Tips and advice for anyone dealing with a disaster situation and/or building a house (check back often for updates):

  1. Construction always costs more and takes longer than expected.
  2. Building a house will test even the strongest relationships. Expect to argue with your partner. Knowing this ahead of time will allow you to prepare intelligent comebacks ;o)
  3. Don’t be afraid to do some work yourself. You can learn how by reading books, visiting websites, attending workshops, etc. Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes offer free workshops.
  4. When sanding drywall, use a flashlight to check for uneven spots.
  5. Most teenagers do not like to build houses. Don’t expect them to help much.
  6. Keep in mind that FEMA employees are not volunteers. They are working at a job.
  7. It takes an anal person 10 times longer to float drywall.
  8. Get everything in writing. I mean EVERYTHING.
  9. Women’s hair and clothing attract paint like a magnet. This should be taught in physics class.
  10. Be careful when climbing down ladders. Ribs break easy and hurt for a long time.
  11. Many FEMA and SBA employees have become desensitized because they hear stories just like yours on a daily basis.
  12. You can never be too cautions around chemicals. Remember, “they” said DDT was safe too.
  13. 2×6 24″ on center wall studs (OVE framing) allows for more insulation, less waste, and less materials. You may also save a few $$$.
  14. “Cause that’s the way it’s done” is not an answer.
  15. Antidepressants (‘nough said).
  16. Although flat paint is better at hiding imperfections and is often less expensive, it can be harder to keep clean.
  17. Long hair + power tools = pain & suffering.
  18. A universally accepted definition of “green” does not exist. You have to decide what being green means to you.
  19. Learn to leave well enough alone.
  20. When taking a break from painting, keep your brushes, rollers, pans, and other tools from drying out by sealing in plastic bags.
  21. Unused drywall makes a great soil amendment.
  22. Sometimes a finger is the best tool for the job.
  23. Cap off open tubes of caulk and glue by inserting a nail into the tip.
  24. Cheap paint can actually be more expensive than better quality paint because the coverage is not as good.
  25. Corners will not be perfectly square after drywall is floated. Something to keep in mind when fitting cabinets.
  26. Do not pay for a job up front or before you are completely satisfied.
  27. Don’t be afraid to watch over anyone you hire and keep your house plans close by.
  28. Save money on smaller tiles by purchasing larger sized pieces and cutting them down yourself (may not work with beveled edges).
  29. Do not let spray foam (e.g., Great Stuff, DAPtex, etc.) come in contact with skin, hair, or fabric…really anything other than the intended surface or something that can be discarded.
  30. Store unused paint in appropriately labeled glass jars. Be sure to keep a record of the original brand and tint formula.

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