DI-Do or DI-Don’t? The professionals weigh in on the cost of a dodgy DIY job

Home Improvements 2018-12-13

We take a look at which DIY jobs you can do yourself and which are more likely best left to the professionals.

Putting up shelves, mirrors or pictures

When it comes to increasing storage space or add some character to a room, putting up shelving or artwork can seem like a swift and simple solution for many. However, care needs to be taken when it comes to the locating pipes and cables that can’t be seen to prevent unnecessary damage.

Andy Porter, Multi-Trade Engineer said “I saw someone recently who put a nail straight through a cold feed when fitting a bathroom mirror and flooded three floors of flats!

“Try to trace where pipes and cables could be running. Most of the time they will run vertically from a socket or tap, but if unsure, buy a digital wall detector to check the wall beforehand. You can pick these up from around £30, 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, which could be much more if there is significant damage.”

  • Potential DIY saving: £50*
  • Potential damage costs: £200
  • Reduce the risk: Digital wall detector £30

Repairing a squeaky floorboard

There’s nothing more irritating than a squeaky floorboard, but the risk of getting it wrong definitely outweighs the potential savings made by fixing it yourself.

DIY vlogger, Georgina Burnett, documents her latest DIY projects on TheHomeGenie.com, working with her builder, Doug Reynolds from DJ Reynolds Ltd. Her advice is “If you’re ever tempted to bang a nail in to fix a squeaky floorboard, think again - particularly if it’s in a bathroom. Not only will there be the cost to get a plumber out to repair it at 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. Water can cause a lot of damage quickly so making good the room below could cost hundreds or even thousands. Get someone in to do it for you at an average cost of £15.”

  • Potential DIY saving: £50 - £100*
  • Potential damage costs: £420
  • Reduce the risk: Bring in a professional for a minimal cost of around £15 - £100 depending on the space and whether the carpet needs removing and replacing

Laying laminate flooring

When it comes to laying flooring, the potential savings from DIY are well worth thinking about, but it’s not always as easy as it may seem. Georgina adds, “Laying laminate flooring is always worth a shot, but many DIYers rush in and 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. They’re relatively easy for an expert to fix but will charge from £20 for labour, plus the cost of replacement boards, if you don’t have any left.”

  • Potential DIY saving: £150 for a small space*
  • Potential damage costs: £200 + costs for replacement boards
  • Reduce the risk: Bring in a professional for £30 - £150 (depending on the size of the space)


If there’s one DIY job that everyone thinks they can easily, quickly and cheaply do for themselves, its painting. And whilst it’s definitely possible, it takes careful preparation to make sure it’s done well and the end result is something you’re happy with. “Painting is a task that people often underestimate” Georgia explains, “If you don’t prepare the walls and 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.”

  • Potential DIY saving: £100 - £300 depending on the size of the room*
  • Potential damage costs: £300
  • Reduce the risk: Proper prepping £5 - £10

New internal doors

At some point, internal doors will need to be changed and updated in a property, especially if you have just decorated a room, but if it’s not hung correctly then the result could be a very dodgy misaligned door – and no one wants that.

“Hanging new internal doors can seem like a simple task, but it actually takes some expertise and the expensive tools to do it correctly,” Georgina warns.

“At worst you will need a new door and a doorway made good, but certainly a professional to correct it at about £50. However, if they’re just coming to do that they may charge for a full day.” A full day’s labour can cost around £100.

  • Potential DIY saving: £100*
  • Potential damage costs: £150
  • Reduce the risk: A professional is less than you think with a possible cost of £50-£100

Loft insulation

Having a properly insulated home can save you £££’s on your heating bill but if you don’t lay it correctly then your potential savings could be wiped out by having to pay for a professional to come in and sort it out.

“When it is replaced, it means that the property owner has unnecessarily wasted money. In some cases, they must also have damp removal in other areas of their property due over insulating their property. Overall, the average cost for re-installation would be a minimum of £300 - £350 depending on the extent of the damage.”

  • Potential DIY saving: Most loft insulations can be paid for with a Government grant, so there’s often no need for DIY
  • Potential damage costs: £350
  • Reduce the risk: Government grant 

If you need a hand with those home improvements of your own then check out our lost cost Home Improvement Loans starting from just 3.2% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000.

For more home improvement money saving tips, visit our blog -  www.hitachipersonalfinance.co.uk/latest-posts/categories/home-improvements/

Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.


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