October 10th, 2019 3:21 PM by Jackie A. Graves
There is a certain
pride in completing a project with your own hands that you simply can’t get
from shopping in a store or hiring professionals. But with the booming DIY market, not all projects end in pride and
Taking on home improvement projects by yourself can lead to
mistakes and injuries that end up costing more than letting the professionals
handle it. Of course, having insurance adds a level of protection to the
possible downfalls, but which projects are ultimately worth taking the chance?
We asked over 1,000 homeowners about their attempts at DIY home
improvement projects and got some words of wisdom for those thinking of picking
up a hammer. Keep reading to find out where projects go wrong, and which
projects may be worth the risk.
It can be hard to truly understand do-it-yourself projects until
you, well, do one yourself. Perhaps experience plays a role in baby boomers
being the most knowledgeable about DIY when it comes to home improvement
Compared to more than 46 percent of baby boomers reporting to be
knowledgeable about these DIY projects, less than 40 percent of millennials admitted
as much. Ironically, though, millennials are the most likely to handle home
improvement projects by themselves and baby boomers the least.
If the majority across all generations doesn’t consider
themselves particularly knowledgeable about DIY projects, why are so many
people doing them?
Eighty-five percent take a project upon themselves as a way to
save money, and almost 80 percent do one to improve their home. While many DIY
home improvements can often be the best option for budgets, they have positive
effects on more than just your wallet.
Thirty-eight percent attempt DIY projects simply because they
find them fun, over 23 percent feel they help them express themselves and offer
a creative outlet, and almost 22 percent receive a sense of joy from doing
If saving money isn’t enough of a perk, studies have shown that creative self-expression aids in cognitive, psychosocial,
and physical health.
Luckily for our respondents, 95 percent had homeowner’s insurance. The added
buffer in case of a mistake may make people more comfortable undertaking DIY
home improvement projects.
The majority of people turn to DIY projects as a way of saving
money, but is this route the most effective? When it comes to tiling a roof,
creating a shelving unit, and installing hardwood floors in a bedroom, doing it
yourself seems to be the best option for saving money.
Compared to the lowest potential price for a professional, DIY
can save you $9,050, $1,490, and $1,500 for each project, respectively. It’s
important to take the type of project into consideration, though.
Doing it yourself may save you some money, but the extra expense
for professional help may be worth it for the more dangerous projects like
electrical repairs and those involving gas appliances.
The type of project will also help determine if calling a
professional might break the bank. For some projects, it may be cheaper than
attempting a DIY job. Replacing a shower head by yourself will cost you around
$40, but the lowest potential price for getting a professional to do the dirty
work is only $50.
Installing a kitchen sink not only falls under projects not
recommended for DIY-ers but is also a project that is potentially more
expensive to do yourself. Installing one yourself can run around $200, while
the lowest potential price for a professional installation is only $99.
Installing a screen door is another project that may be worth
getting a professional to do. Doing it yourself can cost around $100, the same
as the lowest potential price for a professional. Of course, however, these
prices vary by location and are heavily influenced by the scope of work and the
quality of the materials used.
Professional or DIYer, mistakes happen. But when you’re taking projects upon
yourself to save money, the mistakes may end up costing more than hiring a
professional would. On average, people spend $137.50 fixing mistakes made
during DIY home improvements. Millennials report spending an average of $200
fixing DIY mistakes – four times as much as baby boomers.
The significant difference between generations regarding money
spent on mistakes may be due to the difference in types of mistakes most
commonly made by each generation. Sixty percent of baby boomers start DIY
projects without the necessary supplies or tools – the most common mistake made
across all generations.
Gen Xers used the wrong paint more than baby boomers and
millennials, and the youngest generation was the most likely to skimp on
Most people attempt home improvement projects by themselves with
the notion that they’ll successfully hit the nail on the head. However,
slip-ups happen, and cuts, bruises, and serious injuries may occur.
Of those we surveyed, 1 in 4 homeowners had been injured while
attempting a DIY home improvement project. Around 75 percent of injuries
involved cuts from sharp tools or project materials, and 58 percent of
respondents said they hit themselves with a hammer or other tool.
DIY injuries often need more than just a small bandage, though.
Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) shows the
most ER visits are due to injuries by ladders, with fractures being the most
Studies have shown these injuries aren’t necessarily involved in
the height from which one falls, but rather, severity is dependent upon the person’s age.
Almost 45,000 ER visits are due to accidents involving nails, screws, or tacks,
which often result in puncture wounds.
If you’re thinking of taking up a home improvement project by
yourself, take advice from those who have made the mistakes for you. The
biggest piece of advice from our respondents is to only work within your skill
Attempting to complete projects that might be too technical is a
quick way to get injured. Stick to what you know and the project is more likely
to go smoothly without ending in mistakes or injuries. Respondents also
recommended purchasing the correct materials and
tools and having a set plan.
Not heeding the warnings or taking advice from experienced
DIY-ers can lead to some of the horror stories above. If the mistakes are
severe enough, it may be more than just money you’re gambling with.
Do-it-yourself projects have become more and more popular,
especially in the home improvement department. While some of these projects can
save you a ton of money, consider the price of a professional before getting
your hands dirty.
If doing it yourself seems to be the best option, make sure
you’re prepared and operating within your skill level. Mistakes and injuries
can happen — turning a home improvement project into a potential home-wrecking
Wearing protective gear while attempting projects can save your
fingers, but what about your home? Insuring your home with homeowner’s
insurance is the best way to protect against DIY mistakes. Picking insurance
doesn’t have to break the bank, though.
At Clovered, we help you find the best plan to cover your needs
at a cost you’re comfortable with. Whether your home is a house, condo, or an
apartment, we’ve got you covered. Before you pick up that hammer, visit us online today.
responses from 1,015 homeowners by administering online surveys via Amazon’s
Mechanical Turk. Of the total 1,015 people polled, 12.0 percent identified as
baby boomers, 31.9 percent as Gen Xers, and 56.1 percent as millennials.
All other generations were excluded from certain breakdowns due
to insufficient sample sizes. To qualify for the survey, participants were
required to be homeowners and to have attempted a do-it-yourself (DIY) home
The highest and lowest potential prices for DIY home improvement
projects were determined by averaging project estimates gathered from reputable
online sources, which included: fixr.com, homewyse.com, angieslist.com,
The main limitation of this project is that DIY price points
were solely based on participant estimations
To determine the number of estimated annual visits to the
emergency room, we collected data from the National Electronic Injury
Surveillance System (NEISS) for 2017 (latest year available). The data was
filtered to enable our team to analyze injuries occurring in the home and as a
result of using home improvement tools or hardware.
The information we are presenting relies on documented ER visits
and does not include unreported injuries.
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