February 2009: D.I.Y. Diary

February 2009: D.I.Y. Diary

We did our level best, but the results were less than level. Next time around, we broke down and hired a drywaller.

We are more than a little proud of our D.I.Y. ethic, but on a couple of occasions, we’ve taken the big step of admitting that we’d be better off hiring someone for a specific task. One of these occasions came about only after we’d satisfied our curiosity by trying the task in question—drywalling—ourselves.

It’s not that drywalling is incredibly strenuous or filthy or dangerous—in each case, it’s only mildly so. But it takes practice to make drywall look like it was installed by a human being and not by a monkey. “Practice” for us meant laboring over a bathroom ceiling and walls that, despite our thorough efforts, look —well—amateurish. And the job had gobbled tons of time, with repeated applications of drywall mud, then sessions with sandpaper, then more mud…

In the middle of this process, we had a visit from a bank inspector who is also an expert drywaller. He gave us a little demo: With one motion of the knife, he accomplished what we couldn’t in days of work. That did it. Our next drywall project, in the kitchen, had us on the phone to a local handyman. He came over and looked at the job, then quoted us $75. Sold!

Not only was this person infinitely more skilled with the gypsum and mud than we, he was pleasantly talkative and said nice things about the other work we’d done on our house. In other words, the perfect subcontractor. Sipping coffee while someone else made things happen in our house was a strange feeling, and not entirely comfortable. But we’re glad we powered through it.—Spackled Egg