3 DIY projects that make me want to cry

June 19, 2017

I was reminded this weekend of the DIY projects I loathe. I don't use that term lightly -- I actually quite enjoy most do-it-yourself projects, obviously. But there are a few that I try to hire out now because I despise them so. 

Problem is, I get impatient and want it DONE so I end up doing these myself most of the time. And then I remember why I just need to be patient. ;) 

I finished tiling the back wall behind the bathroom vanity last week, and I just had to get it grouted to call that job done. It's only 30 square feet people -- not a big deal, right? Ha! So silly of me. I thought I'd get it done in about 45 minutes. NO. 

Here's a reminder of the tile I'm using that I shared it with you last week:

As I mentioned in that post, I'm so stinking happy with it! It is SO beautiful. It went up pretty easily -- actually very easily. I just had some cuts to make around the light fixtures and otherwise it was smooth going. 

But the grout...gah. Grouting blows. It took nearly three hours (!!) to get a six by five foot area done. HELLO. I was sweating. The actual grouting is not that hard -- you just smoosh the grout into the lines between the tiles. No biggie. 

But then you can only let that grout sit on the tile for so long or it dries and gets really hard to remove. They recommended waiting five to ten minutes before wiping, so you can only grout so much and then you have to stop and wipe off the section. And rinse your sponge nearly 500 times in the process. I think it would be much easier on a floor, but a vertical surface was killer. 

I was cussing out loud and may have almost wept at one point because it sucked so bad and was taking so long. 😆 I hated it. With every bit of my soul. 

But. It was worth it. I'm going to wait to share the whole wall when I reveal the room, but here's a peek. It is delicious

If you are interested, this is the Merola Twenties Vintage tile from Home Depot. (Only available online.) I love this stuff because it's actually ceramic and not cement like most tile with this design. This makes it much easier to work with. (You have to seal the cement tile before installing and it is more delicate.)

I used a sanded grout in the same warm gray color I used on the shower and floor. Did I mention it sucked? Yeah. But I have to admit, worth the pain! 

It's no accident that the stacked stone tile I used on our basement fireplace didn't need to be grouted. I would have just stood there and cried if I had to do that large of a space: 

Again, grouting isn't quite as bad on floor tile, but it still stinks. Royally.  

Another DIY job I dislike greatly? Hanging light fixtures: 

The thing is, the electrical part is easy! People think hanging lights is hard because of electrical work, but that's easy peasy! Connect black to black, white to white and copper to copper and you're golden. 

The hard part comes in when you try to hang a light by yourself but need three arms to hold the light and connect everything. (I'm usually too impatient to wait for my husband so I don't wait for his help and then get annoyed. The smart way to do things, obviously.) 

Then for me it's a pain when you're installing any light that has screws that come through that you connect to the fixture -- those have to be at just the right length to get everything connected perfectly. And then there are lights like those flush mounts in the photo above -- you have to match the two screws just right to insert them into the fixture. If I remember right I had to tape toothpicks to the screws on that light so I could find them when I installed the actual fixture. Fun times. 

And finally. The one that's sure to make me sweat, cuss and cry a little every. single. time -- crown molding. I've done it. It's doable. It just sucks: 

If you can cope (cut the wood with a hand saw), cutting crown is much easier. But I'm not good at that, so I have to use this crown molding installation method I showed you years ago. I find it SO helpful to make guides before I start the room. I mark them (see that post to see an example) with a marker to give myself a reminder of how to cut. Otherwise I run back and forth to the saw at least 20 times per section. 

It's worth it in the end, but it's still a job that I really dislike doing. I do have a bit of a cheater way to install crown though -- this way is much easier but costs more. 

Those are my top three -- grouting (ugh), installing light fixtures (some anyway) and crown molding. Are there any DIY jobs you've done that you don't enjoy? Perhaps all of them? Ha! These are the few that I would gladly pay to have done -- but I usually end up doing them on my own just in the interest of time (and cost). 

I'm off to drill into my pretty tile 😬 to hang the mirrors in the bathroom! It's coming along and I'm so happy with it, I can't even tell you! 

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  1. I hear you on installing light fixtures. I sweated and swore through installing two light fixtures in my laundry room this weekend. Being short and having to stand on the second highest step coupled with a fear of heights was not fun. Throw in a few stripped screws and dropped screw covers and I was about done. Once I had them up, the oil rubbed bronze looked to brown to me and I decided that I need them spray painted black. My husband thinks I'm insane.

  2. Yes, grouting isn't truly difficult just so dang time consuming! And, hubby and I have almost gotten divorced over hanging light fixtures together but it's so much easier with two people (but why am I always the one holding the darn fixture til my arms are about to fall off?) And crown molding? Thank God for caulk...all I'm gonna say about that!

  3. I admire your tenacity so much! Can't wait to see your finished project!!

  4. 100% agree with this, for all of the reasons you described. Amen and amen.

  5. You are so funny! Since I am super limited in what I can even attempt to do myself, I can only relate on the light fixtures. In our last house I installed 3 ceiling fan/lights BY MYSELF in our boys bedrooms! At the time our 4 sons were 2, 4, 7 and 9. We were in a smaller home without a basement so the boys played in their rooms, a lot. It was sheer stubbornness and the hope that the circulating air would somehow keep them all asleep past 6am, that kept me going. Can't wait to see the bathroom!

  6. Grouting back-splashes are the worst! The grout just ends up everywhere, where at least if you are doing a floor, it's generally staying in the right spot!

  7. You seriously amaze me at the projects you tackle on your own. I have been reading your blog for years since a friend shared it with me. I myself am not a DIY'er, but I definitely admire your tenacity. I do however love to decorate, and I get so many awesome ideas from your blog! I love how you keep things current and admit you have influenced my decor in a positive way�� Brenda

  8. I am in LOVE with the Merola Twenties Vintage tile!! I just need to find a place in my house to put it ;)

  9. I am right there with you on light fixtures. I recently hung a ceiling fan in my bedroom and I completely understand when you say you need 3 arms.

    Love the tile. Looks great.

  10. Can't wait to see the reveal. Is the tile a true white or is it creamy?

  11. Well, those are three DIY's I haven't attempted (and probably won't now! Ha!). :) I don't think I ever want to paint kitchen cabinets again. I didn't mind sanding and painting and caulking and painting and sanding and painting the doors (really, I didn't), but it just took FOREVER. My husband painted the cabinet boxes, and he said it would have been worth every penny to pay a professional. Plus, ours are looking a little worse for the wear after only a few years, so they need to be painted AGAIN (not by us!).

  12. Oh, and you haven't lived until you're trying to replace ceiling fixtures in a house that's 80 years old. We don't have black, white and copper wires- they're ALL black. And the old fixture has all black wires too, so I couldn't reverse engineer it. It came down to: buy a line tester or call an electrician. I did both...

  13. I LOVED this post! And I agree 100% about the grouting. I may or may not need to grout my foyer floor at this moment. Ahem. I can't wait to see the finished product!!

  14. Okay, 1) I pretty much loathe ALL DIY stuff. I do it b/c the budget doesn't allow for hired help. My life would be easier if I could stop wanting things to look prettier. People like you make it look doable and for impatient people like me...um...there is a lot of cussing! LOL 2) Light fixtures - DING DING DING! The wiring is so not the hard part. And I'm so there with you in that I am way too impatient to wait for that third arm. Why? #crazythatswhy 3) That tile is SWOON worthy! That is definitely key in pushing through the annoying grout part. :) 4) I'm going to NKOTB in a few weeks and am SOOO excited! I missed the last few concerts for various reasons and am over the moon to go to one the year I (and all of my best friends) turn 40! Is there a better way to celebrate than to scream like a 12 year old?!?!?


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