DIY on a bank holiday is as much a tradition as getting stuck in traffic, or caught in a rainstorm. However, research from Halifax has revealed that when we tackle the DIY summer jobs, we run the risk of doing far more harm than good.
So what are the risks?
Taking on too much
The issue at hand is that so many of us are willing to give DIY a bash, despite having no skills or experience. Some 63% of us would rather try to deal with home improvements ourselves because we think it’s the cheapest approach.
It means we end up risking what is undoubtedly our most expensive asset, without fully appreciating the risks we are taking, and the damage we can do.
The research showed that perhaps unsurprisingly, more than half of us would try simple DIY stuff. More than three quarters (77%) of householders would be confident enough to tackle painting, and half would attempt to put up shelves.
However, a significant minority would go much further. More than ten per cent (11%) would fit a new kitchen, and one in 20 (5%) would be willing to fit a new gas fire themselves!! – something the experts would not recommend!!
There is every chance when biting off more than we can chew, that we end up damaging our home. However, worryingly, a quarter of homeowners don’t know whether they are covered for accidental damage and one in 10 have no home insurance at all. Even if you have cover, there’s a risk that by taking too much on you will invalidate it.
However, before you put the paintbrush away, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bother. It just means we need to take the right steps before we start in order to cut the risks.
Preparation is key – make sure you have all the correct tools and equipment for the job before you start, and make sure you understand what is involved in the job and whether you can do it. If you know what you’re doing (and that you can do it) it’ll save you coming unstuck later on. Likewise, you need to think about the cost at the outset. Plan a budget beforehand and stick to it.
Next, consider the specialist needs of the job. If you are doing DIY jobs relating to gas, electrical or plumbing work, you usually need to use a professional. When choosing a tradesman, ask for references and certificates to demonstrate that they are competent and reliable.
If you are doing any major work, contact your insurer. If there’s a chance it could affect the structure of your home they’ll need to know about it in advance.
Also think about accidental damage. Many insurance policies already include cover for damage to some parts of the home such as sinks, baths and ceramic hobs, but it is worth considering whether you need additional accidental damage cover to protect against common DIY mishaps such as spilling paint, drilling through pipes, or putting feet through ceilings.