Exploits in do-it-yourself

According to a survey by the American Home Improvement Research Institute, the number of home improvement products purchased by women has increased over the years.

Women account for more than $70 billion worth of purchases in the home improvement industry, up from just over $55 billion in 1995.

This rising trend is due to women owning their own homes and tackling their own home repair projects.

To find out who comes out on tops when it comes to DIY, The Observer On Sunday interviewed two men and two women about their DIY exploits.

They have chosen to remain anonymous because some of their DIY exploits have been less than successful.

When did you first get into DIY?

FEM1: A long time ago – in my 20s – because it’s such a money saver; more bang for your buck, especially if you’re creative.

FEM2: When I was in my teens. Growing up in the Cayman Islands I saw a lot of things on TV that you couldn’t buy here, so I became the queen of improvising.

MALE1: Young. I broke it, so fixing it was necessary before the parents found out.

MALE2: In my 20s. Wanted to try it for myself and save money.

What kind of projects 
do you tackle?

FEM1: Painting, design, small fix-it jobs…furniture refinishing; once. A coffee table. Never again.

FEM2: Mainly repair or maintenance – the single woman should always be able to fix her own stuff!

MALE1: Anything that seems I should be paying someone qualified and knowledgeable to do.

MALE2: Usually small in-house mounting/fixing jobs, but did a major floor refurbishment at previous apartment.

What has been your greatest 
disaster or triumph?

FEM1: I was moving into a very reasonably priced apartment in Toronto, which had parquet flooring, and the floors were in very rough condition. A friend suggested I rent a belt sander and I sanded my entire apartment (only a one-bedroom), which took me two days, on my hands and knees. I could barely walk afterwards. I also hadn’t had the foresight to wear a mask and therefore breathed in the fumes for two days until my throat was raw. I went to work a few days later and spoke to my DIY friend (the one who talked me into doing it) about the project and asked why it took so long when he said I could have the sanding done within the day? Turns out I rented an edger instead of a belt sander. When he heard I rented an edger he nearly collapsed with laughter. Oh, well, it was still worth it,the floors were beautiful.

FEM2: One of my many disasters had to be when I decided to “even out” the legs of a dining chair that rocked slightly. I evened out three legs then had to even out the fourth and so on and so “fourth.” By the end the chair was still rocking and sat about six inches lower than the other three in the set.

MALE1: Triumphs are anything and everything that I complete without having to explain to someone why they weren’t meant to be fixed in the first place.

MALE2: We decided to remove floor tiles from a large living room and replace with carpet. We started with a pneumatic tile lifter and even though my wife was dressed like a ninja, she still managed to get nicked by bits of tile flying everywhere. In the end we switched to sledgehammers and less violent power tools. It was a hard slog, but it all worked out. We saved money and installing the carpet was MUCH easier!

So far it seems that both men and women are guilty of not reading instructions,using measuring tapes and tackling jobs they really should leave to the professionals.

But a workwoman or man is only as good as their tools right? To quote Female 2, “I’ve realised through many hard lessons that a butter knife is a poor substitute for a screwdriver. I would rather spend the money on the right tools, than spend 10 times as many hours trying to make do with tools that simply aren’t up to the task.”

Well luckily for her and all keen DIY people men and women, during April A.L Thompson’s is doing a special promotion on selected Milwaukee tools, which will satisfy any DIY’s covetousness for more tools.

Larry Thompson, store manager, says Milwaukee tools are exactly what women should be buying for jobs around the house. They are cordless so they are portable and the lithium batteries offer great power and long battery life and they are extremely light.” If you only ever own one tool what should it be? According to Larry, “The single greatest tool is the 3/8” hammer drill/driver (2411-22.) Hammer drills are used when drilling into concrete so naturally everyone needs a hammer drill here in Cayman because everything is built out of block. If you are hanging a picture on the wall or doing any kind of drilling, this is what you need. You can also turn the hammer feature off and use it as a straight drill or screw driver if your assembling a crib or doing any other work so its kind of like having three tools in one. And its only 2.8 pounds!”

So there you go that’s all you need to get started along with a backup of ready excuses just in case it all goes wrong.