Tag Archives: what NOT to do

Ken getting ready to do something DIY.

Repost from Quora: What is your biggest DIY fail? How much did it cost to repair your mistake?

Ken Horkavy, Done more than most will in their lives, remember some of it

My wife and I built a deck out of recycled wood. Looks good right? Shiny, beautiful, coated all sides three times with Thompson’s water seal. What did I miss? Clearance. It was too close to the mulch and soil of the yard, so within two years it rotted to dust and I had to start over.

The cost of the deck was $200 in supplies, would have been $1000 with new wood. So not too bad. I did lose a week of work time building a ‘temporary deck’. Now we did win a $750 contest on creative recycling from Instructables: Hexagon Deck With Recycled Supplies.

So we made some money there and lost time.

THEN I pulled up the deck and used it in the yard as a temporary walkway of sorts, so a cost savings there:

More on the yard here: http://www.horkavy.com/ken/tag/m…

Or you can see it in this video: Ken Horkavy

Back to the story of the DIY deck adventure. My wife found a coquina-like stone drive way that was $500, but we had to pull it up by hand and it was concreted in. Back-breaking, trailer-bending, heavy, heavy work. We did it, even pulled up the two square yards of foundation sand that was underneath (in the rain). It was essentially SEVEN trips with trailers and vehicles. What a mess, but we got it done.

Then I had to buy many yards of additional foundation sand ($50/yard picked up) about $150.

This is what the patio looks like today

My breakdown:

Wood Deck: $200 – $750 prize = $550 profit for a temporary deck. 🙂

Stone Patio: $500 bricks, $100 fuel, $200 massages to recover, $150 in sand:
$950 total

To have a patio in the end, 15×30 feet, was $400 all totaled and probably a month of freakin’ work.

I would hire a builder to do it next time I think, but my wife and I had a good time working together. I love her very much. The greatest value I realized from this adventure was seeing how dedicated my wife was to me, following me down these rabbit holes!

Happy Building! 🙂

Ken