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DIY Disasters: The Falls, Fights, and Friction of Doing It Yourself

A stressed woman doing DIY home repairs

A new survey revealed the perils of do-it-yourself remodeling include stress, chaos, and lots of mess.

During the pandemic, remodeling contractors were swamped with business, leaving many folks who wanted home repairs waiting months for their turn in line. As a result, lots of homeowners decided to take on their own projects. 

The jobs ranged from a new coat of paint to full bathroom remodels, and the experiences varied from blissfully happy to outright divorce-inducing. Not only did some people get injured from doing it themselves, but a few couples experienced fights that were so severe they contemplated moving out or separating.

Clearly, remodeling can be extremely stressful!

To get a better idea of how DIY projects affect families, relationships, and general mental and physical well-being, we conducted a national survey that produced some eye-opening results.  

Our DIY home improvement survey

A man filling out a survey

To conduct our survey, we used a third party to get information from homeowners who had recently completed a DIY home remodeling project. The survey contained 41 questions and took place in May 2021. All told, 401 respondents completed the survey online. 233 were women, and 167 were men. One respondent chose not to identify their gender.

Doing it yourself is hard!

A man dangerously painting his house from a ladder

The survey shed light on the remodeling boom of 2020, and we learned that while isolated during Covid, Americans tackled home improvement projects like never before. Unfortunately, many experienced stress, arguments with loved ones, and injuries that caused them to vow never again to take on a remodeling job without professional help.

More than 67% say their DIY projects were stressful. 68% said they “took too much time.” 45% claimed the jobs “were messy and caused chaos.” 20% said they “didn’t turn out as expected,” and 17% told us they “just weren’t much fun.”

6 of the most interesting questions ...

A group of people submitting a survey on computers and phones

1) What is the most you’ve ever spent on a home improvement project?

For this question, we got a whopping 18.5% of homeowners who had spent $2,500-$4,999 on a home improvement project. Around 26% had never spent over $2,499, and only 3.2% said they had ever spent more than $40,000.

What did we learn? Most home projects (over 50%) cost between $1,000-$9,999.

2) What effect, if any, has the Covid-19 crisis had on your home improvement endeavors the past 12 months?

30.9% said Covid did not affect their home improvement plans, 16.2% said they had done or planned fewer home improvement projects, and 52.9% told us they had done or planned more home improvement projects during the pandemic than before.

What did we learn? The pandemic brought on more home remodeling projects than what we see during a “normal” year. Instead of taking summer vacations to Disney World, families stayed at home and invested in the house.

3) Why was your home improvement project stressful?

The top three answers for this question were “It took longer than I expected it to take,” “It was messy and caused chaos,” and “I sometimes felt I didn’t know what I was doing.”

What did we learn? Remodeling projects almost always take longer than expected, and things are gonna get messy in the process.

4) What were the disagreements with family or significant others that were brought on by your home improvement project?

The number one answer for this question was the “amount of time it took to complete.” Folks also found the “cost of the project” and the “mess it created” to be reasons for arguing with their family or partner during the remodel. 

In a follow-up question, 54% said they “argued nicely” during their disagreement, 27.3% “didn’t speak for a few hours,” 22.5% argued “in a harsh manner,” and almost 10% of homeowners said their arguments were so bad they discussed moving out or separating. Yikes!

What did we learn? Remodeling your home is tough on everyone. And many folks argue about how long, how expensive, or how messy a DIY project can be.

5) Did anyone get hurt during your DIY project? If so, how?

Of those who answered “yes,” 54.5% suffered scrapes, 45.5% sustained bruises, 30.9% were injured from falling, and over 21% broke a bone during their remodel.

What did we learn? DIY remodeling is dangerous business.

6) Do you regret doing your remodel yourself? If so, why?

33% told us they regretted taking on their home improvement project without professional help. Of those, 48.1% claimed it was “too much hassle,” 45% said it took “too much time,” 30.5% said it “caused disagreements,” and 29% blamed the total cost for their regret.

What did we learn? A third of people DIY-ing their projects regret it, and it’s mostly because doing it yourself is complicated, stressful, and costly.

Moral of the story? Trust the pros.

Happy couple sits with a professional contractor to discuss their home remodel

To sum it up, our survey found that most do-it-yourself home projects result in a negative experience. Some folks were injured during the job. Others were put through emotional strain, and over 67% experienced an extreme level of stress from taking on their own projects.

For these reasons, we recommend using the pros when it comes to big remodels. If you’re painting the cabinets or changing out the electrical switch plates, you can leave the phone on the charger. But if you’re thinking of taking on an extensive home repair, it’s best to do it with expert help.


If your next home remodeling job includes new windows, doors, siding, or shutters, take advantage of our expert design consultants. With a free consultation, you can sit down with one of our experts to discuss plans, products, and design. We’re more than happy to help you find the best solution for your problem.

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