Skip tackling these DIY home projects with your S.O.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated: March 28, 2019

A few easy DIY projects may not seem like the biggest deal, but picking the wrong project could easily spark a major fight between couples. Think about it: DIY projects for home improvements can be challenging and emotional, especially if high-stakes, a large time commitment, or pricy supplies are involved; add a significant other, and that tension is doubled, especially if one person in the relationship doesn’t support the project or doubts the other’s ability to complete it.

People regret tackling plenty of DIY home projects, and now a new survey from home improvement site Porch is revealing exactly which projects start the most fights between couples. The survey asked 1,187 people who have done a DIY project in the last year about fights over DIY home repair efforts. 28 percent of respondents who were married or in relationships reported fighting with their significant other because of a stressful or unsuccessful DIY home project—but certain projects can lead to more fights than others.

According to the survey results, almost 44 percent of projects involving electrical wiring or rewiring led to an argument. Drywall hanging or patching and replacing an electric outlet were also among the top DIY home projects that led to fights. The project least-likely to lead to a fight was appliance installation, with only 17 percent of these attempts ending in an argument. (Perhaps appliance installation isn’t as difficult as we think it is?) Installing a ceiling fan, exterior paint jobs, flooring installation, landscaping, interior paint projects, and plumbing work also made the list.

For couples considering a DIY home project, picking a low-conflict project—such as interior painting or a little landscaping—might be the best option, especially if the project is to celebrate a big milestone like moving into a new home or establishing a nursery. A big fight could ruin such a happy moment. Another option is to proceed with caution: 46 percent of renovation-related arguments were started because one person made a mistake during the project. Taking care to avoid common mistakes, like spilling a can of paint, could help reduce DIY home project–related fights, though 22 percent of fights happened even though no mistake was made, according to Porch’s survey.

In most healthy relationships, a DIY home project–caused argument won’t end the relationship, but most people would likely still like to avoid a drawn-out fight. Try picking low-conflict projects, follow all instructions and prep steps, and you may get away with a fight-free DIY project—and if not, these signs of a healthy relationship can help reassure you that your love is still in a good place.

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