it over, this is really a pretty simple project for any basic DIY'er with a few plumbing skills/supplies. 

Total cost: $420 ($365 tax included for 40gal water heater, $55 misc copper fittings and supplies).

I highly recommend for anyone to try on their own.  And, there is a clear difference in the hot water supply...hopefully a clear difference in the efficiency too!

Two9A

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #61 on: September 03, 2012, 12:35:12 AM »
i fixed my toilet today! i feel a little dumb that it took me this long to do it, because it literally took 5 minute and 5 dollars. but i've never done anything like that before, so i'm irrationally pleased. :)

next i want to try to change out the kitchen faucet -- how hard is that?
Faucets aren't tough. There are a few little things I've found though:
  • The faucet is generally attached with a big nut from underneath, so if you don't have a spanner wide enough to get around it, try a length of chain.
  • If you're lucky, the pipes leading to the faucet are flexible and attached with 1/2" connectors; your basic wrench should cover those. If not, it's time to cut some pipe...
  • A new faucet will probably need new flexible connectors, so be sure to get some which are the same size. Flexible connectors are a lot easier to work with than compression joints and tiny bits of pipe.
  • And don't forget to seal any joints. Jointing compound is so much easier than PTFE tape for this, I don't know how I managed before:
HTH.

Petruchio

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #62 on: September 03, 2012, 02:54:56 PM »
Well, tomorrow I shall be setting up a compost bin in my backyard. It has been a long time coming.

JT

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #63 on: October 06, 2012, 08:57:57 PM »
Power tools are a bit scary for me.

But there's a bit of painting to be done on the deck and sanding down the old paint seemed to be a good first step.

Knowing nothing about sanders, I threw myself into searching for reviews online.  After a couple of hours five sanders seemed to stand out, so I went into the nearest hardware shop to see what they looked like/felt like (ie weight and balance) and have a chat to the staff.  (I was the only girl in there!!).  Through this process it became obvious that four of the five sanders were no good - my hand was too small to pick them up or they were too heavy.  But number five sander was great.  I looked at the price and went home to search Trade Me.  I found exactly the same one and won the auction.

I am now the very proud owner of a random orbital sander that didn't cost much.  A friend of mine (male) noticed it and was so excited by it.  Apparently it's a really good model.

Right!  Next step is to use it (waiting for summer)...





« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 09:15:31 PM by JT »

igthebold

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #64 on: October 08, 2012, 06:28:26 AM »
A mildly amusing victory, in that I ended up not having to do anything.

I found, one evening, that the bottom of my kitchen sink was coated in water, and it had started dripping onto the cabinet floor below. I assumed it was a leak, and my first reaction was, "I'm going to have to fix this."

We triaged with towels and I started poking around. Then I recalled that my wife had had a huge ice bath in the sink for some project. It was condensation! Lots of it. Whew. Glad I didn't actually start trying to fix something that wasn't broken.

kkbmustang

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #65 on: October 08, 2012, 05:57:39 PM »
Not my victory, but the Hubs. Our hot water heater broke. He replaced it himself. We ended up spending about $420 instead of however much it would have cost to have a professional do it. Probably several thousand dollars. It broke on a Saturday.

Zaga

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #66 on: October 08, 2012, 06:44:12 PM »
Probably the coolest thing we have done was patch the roof.  This involved tearing off shingles, splicing in a new joist, replacing plywood, re-shingling, and flashing around the chimney.  We've done harder things since then, but that was just amazing at the time!

madage

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #67 on: October 09, 2012, 11:32:49 AM »
My most recent achievement is replacing a dead battery in my car. It died on me when I tried to restart after the light turned green. People behind me were not amused, but a cop came by in a minute or two and blocked traffic and helped me push it into a parking lot so I could get a jump from a friend.

The battery replacement wasn't too difficult, though it was pretty dirty. There was a ton of corrosion on the connector and the nuts were difficult to access with the tools I had. A simple set of pliers actually worked best for loosening. One of the nuts was half corroded-through such that I could see the bolt threads on one side. Luckily, I had a compatible nut on hand. The corrosion cleans up pretty well when a mixture of baking soda and water is applied with a wire brush. I also followed some online advice to apply petroleum jelly to the battery studs to deter corrosion. Didn't have the pure stuff, but had Vicks Vaporub. I hope the battery appreciates the decongestant effects of menthol.

I just wish I would've picked up one of those cheap Costco batteries when I was there two days before my battery died. Would've saved me about $10. Consumer Reports says just about all auto batteries are the same, so I went with the cheapest compatible one I could find through a chain store close to my home (Advance, in this case). My car starts up so much better now! I know what to listen for, too, so next time I can purchase before it dies.

Heather

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #68 on: October 10, 2012, 12:56:51 PM »
I sewed with a sewing machine: I hemmed two pairs of jeans, sewed the pockets back on another pair, and re-sewed a seam on a shirt which was coming apart.  You'd think, as a practical women, I would have been sewing all along, but I'm embarrassed to say that I hadn't touched a machine since they made me take home-economics in grade 9.   
I've built doghouses, replaced a chimney, fixed lawnmowers and snowblowers, and soldered electronics, but I just figured that the sewing was for girly girls.  Wrong.  I am wiser now: A sewing machine is a serious and useful tool.


TomTX

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #69 on: October 12, 2012, 03:22:49 PM »
I recently changed the battery in my (single, hardly ever used) car.

The dealership wanted $275, haha.  I did the research online, found the same OEM battery in a branded form, installed it myself in about 10 minutes, and I now have a 8 year full replacement warrantee on it (that was not included by the dealership) which will probably outlast the car. Saved $175+.

As an aside for your next battery - the Costco house-brand car batteries are very highly rated and an excellent value.

LadyM

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #70 on: October 12, 2012, 07:58:44 PM »
Since we've lived in our current house, we have (some with the help of my dad):
-Remodeled the kitchen: we changed layout, but didn't move any appliances or utilities (just minor shifting), basically installed new cabinets and counters, turned a half-wall into a full wall and put up a pantry cabinet against said wall, and installed new laminate flooring; IKEA cabinetry (easy peasy, love it, would do it again)
-Replaced elements in the hot water heater
-Changed out the guts in all toilets
-Installed a screen/storm front door
-Replaced our back sliding door (drafty POS) with a new
-Replaced the control board in our furnace (bought the part on Ebay for a bit over $100)
-Replace thermostat
-Installed a ceiling fan
-Installed attic stairs
-Run a couple new cable outlets (for internet)
-Replaced all stoppers in all bathroom sinks (they all rusted and stopped working at once)
-Knitted hats and scarves for my kids
-Making bread weekly
-Making beer
-Making our own laundry detergent
-Changed oil, spark plugs, and batteries in cars (this is the limit of what I know about cars)

Things I still NEED to do (as of now):

-Replace all vanity faucets (they are all spraying from places they shouldn't)
-Hem several pairs of pants
-Replace bathroom floor (old sticky tile installed by previous owner, now cracking and crumbling)
-Make more beer
-Make the ants leave 

ErinG

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Re: Your small DIY victories
« Reply #71 on: October 12, 2012, 08:18:25 PM »
I can prime my own oil tank!! Yippee since I'm dumb enough to run out of fuel sometimes and so are my tenants. Used to be $10 to pay the oil delivery driver to do it and I learned how to do it from him, since I thought $10 was too much. I recently found out from a friend that the same company now charges $40 to prime the tank! The reason they gave her was that the truck drivers are not all certified and they now have a policy that only their certified people are allowed to touch the customers equipment. Certified in what? Hell if I know.

I hereby certify myself, you may call me OPTIMUS PRIMER!