After my front deck collapsed, I was left with a grounding wire laying diagonally across my entryway. Thankfully, a friendly electrician hooked me up with the tools and materials to extend the wire. I did some measuring and then cut the wire so I could clamp an extending wire to each end. Wrestling the wires into that damn little clamp and then desperately trying to keep it there as I used my entire body weight to clamp it down was absolutely ridiculous. It's these unforeseen little issues that irritate me more than the major thing like the deck collapsing out of nowhere. That wire refused to behave! And I had no idea if I was even doing it right. It wasn't elegant, but I managed to get it done, and I felt a huge sense of DIY accomplishment when I was finished! Maybe these little irritants are happy accidents! 😃
- Dec 27, 2021
Ever have an idea gnawing at you for years and years? I did, and it was stripping all of the paint off of the beam & post holding up the front of my house. I decided to take the plunge on this long-form idea without any planning, which is always a recipe for disaster.
Although I consider this a DIY Disaster, it was a great learning experience in the following ways:
1) A heat gun is an effective but slow way to remove paint.
2) It's worth it to take the time to properly prepare your workspace for steady ladder/scaffolding placement.
3) Removing lead-based paint is a massive pain, and I now understand why it's so expensive to have it done professionally.
5) An orbital sander is not powerful enough to remove large, deep imperfections. A flap disc on an angle grinder is a better option, albeit a little unpredictable.
6) Make sure to paint or stain exterior wood regularly. The beam looked fully painted to the naked eye, but the bit extending beyond the roof-line was considerably weather damaged.
7) Don't allocate a timeline to an unfamiliar project until you've gained a little experience. For example - I've never tried to remove lead-based paint on a large scale, and it took way more time than I ever would have imagined. I was stressed about the entire project because it took so much longer than I had thought.
Hope this helps with your future DIY projects! 🤪🛠🪚
- Oct 27, 2021
I live in Portland, Oregon, where it rains A LOT. Keeping water away from the house is a major concern, especially if you've got grading or landscaping that makes it more difficult. I had a large garden in my backyard, and within that garden, I created a rain garden. I routed the downspout into that rain garden for easy water management.
Unfortunately, that garden became overrun by invasive, persistent grass and needed to be removed and covered to kill the grass.
This created a problem with the downspout. The area was covered in layers of cardboard and plastic and then gravel, rocks, and mulch - i.e., not ideal for water containment. Plus, the grading slanted toward the house a little. It was nearing the end of summer and entering the many months of rain. I realized that the quickest and easiest solution would be to contain and then re-route the water via a rain barrel. I began researching rain barrels and found that they seemed overly expensive, prone to cracking, somewhat fussy, and difficult to maintain. The cheapest one I found was $80, and it looked challenging to clean given its tall body and small lid. Plus, it didn't include a stand, which is a crucial part of the rain barrel system.
What about a garbage can? I began Googling garbage can rain barrels and JACKPOT! I came across the perfect solution at the website Just Measuring Up. The design looked easy to build, and I already had many of the materials and tools necessary. This is also why it cost me $50 but may cost you more if you need to purchase lumber for the stand, tools, etc.
The one difference is that I was planning to connect it to a downspout, and the example was just for collecting rainwater to service a garden far from the house. Not a problem, I would make the following modifications:
1) Get a bigger garbage can - They used a 20 gallon can, and I used a 32 gallon can. If you're planning to connect to a downspout, I wouldn't get smaller than a 32 gallon can. I was stunned at how much water you can collect even from a light rain.
2) Create more drain holes in the lid - They drilled 5 holes, and I drilled 8 holes. I don't know if this was necessary, but I figured it couldn't hurt, and it's working beautifully.
3) Use rocks and mini-bungee to secure downspout - You can see this in my photos and video. I used a mini-bungee to attach the downspout to the barrel and used rocks to keep the downspout aligned with the drainage holes. I also added the gravel to stop splashing, although I don't know if it's doing anything. It looks nice.
Other than that, I followed the instructions to the letter.
I purchased the Rain Barrel Spigot from Amazon. I bought the garbage can, waterproof tape, and hole saw at Lowes. I already had the bungees, screen material, and lumber. From my research, even if you had to buy all of the materials, it would still be cheaper than most rain barrels.
I keep a hose permanently connected to the downspout, and it automatically diverts the water away from the house. During the rainy season, I will keep the hose system in place. Once the rain becomes more sporadic, I will begin collecting the rain to water the plants.
This was a fun DIY project that has proved very useful.
Please let me know if you have any questions.