Skip to comments.Young homeowners often repair-challenged (Gen Y can't DIY)
Posted on 08/07/2006 6:58:08 AM PDT by Hydroshock
CHICAGO - The staff at his neighborhood hardware store can spot John Carter from a distance.
He's the slightly befuddled guy who often comes in declaring, "I have no idea what I'm doing. Can you at least get me through tonight?"
The 26-year-old Chicagoan, who's been slowly rehabbing the condo he bought last year, is part of a generation of young homeowners who admit they often have no clue how to handle home projects.
Story continues below « -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- advertisement
For them, shop class was optional. It also was more common for their parents to hire contractors, leaving fewer opportunities for them to learn basic repair skills.
With low interest rates allowing more young adults to buy property in recent years, many inexperienced homeowners are desperate for advice when the furnace goes out, the roof leaks or when a home project that seemed like a no-brainer goes terribly wrong.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
Buy Lowes and Home Depot Stock ping...........
I was born in early-1980, does that make me a Y'er? I'm not sure. Anyway, I was raised by a single mother who relied on me to do "man work" around the house. I was mowing lawns by 8, had a job and savings acct. at 13 and rebuilt a 429 cid. Ford motor at 17.
This article proves, to me anyway, that the American family is incapable of passing on crucial components to a common sense life. From basic lawncare and maintenance to replacing leaky faucets and hanging drywall, I learned it all on my own with a little help from DIY books and the internet. I honestly believe some people just don't want to get their hands dirty.
My cousin, for instance, absolutely refuses to change a tire. He got a flat on the NJ Parkway and called someone to pick him. It took longer for the person to come pick him up than it would've to pull off the flat and replace it with the spare. Inconceivable to me, really.
I've had to limp an old Chevy from northern NC to Maryland with a blown exhaust manifold gasket, and despite being tired and dirty, it worked. Without my family support and some common sense, I would've left that POS at the VA border and found another way to get where I was going. Here's to resilience!
This article seems like a lot of BS non-news. I don't think young homeowners today area any different than at any time in history. I came from the baby-boom generation and yes I took shop. I didn't learn a thing from shop about basic home maintenance tasks. Likewise I also worked with my father, a WWII vet who did teach me one of the most important home maintenance arts - how to swear like a sailor while you are banging your thumbs, strippping bolts and bending nails. The one advantage today's youth has is the internet. There is plenty of self-help information out there. If anything they have advantages previous generations didn't have and they'll do just fine.
I'm a late X-er, and even I have problems with a lot of DIY. And my dad is brilliant at the stuff. Hopefully, I will get better with practice.
Our first home was my training ground. I used it to learn. The first time I sweated copper pipe was about an hour before I tore out my plumbing system and replaced it. Gutting entire rooms down to studs is intimidating the first time. Kind of fun though.
Last week, I bought some Home Depot stuff for my cousin's wedding gift. One item was a Purdy paint brush for $15.00. It took me years to learn the value of a proper brush.
I have to commend these younger folks who are unafraid to try their own repairs.
That was me 5 years ago - but I decided to do something about it. After hiring someone to finish my basement, paying 20K and seeing a pretty poor job, I discovered that for the money you pay for work you can do it yourself twice or 3 times. And sometimes you DO - just because you don't know the right way the first time.
Still, it is fun to learn all this stuff.
I think there's an inverse relationship between the money you spend on coffee and your ability to do basic home repairs (or car maintenance, drive a stick-shift, handle firearms, take down trees, etc.).
I wonder why many high school graduates don't know how to do anything until they get out in the 'real world' for a few years?
If you don't try to fix something you'll never learn how to fix it.
My parents wouldn't let any of us drive until we demonstrated the ability to change a tire.
All three of us changed the tire and passed the test.
I have had many a flat, and while sometimes I've been lucky enough that a nice man has pulled over to help, other times I've changed that bad boy myself and gone on my merry way.
I assume the same thing applies to my brother, except I bet nice men don't pull over to help him since he's one himself.
However, my sister has NEVER changed a tire since she did it in the driveway that one weekend. She has always called whatever boyfriend she had at the time, and every one of 'em dealt with it for her.
A few year ago, when our son was about 16, his dad had him under the kitchen sink, instructing him on how to replace the pea trap. I walked upon the scene and laughed, joking with him that he was experiencing the American equivalent of a tribal "rite of passage."
My hubby is slowly, but surely, passing on "skills" (car repair, around the house construction repairs and fix-er-up knowledge, lawn and garden care, etc.)
Truth is, it will save him so much money when he's out on his own. He just doesn't realize it yet.
If it requires more than driving a nail, I call someone!
As a matter of fact, I just did that the other day. My fence needs mending. I'd rather call a handyman service than Kofi Annan for that job!
In my generation during High School all the boys got construction jobs because they paid the best. By doing so we all had a serious understanding on how things are put together. I think todays men coming up don't do that because of all the low wage immigrants in construction have killed the high school labor market.
I admit that while I'm no Bob Vila, I certainly can do enough. I learned some from my dad and some from this novel thing called "reading."
I'm of two minds on this issue. Age 52, I was taught by my Dad to use tools, etc, in the wistful Dad-teaches-son fashion I guess we're supposed to pine for. He's still alive, thank God, and pretty chipper, but his knowledge of tool-use et al ceased expanding circa 1946. Tools today are really quite different than they were then. OK, sweating copper pipe and replacing a faucet aren't much different, but since he SUCKED at those, it's of little consequence. Anyway, watching him attempt to use tools today is just plain scary. I am sure it's that role-reversal-with age type of thing.
My father was a acontractor, and home builder. They have sons for one and only one reason. Cheap summer help. I helped build the house I live in.
If the guy didn't know squat about carpentry, etc. why on earth is he rehabbing his own place?
While we're on the subject I want those two guys from Monster Garage beaten until they look like shrimp cocktail. Every stupid episode of their rotten show begins with: "And today we have a very simple bolt-on...." Meanwhile, their friggin' shop has 100k of equipment in it and is air-conditioned. They do the repairs wearing khakis and polos, it take less than 30 min. no matter what the repair is, and when they're done they are totally spotless, not so much as a drop of grease. Meanwhile, I change out the water pump on my Grand Marquis, I come out of there looking like Al Jolson four hours later.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.