Can Remodeling Harm Your Relationship?

Remodeling and relationships

Yesterday I told you how the remodeling business is experiencing an upswing, but today I'm reporting on a survey conducted by Houzz which says that 12% of couples consider separation or divorce when remodeling their home.

This figure seemed a little high to me, so I reached out to their press department and asked if they could tell me how the survey was conducted, and Allison Brady kindly responded,

"We had more than 1300 respondents to the survey which was distributed through Houzz's social channels and newsletter."

What this means is that the survey participants were 'self selected', so it may be the case that the couples who responded were more likely than average to want to break up, but equally it could be that they are less likely than average.

I also asked Houzz if there were any controls that would tell us how significant that 12% really is. Unfortunately they didn't have an answer for me on that one, however Allison was able to tell me that they drew the 12% statistic from the question "Did you consider separating or divorcing from your significant other during the remodeling/redecorating process?" with a yes/no option.

Is it possible that 12% of home owning couples consider breaking up when they're not remodeling? If so, this would indicate the remodeling has no effect if the rates for remodelers for thinking about calling it quits is the same as the background rate.

Should You Be Worried About Your Relationship When Remodeling?

I've looked for independent data on divorce rates and I can't find anything which specifically mentions remodeling either as an important factor, or even a reason couples cite for their divorce (see this report as an example).

However, factors that do come up in research include:

  • Too much arguing
  • Lack of equality in the relationship
  • Unrealistic expectations

It's not difficult to see how these factors could arise when remodeling your home. There can be disagreement and dispute over everything from budgets to styling. Friction can also play a part when one partner demands to have it all done 'their way'.

The way to avoid these problems is to talk everything through about the project. You don't have to have consensus on every little detail, but a little give and take will go along way.

Was There Any Good News In the Survey?

It wasn't all doom and gloom, here are some of the positives to come out:

  • 80% said they were feeling more relaxed in their home after completing their remodel
  • 42% of remodelers say they now do more entertaining
  • 41% report an increase in their level of happiness with their partner after the remodel

Based on these findings it would seem that if your relationship survives the project, then the two of you are in for good times to come.

If you would like more information about the survey, such as the specific problems that caused relationship tension during the remodeling, then read the full report on the Houzz website.