How much could you lose when carrying out DIY projects?

publication date: Apr 17, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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How much could you lose when carrying out DIY projects?


There are some very scary estimates of how much money people can lose when doing DIY.

I’ll be honest with you, I love DIY, but the one thing that makes me good at it is I know my limits. I’m good at doing things like putting floors down, tiling, painting and decorating and solving problems.

But I also know I’m rubbish at measuring and so when I did my floor at home, I made sure my carpenter did the edges as he was more accurate and had far more patience than me!

I also know what I can and can’t do with regards to electrics, glazing, gas, water and drainage and I know what needs to be signed off by the building regulations inspectors.

Unfortunately many people don’t and as a result according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), there are more than 200,000 accidents a year, the main cause are tools and machinery and even wallpaper has helped send 87,000 people to hospital!

A recent survey by Nationwide Building Society showed that 47% of homeowners are planning a DIY project in the next 12 months at a cost of £3,342. That’s a DIY budget of £79 billion!

And one of our most experienced builders, Harvey Ellingham from Home Improvements Guarantee was recently on the BBC explaining that a botched DIY job could mean it costs you double the amount to do the work.

So, to make sure you don’t have a DIY disaster, you should:-

Check you are insured for accidents!

Read our Contents and Buildings Insurance checklist from Legal and General

Don’t rush

This is not a good idea, DIY normally takes three times longer than I ever expect, cutting corners on property repairs doesn’t work.

Be safe

It might sound a bit daft talking about ‘bending your knees’ and you might feel a bit weird wearing goggles but it can save you a trip to the hospital and time off work. I’m actually allergic to dust too, so I always wear a mask and I like to have equipment which you can attach to a hoover to keep the dust down.

Keep pets and kids away from harmful DIY stuff

I used to have an alsation called ‘Nelson’. He wasn’t very well one day and I really thought I was going to lose him. We went to the vet and had a nervous hour or so waiting for X-rays to find out if he would be OK. He was poorly, but it was arthritis and the right meds meant he kept going for a few more years.

However, the X-ray did show up quite a few screws he’d been chomping on from the garden, fortunately though they didn’t cause him any harm.

Choose the right people to help you

When choosing a builder, painter and decorator, gas or electric person to help, you really need to make sure you get expert help. To me that’s someone who:-

  1. Has the right insurance should something go wrong
  2. Gives a quote which separates labour from material costs
  3. Has a free, independent third party complaints system if you are not happy

Here’s our checklists to help you find the right people and carry out your property project successfully first time around:- 

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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