One Of My Own Painting Disasters

Avoid your own painting disasters: Thoroughly research your intended project before starting


Yes, even the Guru has had a few really bad painting disasters, but what I learned from those experiences is what got me to where I am today.

You see, I run a very successful painting and remodeling business that came about, in part, because I didn't think some of the work I saw others doing "professionally", was any better than if I was to do it myself. I knew I could get things done better, and for a better price than what some people were charging for.

Well, I eventually did go into business for myself. But first, let me tell you about one of those "painting disasters" that left a very important impression on me: There are some jobs that are better left up to a professional to do.

(I know this sounds a little "off-topic" considering the theme of this site, but what I'm trying to point out here, is there comes a time when doing-it-yourself just doesn't make sense, given the potential hazards and inherent problems involved in a particuler project)

What kind of work am I talking about fellow do-it-yourselfers?

I'm talking about experienced trades, such as electrical wiring, plumbing, installing heating and air conditioning, heavy excavation, and yes, even ...

Trying to Refinish My Own Bathtub

Years ago, I decided to remodel my bathroom, which, by that time, looked pretty awful, even by my - shall we say - "reckless", bachelor-standard days.

Let's just say it did not look good.

All restoration to that point was moving relatively smoothly until I decided to keep my old, cast-iron bathtub (too big and heavy to move), and have it refinished. Naturally, I thought I could do this project myself.

Well, lo and behold, was I wrong! I found out in a hurry that I wasn't as talented as I thought I was. And I only made matters worse because, I figured, if I could do a certain-something this way (or that), everything would be just fine. Well... I couldn't, and it wasn't.

(certainly a painting disaster waiting to happen, isn't it!)

So, after that mess, what did I do next? I called the first "professional" I found in the phone book, and had him come over to give me a quote. "$150.00" was his reply.

(I had heard, that to get something like this done right, it was going to be expensive, maybe $300.00, or something in that ballpark - and money I didn't have to spend)

So, I had him do the job, thinking I'm saving 150 bucks. He called himself a "bathtub refinisher" and had done "many jobs" in town, which sounded real good to me.

At this point, I'm patting myself on the back for being so shrewd with my limited budget.

Just weeks after "refinishing" my tub, the paint started flaking and peeling. He came back once to "fix the problem", but never heard from him anymore as this job wasn't going to pay more money.

I was ready to scream (and probably did) my head off. So what did I do next?

I did what I should have done in the first place. I called several refinishers and basically "interviewed" them, to see what credentials they brought to the table. They were all in the $250-$350 range, and all had a lot of verifiable experience. All had references, homeowners, as well as commercial applications.

I finally chose one contractor, who did the (re)work, and gave me an unconditional money-back guarantee.

Beautiful job, no problems, lighter of pocket (due to my laziness), and infinitely smarter - or so it would seem. You see, I'm still learning, but hopefully, with a better state of mind.

Moral of the Story

(or, how to avoid your own painting disasters)

The moral of this story is:

Do your homework. Get a good idea of what you're getting yourself into.

Don't do what I did, and jump right into a project without thinking of the consequences (basically, a painting disaster waiting to happen). If you personally want to do the job, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this something I can realistically do by myself?

  • Do I have the means (tools and talent) to accomplish my goals?

  • Have I looked at all possible problem scenarios, and what would I do should they arise?

  • What about safety issues?

    Just be careful when looking to do a project around the house - and avoid any and all painting disasters - if you can.

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