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When Do Americans Call in the Professionals for Help?

Many Americans (60%) are willing to attempt a home improvement project themselves. But where do we draw the line and call for help? Find out on our blog.

A header image for a blog about the types of home projects Americans need the most help with.
Published on: 8/22/2023

Thanks to clever short-form video editing and the rapid increase of DIY-ers on the internet, many Americans see a project that needs doing and say, “I got this.”

In many cases, home improvement is easier in theory than practice. We wanted to find out where Americans draw the line between when they take on a project and when they call in an expert.

To do so, we surveyed homeowners all over the country to find out what projects they think they can tackle themselves and which ones they would call in reinforcements for. Read on to see what we found.

The Projects Americans Are Most Likely To Need Help Doing

A graphic showing the types of projects Americans are most and least likely to call in a professional for help with.

When it comes to rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty, everyone lands somewhere different on the confidence scale. We found out where Americans fall on that scale by asking them how likely they would be to call in a professional for each project.

While some tasks seem like a fun weekend challenge, others prompt a hurried call for backup. Here's a snapshot of where Americans are most likely to draw the line based on the responses we got.

Got a leaky faucet? It seems most of us aren't afraid to tackle that ourselves, with 64% of Americans saying they're not likely to call in a pro. That might seem high, but a bit of confidence (or perhaps overconfidence?) never hurt anyone. However, many of us wave the white flag when it's time to replace a bathtub or shower. Pass the wrench and call the plumber!

On the other hand, Americans feel a little less confident when it comes to handling electricity. Only 14% would dare to run electrical wire themselves, while 45% feel confident enough to install a large appliance, like a washer, dryer, or fridge.

When the sun is out and the yard calls, 40% of us are likely to grab the shovel and attempt extensive landscaping. Meanwhile, fewer feel up to fencing a yard (29%) or performing minor roof repairs (22%). Perhaps the call of the great outdoors resonates more with our inner DIY-er, or maybe it's the lack of potentially shocking outcomes.

Similarly, painting is another low-risk task most Americans think they can tackle. A whopping 70% of American homeowners would prefer to paint several rooms themselves than call in a professional.

But ask them to paint the exterior, and that confidence wanes, with the number dropping to 31%. Whether it's the ladder work or the neighbors' judgmental glares – we know when to dip our brushes and when to dial for help.

The Projects Americans Think They Can Handle Themselves

A graphic showing the projects Americans think they can handle themselves without a professional’s help.

There's a special pride in standing back and looking at a job well done, knowing you did it yourself. But where do Americans draw the line when it comes to getting their hands dirty? What are we willing to pay to avoid that DIY headache?

With 60% of American homeowners claiming they would attempt a home renovation project themselves, we're a nation with tool belts at the ready. Painting a room? 90% of us are reaching for the roller. Updating fixtures, adding shelves, or even adding a tile backsplash are all within reach for many.

However, only 17% would brave adding a window, and 18% might try their hand at installing new countertops. If we can save a buck and maybe have fun in the process, many of us are willing to give it a go.

But we're not foolhardy. When it comes to the more complex, potentially costly mistakes – we know when to call in the cavalry.

The numbers speak loud and clear: 78% of us are calling the experts for HVAC-related fixes. Structural changes? 75%. Tinkering with electricity and plumbing? That's for the professionals at 67% and 55%, respectively.

There's courage, and then there's wisdom; we know the difference.

Our survey also uncovered some interesting insights into what Americans are willing to pay to put down the tools forever. On average, we would shell out $7,887 to never do a home DIY project again (for women, that number is $7,436, and for men, it's $8,363). When it comes to a simple repair or renovation, we're more frugal, capping that at $1,320.

Closing Thoughts

Understanding our limitations is key when it comes to home improvement. From painting rooms to plumbing fixes, many of us are up for a challenge. However, when it comes to electrical work, it's wise to recognize the line between what's a weekend project and what needs a professional's touch.

Thankfully, Cree Lighting is a friend to both DIY enthusiasts and professionals. Our range of innovative lighting solutions can add brightness and efficiency to your home, whether you're a seasoned DIY-er or trusting in professional installation. Lighting can transform a space, and our bulbs stand ready to illuminate your next project.

Recognizing when to call in the experts, especially for electrical tasks, isn't just about safety; it's about quality. And in both DIY projects and professional renovations, Cree Lighting offers the kind of quality that shines.


To find the line Americans most often draw regarding when they need help with a project at home, we surveyed 1,000 American homeowners over a two-week period in July 2023.

First, we asked how likely they were to call in a professional for help with 15 common home repair/renovation projects. Then, we asked what types of projects they would call in a professional for every time and which specific ones they would at least first attempt themselves.

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