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Brits DIY blunders

New research points to more than three quarters of UK residents admitting to DIY blunders. We might be able to hang a parliament, but it turns out most of us can’t hang a door, measure up correctly or buy enough supplies to get DIY jobs done.
Boy looking confused holding wires

Britain is a nation of do-it-yourself rookies making mistakes in the home that cost a small fortune, according to new research. A survey of 1,011 British adults carried out by home heating oil supplier SuperSaverOil.com found that 77% of us have made a blunder that has cost them when attempting DIY in their home.

If you’d like to avoid DIY downfalls, Which? Trusted Traders endorses businesses covering a variety of home-improvement trades, so you can find local traders to do the work for you.

DIY mistakes

The most common mistake made by optimistic Brits is skimping on materials and running out mid-job – 72% confess to having done so. 63% of survey respondents admit to inaccurately measuring a space when attempting DIY in the home, while 61% confess to having damaged carpets or furnishings by not protecting surfaces properly.

DIY has ended in disaster for 59% of clumsy Brits, who have injured themselves in the process. See our article on DIY disasters for more.

Just over half the DIYers surveyed had used the wrong type of paint when repainting a surface, while 51% had started painting a surface without preparing it properly. If you’d rather leave it to the professionals, we’ll help you find a Which? Trusted Traders accredited painter and decorator.

In a blunder that could end up costing more than a few extra tins of paint, 28% of people surveyed failed to obtain the correct permits before starting structural work. This is a serious error – in extreme cases, you could be forced to replace existing structures if the council refuses to grant retrospective permission.

Almost a quarter of respondents admitted to incorrectly plumbing in an appliance – if that’s you, check out our article on how to stop a water leak.

Nearly one in five have given themselves an electric shock in a bid to fix faulty electrics in their home. You should never work on electrics without being properly trained. You can avoid shocks by employing a Which? Trusted Traders endorsed electrician.

Mark Hackett, Project Manager at SuperSaverOil, commented: ‘It’s fascinating to see just how many common DIY mistakes Britons are making in a bid to save money.

While it’s encouraging to see so many are keen to learn the tricks of the trade, Britons should remember that attempting to fix something in the home themselves could be an extremely costly way of doing it, as they run the risk of making the issue worse. There comes a time when it’s best to bring in the professionals.’

Different areas of the UK reported different levels of mistakes. Bristol is the DIY-blunder capital of the UK, with 88% of locals confessing to having made a mess of the DIY, compared with just 64% of residents in Belfast and 67% of those in Edinburgh. Are people in Bristol really all bodgers – or are they just more honest? The survey wasn’t able to find that out.

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