Building styles: pre-plan or just dive in?

Kit Stansley

October 12, 2012

By: Kit Stansley, DIY Diva

In: General Remodeling

Last weekend I found myself -- somewhat unexpectedly -- building a six-foot tall wood frame for a chalkboard. My plan was to select a piece of old barn wood from my pile and then draw up some rough plans before cutting into the wood, but you know how these things go: Once I had the wood on the sawhorses I figured I'd just rip it down to make sure I liked the width, and then I thought I'd just roughly trim the boards down to size so I could visualize it around the chalkboard, and, you know, since I was cutting it anyway, I might as well just cut it on a 45 for the mitered corners, and… well, you get the picture. At no point in that process did I actually stop and plan out what I was going to do or how I was going to do it.

building style

In stark contrast I used to live with an Engineer, and he once pre-fabbed a small barn for our donkeys inside the garage, and then assembled it in place out in the pasture. And all of the pieces fit together.

building plan

I was floored, because I'm pretty sure that dude's measuring tape works the exact same way mine does, but I never once saw him throw it in frustration because things weren't square. Which, I won't say that has never happened to me, but I've also built some fairly good sized cabinetry using my on-the-fly method of building this bathroom vanity, for example…

building style

So having spent considerable time with someone who was on the opposite end of the building-styles spectrum, here's my take on the pros and cons of each.

If you're a pre-planner…

  • You probably have a lot less waste
  • You almost never have to make an unexpected trip back to the hardware store for more materials
  • It's likely you have a fairly detailed plan that you can reference later or use to build the same thing over again
  • It probably takes you a lot longer to get started
  • You may be daunted by the size or scope of a project

If you tend to dive right in…

  • You probably start more projects, more often
  • You're good at working through problems as they arise
  • It's unlikely that you build the same thing over and over again
  • You tend to have more waste (and if you look closely, probably more gaps that are filled in with caulk)
  • You probably swear a lot more

What do you think of my assessment, are you a pre-planner, or a dive-right-in kind of builder?


No comments have been added for this article.

Thank you! Your comment has been posted successfully and is awaiting moderation. Post another Comment
There was an error processing your comment, please try again.

Post a Comment