82% of Brits delay DIY jobs

Resting DIY

With the August Bank Holiday upon us – a traditional time for many to carry out DIY jobs – a new report has revealed that more than three quarters of us will delay home maintenance jobs for as long as possible.

Some 82% of Brits admit to putting off essential DIY jobs for an average of 26 days, while 10% will delay carrying out these tasks for more than three months, new research by FirstPort, the UK’s largest residential property manager, has revealed.

Almost a third (32%) of those who put off household tasks and DIY say they are too busy, while 25% say they are not confident of what they are doing. One in 10 (9%) are worried about damaging their property, while 6% are anxious about injuring themselves.

Of the 2,000 Brits polled, 28% have injured themselves during DIY tasks, with one in 20 (4%) having to take time off work or go to hospital, according to The Value of Property Maintenance report.

However, delays could be because households don’t like doing DIY. A quarter of us hate clearing gutters (28%), getting rid of damp and mould (27%) and cleaning windows (25%). Other unpopular DIY tasks include plumbing (20%), painting and repairing walls (18%) and cleaning carpets and floors (18%).


Despite this, the research found that Brits spend 114 hours a year doing jobs around the house – equivalent to 14 working days, or seven weekends a year.

The full cost of maintaining the average home in the UK is £1,840. But the good news is that, as a nation, we do save about £700 a year on DIY jobs, such as plumbing, decorating, cleaning carpets, windows and gutters, repairs and gardening,

‘Ensure the problem is dealt with quickly before it becomes a bigger issue’

Nigel Howell, chief executive of FirstPort, advises: “Whether you do it yourself, or get a professional in, the most important thing is to make sure it is dealt with properly and quickly, before something small becomes a much bigger issue, which could knock value off your home.”   

Property expert Kate Faulkner adds: “As someone who carries out a variety of property projects every year, the most important thing I’ve learnt is to know what you can do yourself and what you should leave to the professionals.

“Jobs such as keeping the garden tidy or a bit of painting here and there can be done by most people – some might even enjoy it! However, other jobs that might appear simple, such as clearing the guttering, getting rid of mould or replacing sealant on baths/showers, are actually, in my view, best left to the professionals as they often require specialist safety equipment, expert knowledge and skill.”

Mezzanine can boost your home’s value

If you are planning on doing some DIY this weekend, it’s worth noting that a separate survey has found that adding a mezzanine level in a living room offers the best return when you carry out home improvements, adding 10% to the value of a three-bedroom house.

A mezzanine floor is a raised platform that typically sits between the ground and first floor – for example, it can be used to create a bedroom above a living room.

Home remodelling firm Harrington Grey picked the top 10 most popular home improvements carried out by its clients and the average spend, and then compared the returns on their investment, basing the figures on the average price of £700,000 for a three-bedroom house in London (based on property website Zoopla’s June figures).

It says that building a mezzanine in a bedroom or living area costs on average £9,500, but it typically adds 10% to the value of a three-bedroom house in London – so that’s £70,000 – and offers a return of 6.4 times the outlay.

Knocking down walls and removing doors to create an open-plan living space is also a good investment, costing on average £2,250 and delivering a return of over five times the investment.

Another good choice for home improvers is to fit a new kitchen. With an average cost of £9,000, it can boost the value of a property by 6%, offering a return that is nearly four times the cost of the work. See  the table below for other popular home improvements and average costs and returns.


John Macleod of Harrington Grey, says: “People often don’t think of mezzanines but if you are lucky enough to live in a property with double-height ceilings, as can be found in many Georgian and Victorian properties, creating a split-level room can be a brilliant and relatively affordable way to add both space and value. Even in a smaller home, mezzanines are a good option for kids’ bedrooms, creating a sleeping platform with space beneath for a desk and toy storage.

“Following Brexit we expect to see further growth in homeowners opting to improve rather than move, as uncertainty in the market continues. It’s reassuring to know there are excellent ways to add space and improve our homes, all of which also add value.”

Popular home improvements: Average costs and returns

(Click to enlarge)