When it comes to home repairs and upgrades, you might think Millennials are the ultimate do-it-yourselfers. A new survey shows a high percentage of Millennials feel they are handier around the house than other generations, but the survey results don’t exactly back up those claims.
Porch.com did the survey. That’s a website that helps users find contractors and handymen. The first part of the survey asked people if they are “handy” around the home. Almost 70% of Millennials said “yes.” The numbers were closer to 60% for Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers.
If you break that down into gender, almost 80% of Millennial men say they are handy and about 60% of the women. That represents a greater number for both sexes than the other two generations (1).
DIY High, Homeownership Low
Of course, many Millennials haven’t been able to buy a house yet. Just 47.5% of Millennials in this survey own their own homes. Another 41.3% rent, and 11.2% live with their families. As Porch.com pointed out, with such a low number of homeowners in the Millennial group, one might wonder how they acquired their handyman skills.
Porch.com said, Millennials have a reputation for being “hopeless at home maintenance” so it wanted to find out if Millennials were being misrepresented, especially in light of their level of confidence for home repairs. The surveyors decided to dig a little deeper into the skill levels for all three generations by asking specific questions about tools and repairs.
Handling Common Repair Jobs
The questions included various repair jobs in all parts of the home including the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, and the exterior of the home. And there was just one category that Millennials took first place as having the most experience, the mounting of a TV (likely a large screen TV) on a wall.
Baby Boomers took first place for 15 different home improvement tasks. Those tasks included more work intensive jobs like retiling a shower, caulking a bathtub, patching holes in a wall, installing a ceiling fan, track lighting, and light dimmers, hooking up a gas stove, fixing a garbage disposal, and replacing a kitchen sink. Boomers were also in first place for cleaning gutters, painting, installing a screen door, and repairing a deck plank.
Gen Xers has some home improvement know-how but they aren’t quite as handy. They were tops in six categories including replacing a shower head, removing a popcorn ceiling, assembling furniture, putting in a hardwood floor, and installing a dishwasher. They were tied with Boomers for fixing a garbage disposal.
Millennials did excel in a few do-it-yourself categories that are not related to home repairs. Those handy skills include changing the oil in the car, cooking for a dinner party, and setting up a wi-fi router.
It seems that Millennials will excel at more technological tasks, as they grow into their homeownership roles. But they are lagging a bit in general knowledge about “tools.”
DIY Tool Know-How
The Porch.com survey’s top tool question was “What’s the difference between a Phillips head and flat head screwdriver?” Most of the people in the survey knew the answer, but Millennials had the lowest percentage at about 82%. That’s almost one in five Millennials that don’t know the answer to that question, while almost 89% of Gen Xers had the correct answer and more than 91% of the Boomers knew the difference.
Millennials came out ahead of Boomers when it comes to knowing how many millimeters are in a centimeter, but trailed well behind Boomers and Gen Xers when asked what an auger drill bit does. If you don’t know, it’s a special kind of drill bit that is efficient at removing wood as it drills the hole.
Millennials also had more trouble identifying an Allen Key Set, a C-Clamp, an Air Compressor, a Hacksaw, and a Spackling Knife. I’m sure the survey doesn’t mean to be hard on Millennials. After all, they don’t have as much experience, and their confidence at doing the home repairs speaks well of their willingness to try. With that kind of determination, they are sure to learn and may become very proficient at home repairs over time.
Of course, they have to buy their homes first and as I mentioned, while around 70% of Millennials say they are handy, less than half own their own homes. Maybe they are gaining experience by helping out Mom and Dad, or performing repairs at homes they are renting.
I say hooray for Millennials. They are the driving force behind our new sharing economy, and are obviously willing to share the responsibility for home repairs, even if they don’t yet know how to do them.
(1) Porch.com Survey
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