We've estimated the costs of bad DIY, and suggest ways to reduce the risk of a bodged job
What are you up to this weekend? A spot of painting? Maybe putting up that print you bought on holiday last year that’s been sat on the floor ever since? Perhaps even tiling a wall? Recent Office of National Statistics data reveals that we spent more than £3billion on home and garden tools between July and September 2017, so you’re definitely not alone!
However, before you start digging out the brushes or tool kit, you might want to read this. With help from Hitachi Personal Finance, we’ve been investigating the unforeseen expenses that come with updating your home… and getting it wrong.Yes, these are the costs of bad DIY.
1. The cost of putting up shelves, pictures or mirrors incorrectly
Cost of potential damage caused: £200+
How to reduce the risk: Use a digital wall detector, cost £30
Saving: At least £170
A display of artwork or some beautifully presented shelves can do wonders for a room. But before you go at the walls with your hammer and nails, you might want to stop and think. Hidden behind the plaster, there could be a pipe or electrical wire. Hit one, and you could cause all sorts of damage.
‘I saw someone recently who put a nail straight through a cold feed when fitting a bathroom mirror and flooded three floors of flats,’ says Andy Porter, a multi-trade engineer.
‘Most of the time, cables and pipes will run vertically from a socket or tap,’ advises Andy. However, he suggests you buy a digital wall detector to check the wall, to be sure.
‘You can pick these up from around £30,’ he says. Whereas you’d be looking at least £200 or so to cut out the plasterboard and splice in a new section of pipe to fix a DIY mishap. And it could be much more if there is significant damage.’
2. The cost of misrepairing a squeaky floorboard
Cost of potential damage caused: £420
How to reduce the risk: Hire a professional for from £15 to £100
Saving: Upwards of £320
If you can’t tolerate that squeak, squeak, squeak anymore, you might be tempted to start hammering in nails out of pure frustration. But it might not be a good idea.
‘Think again – particularly if it’s in a bathroom,’ advises DIY vlogger, Georgina Burnett. ‘If you hit a pipe, not only will there be the cost to get a plumber out to repair it (about £120 for an emergency call out), but you may find yourself also having to repair and redecorate the ceiling and room below.’
‘A small patch repair is likely to be close to £100 and then just shy of £200 to paint the ceiling if it’s an average size, as a couple of visits are likely to be needed,’ she says. ‘Water can cause a lot of damage quickly so making good the room below could cost hundreds or even thousands.’
on the other hand, getting someone in to fix the squeak for you will cost between £15 and £100, depending on the space and whether the carpet needs removing and replacing.
If you are doing it yourself: How to fix squeaky floorboards, block draughts and repair broken boards
3. The cost of laying laminate flooring
Cost of potential damage caused: £200 + costs for replacement boards
How to reduce the risk: Hire a professional to tidy things up for from £30 to £150
Saving: From £50
Now this is one job we would encourage confident DIYers to give a go. But it’s all about preparation. ‘Laying laminate flooring is always worth a shot, but many DIYers rush in,’ says Georgina. ‘They don’t find out the best way to do it or have the right tools to hand, and find themselves floored! The end result? Ill-fitting, uneven boards that look amateurish.’
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‘They’re relatively easy for an expert to fix but they will charge from £20 for labour, plus the cost of replacement boards, if you don’t have any left.’
4. The cost of poor painting
Cost of potential damage caused: £300
How to reduce the risk: Proper prepping, from £5 to £10
Surely you can do this yourself? Absolutely – provided you don’t just slap the paint on the walls and hope for the best. If you want to guarantee you’ll be happy with the finish, you need to do your prep work.
‘If you don’t prepare the walls by washing them down and taping them off, or scrimp by using cheap paint, or not enough coats, you may end up spending an additional £300 per day to get someone in to start from scratch,’ warns Georgina.
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‘There is no doubt that turning your hand to DIY for smaller jobs around the home can you some money,’ says Vincent Reboul, Managing Director at Hitachi Personal Finance. ‘However without the proper research and preparation these jobs can soon become more costly than originally planned.’
‘If you have a few jobs that need doing, look into getting a professional in for the day, as it could save you money in the long run.’
Plus you can put your feet up. Sounds like a plan to us!