For many UK homeowners, DIY is a way of life. After all, what could be more satisfying than taking care of those small (or not so small) home improvement jobs that pop up around your property without any help from a qualified tradesman? Not only do you save money, you also get to enjoy the fruit of your own labour for years to come.
But what could be more frustrating than when you botch your small (or not so small) DIY job and are left with a health hazard in your home? What could be more infuriating than being handed an inflated repair bill after you call a qualified tradesman in to repair your bungled handy work?
Every year, British property owners pay out a jaw-dropping £4.4 billion in order to repair the damage done by DIY. This extraordinary figure breaks down at an average of £166 per failed DIY attempt. To put things further in perspective, 1 in every 10 attempts at DIY in this country ends up needing attention from a professional after the original job goes belly-up.
What’s even more troublesome is that these figures are only likely to rise further over the next five years. Since 2002, the cost of repairing failed DIY jobs has risen from £727 million to its current height. With more and more UK home owners now tightening their household budgets and attempting to take home improvement into their own hands, who knows how high the figure could be by 2020?
Common DIY disasters
All across the UK, DIYers make the same mistakes over and over again. Builders in Exeter, Essex, Edinburgh and Eccles all report identical problems recurring when they are called in to fix a badly handled bit of Do-It-Yourself. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Damaging your own property
Repairmen are constantly being called in to fix damaged ceilings, furniture, walls and windows that have been destroyed when the owner decided to ‘fix’ them using the wrong tools for the job. Sometimes its pure ignorance, with the original DIYer failing to read up on the materials and equipment they needed in the first place. Just as common, however, is that the DIYer decided to save a bit of money by buying cheap tools that were not powerful enough for the task.
Any idiot can paint a room, right? Wrong. Painters and decorators are often called out to homes to re-coat properties after their owners made a mess of them the first time around. The key here is preparation. The walls should be thoroughly cleaned and sanded beforehand, and any holes should be filled or covered. Before you begin painting, use a primer coat or a stain blocker, particularly if you are painting over an old coat of dark or peeling paint.
Half a job
Whether it’s a small repair or a big installation, many DIYers find themselves midway through a job before realising they do not have the knowledge, material or time to complete it properly. In many cases, they decide to just do a quick fix, leaving it dangerously incomplete. Always ensure the job you are about to embark on is within your skill level and don’t scrimp on material – always buy more than you need to get it finished properly.
How to avoid DIY disasters
As you can see, a failure to prepare is the root cause of most DIY problems. So, before you tackle that loft conversion, take a spanner to that leaking pipe or replace the glass in that cracked window, research the job thoroughly. This means getting advice from a qualified expert, not skimming a couple of blog posts.
The best way to avoid DIY disasters altogether, however, is to hire a professional in the first place. Builders, plumbers, carpenters and electricians have spent years training and learning their craft, and they have the qualifications to prove it. Getting a trustworthy team in to take care of your home improvement task is often the easiest, most reliable and, in the long term, most affordable way to get it done.
Botched DIY jobs cost British home owners billions each year. Plan properly, buy the right tools and know when you need help from the professionals. There’s no point in saving a bit of money on a bad DIY job today, if it will see you forking out heavily in the future.