• Brits spend £244 correcting the average DIY decorating disaster, adding up to a staggering £6 billion by the nation per year
  • Our inability to complete decorating tasks means there are currently 31.7 million unfinished jobs in British households
  • One in ten Brits have injured themselves doing DIY decorating

With many Brits tackling DIY projects in their homes, new research has exposed the pitfalls that over-confident, self-proclaimed handymen and women may be up against. A study by Armstead Trade of more than 2,000 homeowners has revealed that three quarters of Brits have experienced DIY disasters that cost hundreds of pounds to put right.

According to the survey, the nation’s inability to complete basic DIY tasks to a decent standard, including painting a wall or a ceiling or putting up wallpaper means Brits spend £244 on average correcting their mistakes. This adds up to a staggering £6.19 billion spent on putting right a bodged attempt at decorating or DIY across the nation. Some DIY decorating results have been so poorly executed that 6% have had to splash out more than £1,000 for professionals to fix their bodged attempts.

The study, commissioned by professional paint brand, Armstead Trade, the ‘smart choice for professional decorators’, found that 67% of homeowners now avoid doing basic decorating themselves, with one in ten fearing they will repeat a previous disaster. 16% report feeling stressed at the prospect of completing a decorating project and 12% of men report that their partner does not trust them to do it. 36% of the nation admit that they simply don’t have the skills to do decorating themselves and as a result of this, there are now 31,767,600 unfinished decorating jobs across the country.

According to respondents, painting walls and ceiling are the jobs most likely to end badly (32%), followed by putting up wallpaper (15%), constructing flatpack furniture (14%) and putting up shelves (12%). When asked about their mistakes, a fifth of respondents admitted ruining carpet or furniture by spilling paint on them, with some even admitting to spilling paint on pets (4%) and children (1%). The research shows that many of these mishaps are down to attempting to do a DIY task too quickly (20%) while a lack of appropriate tools (16%) was also cited as a reason for a DIY decorating job not working out as well as was hoped. 3% reported that a decorating task ended in disaster after having consumed a few glasses of beer or wine. And one in ten has injured themselves while doing DIY and decorating. Aside from mishaps such as hitting themselves with a hammer, 6 per cent have fallen off a ladder and one in 25 men (4 per cent) have managed to do themselves such a mischief that they needed hospital treatment.

Revealingly, the survey also showed that DIY and decorating is the cause of rows and recrimination between 9 per cent of squabbling couples. So much so, that in a bid to impress, 7 per cent of men admit they have hired a professional to do the job and then claimed they did it themselves afterwards. Meanwhile, a quarter have had to get a friend or relative to finish their bodged job for them.

It seems that one in ten Brits find relatively simple tasks that would involve isolating or shutting off water beyond their comfort zone – 10% indicated that fixing a dripping tap or taking a radiator off a wall would flummox them and result in a disaster. Almost one in ten (7 per cent) confess to using entirely the wrong paint for the job, such as gloss instead of emulsion, 12 per cent have drilled a hole too big for the task and 6 per cent have seen their shelves fall down.

Jason Duggan, Senior Brand Manager at Armstead paints, explains: “Homeowners think they may be saving money by taking on improvement tasks themselves, but the jobs can often take longer and cause inconvenience with whole rooms being out of use for some time. The tasks themselves are more difficult because of a lack of knowledge or appropriate tools. We think the smart choice is to employ a decorator who knows their trade.”

Non-professionals are prone to making mistakes, which, as the research releveals can cost a considerable amount of money to put right. Jason Duggan continues: “Lack of knowledge and experience makes homeowners underestimate the complexity of a job, so they tend to give up half way through it, which explains the high number of unfinished DIY decorating jobs we currently have in British households.”

The top 10 list of decorating disasters that we can’t get right:

  • 31% have made a mess of painting a ceiling or a wall
  • 15% have suffered from incorrectly put up wallpaper
  • 14% have failed at constructing flatpack furniture
  • 12% have bodged fixing shelves to a wall
  • 9% have ended up with a less than perfect finish painting gloss on woodwork
  • 7% fixing a dripping tap
  • 4% wiring a plug
  • 4% putting down flooring

While 50% of Brits claim not to have suffered any DIY accidents, 6% also boldly boast of being a DIY ‘genius’, indicating that they have not needed to swot up on how to do a decorating task.

Decorator Confessions

Armstead Trade also asked professional decorators to confirm how often they are called in to fix a mangled DIY decorating disaster and the results are startling. 69% spend between one to two days per job fixing their customers’ decorating mistakes and a further 31% spend between three to six days per job on corrections. With the average British work day of eight hours, decorating mistakes are costing Britain 19 hours and 26 minutes of labour per job (or 14 days per year, per decorator); time that could be spent on getting decorating jobs right the first time with a professional finish.

Jason Duggan, Armstead Trade says: “We did not expect decorators to indicate that they devote so much of their time fixing decorating jobs. The decorators we polled say they are called six times a year on average to fix jobs that customers have made a mess of. It is important for homeowners to make smart choices when it comes to home improvements, even if this means admitting they are not up to the task. It is often cheaper, quicker and better to rely on qualified professionals to do a job. Not only will jobs have a better quality but they will save homeowners the need to pay twice.”

While Armstead Trade is drawing attention to homeowners making a ‘smart choice’ by engaging a professional decorator, it also wants to make decorators’ lives easier and for a limited period only, the ‘Bodge It Shop’ launches on the 26th May – providing so-called ‘shortcut product solutions’ to help decorators correct even more DIY painting jobs. Decorators wanting to make a real smart choice for their customers however, can visit their local Dulux Decorating Centre to see the range of Armstead paints.

Britain’s largest union, Unite, have today expressed increasing concern over the time it was taking to locate and recover the bodies of three missing men following the collapse of Didcot power station on 23 February.

Unite which represents workers in the construction and demolition industry said members across the industry had grown increasingly frustrated and were questioning whether the recovery team had enough resources to complete the recovery in a safe and timely manner.

Expressing its deepest sympathy and solidarity with the men’s families, the union’s national construction committee called on the authorities to ensure that construction workers’ families were never again put through the pain and heartbreak of weeks of uncertainty over the fate of their loved ones.

Commenting Unite national officer John Allott said “The thoughts and sympathies of Unite members are with the families of the three men who are still missing and who after six weeks are still seeking closure.

“Our construction and demolition members are well aware that it could be their families suffering a similar experience, which is why they are growing increasingly concerned over the time it’s taking to recover the missing men.

“They recognise that the recovery needs to be done in a safe manner, but would question the time it is taking and whether the recovery team has enough resources.

“Money should be no object, which is why Unite’s national construction committee is urging the relevant authorities to deploy all the necessary resources to ensure that the missing men are returned to their families as quickly as possible.

“The authorities must also learn the lessons to ensure these tragic events are not allowed to happen again.”

The collapse of a Saudi crane in the holy city of Mecca that claimed the lives of over 100 people over the weekend has revealed an ugly side of the worldwide construction boom. Shocking scenes recorded by local Saudis show that health and safety is of little-to-no concern for those who are responsible for building up the ancient city.
For the last few years especially, residents of the city of Mecca have been forced to accept unrelenting construction work as Saudi leaders attempt to expand the city into a bustling metropolis envied the world over.
As development has been on the rise, so too has the number of incidents, casualties and fatalities involving construction workers and bystanders, indicating a dangerous lack of health and safety precaution within the industry.
The Executive Director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, Dr Irfan al-Alawi, commented on the crane accident and the overall issue with safety, saying “It is a tragedy what has happened, but it didn’t come as a surprise. There have been many accidents. Last the last few floors of a building being constructed right next to the clock tower caught fire and they had to call the fire engine from Taif, which is about 45 mins away, to help extinguish it.”
“There is no health and safety system in place. In London when you have construction work the public are kept away, but in Mecca machinery is deployed in areas accessible to the public. There are not enough volunteers looking to check children do not go into the dangerous areas. Even some of the engineers don’t have safety gear, helmets or gloves to wear, because it is very hot, summer time temperatures 45C.”
Amateur videos of demolition work in Mecca posted on YouTube show the sheer scale of the dangers workers and locals are being exposed to every day at the hands of a poorly managed construction industry. Take a look below, they speak volumes: