Home Projects that Require a Professional

By Ian | Oct. 12, 2020 10:50 am PST

Home has always been important, but the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly reinforced that notion as many across the country (and world!) have endured at least some period of quarantine in 2020. With many spending more time at home than they would have otherwise, it’s natural that home improvement would move front of mind.

Do-it-yourself projects can offer a sense of ownership and pride, but some projects are generally best left up to the professionals like Sears Home Services. However, with many wanting to minimize contact due to the coronavirus, the inclination to be self-reliant has naturally surged. To explore how people have fared with projects both past and present, we surveyed just over 1,000 current homeowners about their experiences with home improvement projects, their habits since the onset of COVID-19, and what tasks they believe require a professional. Read on to see what we gleaned from their insights.

Hands-On at Home

Home Projects That Require a Professional

To start, we wanted to see if the hype around home improvement during the pandemic was accurate. From what we found, many homeowners have been attempting more projects.

Nearly 60% of homeowners said they’ve been taking on more home improvement projects than usual since the beginning of the pandemic in March, with the average person taking on two to three projects since that time. Beyond that, 60% went even further and claimed they were willing to try more advanced projects than they would typically attempt. Perhaps that’s why many home improvement stores saw sharp increases in business throughout the pandemic.

In terms of do-it-yourself tasks specifically, 58% of homeowners said they were more likely to take on DIY projects, which could have been more by necessity than choice with people trying to limit contact with anyone outside their household. However, the industry has been adapting as much as possible, with many contractors moving consultations, walk-throughs, and initial meetings to virtual mediums.

Can You Really Do It Yourself?

Home Projects That Require a Professional

When it comes to DIY projects, there are various levels of difficulty. What may be doable for one person may be far beyond the skills of someone else. We wanted to gain a better understanding of homeowners’ perceptions of their aptitude for DIY and what their experiences were doing various projects.

Among homeowners with at least some DIY experience, the top project people hadn’t attempted and weren’t confident they could do was running a gas line (55%), followed by repairing a roof (47%) and installing new windows (44%). In that regard, people were consistent with expert advice on what homeowners should and shouldn’t attempt themselves: All three of those projects are considered DIY projects to avoid. As far as projects people didn’t have experience with but felt fairly confident they could execute, cabinet refacing topped the list at 39%, followed closely by waterproofing a deck and installing under-cabinet lighting (38% each).

Ironically, installing under-cabinet lighting was the project that topped the list of DIY projects people had tried but had a negative experience with (17%), so the 39% who believed they were up to it might be overestimating themselves. The other top projects that people had done with a negative experience were installing tile and drywall.

Why DIY?

Home Projects That Require a Professional

Home improvement projects can often be a big undertaking, so why do people choose to DIY? Unsurprisingly, cost plays a major factor. Saving money (81%) was the top reason DIYing homeowners said they take on projects. Other top reasons were to improve their skills (54%) and work at their own pace (48%). When assessing whether to go the DIY route, homeowners would be wise to consider the worst-case scenario as some projects will come with fewer risks, while others could cause harm to person and property if things go wrong.

Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners keen on DIY rated saving money as far and away more important to them than saving time. However, budget-conscious homeowners don’t necessarily have to forgo a professional to manage the cost. Researching, requesting multiple quotes, and asking questions can help keep home improvement costs in check. Sears Home Services also offers financing of home improvements, which can also help homeowners with managing the expense within their budgets

DIY Gone Wrong

Home Projects That Require a Professional

Even the best laid plans can go awry, and home DIY projects are no exception. The homeowners we surveyed had experienced their share of mishaps. The top DIY issue was underestimating the time needed to complete a project (57%), followed by underestimating the effort required (50%).

However, misjudging effort and time pale in comparison to injuries and home damage. Almost 40% of homeowners with DIY experience reported getting injured while working on a DIY home improvement project. Furthermore, 27% said they’d done major damage to their home attempting a DIY project.

DIY or a Pro? It’s Up to You

It’s natural to want to have everything in your home just the way you want it, from the color of paint on the walls to the layout of the rooms. More people are clearly undertaking projects to spruce up their homes these days and are motivated to take on new projects. However, it’s important to be mindful about the amount of work and money projects entail, as well as being realistic about your skills and ability to take on certain tasks.

If you want the ease and peace of mind of having a home improvement task or project done by a professional, we at Sears Home Services are happy to help. From appliance repairs and bathroom and kitchen remodels to cleaning and maintenance, we can help you out while taking all necessary precautions to protect the health of you and your family. Visit us at searshomeservices.com to learn how we can help you with your home appliance needs.


We surveyed 1,007 current homeowners about their experiences with home improvement projects.

Respondents were 55.3% men and 44.4% women. One respondent identified as nonbinary. The average age of respondents was 40.2 with a standard deviation of 12.1.

Questions about experiences and perceptions of DIY home improvement projects were asked only to homeowners who reported ever doing DIY on a home project. Respondents were given a list of different projects and asked to report which of the following best described their experience with the project:

  • Haven’t tried it and aren’t confident they could DIY it
  • Haven’t tried it and are confident they could DIY it
  • Have DIYed it and had a negative experience
  • Have DIYed it and had a positive experience

Questions about reasons for choosing to DIY a home project and mishaps experienced when DIYing a home project were asked as check-all-that-apply questions. Therefore, percentages won’t total 100.


The data we are presenting rely on self-report. There are many issues with self-reported data. These issues include, but are not limited to, the following: selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration.

Fair Use Statement

It can be difficult to decide whether a home project can be DIYed or requires a professional’s expertise to be done correctly. If someone you know would benefit from the information included in this project, you are free to share for any noncommercial reuse. Please link back here so people can view the entire project and its methodology. This also gives credit to our contributors, without whom this work wouldn’t be possible.

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