DIY is not for me and whenever I start DIY its more like DIWhy?
Hands up, I admit it: DIY (or in my case DIwhy) has never been my thing. I’m crap at it to the point where some jobs feel dangerous.
I have an O level in woodwork but that doesn’t mean I can fit a shower now does it?
So why doesn’t my wife listen to this?
When we first got married and moved into our new house, we had loads of jobs to do around the house. The previous owners hadn’t really done anything to the house except paint it and it was in need of a lot of care and attention to bring it up to a standard where I would be proud to call it my home.
So on with my diwhy job and the first thing we had to do was the bathroom. My wife didn’t like the colour of the bathroom suite as it was Pink! And the previous owner had left it in a really messy state.
So out it came and in went a nice peach suite, except the bath. “I’ve seen a shower unit that I like, can you fit that?” asked my wife.
My reply was of “No!” which was not what she wanted to hear and on seeing this shower unit in the local B&Q my answer was “Definately, Not, no way”.
The shower unit is one of these frame and glass units you put together yourself, with a tray, which you stand in, but this was the biggest shower unit that B&Q sold.
Anyway, we ended up buying it, after my father said he would help us fit it.
My dad´s first reaction on seeing the box the unit came in, when he came to help fit it was “What the bloody hell is that?” Which in my language equates to “Oh! Crap I’ve slipped up here and how the hell are we going fit that?”.
I think he though it was some little corner shower that he could fit in half a day. This shower unit is 1.5 x 1.5 metres with one of the corners cut off where the door goes across.
So, on with the job.
Firstly, when we took the bath out there was a soil pipe running close to the wall and on top of the floor boards, Obviously the previous owner was as good at DIY as myself. So we had to move that (Not a nice job I can assure you, the smell alone is bad enough)
Then, when we came to fit the base of the shower and found out that the drain was deeper than the gap in between the floorboards and the kitchen ceiling because our combi boiler is below where we planned to fit the shower, in the kitchen.
After much debate with my wife, my father and I decided to build a base, which would raise the shower 3 inches above the floorboards. Placing the shower unit on a pedestal if you like. As the shower tray is already 6 inches high we thought it better to add a step in front of the door as well for safety.
Back to B&Q for more materials.
So, now we’ve built the pedestal, fitted the drain and are about to install the base. The base is made of fiberglass and won’t support the weight of a child unless there is some form of flooring underneath it. So we need to put a false floor on top of the pedestal we have made.
Back to B&Q for more materials.
Now, we’ve made a false floor and have fitted the base, here comes the worse bit.
The shower comes with 2 pieces of false walls, which look like wall tiles. These need to be glued to the wall and then both pieces joined together and joined to the base. Easy eh? Maybe if we’d have used a spirit level to make sure the base was flat.
It wasn’t, so the sides and the base didn’t quite match up and if you stood back and looked the gaps stood out a mile.
So we have to pull all the base apart, the pedestal apart and rebuild it making sure it was all level.
Now we have to make a hole in the wall and feed the wiring and pipes for the Electric shower, Bang, one hole in the wall with a large hammer.
We feed the pipes down the wall but unfortunately they get stuck half way down by a batten inside the wall. Bang, another hole, Saw, cut the batten so the pipe can fit through.
Bang, one more hole in the wall with a large hammer. So we can pull the bottom of the pipes out to join them to the existing plumbing.
Now to connect the pipes up, fit the shower walls and connect up the electric shower.
Done, now lets connect up the shower to the electric supply and test the shower.
Ah! There is no where to connect it up, the fuse box is full. Shit we’re gonna need a new fuse box. We agree to finish building the shower cubicle and sort the electrics out later.
Back in the bathroom we put the glass partition of the cubicle together and screw it to the walls, does it fit? Does it buggery! But by this time it’s late in the evening and my dad and I just look at each other and say “Oh! Well it’s only a few milimetres”. It is only a small gap and it did fill quite easily with silicon sealant. 🙂
The next day I have to wire up the Electric shower and seal the rest of the shower, so I’m up early to seal the shower cubicle and then just before dinner I go down to B&Q to get a fuse box.
I don’t know if anybody reading this has ever done any electrical work but I found it absolutely daunting. Never having done anything more that wire up a plug before I was open to any advise I could get.
In the end I phoned my dad and he met me at B&Q to help me find the right fuse box.
We take the box home and we begin the process of wiring up this fuse box.
After about 50 seconds my dad gets an electric shock, That´s it. “Call it a day, we’ll get an electrician”.
My wife is concerned about my father but seems more concerned that she hasn’t washed her hair for 2 days.
After a long lengthy argument we ended up getting an electrician for the next day and showering at my parents house that evening.
My shower is now finished and it does look quite nice but I will never ever do anything like this again.
In the end it took my dad and I two days, numerous trips to the local B&Q and £150 in electrician fee’s.
So my advice is if you want to do it yourself and don’t know what you’re doing, get somebody to do it for you otherwise you´ll end up with something that’s as crooked as a book writing Lord or worse injure yourself in the process. And don’t ask me for advise or help.
I now get somebody to do any kind of work around the house, except things like painting, but big jobs are best left to the professionals who have been trained and know what there doing. Its best to get somebody who has been recommended by a friend rather than somebody out of the phone book at least you know that they can so some kind of a good job.
Update: Oct 2005 – I have recently undertaken a massive DIY job and found out that if I take my time and dont rush I am rather good at the old DIY. We have just had our loft converted into a bedroom and an office for my business and had a proper staircase installed.
Now we had a builder in to do the majority of the big jobs, but to keep costs down I have done all of the smaller jobs such as plastering, sanding, painting/varnishing, minor plumbing and electrical work as well as woodworking.
As long as I take my time and think about what needs to be done and what I am doing the results are fantastic. I have replastered the entire loft as it was boarded out with plaster board and covered in artex beforehand, the results look really good – and thats a comment from the builder and others who have seen it. (Either that or all my friends are humouring me!)