DIY Style

How good are UK adults at DIY?

Half of UK adults have seriously messed up a DIY job – with more than one in eight having DIY mishaps during lockdown.

The nation has been in the grip of a DIY frenzy, attempting to ‘improve’ our homes after spending more time in them than ever over the past year.

But this has resulted in an alarming number of mistakes, where Britons have been a bit too ambitious with their attempts – and it’s ended up being a costly affair.

Almost half of the 2,000 DIY-ers surveyed said they have done more DIY than they normally would – with a few admitting to having a DIY mishap since the start of lockdown, making an average of four errors each.

Correcting these issues added up to an average of almost £200 spent by each Briton who’s had to re-do a job – equating to millions of pounds across the UK. 

And of those who have ever made an error while working on home improvements, 46 per cent were forced to call in a professional to resolve it for them.

The top lockdown DIY mistakes were made when putting up curtain rails, followed by filling in cracks in walls and putting up shelving.

Other offenders for jobs that ended up being more trouble than it was worth included fitting locks, replacing doorknobs or even attempting to clean a gutter.

Sally Conway, Head of Consumer Communications at Shawbrook Bank Personal Loans, which commissioned the research, said: “With a bit more time on our hands, finally getting round to sorting out little jobs around the house probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

“However, it’s fair to say that DIY clearly comes more naturally to some than others, and a lot of us might have been better calling in the experts to help with some of these home improvements.

“No matter how straightforward a project may seem, there can always be complications or reasons why it could end up being more work or costing more than planned.”

Londoners have had the most DIY mishaps on average, while those in East Anglia have got away with the least errors.

When it comes to different age groups, on average those aged 35 to 44 had more than twice as many DIY mishaps as those aged 55 to 64.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found that some like to claim a professional’s work as their own – with one in six respondents admitting to getting in a professional to do some handiwork and then taking the glory.

But many of those were caught out when the result of the job was too good, and nobody believed they’d done it.

As part of the lenders Comedy of (DIY) Errors campaign, Shawbrook Bank also asked respondents to share some of their funniest or most embarrassing DIY mishaps.

Numerous respondents admitted to falling through the floor of their attic or making holes in their walls, while one found themselves stuck on the roof of their house after a ladder fell to the ground.

Another said they caused a leak outside their home – but instead of immediately fixing it decided to have a family water fight first.

Attempting to mix coffee with white paint to create brown paint didn’t work out well for one respondent, while a collapsed shelf saw 23 pots of paint go everywhere for another.

Inspired by some of these stories, Shawbrook Bank has today released a series of short comedy sketches on DIY disasters – written and performed by renowned British comedian Hal Cruttenden and available online.

Shawbrook Bank’s Sally Conway added: “Our Comedy of (DIY) Errors campaign aims to make light of the funny and sometimes stressful situations we face when undertaking home improvements.

“It’s been entertaining to hear about some of the mishaps from the past year – with ‘destroy-it-yourself’ perhaps the more appropriate term rather than ‘do-it-yourself for some.’

“By using comedy, we want to make light of the DIY projects that might not always go to plan. Making light of the funny and sometimes stressful situations, we want to show there’s no shame in admitting to seeking help and support on how to get it right next time.

“In fact, getting the right support could help save money in the long run by not needing to re-do a task – allowing homeowners to be more equipped when tackling future DIY projects.”