Living in the age of DIY is equally delightful and dangerous. Hear me out. While the convenience of being able to jump on a quick Google search seems a treat, we know now that consistent reliability isn’t always in the top results. From the likes of YouTube to the HGTV programs and all media in between that help to inspire a grander belief in our natural skill level and abilities, it stands to reason that not everyone out there is an expert, not every source is one of integrity/honesty, and some things are better left to the professionals. Not only do we want to encourage your sense of self and always support further education/growth wherever possible, but we also recognize that it can be hard to know who to trust when taking on new projects, including yourself. Today we’ll be visiting some harrowing tales and photos of people who gave themselves a little too much credit. Before we dive into a few cautionary tales of when DIY turns disastrous, here are a few rules of thumb to check in with when deciding whether a job will require extra, outsourced hands:
- Are you able to limit/control liabilities?
- Can you handle the task physically? For real, though?
- Have you researched DIY advice for this task? Are there more stories of regret than success?
- Does the job need to look professional?
- Should something go wrong, are you equipped to fix the mistake or repair damage?
- Are you sure you got this?
Without further ado, let’s dig in and thank our lucky stars we are not these people!
- “I needed to replace a light switch in the kitchen in my apartment. When I removed the old switch I failed to notice that it was a combination outlet and switch which had four wires instead of the two I was used to. I didn’t make note of where the wires were connected. I made several attempts to connect the new switch but each time I threw the switch the light did not go on. I decided to see if at least the outlet worked so I plugged the toaster into it. When I pushed down the toaster levers, to my surprise, the light went on. I tried to convince my wife that we just needed to make toast when we needed the light on but she didn’t buy it.”
-William L. from Troy, NY (https://blog.zabitat.com/hilarious-diy-fail-stories/)
- “After numerous days, nights of begging my fiancé to hang my curtains, and shears. I finally attempted it on my own. Not only did it take me about 6 hours to hand curtains on two windows. When it was all said and done, it was kinda crooked so I made the curtains cover the crookedness. I was happy with my job well done. My fiancé gets home from work in the evening and when he arrived I brought him to the living and showed him my hard work. He opened one of the curtains and at the same time was saying good job baby. Not a second later the rod and the curtain both fell and hit him on the head.. I felt so bad, he got a huge bump on his forehead from the end of the big rod..:( ”
-Kristina P. from Geneseo, IL (https://blog.zabitat.com/hilarious-diy-fail-stories/)
- “A part from my young son’s plastic potty had somehow gotten stuck in the toilet trap. I couldn’t snake it out, nor could the plumber, who left saying, ‘Buy a new toilet.’ But I had a brilliant idea: I’d burn it out! I pulled the toilet and dragged it outside. There I poured charcoal lighter fluid down the trap and lit it up. Standing back, I basked in the glory of the geyser flames and my phenomenal ingenuity… until the bang. The commode literally cracked from the heat. I bought a new toilet.”
-Nameless & Sorry (https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/20-of-the-dumbest-do-it-yourself-goofs-on-record/)
- “I was replacing our shower fixture, and I couldn’t budge the large brass nut that was holding the two-way mixing valve in place. Using my expert knowledge of physics, I came up with the perfect solution. I packed the valve in ice to make it shrink in diameter. Then I used my blowtorch on the nut so its diameter would expand, thus freeing it. I was feeling really clever until I noticed the smoke filling the shower. It turns out two studs were on fire and the flames were moving up inside the wall! Have you ever tried to extinguish a blazing fire through a 6-in. access hole? I didn’t worry about the physics at that point—I just ran for the fire extinguisher!”
-Dr. Kris Storm (https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/20-of-the-dumbest-do-it-yourself-goofs-on-record/)
“After framing in a new closet with metal studs, I was ready to take a break. I had been working around an old electrical panel in our old house. As I sat down on the radiator, I grabbed hold of one of the studs to support myself and was greeted with a powerful shock. Upon investigating, I found that one of my screws had penetrated a wire inside an existing wall and had energized the new metal wall framing. What a wild ride 120 volts gives you! How lucky I wasn’t hurt.”
– All Shook Up (https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/20-of-the-dumbest-do-it-yourself-goofs-on-record/)
“Wifey (bless her!) wanted a nice new bathroom suite – me on a cost saving mission decided some nice shiny new mixer taps would brighten up our existing bath and basin and save me hard earned beer money. Saturday dawned and her off shopping I started the job as a surprise for her return… I hadn’t bargained for the 20+ year old retaining nuts on the taps (in a very inaccessible place – as they usually are) being welded on. After scraping most of the skin from my knuckles I jumped in the car and made a 10-mile round trip to the market to buy an adjustable wrench, got it in place – swung on the b*stard with all my might and… split the frigging bath straight down the middle. Wife returned to just two pipes (still with taps attached) stuck out of the bathroom floor and the bath in the garden. I also then had to get a plumber in to sort out my heating as when I drained the water tank, I caused a blockage in the system.”
– Paulsad (http://www.ultimatehandyman.co.uk/forum1/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=57636)
To say researching this post wasn’t the most gut-wrenchingly funny part of my entire week would be selling it short! More times than not, we as humans often either don’t give ourselves enough credit or give ourselves far too much. Bottom line – in today’s fast pace / instant gratification world, DIY can turn DUMB faster than you can say, “never mind.” To guarantee that you don’t end up on our next list of lucky ducks, be sure to call on the professionals in your area – the REAL experts (not your coworker’s friend who watched a tutorial) – and set yourself up for a success story instead!