Shop Talk : Do it yourself
When times are tough, the tough get going. So when things break down - I am not talking about installing a new circuit breaker box or a pipe bursts - we can save ourselves a bunch of money by learning how to handle many little tasks ourselves - a new tile floor here, a painted wall there.
The Island has wonderful resources for both the beginner and the experienced amateur. Dealing with the people at Edgartown Hardware on Main Street is wonderful. Granite at the Triangle in Edgartown features everything for the home, from what goes on the table to what holds up the table. The same can be said for the family-owned Phillips Hardware on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. And then there's Shirley's Hardware on State Road in Vineyard Haven, a soup-to-nuts store where everybody knows your name.
To get some helpful how-to tips, I turned to Vineyard Home Center on State Road in Vineyard Haven. There I met Marsha and Ritchie, who were talking shop at the front counter. Marsha offered me some great do-it-yourself (DIY) project ideas. She said the top three DIY projects are installing wooden floors, repainting, and tiling. And ladies, you are the predominate gender for tiling. Marsha promises you won't be alone in the process.
Head upstairs at Home Center to the contractor sales department to look at floor samples, or to their design center for help picking out and getting tips on how to install your new tile. You'll be working one-on-one with an expert. (If you are looking to complete a small plumbing job, Ritchie will be your man.)
Painters have a rainbow of Pratt & Lambert paint to choose from along with all the tools you will need to do a good job. Of course, they also have just about every tool and material needed to do any job around your home.
And you don't even have to spend big money on a necessary tool that you'll probably need just once, such as a floor nailer, because it's possible to rent such things by the day. In fact, while I was talking to Marsha, a gentleman came in to do just that - rent a floor buffer with pads for just $22 a day.
Another great spot for DIY projects is Hinckley Lumber, on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven. Along with lumber, Islanders have the benefit of their Ace Hardware and Plumbing stores, and across the street, their Hinckley Paint Center featuring Benjamin Moore paints.
It's easy to find all the expected tools, equipment, and supplies there, thanks to their fantastic bold signs. Ace Hardware has their own Ace paint line along with the well-known Cabot stains and Krylon Spray Paint.
Cary Woods Bulk Wire, sold at whatever length you might need for indoor or outdoor use, is a hot seller. Did you know that thinner wire carries less electricity, while thicker or heavier gauge carries more? (I didn't, and I live with an electrician.)
So step up to the home improvement challenge. Start with something simple such as an easy three-step, five-minute installation of an Schlage Professional Grade 1 Security Deadbolt with Anti Pick Shield for $43.99. You can never be too safe.
If you're looking to go a little greener, tackle converting your toilet to a two flush system. At Ace Plumbing they sell an One2Flush kit for $35.99. With easy to follow directions, you can save water and money by giving your toilet tank the ability to flush with half a tank of water for liquids or a full tank for solids.
Winter is coming, and we're spending more time around home, so do some homework, ask some questions, and you might surprise yourself with all you can accomplish.