DIY-ers come in full force

Published 8:59 pm Thursday, February 3, 2011

Neil Lowe, contractor and DIY-er, looks for the right supplies for a caulking project. Lowe explained that many homeowners are installing energy efficient windows to save money.

As the old saying goes, “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.”

The adage has not always necessarily been true in the area of home repair. But with the economy in a continuous halt, some people are finding that they can do things more cheaply by doing them themselves.

Paul Saunders, manager of Saunders Supply, said he has seen an increase in the number of people hoping to “do it yourself.”

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“Do-it-yourself-ers” are people who take on weekend projects and home repairs without the assistance of repairmen. These individuals typically research home projects or use prior experience to complete projects that traditionally were done by repairmen.

“Now with money as tight as it is, anyone that can do it will,” said Bill Head, Taylor’s Do-it Center customer, who came in to find supplies to remodel his kitchen.

Head is completing parts of his kitchen project with a repairman, but he will complete the rest of the project on his own to save money. Anytime you can do a job yourself, it saves money, Head said.

Taylor’s Do-it Center sees mainly DIY-ers and small business owners. They often come in to buy paint, caulking, grout, nuts and bolts, plumbing and electrical supplies, said Paula McCarty, assistant manager.

She said that the DIY projects vary from customer to customer.

“They are trying to get a feel for what it takes to repair,” McCarty said. “They are more willing to entertain this idea. They are trying to be more educated to the product itself.”

McCarty also has noticed an uptick in female customers.

“A lot of women are coming in with plumbing rather than calling on a boyfriend or plumber,” she said. “More people are willing to give it a shot,” she said.

Saunders agreed.

“More people are doing it themselves in order to save,” he said. “Instead of moving into new homes, they are fixing what they have.”

Saunders said that people are mostly completing maintenance projects as opposed to upgrading. He explained that he no longer hears customers talking about replacing decks — they just make repairs to the decks they have.

Customers are still purchasing supplies for roofing and similar projects to maintain what they have, he added.

Saunders has seen a number of customers who are replacing doors and windows. He explains that it a good maintenance project for customers who are planning to remain in the same house, as it can save energy and therefore money. Saunders explained that people are buying cheaper items as they used to, rather than purchasing high-end brands.

In the past several months, he has observed an increase in customers replacing energy-efficient windows. He believes this is due to the tax credits offered for home repairs that save energy.

“People are putting off projects until there’s a little more stability in the marketplace,” Saunders said.

Besides the financial reasons to do it yourself, some people reported they even enjoy home projects.

“It saves money and I like to do it. I enjoy doing things I know how to do,” said Claude Marshall, Taylor’s Do-it Center customer who came in to find supplies to make repairs at his church.

“With this economy, most people are doing repairs when they can. There are so many resources online now, it makes it easier to do with a step-by-step guide online. That’s one of the advantages of technology,” Marshall said.