Why More People Are Performing DIY Home Renovations

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Everybody is his own Bob Vila thanks to the Internet.

Home renovations are daunting undertakings, wearing on people's patience and draining their wallets. But an increasing contingent of U.S. consumers has realized the benefits of DIY to help with savings and is leveraging the power of social media to stoke the creative muse and summon the budgeting gods in one fell swoop.

In fact, a whopping 70% of projects involve DIY and/or some help from family or friends, according to a GfK conducted on behalf of MainStreet.com. Even with the market in recovery mode there are lingering concerns about payroll tax increases and the sequestration that are making people look for innovative budgeting techniques. After all, these can be financially draining processes, and every penny counts: Some 35% of respondents plan to spend between $1,000 and $5,000 quarter of Americans, whereas a almost a quarter will spend under $500 and almost another quater between $500 and $900. Only 12% will spend more than $5,000. As the weather warms up, 22% of respondents are looking to their garden or landscaping for their next home improvement project, while 14% have their eye on bathrooms, with 12% looking at the kitchen and 12% the family/living room. And they've foregone expensive contractors in favor of logging on, learning and mustering a little elbow grease.

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Janette Church, a budget home improvement blogger in Dallas, is currently undergoing a home renovation on her Lennar spec— laying nailed-down, hand-scraped hardwood flooring. She will lay it herself with her family for about $3 per foot, whereas retail costs at least $8 per foot. With 700 feet of wood total, she's saving about $3,500.


Church thinks the proliferation of home improvement tips on TV has made the DIY instinct more widespread but that social media has made it catch on as an actionable endeavor.