Study: Millennials Overstate DIY Capabilities

April 5, 2018

Do-it-yourself home improvement jobs are popular, but do most homeowners have the knowledge to confidently handle such chores? A new survey suggests millennials may be the most willing, but they’re most likely to lack the how-to knowledge. surveyed respondents from each generation to assess their handiness around the house and what repairs they’ve done. They also quizzed them on basic home maintenance knowledge. They analyzed more than 1,000 respondents who were 18 or older.

Each generation surveyed claimed they were fairly handy, but millennials tended to tout that they were the most handy of all. Fifty-five percent of millennials surveyed say that they prefer to handle home repairs themselves, compared to 43 percent of baby boomers and Generation X. Generation X members most relied on a spouse or partner for repairs, and baby boomers tended to hire professionals to make any needed repairs.

But when prompted to reveal what repairs were handled in the past, millennials had the most limited track record. 

“It might be easy to dismiss the gulf between millennials’ DIY confidence and their experience as mere arrogance,” the study notes. “But perhaps older generations have simply had more time to experience all the challenges of homeownership and reassess their own skills accordingly. After all, if you’re only familiar with simple fixes like installing a showerhead, you might draw the erroneous conclusion that all home repairs are as easy.”

Researchers also quizzed participants on what they knew about home repairs in general to see the overall DIY knowledge among the generations. Nearly one in five millennials could not correctly identify the difference between a flat-head and a Phillips screwdriver. On the other hand, less than 10 percent of baby boomers made such an error. Millennials could not identify a range of common tools, like a C clamp or a hacksaw. But knowledge did seem to improve with age. Gen Xers were slightly better at naming every tool, while the baby boomers were the best at it. 

“It’s clear DIY knowledge declined with each successive generation,” the researchers note. “This was true among both men and women, as each gender experienced an inverse correlation between knowledge and youth.”

Source: “Do You DIY? A Generational Look at Home Repairs and DIY Capabilities,” (April 2018)