The DIY Disaster page...

Please feel free to take the piss to make sure that, where appropriate, I get these jobs finished!
Listed No 1 'DIY Disasters' page by Google

The bathroom sink

Most people would say that this sink is installed slightly on the low side! Well, over the next week or two, I hope to be dealing with this. 

The problem is the pedestal. No, I didn't forget to fit it, it's just that it turned out to be a little short. This meant that there was a gap between the sink and the splashback tiles, but more important than that, the sink waste outlet was hard against the waste pipe outlet (at the top of the picture). That means I can't fit a trap in and I'll be buggered if I'm going to move the waste outlet.

**Update** Whoohoo! The sink is on the wall and plumbed in! Now for that wallpaper!


Well, it got finished eventually! And yes, that is red wallpaper! I'll be back soon with details of the impending bedroom decorating (well, only if something goes wrong) and also with details of how I manage to deal with the patio that is now bursting at the seams because of tree roots. 

Yes, I planted the damned tree! 

Jo and John's ceiling

I did a half-decent job of wiring up the new bedroom extension at Bayleaf Cottage, marred only when I put a foot wrong and found myself stood on the microwave in the kitchen below! The builders also put a foot through the dining room ceiling, but they never did admit which one of them did it. 

All of this pales into insignificance when we remember Dave, Jo and John's neighbour. He put scaffolding up outside his house in early June 1992 and it's still there. We fully expect it to stay there too, as not many of the bolts go round any more.  (Update - somehow, the neighbours have managed to remove the scaffolding!)

My bedroom

I have finally begun the bedroom, though I was immediately distracted for a month by the need to remove two radiators and install one new one. Then I painted the walls. Then someone pointed out that the new colour was the colour of red lead anti-rust primer! Samantha, you bitch, you helped me choose it!
Installed and working! Then I set about making a lampshade out of black and white glass. I left the glass in the boot of the car and then went to get the Christmas shopping when it had gone dark. The results of this error of judgement are shown below!

However, the lampshade is finally installed on the ceiling, where it can do me no more harm. I have seen to it that it is not going to fall down and smash my head in.


Now, like any ambitious DIY-er, I don't necessarily rule out simple surgery.  However, being as the skin on the back of a hand is stretched loosely over the inner workings and isn't attached to the underlying structure, my repair with duct tape proved ineffective. The cut edges of the skin kept rolling out of sight and were never going to meet each other and heal. So it was down to the local casualty department for antibiotics, a tetanus jab and a better sort of duct tape.
Yow! If you want see a closer view of these pictures they are available at higher resolution!  Go on! you know you want to! Right click on an image and select 'View Image', or whatever equivalent action your browser requires you to perform.


The Kitchen

The kitchen is one of those rooms that is likely to be 'under improvement' for some time to come. There always seems to be some change that I want to make.

The cooker hood

I found a nice shiny cooker hood that I wanted and decided that it was time to throw out the greasy old wall-mounted Xpelair.  I took the old fan from the wall and chiselled out a hole for the exhaust for the new extractor.  When I removed it I found it was a window mounting model that someone had installed to vent air into the wall cavity, which was ventilated by an airbrick.  That's the sort of bodge that even I wouldn't do!
Anyway, I set about removing the old fan and in the process, I managed to cut through both the electricity cable AND the gas pipe! Most people are capable of bringing their house down around their ears. Me, I can do that to an entire street!

Well, I have to move them anyway, as the exhaust flexihose has to go through here.

No worries! On the wall and running. Now I have to block up that hole where the old fan was. The only hard part will be finding tiles that match the existing ones.

Why is it that the DIY stores sell a dozen different colours of tile, but sell 10,000 different shades of white?

I always like doing this. Suspend with wooden wedges whatever it is to be mounted in the space it has to fit - and get your can of FILLER FOAM! 

I have actually managed, in the past, to have a minor filler foam disaster. I was using a can to fill the gap under a bedroom window sill, when, because I'd used the can before, the valve jammed open. I was on the downstairs bathroom roof at the time, so I just went back down the ladder and put the kettle on for a tea-break  until the can had emptied itself.  What do you do with a 4-foot diameter cottage loaf? I had to stamp it into four pieces before we could get it in the refuse truck.

The Dining Room

I decided to have a go at making a stained glass window to go over the dining room door.

I guess it belongs here by virtue of it being something of a style disaster*, even though I didn't really design it - it's based on Piet Mondrian's "Red, Yellow and Blue", or something.

* I'm kidding. I love it really.


Beware the shed in the dark...

I was putting up a few shelves in my study recently, in a sort of alcove. The plaster isn't good, so I thought I'd start by fixing two planks to the walls to fix the shelf brackets to, sealing gaps with decorator's filler and painting the same colour as the walls. I went to the shed to get the tube of filler, and as as I was about to start, noticed that I'd got brown, not white. "The hell with it", I thought, "The paint covers well enough" and got on with it. 

When I came to paint over it, I realised I hadn't used decorator's filler, I'd used silicone sealant.   Could I paint over it? Absolutely not! It just wouldn't wet!  Doh!

I tried water-based primer with a dash of washing-up liquid (so-so results) and eventually found an oil-based primer that covered it in two coats. Then I could finally paint over that!

How to make a 30-minute job take 2 days!

The leaded window

I've just finished a stained glass window to install over my front door, something of a traditional feature for a Victorian terraced house like mine.
This has taken me aound 12 months. The window was started around July 2004, and was finished two weeks ago, after spending some weeks under my bed, half completed.

I guess the window took something between 12 and 24 hours to make, all in, and four hours to fit it (including three of them looking for mislaid tools!).

That means I have applied myself to this task 0.03% of the time. What the heck do I do with the rest of it?

Anyway, I've quit for the day, leaving a bit of making good to be done, as the neighbour says there's going to be thunder and rain.

Thunder and rain? What could possibly go wrong?


Woo, they weren't joking about that thunder and lightning, were they? The centre picture is a huge lightning flash! Sorry about my inability to frame a picture in the dark. 

Well, no leaks so far!


Oh, it'll only take 10 minutes...

How many times have I said that!

I decided to level the dishwasher, which I noticed was very slightly slanted to the left. It sits on floorboards to the left and tiles to the right. I slipped a piece of hardboard under the feet to check how much levelling it needed (the feet aren't adjustable) and when I withdrew the the hardboard it had a damp patch on it.

Out came the dishwasher and cooker and I found this...

The wall has been damaged by damp, but it's bone dry! I bashed off all the blown plaster and cleared up. The floorboards are wet. I upended the dishwasher and sure enough, it's leaking.

It seems that the wall was damaged by rainwater leaking down the wall cavity, which was fixed some time ago. It had done that, unnoticed, for ages, until the cooker hood went in and I could hear the drips plinking on the cooker hood exhaust tube.  I might as well fix up this damage now I'm here!

And I'll have to see if the dishwasher can be fixed.

Am I going to 'get a man in'? The hell I am!  

** Update **   The dishwasher is fixed. B&Q sell a suitable replacement hose. 



Electrics and Wiring

I just replaced a damaged ceiling rose with a new one, and I actually had to look up the web pages of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (of which I am a member) to see if I'm allowed, under Part P to the Building Regulations, to replace the thing myself. It seems that the Nanny State of Great Britain doesn't trust Chartered Engineers to replace or install their own wiring, even though I have a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. And my own copy of the Wiring Regulations. Written and issued by the Institution of Electrical Engineers. Which I have actually read.

Well, having checked, it seems I can replace a ceiling rose. I can also replace any other single run of cable if, and only if, it has been damaged by impact, fire, or by rodents. The following springs to mind:

I found this sort of ceiling rose  to be very handy as you can wire up a heavy lamp at ground level and you can take it down to clean it, which saves balancing on a ladder. Now that's something that is dangerous!



I'm back!  And I've a kitchen to refit.

Surely, in these days of  cleverly-designed self-assembly cupboards, a kitchen refit is plain sailing? Well, let's see, shall we?

As this is still ongoing, you can follow progress on Facebook here.

The removal of the old kitchen cupboards did go a little wrong. Unlike the modern cupboards, it wasn't easy to see how they were fixed to the wall. There was a bracket somewhere, presumably one in each corner,  which might hang on to a wall mount. But I couldn't lift the cupboard off. I wondered if the brackets had been bent or otherwise damaged so that they had locked together.


So I had no choice but to apply a little force! Note that I am trying to remove the left hand cupboard.  I have to figure out how it's attached so I can remove it.  Oddly, the left hand cupboard stayed exactly where it was, but the right hand cupboard came right off the wall. If I had known it would do that I would've taken all the glassware and crockery out of it!

Well, new cupboards deserve new crockery! I feel like meatballs, so off to IKEA!

A note to TV producers and/or researchers: I have produced this page over the years to amuse my friends. In reality, my house is not falling down, there are no holes in the walls or roof, nor is there a wife sobbing among heaps of brick rubble. No thanks, I don't want to appear on your TV programme and I don't want you to come round to make me look a fool. 

That's my job!

Author: Martyn Arnold
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