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This is a sponsored post by HomeAdvisor. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
The world of DIY blogs can be an intimidating place.
Pinterest fools you in to thinking you can easily build a king size bed in just an afternoon while your kids quietly play legos in the corner for 5 hours. The truth is it just ain’t like that.
I’ve done enough projects to realize that you don’t always save money by doing it yourself. There’s also a steep learning curve which takes quite a bit of time from the planning process to shopping for materials to actually building your project. Even if you do save money by doing it yourself you have to ask if the time you invested was worth the money you saved. Then there’s the huge guilt for letting your kids rot their brains in front of an iPad while you figure out how to recreate the wheel (so to speak). Of course I’ve never been guilty of that.
Now I’m not suggesting you never do another DIY project again. You can’t put a price tag on the sense of pride in accomplishment and that’s what keeps us DIY’ers staying at it.
If perhaps the world of DIY doesn’t speak to you and you have some money to play with then by all means, hire it out!..which is just what I did for my stair wall.
I painted this wall going down our stairs an Easter egg striped-nightmare three years ago. It a moment of temporary insanity. I then tried to fix it with a Birch Tree Stencil. The Mr. and plenty other people loved it. I felt “meh” about it.
I’ve been wanting to cover it with wood planks forever but I just couldn’t ever seem to carve out the time with life.
Then Homeadvisor.com came a calling. How would I like to try out their service on a home project I’ve been wanting to tackle? It was like the clouds parted and the Heaven’s opened.
If you haven’t heard of HomeAdvisor, they are a web-based service that matches home improvement professionals with home owners. Anything from plumbers to electricians to general handymen…they do it all. You just type in what you are looking for and the site spits out several matches. It’s like the home improvement version of match-making.
The great thing about it is you can read reviews from their past customers (and they don’t hold back). I’ve read some great reviews and not-so great reviews. (Wouldn’t that be great if you could read reviews on match-making sites from past daters?) HomeAdvisor provides such a great service because hiring the right person will make or break your project. I should know, you may remember I dedicated a whole post on how to hire the right sub-contractor.
I called three of the matches that site gave me to come give me a bid. The first guy was great but his price was double what the second guy was. The third guy was booked out several months. I went with Nathan. His price was right, his reviews were positive and he was available the following week.
I showed him some pictures of what I wanted and he got to work.
I have planking installed all over my home. It’s in the boys bunk room, our entry and in the basement. In those installations we used 5 inch tongue and groove. It’s durable, comes pre-primed but it’s thick and expensive. For the stairs I needed material that was thinner because it’s such a tight space. I decided to use this tutorial found on Sweet Pickins.
The difference between Tongue and Groove and 5.0 mm Utility Plywood is that the plywood boards are thin and pliable. The benefit is that you can leave the board just a hair longer than what you are trying to fit in your space because they have some give when you nail them in. It’s hard to explain but what that means is that your corners and end pieces look like you cut them precise each time.
The negative of using the plywood is that you have to nail the boards on the face whereas with tongue and groove you nail in to the groove which gets hidden when you lay the next board over it. (Tip: nail boards in to the studs). That means a lot of nail holes to fill in.
I thought it would take forever to fill all those holes in but it went pretty quick using my finger, some spackle and a putty knife. The other draw back is that you have to give everything a light sand before you paint because the plywood tends to have rough edges.
I was so pleased with Nathan that I had put up some more planking and build some floating shelves in my sons room. I’ll be sharing that with you soon enough. My only complaint is that he was on typical contractor-standard-time which was always late. In his defense he did call and let me know when to expect him. All in all I was very pleased with him and will definitely call him again for help. The other great thing about HomeAdvisor is that they stay in touch with you during your renovation process so if things aren’t going well perhaps they can help…maybe the contractor gets a scolding or something?
I felt a little guilt about not doing this project myself. But after I looked back on the job he did it was just so easy and I could be present with my kids and life. If you’re looking to hire some help with your home improvement list you definitely have to bookmark HomeAdvisor.com.
Stay tuned for the final reveal soon!
Last week I dished about the pros and cons of cement counters. This week I’m continuing on with our main bathroom review and doing some tile and potty talk.
This toilet gets an A+++ in design. It’s the Saile by Kohler and is a one piece toilet which means there’s no crack between the base and the tank for little boy urine to get trapped and hide.
I also love that the base doesn’t have the weird curvy thing…instead it’s all just smooth and uniform all the way down. Easy for cleaning.
The other genius features of this toilet are the “Quiet-Close” seat and “Quick-Release” function. Kids can slam it down as hard as they want and it will take several seconds to fall shut. The “Quick-Release” mechanism allows the seat to be removed by flipping two latches and popping it right off. Such a brilliant feature for easy cleaning.
Read my initial review here.
3 years later my only complaint is the flushing mechanism.
I’ve never been fond of the button flush which is located on top of the tank. For one reason, I’ve always used the top of the tank for storage such as a bud vase or box of Kleenex. The other reason is that there are two buttons for #1 and #2. 🙂 Guests don’t know don’t know which button is for which. We have a certain extended family member who apparently doesn’t know how to operate the toilet or maybe pushes both buttons simultaneously because the toilet runs and runs and runs after they get done in there. It’s a feature that hasn’t been perfectly engineered. Almost seems like the button gets caught if you push it at the wrong angle. So now #2 button doesn’t work and I’m too lazy to call Kohler and figure out what I need to do to fix or replace the part. As a result, there’s this permanent, ugly post-it telling guests which button to push. So un-chic.
Enough about potties and buttons. Let’s talk tile. I’ve loved our white subway tile and charcoal grout.
After about a year we noticed that most of the grout that meets the tub and the first subway tile was cracking and falling out in chunks in to the tub. The same problem was happening to the grout between the floor tile and tub. I showed the problem to the amazing tiler who did our basement tile and he told me that tubs shift and move when used. To remedy this you’re supposed to use silicone grout in a tube. In fact, he told me you really should use the silicone stuff where ever there’s a 90 degree angle or where two surfaces meet.
So the Mr. spent a Saturday chiseling out all the grout around the tub then going back in a re-grouting with silicone grout. Worked like a charm but still an annoying fix.
The niche’s were the best addition ever to the shower. They are full of soaps, shampoos and rubber duckies today.
I’ve had a lot of questions about how the penny tiles have held up. My answer to that is “surprisingly well”! Penny tiles come in 12×12 sheets held together by a mesh. You have to be so careful when installing them because if you’re just a few centimeters off you can see where the tile was pieced together. If you look closely you can kind of see that situation in the above picture. If you’re having penny tile installed by someone I recommend being a helicopter client and watch them install every single sheet and have them adjust on the spot if necessary. The other thing that is really important is make sure the installer gets ever single centimeter covered with mud. If one spot is missed a tile could cave and crack. We have one cracked tile. Our entry black penny tile was installed by same company, different installer and they are perfect. Not one crack and he was meticulous to make sure the seems were even. Live and learn.
What are your tile experiences or recommendations?
Read part one of our bathroom review here.