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10 Projects Young Customers Need Help With

While technology has advanced to the point where we can look up information on nearly any subject using just our phones, but ingrained knowledge and skills in home improvement projects are not nearly as prevalent in young customers. This means we can look up a YouTube video describing how to retile a bathroom, but recreating that project in our own homes can be a much more difficult proposition. Nothing can replace having a knowledgeable person able to give you advice and expertise on projects, and for young people and new homeowners alike, that knowledge is often found at local independent home improvement stores. Here are 10 projects retailers should be familiar with and ready to assist their younger customers in accomplishing.

1. Painting a Room
Painting isn’t just a troublesome project for young people—homeowners across the age spectrum can get themselves into trouble by just buying a bucket of paint and a brush and thinking they’re all set to redo a wall. With preparation being one of the most important parts of making a painting project an invigorating reimagining of a space and not a living nightmare, retailers should be ready to explain why certain preparations are needed and how products can be used properly.

2. Installing a Faucet
Whether it’s in the kitchen or bathroom, sink hardware is often one of the first things a new homeowner wants to change. It might be something they can do to make a personal stamp on their new home, but it can also be a simple project a young customer isn’t going to be fully prepared for. Retailers can make sure a customer has done the proper measurements to make sure a new faucet will fit the hole from the previous one. The customer should also be made aware of how seal a new faucet with silicone sealant.

3. Updating an Entryway
This is another project that falls under a new homeowner making a change to a house to suit their tastes. A front door and overall entryway is often the first impression visitors get of a home, so homeowners want to make it look its best. Helping a customer select the proper door size and weight for a well-trafficked area is key, keeping in mind both style and security. If a customer is looking to repaint a door, retailers can provide tips on how to properly treat the surface for their paint of choice as well as how to handle door and lock hardware when painting.

4. Installing an Electrical Outlet
Anything involving electricity is going to be daunting for a young person who is unfamiliar with home projects. Yet, with more gadgets and gizmos coming into our homes every day, the need for more outlets is only going to increase. Proper safety precautions must be urged when handling electrical projects, and retailers can provide their own insights on how to handle not just the electrical hookup but also the process of making an opening in a wall that won’t look like it was made with a chainsaw.

5. Starting a Garden
Younger generations are embracing the DIY lifestyle, but any first-time green thumb knows that there is plenty more to growing plants and flowers than sticking some seeds in the dirt and calling it a day. Lawn and garden-heavy retailers already have tons of knowledge about what types of plants can be successful in their area, so they should be ready to offer their own anecdotes on how to get the most out of a garden.

6. Distressing Furniture
Milk paint, and the time-worn look it can give cabinets, shelves and other wood furniture pieces, is trending among younger generations. There is a diverse range of products designed to help customers get the same appearance they have seen on home improvement TV, but that diversity can also give a new remodeler pause when seeking the right one. Retailers should be able to offer different solutions, from milk paint products to additives for water-based paints.

7. Installing New Flooring
The introduction of inexpensive flooring options like faux wood planks and tiles has taken a project that would normally involve a professional and placed it in the hands of the DIY crowd. Retailers can save their younger customers some frustration by showing them how to properly cut tiles and how to estimate many tiles they will need to cover the whole room. No one likes having to run back to the store after they’ve started a project.

8. Updating Lighting Fixtures
Few things can make a home look more dated than old light fixtures. With styles from modern and sleek to farmhouse chic, light fixtures can reshape a kitchen or bathroom quickly and inexpensively. Thus, young customers looking to brighten up their starter home will need help in selection and installation for pendant lights or chandeliers. Retailers can ensure customers are taking proper safety precautions and are outfitted with the right tools, bulbs and electrical knowledge before they leave the store.

9. Installing Smart Home Products
Yeah, a young customer is supposed to have this covered, right? Well, someone who grew up around technology might know how to set up a Wi-Fi connection better than most retailers, but that smart thermostat or connected electrical outlet isn’t going to put itself in the wall. Retailers should make sure they are familiar with their smart home offerings, perhaps even using them in their own homes to grow their knowledge of both the physical installation and technical advantages of these products.

10. Staining a Deck
Much like other areas of the paint and coatings world, terminology can get tricky for a young customer that isn’t sure what semi-transparent means. On top of making sure a customer has the actual product they want, retailers must impart wisdom about the pitfalls of staining outside. Hot weather, drying times and how much of the stain to apply are all areas where an inexperienced customer can fail if they’re not prepared.

About Chad Husted

Chad is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A Purdue University graduate, Chad has covered sports and news at the high school, college and Olympic levels as a sports writer, editor and designer for multiple newspapers. Prior to joining the NRHA, he was the sports editor for the Herald Journal in Monticello, Indiana, and a designer and copy editor for the AIM Media Indiana group in Columbus, Indiana. When not cultivating his beard, he enjoys backpacking, cooking, traveling and watching too much sports and Netflix.

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