My husband doesn’t finish anything!

Get er done!

A reader from Waterbury, CT asks……………..

“Dear Paul, my husband thinks he can do anything when it comes to home repairs or improvements and I do appreciate his efforts but, he never finishes anything. He painted the front door but never finished the top piece of wood over the door and he also installed a new laminate floor in the family room but never put the little pieces of wood down around the edges and you can see the space where the floor doesn’t go all the way to the wall.”

“What can I do”? Linda M.

Well Linda,

Technically speaking when your husband does work on your home he is acting as a contractor on your behalf and you can do one of a few things that professional contractors do when their subcontractors fail to perform, that is to withhold payment. Nothing gets a job finished faster than holding something back and with us pros if you don’t completely finish your job we hold back money.

In your case you could hold back other things. Let’s say you cook a meal (I mean if you do most of the cooking) and he is looking forward to his favorite dish and that is chicken and dumplings, make the meal as usual but leave out the dumplings so its just chicken and.

Another hint might be if your going out for a nice meal and your getting all dolled up, get yourself ready except for your shoes, wear your stinky worn out jogging shoes and don’t say anything, but I’ll bet he notices. I think you could probably think of some ways of holding back something that might trigger a response for his failure to finish his tasks.

One difference between having a full time contractor or a spouse do the work is the contractor knows he gets paid when completely done. Some of us make a living by finishing do it yourself projects that kind of whimpered to a non conclusive end.

In your husbands defense I can say everything looks easy before the actual work starts and its also easy to think what will take 8 hours of full time work by a pro will take a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, after all HGTV and other shows leave out all the little parts that take up a good chunk of time.

In the future write a scope of work and check things off as they are done.

1. Measure and order and always make sure you have everything you need before starting.

2. Set a start and finish time.

3. Plan the process as it should be followed. Example for painting: Scrape and sand, fill holes, prime, paint or for the floor remove base trim, lay new floor, reinstall base trim.

4. Decide what constitutes a complete job and don’t put away the tools till done

Good contractors use something called a punch list and receive the last payment when the punch list is done, you just need to make a punch list, if Hubby doesn’t finish the floor molding then you don’t put dumplings in his chicken and dumplings, if he doesn’t finish the painting then only make up your side of the bed. He’ll get the picture.

Love your husband but hire a professional contractor!

Ask the Paul is:

Paul Lesieur who’s been there and done that.


  1. Honesty is the best policy. I get the feeling that the wife hasn’t been really open to talking to her husband about the problem in particular. Just my thoughts, but she should talk to her husband about the issue and let him know of it.

  2. I have to admit. I have a couple projects that I started and haven’t finished it as of yet. However, I am learning to do a project ten to twenty minutes a day. Eventually, it will get done.

    Even if the hubby does it five minutes a day, that’s 35 minutes in one week, over two hours worth a week in one month.

    Little by little… 😉

  3. Poor Husbands i say. Wife wants the man of the house to be the man of the house, however there are so many things that needs to be done outside of the house. 1 husband cannot take care of work, inside choirs and home improvement. Thats why most people call us to finish what the husband has tried to fix.

  4. useful but i doubt my husband would notice punitive measures. I have the same problem, but my husband doesn’t quite get to the end. For instance, an industrial style shelving project from 2 months ago is actually just a pile of wood and piping in the middle of the living room floor. He gets angry if I mention it. However, he has made the time to start a wine rack project for a colleague at work. He tells me one week to finishing. Next Saturday I will start turfing the items onto the front lawn when its not finished (which it won’t be).


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