Star-Eagle Independent Newspaper – SEP 2015
You have seen them. The photos of “epic fails”, or home repair solutions that are absolutely astounding as to the stupidity involved in their creation. These photos (or evidence) exist for car repair, animal care, sports, just about anything where if it can be done wrong, it probably has. And here is the picture to prove it.
Do these examples really exist? Are they some clever photo manipulation just to amuse us or did someone really think that this was a good idea at one time?
Most are for real. I know this because just in the few years I have been on this planet, and the fewer years I entertained myself as a remodeling contractor, I have seen my own share. And, in this moment of self-confession, I have to admit I may have created a couple “epic fails” myself.
Most of the photographic ones that really catch my attention seem to involve plumbing and electrical. If we break these down individually, plumbing fails can make you wet. Electrical fails make you dead. So that right there is an important and distinctive separation.
I admire the radiator hose “S” Trap under the kitchen sink, or the toilet installed halfway into the shower, just in case you want to do both at the same time. Creativity at its finest. Now the electrical outlet installed in the wall of the same shower? When did this make sense to someone?
Hybrid concoctions make me chuckle also. The strapped in electric drill with an Allen tip to spin the burnt out disposal under the sink. The wood stove elevated on three layers of cinder blocks because they didn’t have enough stove pipe. License plate roof patches in place of shingles. What is behind these solutions? Perceived necessity. At the moment of inception, these made perfect sense. In fact, I have a feeling the creator was downright proud of themselves. Hey, they were using what they had to fix a problem. This in a way is to be admired.
My line gets drawn when the solution becomes dangerous or fraudulent. I receive text photos from home inspectors showing me what they found. These have included wiring connections wrapped with duct tape stuffed into plastic bag laying in the attic. Dryer ducts made out of ABS Sewer pipe. Even windows installed backwards! Really.
You can never know or see into, though, or under everything in your home. You never know what those living there before you did and covered up. Out of sight, out of mind. A lot of these “creative solutions” I found in remodeling homes actually worked, and for a surprising amount of time. Eventually they would have failed. And yes, sooner than if they would have been done right to begin with.
There are often the best of intentions to come back and “do it right”. “This is only temporary” has been spoken by me several times only to forget about it for a long time because it worked.
Without exception, I cannot think of anyone who regretted doing something the right way. With “the right way” comes pride and a guilt free conscience. You also usually do not have to worry about hurting others or causing distress for “the next guy” because of your corner cutting.
I have heard the phrase: If you want it fixed, with what you have, and you need it to last, ask a Farmer to do it. After restoring a couple old Farmall tractors, I can agree with this. It was ugly, but by gosh it worked and probably would for a long time to come.
Something around your house you need to correct? Do it now. You will sleep better tonight.