Many thrifty homeowners would rather save a few bucks by taking on upgrades themselves (after a few hours binge-watching HGTV and YouTube tutorials, of course) than by calling in the professionals to install new floors or retile the bathroom. Paying the pros is basically throwing money away, right?
If done right, going DIY to fix up a property can lead to some hefty savings. But DIY fails can cost folks big time, according to a recent report from Porch, an online network that connects folks with home improvement professionals. To come up with its results, Porch surveyed nearly 1,200 folks who had completed a home improvement project within the last year.
It turns out the average DIY mistake can cost folks $310 to make right.
“People often take on repairs themselves in an effort to save money, but often can end [up] spending more,” says Porch’s spokesperson, Amanda Woolley. “People are also underestimating the time and emotional toll of these projects.”
So which DIY home improvement flop can set homeowners back the most? Installing flooring wrong costs folks an added $829, bringing the total bill to an average $1,540. That’s got to hurt. Redoing the floors also added an average of 13.8 extra hours of work.
“Jobs like flooring have a high material cost, so errors add [up] very quickly,” says Woolley. Hey, hardwood boards don’t come cheap.
The second most expensive mistake was in exterior paint jobs, which can add $447 to the tab. This was followed by replacing an electrical outlet wrong, an average $445 blunder; installing a ceiling fan incorrectly, at $306; and messing up the electrical wiring, at $255.
Slip-ups can take an emotional toll as well as a financial one. About 45.8% of do-it-yourselfers surveyed who made a mistake fought with their partner during the project, compared with 21.6% of the folks who did everything correctly.
Couples were most likely to fight with one another over electrical wiring or rewiring projects, 43.6% of survey respondents reported. Hanging or patching drywall came in second for sparking domestic strife, at 41.7%; followed by replacing an electrical outlet, at 39.1%; installing a ceiling fan, at 38.2%; and an exterior paint job, at 32.7%.
“These projects can definitely test relationships—whether they are worried about their partner’s safety or arguing about the materials,” says Woolley. “People need to [be] honest about their skill set and do a very close audit of their time versus money tolerance.”
“Is it worth the cost savings for the time and effort you’ll need to put into the job?” she continues. “If not, it might be worth hiring a professional.”
Clare Trapasso is the senior news editor of realtor.com and an adjunct journalism professor at St. John’s University. She previously wrote for a Financial Times publication, the New York Daily News, and the Associated Press. She is also a licensed real estate agent with R New York. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @claretrap