7 Home Improvement Project Phrases Guys Say

I’ve tried my hand at fixing things around the house. Whatever the project, it usually works… but with a caveat. If I fix it you usually have to instruct others to…

  • “Jiggle the handle”
  • “Turn it the other way”
  • “Force it down”

I’m not super handy as evidenced by having a mild anxiety attack after opening these instructions on a recent project I did (disclosure: with my Dad. I couldn’t do it alone).

home improvement anxiety attack

Only 26+ steps to a simple installation. So much to go wrong.

It’s also interesting to note that I work for a home improvement company in the sales and marketing departments. Repeat: the sales and marketing departments. This week part of my duties involved production of a commercial for our kitchen division.

Can you guess what era this shot is seeking to represent?

Girls Just Wanna Have a Fun Remodel Project

While watching the installer during filming, I was relieved to hear him (a 15 year home improvement specialist who does amazing work) saying many of the same home improvement project phrases my Dad said both during our 463 step project and during my 36 year upbringing assisting my dad in numerous projects.

1. “Son of a”

 That’s all. It doesn’t go any further than the “of a.” Ends right there.

2. “That’s not good”

Always make me nervous to hear someone else say that during a project. And usually it’s not. It’s usually not good.

3. “What were they thinking?”

Refers to the whomever installed the project prior. Intended to betlittle the non-present party and bolster self-confidence in the current project’s outcome.

4. “What the”

I prefer “what the what,” but the “what the” is a staple of home improvement project phrases.

5. “We’ll see what happens”

Usually said when water is turned back on for the first time after completing plumbing.

6. “Turn it off, turn it off, TURN IT OFF!”

 Yelled loudly, passionately, emphatically.

7. “We might have to go to                                           . Are they still open?”

My Dad and I made three trips to the                                 store during our epic project. Just saying.


Question: What are your favorite home improvement project phrases?


Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • What were they thinking is a big one in my house. It was a rental house before I bought it, and I’m seeing how the former owners cut corners. Yikes!

  • I have removed “what were they thinking” from my vocabulary since comparing my work with “theirs”. Now it’s more like “oh, they didn’t know what they were doing either”.

  • Rob

    “What language IS that?”

  • For me, it’s more “What was I thinking starting this project!”

  • Ken Stewart

    “This shouldn’t take too long,” followed over the course of hours by the aforementioned phrases…

    • Andrew Zahn

      Experienced that many, many times Ken.

  • 🙂 Hilarious.
    “Righty-tighty, Lefty-loosy.” Always a life-saver, this phrase…

    • Andrew Zahn

      Used that one yesterday at least three times.

  • This evoked some major LOLs because it’s so true. I usually just smack a project with a hammer in hopes of completing the task, then I tell myself these “battle wounds” give it character. [Yes, “character” is a euphemism for “sub-par”].

    • Andrew Zahn

      We have a ton of ‘character’ in our home. A TON.

  • “I wonder who has a tool for that.”

  • Diane Zahn

    Can’t forget “Aw crap!”
    Great topic, makes for great story telling and heritage. DAZ

    • Andrew Zahn

      Yes! And ‘geez oh peeeezzzzz.’ That’s a favorite of mine I remember Dad saying!

  • Teresa Carter

    Since as an artist, I have always considered myself a “Handygirl” – when my husband is not around and every guy I know is unavailable to help… I will offer some phrases from the female perspective. “We’ll make it fit.” “Oh! That’s how you turn that thing on.” and my favorite, “It’s really not that bad…if I slap some paint on it, no one will ever know.”

  • Jakz

    Oh, this made me laugh! My husband and I have remodeled our house extensively. I can vouch for every phrase on this list being said at some point. The one I’d add to it? An emphatic, “Oh, come on!”

    • Andrew Zahn

      “Oh come on” is fantastic! I’ve let that one fly too 🙂 Along with “for reals!?!?”

  • “Son of a…” is definately a staple of home improvement projects. I also seem to say “I hope these are spare parts” a lot…

    • Andrew Zahn

      I have a shelf full of “I hope these are spare parts.”

      Fingers crossed 😉