How much do DIY blunders cost the average Brit?

Long, summer days inspire the nation to reach for their toolboxes and make some home improvements, but whilst DIY seems like a good idea at the time because you think it’ll save you some money, the reality is that DIY is often a false economy.


of Brits have had to call in help to fix a DIY mistake


is how much the average DIY blunder costs to fix

That’s right: the majority (67%) of DIY-ers do it wrong and have to call in a professional plumber, electrician or builder to put things right, and the average cost of fixing a badly done job is a staggering £1,8301.

Even if you’ve got home insurance, your insurer is unlikely to pay out after a DIY attempt gone-wrong.

Martin Foulds, from Halifax Home Insurance, says it’s okay to attempt simple DIY tasks, such as clearing your gutters or hanging up pictures, but anything beyond your skill-set should not be attempted.

“For more specialist jobs involving gas, electrical or structural work, it’s essential to pay a professional,” he says. “If you try your hand at complex tasks and things go awry, you not only risk damaging your property with sub-standard DIY activity, you could also invalidate your home cover.”

Most common DIY blunders (% of Brits who’ve done it)

Drilling/hammering thorough wires (48%)
Taking inaccurate measurements (42%)
Improper use of instruction manuals (35%)
Lack of correct permit/permission (31%)
Using unsuitable paints/sealants (27%)

Above are some of the most common DIY blunders people make. These are all avoidable by hiring a professional, as reputable tradespersons will gain all of the necessary planning permissions and permits, check for hidden wires and hazards within the structure of your building, and be competent in taking accurate measurements, using the correct tools, and fitting all appliances properly.

So next time you’re considering doing some DIY, hit the web or pick up the phone and call a professional instead.

Here are some handy tips to help you find a trustworthy trades company:

  • Get a quote from at least three different companies and question if any are considerably cheaper or more expensive than the others. Some traders will be cheaper because they’re cutting corners, which could end up costing you more in the long-run if they do a bad job; always remember that finding a qualified trades company is more important than finding a cheap one.
  • Ask to see evidence of your chosen company’s qualifications. For instance, a plumber attending to your gas appliances should be able to show you their Gas Safe Register ID card.
  • Get written confirmation of the works to be done, including the price for labour, the costs of materials, agreed working hours, a completion date, and details of the company’s insurance terms.
  • It’s fine to pay a deposit but never pay in full upfront. Once you’re happy that the agreed work has been carried out to a satisfactory standard, ensure all work in invoiced with VAT, and aim to pay electronically, not with cash.

There are a number of government-backed schemes and regulated bodies set up to help consumers find registered tradespersons, which you can learn about here »

1 Mirror, 2015. How to find a tradesman you can trust and dodge the dodgy builders. [Online] Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/how-find-tradesman-you-can-6100451. [Accessed 30th July 2015].

There's more