I have years of home repair experience. In fact, I started helping with home projects when I was a toddler. Now that I’m an adult, I tackle home repairs with ease. I have plenty of hands-on practice to guide me, and I always have common sense and the internet to fall back on.
However, even those with plenty of home repair knowledge can make disastrous mistakes. Lack of proper funds or time can sabotage a project. Poor quality materials can also quickly create a mess. Almost two years ago, I discovered how quickly a project can spiral out of control.
My Worst Home Repair Mistake
The bathtub at our last rental started to leak severely. Our landlord couldn’t afford the repairs, so we attempted to solve the issue ourselves. However, by the time we fixed the tub, the bathroom floor was destroyed.
Clearly, the bathroom subfloor needed replaced. Money was tight, though, so we tried to repair the existing subfloor. We removed the tile and flaking chunks of plywood. We used putty to smooth the surface. After the putty hardened, we installed stick-on vinyl tiles with plenty of extra glue.
Afterward, the floor appeared fine. Unfortunately, within a week, the tiles began shifting. Ultimately, there wasn’t anything for the glue to stick to because the plywood was continuing to deteriorate underneath our repairs.
A Hard Lesson Learned
Of course, we did the best we could given the situation. Still, if I ever face this issue again, I’ll do it correctly. I will completely gut the subfloor, starting over with appropriate materials. Water damage is a serious problem and should be dealt with as such. Not only do major leaks ruin floors and damage nearby walls and ceilings, but they can cause destructive (and unhealthy) mold if improperly repaired.
Tips for Avoiding My Mistake
- Tip #1: Silence your inner penny-pinching voice. Your initial instinct might be to take the cheapest route. Yet, if you cut corners, you’ll likely only waste money on unsuccessful repairs and need to later spend more money to do the project properly.
- Tip #2: Use quality materials. Any repair is a valuable investment in your home. Again, you may be tempted to cut costs, but you truly get what you pay for. Shop around. Compare prices and options. Just ensure you’re getting the most quality for your buck.
- Tip #3: If you lack the skills to properly replace a subfloor, don’t hesitate to ask for help or hire a professional. You won’t be saving money if you attempt a repair you are ill-prepared to handle. In fact, you’ll most likely pay twice-once for your failed attempt and then for someone else to redo the repairs.