DIY Flops: The Most Costly and Time-Consuming Projects People Attempt and Fail


If you’ve been bitten by the DIY bug, few things are as satisfying as completing a home improvement project. It can help you save money, provide a sense of accomplishment, and serve as an outlet for your stress. But when DIY projects go wrong, they can waste your time and blow your budget out of the water.

Porch.com surveyed more than 1,000 people to identify the projects that most people attempt and fail, as well as how much time and money it'll take to fix the mistake.

"On average, when DIYers made a mistake [on these projects], it cost them $310 and took five and a half hours longer to complete the job," says Amanda Woolley, senior communications manager at Porch.

So when the time comes to renovate your home, be mindful of the following stats if you plan on DIYing one of the projects below. For each of the highlighted refurbishments, our experts give guidance on how to avoid making a serious DIY flop.

Flooring installation

Time added for a mistake: 13.8 hours

Cost added for a mistake: $829

Flooring installation is both the most expensive and the most time-consuming project to fix. It’s crucial to make sure the floor is level, and then measure and cut the new flooring precisely.

“If you make a mistake early on, it could cause major problems down the line,” Woolley says. Indeed, an extra $829 is a significant price to pay for an oops moment.

“For example, hardwood can cost homeowners thousands of dollars, and when those poorly laid floors need to be replaced, it's costly,” Woolley says.

Exterior paint

Time added for a mistake: 1.1 hours

Cost added for a mistake: $447

The time lost on an exterior painting mistake isn't devastating, but it can be pricey. And one of the most common mistakes homeowners make? Not preparing the siding to be painted. This can lead to cracking, peeling, and an uneven surface.

“Power-wash the siding to get rid of dirt, debris, and flaky paint,” says Amy Davis, vice president of operations at Five Star Painting. Another crucial step is to scrape away any loose paint and prime the surface with the correct primer, she says.

“You also need to repair a damaged surface. If wood rot has occurred, you would need to replace the wood, instead of simply painting over it,” she says.

Electrical wiring or rewiring

Time added for a mistake: 6.9 hours

Cost added for a mistake: $255

While there are probably some electrical projects you can handle, the risk of mistake or injury is high, so it's best to leave most wiring or rewiring work to the pros.

“Between the advice they get from the clerk at the hardware store and the individual on the YouTube video, some DIYers believe that electrical work is easy,” says Mark Luongo, owner and project manager at Luongo Electric. “But when it comes to electrical, the few dollars you saved by doing it yourself can very likely lead to a fire in your home—or electrocution.”

Quite apart from the physical risks, he says performing electrical work without proper permits and inspections can jeopardize your insurance coverage; some companies will not cover work done by an unlicensed person.

“When you hire a licensed electrical contractor, we are accepting responsibility for your home and the work we are doing,” Luongo says. “If there is ever an issue, we are liable and responsible.”

Flickering lights, blown fuses, and tripped circuit breakers are some of the signs that you may have done something wrong.

Landscaping

Time added for a mistake: 5.6 hours

Cost added for a mis