To DIY or Not to DIY

Do it yourself (DIY) home projects seem like a great idea. People attempt DIY home improvement projects to try and save some money on much needed home improvements and renovations. DIYers might even pick up a few home renovation skills along the way or get to finally use the new tools Santa brought them a few years ago. Some home improvements are easy and some easily turn into home renovation disasters.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “I saw it on HDTV, so I YouYubed it, and it doesn’t look that hard.” They usually end up spending more money, a LOT more time, and it looks horrible! So they call me back in a month or two to repair their mess and/or tear it all apart and start over.

You have to understand, the people on TV are pros or have pros helping them. The shows are super edited, so you don’t see all the mistakes, the anguish, the swearing, or the threats of divorce being shouted out after 10 hours of horrible results. Sound familiar?

A recent survey by home improvement site, ImproveNet, asked people about their DIY home project successes and failures. Responses came in from 2,000 United States residents who have attempted at least one DIY home improvement project.

People attempted an average of eight projects, and 63 percent regret doing at least one of those projects. One in three, or 33 percent, had to call a professional to redo their work, costing them more money and time than if they had just started with the professional.

DIY home projects go bad in many ways. According to the survey, 55 percent went wrong by taking longer than anticipated. (People reported spending on average 22 hours more on the project than expected.) Projects were also physically or technically

harder than anticipated, more costly than expected, damaging to the home, or injury- causing to the DIYer.

Some projects that ran over budget forced people to spend almost twice as much money as they’d hoped on the endeavor. So much for the cost savings!

Even DIY home improvement projects that were completed aren’t always satisfactory; 55 percent of respondents say their finished project didn’t look good, while 24 percent say it didn’t function well, and 21 percent say it didn’t hold up over time.

Choosing to attempt a DIY home project is no small decision. Consider your skill level, available time, budget, and patience, and maybe stick to the smaller projects before tackling a major one.

In the end, we all want to be proud of the home that we live in. Is it worth it to have a professional take care of your projects, or would you rather risk your home, relationships and sanity by tackling these projects yourself?

Jim Edwards is the Home Advocate.  His clients love how he gives them the options and advice from years of real world construction experience.  He has seen it all, fixed it all and helped homeowners avoid costly mistakes. Jim can be reached at or by calling (608)480-1057.

Posted in Basements, Bathroom Remodel, Home Additions, Home Renovation, Kitchen Remodel.