The Home Improvement Reality Ratio

Me installing new porch roofI started a porch roof project last Thursday and I had every intention to be done Friday so I could enjoy the rest of my weekend. Not so. As with every other home improvement project time slips away
and, before I know it, weekends buggered off and I'm still not done. That's right, I took two days off work last week, had a Depot-related setback Friday, then spent all day Saturday and Sunday outside and still didn't finish.

Overall I may not be the handiest tool in the box but I thought this one would be different. It seemed so simple until I put my shiny new crowbar to work. With this latest project I'm finally ready to reveal what I've silently observed with every project we've tackled here: The Home Improvement Reality Ratio. That's right, this little baby is a free tip to all the DIY'ers in, banging on, adding to, and increasing equity on da house. You know how people always pine about wishing they had the answers and a manual to get through life? Well, here's one of 'em:

The ratio of reality to estimated duration for
any DIY home improvement project is 3 to 1.

Write that down, frame it, name a horse after it and bet on it. For all projects around the house small to tall this ratio applies. Putting together a display case from Ikea? What you thought would take an hour will quickly eat up three. I'll get that new dishwasher installed. See you tomorrow! I'll take a couple days off work and have that new porch roof up with time to spare this weekend. Three days in and probably a good day or more left.

Maybe by publishing this ratio I'll be doing everyone out there a favor by showing them what's outside the cave. Maybe it's just a sentence that will discourage you from ever embarking on projects around the house so your equity goes nowhere and the place falls into flacid disrepair until you can't take it and someone decides to try and collect on the home owner's insurance because of an "accidental" fire. I can say that I'd rather a project take longer than expected and come out well in the end. So far the porch roof is looking great and I can see the end. Whatever the case, happy DIY'ing!

posted Feb 25, 2008 under home improvement, projects, reality  

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