DIY disasters

PinkNews Staff Writer April 25, 2008
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Trying to save money by doing tricky DIY jobs around your home and garden can leave you more short-changed if you are forced to pay a professional to sort out your mess.

You might think you know what you’re doing but it seems many of us don’t, as we spend £11.3 billion every year rectifying out DIY mistakes, according to a study by Yellow Pages. Not only do we spend an average of one year carrying out home
improvements but, more worryingly, a third of us admit to starting jobs that we aren’t equipped to tackle, can’t complete or messed up.

Aside from the obvious safety aspect of our DIY misjudgements, our shaky home improvement skills can often prove costly too. Those of us who admit to making a DIY blunder spend an average of £1,058 each on materials and service charges to rectify the mistakes.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it seems many of us are performing tasks under duress, as only 17 per cent claim to enjoy DIY in the first place. As you might imagine, most of us carry out DIY tasks due to perceived necessity or in an attempt to save ourselves some money rather than for the love of it.

But our lack of ability for DIY certainly doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm, as 76 per cent of us would attempt major projects such as laying a patio, installing insulation, fitting a kitchen or changing a radiator.

Consumer development director at Yell, publisher of Yellow Pages directories, Clodagh Ward, says: “We know from our own data that DIY continues to be popular as DIY-related classifications in Yellow Pages directories are used on average 2.4 million times per month. It’s really surprising to see the scale of home improvements that people are prepared to tackle. Sometimes it may prove cheaper to call upon skilled trades people for the trickier jobs in the first instance.”

Worryingly only 23 per of us would seek expert advice when faced with a DIY disaster. Two-thirds of us would prefer to rely on family or friends to help them try to put things right, although women are more likely to call for help than men – 72 per cent of women compared with 51 per cent of men.

Not knowing when to quit is a problem for one in seven men. These guys risk making the problem worse by attempting to fix it themselves.

But what many don’t realise is that not only are they risking their own safety but they are risking the value of their property as well. Philip Bullman, chairman of the National Association of Estate Agents, says: “As well as costing hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds for the professionals to put right, DIY disasters can end up devaluing a property. With the costs of moving currently so high, many people are choosing to stay put and are instead looking to improve their homes. While this can add value if done properly, we would encourage people to think carefully about the long-term implications of home improvement projects and to seek professional advice before they start.”

Ward agrees that when in doubt it’s always best to seek professional advice and if possible get a qualified expert in. “This leaves would-be DIYers with more time to do the things they really enjoy instead,” he says.
DIY disasters

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