Home Matters: Home repairs are no longer a guy thing

The Associated Press
Friday April 05, 2002

Day-to-day maintenance isn’t gender-specific. Nowhere is it written that leaking faucets are a “guy thing” or wallpaper is “women’s work.” 

Nowhere is this truer than among a fast-growing segment of homeownership: single women. As women find out all too quickly when something goes wrong at home, their options are to hire the work out or do it themselves. Apparently, more opt to roll up their sleeves and dive in. 

“We talk to a lot more women who want to know how to do their own repairs and projects around their house,” says Beth Boyd, a marketing manager for Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. “They want the tools, they want the know-how, and they want a degree of self-sufficiency.” 

The learning curve for how-to skills is shorter than you might think, says Boyd. She advises first-timers to try their hand at routine tasks before inevitable repairs or emergencies arise. 

This may be as simple as tightening screws on cabinet doors, hammering in exposed deck nails, filling nail holes in walls with spackle or oiling squeaky hinges. 

As skills — and can-do confidence — grow, the decisions about personally making repairs or hiring professionals can be made on a case-by-case basis. “Unless its something that needs immediate attention, take the time to see if it matches your skill-sets and abilities,” says Boyd. True emergencies, such as electrical, heating and cooling breakdowns are best left to specialists. 

For most single homeowners, it all starts with basic tools for basic tasks. Boyd’s short list of equipment for women includes: 

—Tape measure 

—Cordless rechargeable screwdriver (with Phillips and flat heads) 

—Extension cord and work light 


—Pliers, plain and locking type 

—Cordless drill and assorted drill bits 

—Work gloves 

—C-clamps in various sizes 

The best advice, however, might be that, when in doubt, ask for help. Boyd says women should check their qualms and misgivings at the door the moment they walk into a home-improvement store. She says that the mindset of stores now is that there are no questions that are too basic. There are plenty of store associates to answer questions and how-to brochures, books, and instant help available. “There’s no embarrassment in asking for help,” she says. 



Lowe’s is a national chain of nearly 750 home improvement, appliance and gardening stores in 42 states.