These are Brits' top 20 home DIY bugbears

By Richard Jenkins
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 12:28 pm

Brits’ biggest home bugbears are dirty and worn-out carpets, cracks in the walls and cramped rooms, according to research.

A poll of 2,000 adults who do odd jobs found other home annoyances include creaking floorboards, paint colour in certain rooms and patchy and unattractive lawns.

While 26 per cent are bothered by overly worn carpet that is long past its use-by-date.

As many as one in five have also got problems with damp to deal with or are pondering how to get more natural light into their spaces.

Ahead of the bank holiday weekend, typically one of the most popular times to carry out improvements, six in 10 adults plan to tackle some of their home’s imperfections.

To help, a DIY expert has revealed her top hacks to help handle home improvement tasks like a professional.

Jo Behari, the author of The Girls Guide to DIY, worked with tool hire firm Speedy to offer tips on removing old gloss paint, the best way to give outdoor surfaces some TLC and how to get hardwood floors looking their best.

She said: “DIY can be daunting at first, and the temptation is to give up before you’ve even started.

“My main tip, beyond advice on specific jobs, is to plan, plan and plan – watch YouTube videos and read tutorials so you’re not surprised when anything happens.

“It’s the fear of the unknown that can put you off, whether it’s grouting or gardening, so forewarned is definitely forearmed.”

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Uncompleted jobs

The study also found the average adult will let a DIY job sit undone for a whopping 19 weeks – nearly five months – before finally getting around to sorting it.

Painting walls and ceilings are the tasks that get put off most often, along with deep cleaning carpets and clearing out guttering.

Almost a third (32 per cent) think their kitchen is the room in the house that’s most in need of improvement, followed by the bathroom and the garden.

But 64 per cent have reached the point where they have simply ‘learned to live’ with their home’s imperfections instead of sorting them out.

It also emerged 54 per cent think bank holidays are the perfect time to finally get around to sorting out DIY tasks, according to the OnePoll.com data.

More than half (55 per cent) feel a deep sense of satisfaction when they finally get a home improvement job done – although for one in four, it’s more a feeling of pure relief.

However, 31 per cent put tasks off because they lack confidence in their DIY abilities, while 54 per cent don’t even know if they’ve got the right tools for the project before starting it.

Matthew Clague, retail operations director at Speedy, said: “The bank holiday weekends are popular among DIYers for a reason – it gives people time to build up the confidence to start jobs that have been bugging them for a while.

“A large proportion of Brits are discouraged from even trying as they don’t have the right tools and equipment, which is where hiring those better quality or specialist tools can be perfect to undertake the tasks at hand.

“We hope to see more people taking on DIY tasks over the long weekend, before working up to more ambitious projects once they have a few DIY successes under their belt.”

Brits' biggest home DIY bugbears

1.            Worn out carpets

2.            Cracked plaster

3.            Cramped rooms

4.            Dirty carpets

5.            Paint colour in certain rooms

6.            Not enough light

7.            Dampness

8.            Mould in bathrooms

9.            Leaking taps

10.          Not enough plug sockets

11.          Creaky floorboards

12.          Draughty windows

13.          Patchy and unattractive lawn

14.          Lighting too bright

15.          Small driveway

16.          No driveway

17.          Limescale in the shower

18.          Poor water pressure

19.          Tatty garden fencing

20.          Cracked tiling

Jo Behari's top DIY tips

*Reviving hardwood floors

Hire an edging sander as well as a floor sander

Sand along the grain of the wood not against it

Use a nail punch to hammer the nails in so you don’t rip up the sanding sheets

Paint your way out of a room so you don't get trapped

*Upcycling old furniture

Work with the coarsest grade of sandpaper first

Use a tack cloth to wipe away loose debris for a smooth finish before painting

Find handles from homeware stores, online marketplaces and antique shops

Cover the inside of drawers with patterned wallpaper or adhesive sheets

*Reinventing your outdoor space

Avoid putting your decking in a shady area to keep the wood in good condition

Draw the deck out in advance for pre-planning and to limit cutting wastage

Coat all pieces of wood with preservative to avoid water damage

Consider tool hire for a convenient and cost-effective option as lots of tools will be needed for reinventing outdoor space – jigsaw, drill, pressure washer etc.

*Getting rid of gloss/lead paint

Use a heat gun to get the smoothest finish when working with gloss paint

Don’t use a heat gun if trying to get rid of lead paint as it can release harmful toxins

If unsure whether your paint has lead in it, use a home test kit to find out

*Giving fences and outdoor furniture some TLC

Use a paint sprayer, which can be hired, but test it on cardboard first for practice

Always spray horizontally to avoid drips and don’t spray in thick sections

Finish off with a brush for the smaller, more fiddly areas

*Stripping old wallpaper

Protect your floor and put masking tape around any nearby electrical sockets

Remove the first layer of wallpaper with your fingers once you’ve lifted off a corner

Use a wallpaper steamer – but use a scoring tool to score any stubborn wallpaper off before steaming for the underneath layer

*Tiling like a pro

Buy more tiles than needed in case they go out of stock and to practice your technique first

Use a marker instead of a pencil to mark the tiles

Always remember to wear safety goggles and well-fitting gloves when cutting tiles