The surprising places people really hate DIY projects

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There’s a reason why Al from Home Improvement is a DIY icon. Detroit’s calmest contractor was a smooth, precise operator — at least when he had a tool in his hand. Sure, Al tended to lose his cool on more personal issues. But there’s something serene about watching a pro who’s quietly great at their job, especially when it’s the kind of work that drives you nuts.

 

Home improvement is an emotional thing. When the U.S. went DIY-wild at the start of the pandemic, it wasn’t just because we wanted nicer lockdown surroundings. There were two types of lockdown DIY addicts: those who saw home improvement as a way to focus the mind and remain calm and those who couldn’t sleep at night having finally noticed how much work the house needed. Both types were vulnerable to getting hot under the collar when things didn’t go according to plan.

 

Some fix-it projects are easier to complete by yourself, than others. But how do you know which jobs to leave to the professionals? Angi has identified the American states and cities where a DIY project is most likely to end in tears — and the projects which we struggle with the most. We analyzed Twitter data using TensiStrength to find the percentage of DIY-themed tweets that show signs of stress in every part of the U.S. — and the home improvement tasks most likely to get furious homeowners reaching for Twitter.

 

Key Findings

  • Indiana is the state that struggles the most with DIY, with 21.46% of local DIY-themed tweets indicating stress.
  • Hawaii is the state that finds home improvement least stressful (4.91%), and Honolulu is America’s least stressed city (4.5%).
  • The most stressful DIY task is unclogging drains, with a 66.93% stress rate.
  • The least stressful home improvement job is putting up a shelf (37.50%).

 

Hawaii Suffers One-Quarter of the DIY Stress of Indiana

The most stressed states are Indiana (21.46%), Rhode Island (21.20%), and Mississippi (20.13%). Each suffers more than four times the DIY angst of the nation’s calmest state for home improvement, Hawaii (4.91%). But Hawaiian DIY is not without its risks.

 

DIY Map

“In Hawaii households, sometimes as many as six stakeholders are involved and that’s when things get dicey,” says local pro, Evan Fujimoto. “You go on an emotional rollercoaster, because each person has his or her own ideas and priorities, and the amount of money being spent is significant.”

 

Pittsburgh Is Most Stressed DIY City in the U.S.

 

Share values in Home Depot doubled, and Lowe’s tripled during the first two pandemic years as homeowners bought tools and materials for their journeys into the ‘flow state.’ But supply chain issues mean many projects remain unfinished. Couple this with a nationwide shortage of contractors and there are plenty of tasks queuing up to get America’s amateur handypeople hot under the collar.

DIY Top 10 Most Stressed Cities

More than a quarter (26.57%) of the DIY-themed tweets sent from Pittsburgh show signs of stress. Pittsburgh’s housing is among America’s oldest, so maintenance is a pressing issue. Meanwhile, the city’s homes are the most affordable in the U.S., according to Demographia. Mending an old Pittsburgh home may feel stressful compared to the idea of buying a new one.

DIY Top 10 Least Stressed Cities

Honolulu (4.5%) is the least stressed city in our study, with barely half the stress rate of the next calmest city, Tulsa (8.63%). The Hawaiian culture of taking one’s time and enjoying the process may be what keeps Honolulu’s citizens from tweeting home project rage into the abyss. The city is ranked number one for mental health in the U.S. News Healthiest Communities Rankings 2021.

 

Cosmetic Projects Less Stressful than Messy Fixes

 

Wondering when to persist and when to call in a pro? According to our calculations, these are the DIY projects most and least likely to end in tears.

 

DIY projects

The most stressful tasks tend to be those that immerse you in the awfulness of your home’s digestive system. Time passes with slow frustration when you are up to the nose in drains, pipes, toilets, or gutters. The least stressful jobs tend to come with a visible result you can step back and admire, but the most stressful tasks above offer no ongoing satisfaction since they involve mundane home features that you only notice when they go wrong.

Top 10 Least Stressful Projects

These least stressful tasks are what you bought that toolkit for: the serenity of the well-aligned shelf, the Tetris-like satisfaction of a perfectly fitted carpet. Storage solutions and cosmetic improvements are pleasant to do and offer pride on completion. As remote work compels many work-from-homers to add cabinets, office arrangements, and doors to their new workplaces, they’re discovering there was an even nicer home hidden inside their house all along.

Even the most accomplished DIY hand can get stressed with a tough project. And even the clumsiest rookie can enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done (or at least well tried). To ensure a smooth project, be sure to PPAWS for thought:

  • Plan ahead by researching how to complete the job and breaking it into small, manageable tasks.
  • Prepare by clearing enough room to work and laying out the tools and materials you need.
  • Ask for help from a friend or professional if you need it—teamwork makes the dream work!
  • Walk away if you’re getting wound up. Nothing gives perspective like tea and a cookie.
  • Share your successes to build confidence for the next task and inspire others.
  • Feeling better already? Here’s some inspiration for your next bathroom project.

 

 

METHODOLOGY AND SOURCES

 

Using the Twitter API, we extracted tweets containing the word “DIY.” To collect as many tweets as possible, we used two approaches:

We kept only tweets with location attributes within the United States and dropped any duplicates, ending up with 153,463 tweets.

 

We passed all the tweets through the TensiStrength tool considering the tweets whose stress level was higher than the level of relaxation as stressed ones.

 

We kept only the top 100 most populous U.S. cities with at least 50 tweets.

 

To generate project-related tabs, we built the long lists of DIY tasks using the following sources:

– https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/100-home-repairs-you-can-do-yourself/

– https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/top-30-tricky-diy-jobs-22680978

Then we scraped the forum posts from https://www.doityourself.com/search?dsp=forum using our tasks as a search query.

 

Once the filtering wrapped up, we applied the same tool (TensiStrength) and used the same logic to label a post as stressed, allowing us to calculate the % of posts about a project that was stressed.

 

The data was collected in March 2022.

 

This article originally appeared on Angi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

 

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5 DIY repairs that can save you money

 

 

If you’ve always relied on your landlord or a contractor to fix things in your home, you may be tempted to just pull out your phone the next time something breaks. But as many seasoned homeowners will tell you, it’s not always worth dialing a professional — especially if you’re dealing with a simple fix that almost anyone (even you) can master.

Not only are contractors sometimes hard to book for smaller jobs, but their costs can add up quickly, experts say. “It’s often pretty expensive to have somebody come and fix something that you might be able to fix really easily with an inexpensive part,” said Don Vandervort, founder of the home improvement site HomeTips.com.

It can also be empowering to tackle a job yourself, says Danny Lipford, host of the home improvement show “Today’s Homeowner.”

 

Jesse Orrico / Unsplash

 

… especially if you’re a first-time fixer upper.

“Keep a sense of humor,” says Los Angeles resident John Morell. When Morell decided to install wood floors in his home, he underestimated just how tricky the job would be to finish. It took him twice the amount of time that he expected, and he made a number of mistakes. But he doesn’t regret trying, he says — “It came out great.”

If you don’t have a lot of experience wielding power tools or taking things apart, try to stick with smaller projects and work your way up, Vandervort said.

There’s no shortage of relatively simple projects that you’ll likely be able to do yourself. Most will take just a fraction of the time it would take for you to call and then wait for a professional. For example, some projects that you could take on now before working your way up to bigger jobs include:

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Cost to hire a professional: $200 or more, according to HomeWyse.
Cost to do it yourself: As little as $2.48 to $30 or more, depending on the parts you need.

This classic home repair project often just requires a screwdriver, pliers, a wrench and some basic know-how to complete. Before you call a plumber, look for some step-by-step instructions and try fixing the problem yourself. “Taking apart a bathtub or shower valve that’s defective or a kitchen sink that’s dripping or not working properly — those are some pretty easy repairs,” Vandervort said. “They usually involve taking the handle off and opening up the body of the valve and replacing a washer or a cartridge inside the valve.”

You may need to purchase some individual parts, like a new O-ring or a faucet repair kit, but there’s a good chance you won’t have to spend more than $5 to $20.

“It depends on the make of the faucet,” Vandervort said. However, a lot of common faucet parts are available at home improvement stores. Just make sure you bring the parts with you when you go to buy a replacement, he adds; that way, you don’t accidentally buy one that doesn’t fit. “That’s the case with parts of almost anything you’re fixing,” he says.

 

KeremYucel / istockphoto

 

Cost to hire a professional: $200 or more, according to HomeWyse
Cost to do it yourself: Potentially $0 if you held onto your disposal wrench; less than $5 if you need a new L-shaped wrench

According to Vandervort, a malfunctioning garbage disposal is another common household problem that’s often relatively easy to fix. Often, people don’t realize that reviving a locked garbage disposal can sometimes be as easy as pressing a reset button at the bottom of the disposal, he says.

You may also be able to unclog it with the help of the L-shaped hex wrench that came with your appliance. “You stick this hex wrench into the bottom hub, you crank it and it breaks free whatever you have in the garbage disposal,” Vandervort said.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Cost to hire a professional: $65 to $200 or more, according to HomeWyse
Cost to do it yourself: $3 to $10 or more, depending on the part

These days, hardware parts are often so standardized that it’s relatively easy to find a replacement if you need one, says Lipford. Just make sure you carefully compare your old hardware to the new hardware that you’re considering purchasing, he says – especially if you’re trying to replace something that has a lot of parts that need to match, such as a cabinet hinge.

With the help of a screwdriver, you can swap out basic drawer knobs for something more stylish, or purchase new knobs for interior doors that aren’t closing properly.

“We had a few where the door would not latch,” said Stephanie Tilton, who runs the blog Dogwood DIY and has fixed up several houses. However, removing the old, defective doorknobs and replacing them with new ones was relatively simple, she says.

Working with hardware isn’t foolproof, though, so be careful. For example, New York City resident Ellen Sheng says her husband tried to fix a loose hinge on a bathroom cabinet by repositioning it and wound up botching the job so badly he later had to duct tape part of the cabinet. Now, she says it looks like Frankenstein. “I think he watched some YouTube videos and was like, ‘I’m just moving the hinge; how hard could it be?” Sheng said.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Cost to hire a professional: $300 to $700 or more, depending on the job, according to HomeWyse.
Cost to do it yourself: Less than $50 for a smaller project.

One of the easiest, most cost-effective DIY repair jobs is to paint an area of your home that sorely needs a refresher, Lipford said. “There’s no better value that you can bring to something without almost no tools and limited skill than painting,” he said. “It could be painting your mailbox. It could be painting your front door, which is a significant return on your investment.”

You could even paint the sides of your home gradually over time, he says, rather than hire a painter to do it all at once.

Unlike other home improvement projects, painting is relatively low risk, Vandervort said. “You can easily correct any mistakes that you’ve made,” he said. “It’s not permanent and it gives you an opportunity to express your creativity and personality.”

Just be sure to follow some basic safety protocols before you pick up a brush, he says. For example, make sure you have a solid ladder and are comfortable using it if you plan to paint some hard to reach areas. Also be sure to test any paint from before 1978 for lead – especially if you plan to scrape the paint from older woodwork.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Cost to hire a professional: $800 to $1,500 or more, according to HomeWyse
Cost to do it yourself: Around $145 to $500 or more, according to Home Advisor

Even repair jobs that seem big or intimidating can turn out to be relatively simple or rewarding. For example, Danny Lipford recommends adding insulation to your attic in order to save money on your next energy bill. “One of the least sexy home improvement projects you can do is putting insulation in your attic,” he said. But it can later make it much cheaper to heat and cool your home.

Installing insulation can come across as complicated, so you may be tempted to hire help rather than attempt it on your own. But if you have the time and energy, you can do it yourself, Lipford said.

You don’t necessarily need to do the whole attic at once, he adds. “You might just do one corner of the house,” he said. With every little bit that you do, “you immediately are getting money back.”

 

brizmaker / istockphoto

 

Tackling your own repair and home improvement projects can be a great way to save money and build your confidence as a homeowner. Starting out with small, low risk projects can also help give you the experience and foundation you need to move on to bigger jobs. “It gets you comfortable and more confident with using tools,” Vandervort said.

Just try not to get too overconfident right away. Some projects may seem like they’ll be easy, but they require far more skill and craftsmanship than you might realize, Lipford said. For example, you’ll find a number of YouTube videos and articles teaching you how to finish drywall. But even experts struggle to get the finish right.

“I’ve done drywall for 40 years,” he said. “I still can’t stand it. I still have problems with it all the time.”

There are also some projects that are just too dangerous to do yourself, such as fixing your home’s wiring, or are too risky to take on without the help of a professional. For example, if you attempt to sand your own wood floors, you could accidentally ruin them by sanding too far into the floor, Vandervort said. Similarly, a bad plumbing job can force you to go without water until it’s fixed.

“Avoid things where a high level of craftsmanship is important to the end result,” Vandervort said. “Craftmanship is something that becomes very visible in certain projects.”

If you’re not able to match an expert’s quality on something that’s highly visible, then you could come to regret trying to do it by yourself.

This article originally appeared on MagnifyMoney.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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Featured Image Credit: triocean/iStock.

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