DIY Dummies

Do you have something that your family are just plain rubbish at? For us, it’s DIY. My mum was always excellent at it so should have been a great role model, but for some reason it didn’t trickle down to me. I’m too careless and take too many shortcuts, so while I like the idea of getting going, I can’t be bothered with all the little tweaks to make it perfect, like measuring and things. My husband tries, and generally does a good job, but he clearly hates it and it makes him very irritable! I have never seen him as annoyed as he was trying to put up a set of floating shelves, and I really try not to make too many DIY demands of him.

A few months back, we decorated our downstairs bathroom. This is a small room that shares a wall with a cupboard containing a washing machine. Now, a little while back we discovered the washing machine had a small leak, from which water had been seeping for months, possibly years, and soaking into the floor and walls around it. This meant that the paint in the bathroom was gradually peeling off, just showing the plaster underneath, and in some places there were chunks of plaster that had fallen off – it looked pretty grotty.

When it came to painting, I really thought we’d done everything we needed to do. My mum gave us a special paint to cover up the exposed and newly repaired plaster, as she said the paint would otherwise be soaked up into it. Kester painted it a lovely shade of blue, and it looked better, we thought. Well, it could hardly look worse. A nice picture, a few co-ordinating accessories. Lovely.

However, it soon became apparent that all was not perfect as darker patches began to reappear, with a rough finish to them. As the months went on these became worse, there are always flakes of paint coming off, if you lean on the wall you end up covered in it, and everything in there is covered in a fine blue dust. The wall is still just as patchy, only it’s a nice shade of blue now. Sigh. And basically, we don’t really know where we went wrong. Should we have waited longer or made more of an effort to dry to the wall out? Honestly, it doesn’t seem damp but I’m guessing it must have been something to do with the water from the leak. Should we just have used more of the special plaster paint? Or do we need something serious, like penetrating damp treatment? It doesn’t look, or smell like it’s damp but I am at a loss, and I don’t want to ask poor Kester to do it again as he is rather demoralised by the whole thing. I guess I could do it myself but I can’t be trusted with DIY!

Also, why do we not just become good at this stuff when we become adults? I thought it was one of those things, like remembering motorways, discussing house prices and being permanently tired that just naturally happened the older we got, but it seems the DIY fairy skipped our family!

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