What Are the Most Common (and Most Regretted) DIY Home Projects?

Depending on the person, attempting do-it-yourself home improvement projects might be one of the best—or most dreaded—aspects of owning a home. Although completing something on your own is personally rewarding and can save you significant money, it can also yield amateurish results. Furthermore, it's easy for DIYers to undertake a project with lofty ambitions, only to realize that they are in over their heads; these situations can cost them time, money, and even safety. In order to better understand the pitfalls associated with various projects, home improvement website ImproveNet recently conducted a survey of 2,000 DIYers to determine which DIY home projects are most popular—and which ones leave homeowners filled with regret.

The survey asked respondents about 32 different types of DIY home improvement projects. Overall, respondents reported attempting an average of 8 home improvement projects each. Nearly two-thirds of the group expressed that they regretted at least one of their projects and one-third eventually needed to bring in a professional to redo the work.

Which projects were most common among DIYers?

No one will be surprised to see that "interior painting" led the way by a wide margin with 40% reporting that they had attempted it at some point. (Frankly, I'm surprised that number isn't higher!) Other popular projects included "add trees/shrubs" (20%), "install floor tiles" (20%), "install kitchen/bath fixtures" (18%), and "build furniture" (17%).

Which projects were most regretted by DIYers?

You might assume that the most popular projects would also be some of the easiest to pull off, but you would be very wrong when it comes to one of them! As it turns out, installing floor tiles was the #1 most regretted DIY project reported among respondents out of all 32 options. Those who regretted attempting to install floor tile agreed that the end result did not look good and did not hold up well over time. In fact, flooring was the most regretted category of project, with 40% of DIYers regretting their attempt at installing or refinishing a floor.

Rounding out the top 5 most regretted projects were replacing a ceiling, refinishing hardwood floors, installing carpet, and finishing a basement.

Why did DIYers regret their projects?

There were three main reasons for a homeowner to regret undertaking a project. 55% of respondents reported that a project "took longer than anticipated", making it the most common issue encountered during an improvement project. Among those who reported the issue, the average DIYer spent about 22 more hours on the project than they had expected. 50% of people felt that a project was "physically harder than anticipated", while 48% reported it as being "technically harder than anticipated."

There were also three less common, but more serious issues which were reported in the survey. 17% of DIYers found that a project "cost more than anticipated", with the average amount spent coming out to double (!) the expected cost. 8% reported that the project resulted in damage to their home, while 6% reported being injured during the project. The most common project resulting in injury was installing a fireplace.

If you would like to learn more about this interesting survey, then check out the full results on ImproveNet.com. There you will find the full rankings of 32 projects by popularity and by regret, as well as more info about issues common to specific projects.