Week One – Learn a Practical Skill

Years ago, I was complaining to a bass player friend of mine that it was hard to find people to date because I spent so much time singing in clubs. It’s not a prime place to meet active LDS guys. His answer: Go to Home Depot and hang out in the lumber aisles. I still haven’t tried that, but maybe it’s a good place to segue from dating to flirting with life.

Home Depot. I imagine for Do-it-Yourself-ers, it might hold some of the same feelings that walking into a Barnes and Noble holds for me. Like I could spend days or weeks or months there and be completely content. They seem to have anything you’d need for any kind of project at Home Depot. Remodeling your yurt? Aisle 12. Installing plumbing in your bomb shelter? Aisle 549. But, aside from providing the supplies, Home Depot actually provides people with the education to complete their home improvement projects. Which is where I started on week one.

Casey explaining tile placement on the hardibacker

I first checked out their website, http://www.homeimproverclub.com/ and saw that they offered several free classes that week: interior painting, closet organization, repairing drywall, and the class I decided to take, tiling floors and walls. While I was there, I also signed up to receive email updates on their classes offered just to women.

My “class” ended up being just me and Casey, the resident tiling guru who was teaching. He was great- he went at a good pace for me to take lots of notes and answered all of my questions. He even let me take pictures of him at each step, so I could remember what he was doing.

The proper consistency for grout

There’s a lot more to tiling than I thought! I imagined you just spread grout on the tiles, slapped them down on the surface you were covering, and then let it dry. Casey taught me all sorts of things about hardibacker, thin-set mortar, different kinds of trowels and grout, spacers, caulking, chalk lines, slooters, etc. He talked to me about how some old homes have metal and cement behind existing tile, so you have to remove it with a crowbar first. He taught me about optimum placing of spacers and working grout in at an angle and about different kinds of tile. He even taught me about how to replace cracked tiling.

Placing spacers between tiles

By the end of the time I spent with him, I felt like an expert. I’m sure all of his experience makes it look easy, but it’s probably a lot more tricky for a novice. I’m excited to do a small tiling project, like a table top or a pot holder, and then maybe eventually something bigger when I get my own house. I am also looking forward to going to more of these Home Depot classes in the future. And maybe spending some time in the lumber aisles…

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4 thoughts on “Week One – Learn a Practical Skill

  1. Sarah Washburn says:

    You’ll have to keep us posted on your future tiling projects. 🙂 I am soooo not a fix-it kind of person. I have a cousin who fixes everything herself (installing marble counter-tops, pouring cement for her driveway, etc.). She is a marvel to me! Plus she has 8 kids! I don’t know how she does it! This is a really neat thing for you to learn how to do.

  2. Jennnifer Gonzalez says:

    Home Depot is a magical place. I’m not any type of real do-it-yourself-er, but something about the smell of lumber blended with the infite possiblities just makes me happy. As a child, i used to love collecting paint swatches, tile samples, and little handfuls of perfectly sized pebbles and gravel while my parents tried to figure out why their sprinkler heads kept blowing off in Old Faithful fashion…. ah, memories.

    Good for you!!! Can’t wait to see you when i get out to Utah next month!

  3. Mary Lee Call says:

    You are a go-for-it-get-it-done woman! I hope you are collecting these blogs offline somewhere in a safe place because they are great. Love the photo illustrations.

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