Good Timing

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

When it comes to home improvement, I find that timing is everything.

For example, you should never attempt a plumbing project on a Saturday.

Why? Because if you mess it up, you'll be left with a choice no homeowner wants to face: Either pay a plumber overtime rates on a weekend to come and finish the job, or face the wrath of your family members by making them wait until Monday to regain a working toilet.

Also, people who own two-story homes shouldn't attempt a roof repair on a Saturday.

Why? Because emergency rooms are more crowded on weekends. If you're going to do something dangerous, midweek is best. After a tumble off a ladder, you don't want to find yourself seventh in line at the ER behind a softball player with a broken ankle, three kids with fevers, two chest-pain cases and a guy suffering from bad chainsaw technique.

Interior painting should be restricted to baseball season. Baseball is the slowest of the televised sports, and therefore the easiest to watch while slapping a coat of latex on the family-room walls. The stop-and-go action of football doesn't lend itself to smooth paint application, and hockey fights make me want to jab rather than roll.

Never organize a garage until late fall, when it's too cold to go outside and do stuff that messes up the garage in the first place. Gardening is the worst: From April to the end of October, I've got a garage littered with plastic pots, tangled hoses and half-full bags of mulch. I would never attempt to organize that mess before a good killing frost.

Aug. 15 should be your cutoff date for starting really ambitious remodeling projects. I started a bathroom remodeling once in mid-August, assuring my wife it would be done way

before her deadline of Christmas. And it was, with - if I'm remembering right - about 20 minutes to spare.

Don't buy power tools on a weeknight. Most people - well, most guys, at least - are physically incapable of bringing home a reciprocating saw without immediately cutting a hole in a wall.

If you're going to do that, you want to make sure you have plenty of time to clean up the mess and repair the wiring and ductwork you inadvertently sawed through. No one wants to be doing that at 2 a.m. on a workday.

If you have children under 10, the best time to wash a car is Saturday, when the kids are home and will beg to help. This can result in up to an hour of sitting in a lawn chair, supervising. (Incidentally, this trick doesn't work on kids older than 10. In fact, no tricks work on kids older than 10.)

I should also address deck-cleaning and sealing, tops on my list of jobs I absolutely hate. It's a messy, laborious task that, at best, can make a 20-year-old deck look days or even weeks younger.

In other words, there's never a good time to do it.