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Hometime's Dean Johnson Debunks Some Common Myths About Home Improvement

MYTH: Toilet Repair is tough because it involves plumbing.
TRUTH: Most toilet repairs involve the flapper, handle, or float ball, all of which can be replaced by simply unscrewing the old part and slipping on the new.

MYTH: Wallpapering a bathroom is easy because it's so small.
TRUTH: Wallpapering a bathroom is usually difficult because you have to cut pieces to get around obstacles, such as vanities, toilets, and tub surrounds.

MYTH: Garage-door openers are difficult to install.
TRUTH: There may be many pieces in the box, but they're designed to go together easily.

MYTH: This is the last trip to the hardware store for today.
TRUTH: Here's Dean Johnson's Corollary to Murphy's Law: You'll always forget to buy one thing and, whatever it is, it's vital to your project.

MYTH: Ceramic tile is expensive.
TRUTH: There's now a wide range of low- and mid-priced tiles available. Don't rule it out before you shop around.

MYTH: A saw is a saw is a saw, or all power tools are created equal.
TRUTH: Some models are more powerful and last longer than others. Buy what you can afford AND what you need. If you'll only use the circular saw once, by all means, get the $30 special. If you'll use it all the time, get the best you can possibly afford.

MYTH: Getting furniture professionally dip-stripped is expensive.
TRUTH: Depending on the piece of furniture, the amount of stripper required and the time it will take you, dipping is sometimes cheaper than doing it yourself.

MYTH: If you're careful when removing ceramic tile, you can avoid damaging the wall or floor below it.
TRUTH: You'll almost always damage it. It's faster, easier, and often more fun to get out the sledge hammer or fist maul. A plus is that besides new tile, you can install a new backer-board substrate.

MYTH: In drywall, a small hole is easier to repair than a big one.
TRUTH: Unless it's small enough to fill with mud, it's easier to fix a big hole that extends stud to stud. Then you can anchor the new patch to the studs with drywall screws.

MYTH: Landscape fabric and mulching prevent weeds in gardens.
TRUTH: While it will help keep weed seeds in the soil underneath from sprouting, it'll do nothing to prevent weed seeds that blow in on top from sprouting. You can't avoid some weeding.

MYTH: You can always buy more [paint, carpet, wallcovering, tile, vinyl] later if you need it.
TRUTH: Chances are, even if you DO find the pattern, the batch numbers will be different. Always buy extra materials from the same batch for those inevitable repairs down the road.

MYTH: I can finish this in a morning.
TRUTH: Trust me...It will take all weekend.

MYTH: Installing a new door is next to impossible.
TRUTH: Most doors now come pre-hung. You just plumb the jamb, shim it, and nail it in place.

MYTH: Water in the basement is always a sign of big trouble.
TRUTH: Most often the problem is bad grading around the foundation or clogged or damaged gutters. Always check these possibilities before assuming the worst.

MYTH: It will be fun to work on this together.
TRUTH: Home improvement is the true test of any relationship.


Reprinted with permission of Hometime®. For further information about home improvement and common home repairs, tune in to Hometime or visit © Hometime 1995, all rights reserved.