Friday, April 25, 2014

DIY : Do It Yourself

I'm a big proponent of DIY. I bet you figured that out by now. Pretty observant! It's a major foundation stone for self reliancy and a homestead farm. Without a healthy dose of DIY I'd be destined to fail. I'm not independently wealthy. Besides, I WANT to see what I can do for myself. 

This blog draws a number of sideways advertising .....posting a comment that includes a warning or suggestion to use a "professional" or else face doom at some level. Most of these ads I delete not because I'm against self advertising, but that this blog is about self reliancy. Promoting fear by trying to scare me into hiring others, just isn't appropriate. 

Do I need a contractor to build my house? Not really. Is hiring a licensed plumber the only way to go? Well according to my County building department it is, but in reality it isn't. Come on now, just how highly trained does one have to be to install plumbing? In my opinion Hawaii's requirement that all plumbing and electrical, 100% , must be done by a licensed professional is there to protect those trades, to give plumbers and electricians jobs. A friend of mine wanted to put in another outdoor hose faucet. A job that could have taken an hour and cost less than $20 ended up taking weeks, paying for a permit, hiring a plumber, and costing a bit over $200. 

One further word on licensed required, we hired a licensed electrician for the house. $4000 later we ended up with a house that passed Hawaii County inspection, BUT when the circuit breaker was flipped to start up the system, it snapped off. Every time. Seems that our wonderful professional crossed circuits not once, but twice. Hubby ended up rewiring the house, fixing numerous mistakes. He found a number of cost saving shortcuts that were highly questionable especially since we are in an active earthquake area. And several structural beams had been compromised in the process. A piss poor job. Sorry Pros out there, but we could have done a far better job ourselves. I have no objection to our work being inspected, but I'd rather DIY to get the job done with care and quality. Snobbish, aren't I? But realistic. 

Not going with a licensed contractor surely has its risks. I could screw it up. But if I do it wrong, I'm a big enough girl to accept the blame and consequences. I recently replaced a section of roofing where the previous owner goofed. So, am I going to drop by his current residence and demand compensation? Oh ya gotta be kidding. No, I live with it and learn from his mistake. His goof has caused me to sit down and learn more about metal roofing. That's good. 

As soon as I mention DIY, get get tons of emails. So feel free to write. Doom and gloom, doom and gloom. Sorry folks, but I'm too old now to be scared into avoiding DIY. I'm past the point where I want to live my life with fears. And I'll accept blame for mistakes and put the time and money into fixing them. 

I'm having a blast learning to be self reliant. Mistakes along the way make for good stories to tell around the dinner table or over a cup of coffee. With the Internet nowadays, learning about a job before undertaking it has become easier. YouTube is a good source of info. 

In the UK they have stores called DIY. They make no bones about it. 

Ok, I'll concede that if a builder-owner doesn't take the time to really learn about the job then he could end up with a very dangerous or hideous house. But I'm not talking about idiots here. I'm saying that if I make the effort to learn as much as possible about a project and feel it is something I'd like to attempt myself, then I should be allowed to do it. And as I said, I wouldn't mind the work having to pass an impartial inspection. "Impartial" is an important point because around here the county building inspectors are noted to be vindictive, making owner-builders jump through hoops that contractors don't need to and getting into "testosterone" fights (or call them one-upmanship or bullying, whatever). 

Anyway, I'm a do-it-youselfer through and through. It's this self reliancy kick I'm onto.  

1 comment:

  1. RIGHT ON, Sistah! I learned long ago to tightly supervise even the licensed tradesfolk when I had to use them, even crawling under the house with them just to directly see if the job was done neatly and correctly. I learned stuff, like the value of using square drive screws (the Canadians praise the Robertson Company as the best for those), and I caught a few mistakes in the making, too. As for inspections and permits - we know how some unscrupulous folks got things OK'd, leaving the homeowner wondering why something failed later due to shoddy work. You are 100% correct - learn as best you can how a job should be done, even if you might not have the capability or skill-set to do it. Supervise, take pictures if you want, make notes for future reference, but be on hand - even assist if you can. I know from experience that a competent tradesperson doesn't have anything to hide, and generally appreciates a homeowner who compliments good work. They know that word of mouth advertising is best, and costs nothing if they do "pro" work; being rude, evasive, unreliable, and sloppy or messy ruins their reputation. If only I could do the same thing when mechanics work on our cars!