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20 Epic DIY Fails: Do It Yourself at Your Own Risk!

DIY thumbs down electrical work

There are universal truths about homeownership, many of which involve structural and mechanical breakdowns and repairs and the inevitable consequences. Whether you’re the type who calls a professional to clean the gutters or a take-charge champion of problem-solving, another truth involves probability. No matter who does the fixing, there’s a 50/50 chance of something not being right. Here are 20 epic DIY fails that might give you second thoughts about doing it yourself.


1. Yes, But Also No

The answer to the question, “Can I use your bathroom?” The logic and contingencies are baffling. More questions abound. We have a couple of possible scenarios. One, the technician wasn’t paying attention. Two, they had no intention of installing the seat properly and didn’t know what to do with the extra parts. Lack of a visible flushing mechanism suggests a public restroom. Moreover, the layout gives off a heavy South East Asian vibe, where, unlike Japan and almost everywhere else in the world, people usually don’t sit on the toilet seat. In which case, all bets are off. Major fail.


2. Puff n’ Stuff vs Air Duct: Puff n’ Stuff Wins by TKO

Somebody got cute with the spray foam insulation. That vent was cosmetic anyway, right, Dad? A fail if we ever saw one.


3. How Late is Home Depot Open on a Sunday Night?

In this episode of “There, I Fixed It”, we’ll examine the definition of heartbreak. Though it might not look like a catastrophe, this weekend warrior has just set his bathroom remodel back by a minimum of 24 hours. All fail, all day.


4. Should I Call an Electrician or an Exorcist?

Generally speaking, the only thing you want to see coming out of a wall socket is maybe a short spark when you plug in a hair dryer. Brown liquid is right up there with poisonous gas on the scale of things you don’t want coming out of an electrical outlet. This is close to paranormal and a solid fail.


5. No, That’s Where We Keep the Ladder

It’s a nice ladder, though.

Installing a satellite dish is maybe one step above a ceiling fan in terms of hassle. It’s also one of those situations where you might save yourself the heartache and embarrassment of failing this hard.


6. Meet Ya in the Middle

Here’s a hypothetical situation. You need to repaint the massive swimming pool at your winter mansion in Florida. Not knowing a lot of people in town, you ask your next-door neighbor if they know of a good pool painter. Your neighbor says, “Oh, yeah, for sure. My brother-in-law and his sidekick have a painting business.”

These two show up like casual Friday at the company picnic, and most likely, never having painted a pool, didn’t have a game plan.


7. When Your Contractor Doesn’t Give a F***

Here’s the dilemma. They want you to move the wall but you don’t want to rip up the electrical conduit. And so, there comes a time in nearly every home improvement project when the contractor says, “Yeah, that’s about our only option left. Let’s hope the homeowner doesn’t notice.”


8. The World’s Most Expensive Shelving Bracket

You can see the level down in the lower right-hand corner, so you know this cat was using the tripod as a temporary brace during installation. Either way, you’re looking at a top-notch triumph and the definition of “There, I Fixed It”.


9. For Every Crack, a Hinge

You have to know there’s a great story behind this jury-rigged repair. Fortunately, it’s not a load-bearing support. If they’d filled the cracks in the wood with a little more care, there’d be something artistic about it.


10. Home Depot Clown Car Lumber Edition

The home repair version of My Eyes Are Bigger Than My Stomach. Or, hell no, I’m not paying $35 for delivery! There’s no more self-defeating way of destroying the suspension of your car than overloading it with roughly five times the number of 2x8s it could reasonably carry. Not that passenger cars were designed to haul lumber, obviously.


11. When Your Wife Insists on the Stainless Steel Drawer Handles

This is the kind of dick move that carpenters chuckle about at the bar. “And I told her, look, lady, you don’t even need knobs on these drawers!”


12. Would It Have Killed Them to Call a Plumber?

It’s almost as if the person who installed this said, “I’m gonna make it as ugly and impractical as possible”, and then, set out to achieve this goal with remarkable dedication.


13. This is What You Get When You Don’t Hire an Architect

Sure, this is all well and good for the current homeowner. It’s their house, let them do what they want with it. But karma will circle back for them when it’s time to sell the property. There isn’t a real estate agent on the planet who’s gonna be excited about listing this house.


14. Somewhere, There’s a Carpenter Crying in His Sleep

This is either a sick joke or the contractor has never removed a wall before. A textbook example of What Not To Do.


15. Don’t Blame the Plumber You Didn’t Hire, Chief

Perhaps we’re dealing with some forced perspective but this has to be a DIY job. No self-respecting architect would design this and no professional plumber would agree to install the toilet under the bathroom vanity. It just wouldn’t happen.


16. Genius Idea…Until It Rains

What’s the worst that could happen here? The opposite of what this DIYer was trying to achieve.


17. The Definition of a “Temporary Fix” aka the Ultimate Jury Rig

Duct Tape Fun Fact #1: You can’t use it with ductwork. A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory compared duct tape to every other tape on the market. When it came to sealing ducts, no other tape performed as poorly as duct tape. One scientist said it failed “catastrophically”.

Today, it’s a major code violation to use it on ducts in the US.


18. Leaky Roof? Problem Solved

Duct Tape Fun Fact #2: The NASA and duct tape myth probably got started because of Apollo 13. Engineers used duct tape to resolve a potentially life-threatening problem with the ventilation system in the lunar module. But contrary to popular belief, duct tape was invented during World War II by an ammunition factory worker named Vesta Stoudt, the mother of two Navy sailors, who worried that problems with ammunition box seals would cost soldiers precious time in battle.


19. Believe It or Not, That Won’t Pass Inspection

More Duct Tape Fun Facts #3: Avon, Ohio hosts an annual duct tape festival. The event includes duct tape artwork, a fashion show, and a parade featuring floats and marching formations based on duct tape. No word on whether the duct tape bondage and fetish communities have a presence, but let’s hope so.


20. High Voltage? More Like Die Voltage

This is where the inspector says, “What made you think you could get away with it – and live?


Featured and header image credit: Bulat, Shutterstock

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