Homeowners DIY projects for a number of reasons. Some genuinely enjoy getting their hands dirty and being able to say that they contributed to the value of their home. Most, however, undertake home improvement projects by themselves to save money. In theory, this is a great idea. With a little internet research, a few YouTube videos, and a good talk with the guy at Home Depot, you can save a ton of money by not hiring a pro and undertaking simple projects that will build skills you didn’t even know you had. Sounds great, right? It’s all fun and games until someone majorly screws up the project, however. At that point, DIY costs you time AND money, oftentimes beyond what you would have paid a pro in the first place. 

Realtor.com spoke with Porch, an online network that connects homeowners with industry professionals to contract services. It turns out that the average DIY “oops” costs $310 to make right, with some mistakes really digging the knife in. 


What is the worst project for homeowners to mess up? Turns out that the answer is replacement flooring. Installing flooring wrong can cost around $829 to fix, making the overall bill to do this over $1,500. To add insult to injury, fixing your flooring mistakes can cost you an additional 15+ hours of labor. The problem is that hardware materials are costly, meaning that having to replace them can really add up. 

Exterior Painting

Painting the exterior of your own home is another task rife with the possibility for error. Painting is one of those tasks that seems easy, but it’s a trap. Messing up can add $447 to your tab.

Electrical Jobs

Exterior painting is a big one, but it is "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,” says realtor.com. 

This is all to say nothing of the emotional costs of foiling your DIY project. The fact is that, when things go wrong, tempers get high. Of married couples who undertake home improvement projects together, 49 percent report fighting when a project goes south. And even if things are done correctly, 21.6 percent still fight anyway! 

If you are thinking of undertaking home improvement projects yourself, you will want to weigh not just the costs of the project, but the potential costs for error. And don’t forget to take into account the emotional burden that these projects can have on those doing them. It’s definitely a balancing act, and something to be considered before you make a decision.