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The UK's Attitude to DIY

When it comes to making home improvements, there are some DIY tasks that Brits are more likely to take on themselves and others where they would hire a professional.

We’ve taken a closer look and also considered the cost of the most popular home improvements and the ones that add the most value, as well as average home improvement loans taken out through our site by age, gender and region.

The household issues Brits are likely to solve themselves vs those they are likely to hire a professional to undertake

Across the UK, there’s an abundance of Brits willing to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in for certain DIY jobs

However, for more serious problems, such as broken boilers and windows, many of us prefer to contact a professional.

The data reveals that a blocked sink was the most common problem Brits were prepared to tackle, with 85% of UK adults saying they would attempt to handle it themselves. Other common fixes include blocked drains and broken light switches, with 38% even attempting to fix broken electrical switches.

On the other hand, 88% of individuals would hire a professional to help with a damaged roof.

Professional vs DIY

The number of Brits avoiding DIY across the UK

Although many Brits are prepared to tackle smaller DIY tasks, there’s also no shortage of DIY procrastination across the UK, with more than half of all regions revealing that they regularly avoid completing DIY tasks.

The North East was the only region housing a majority who are ready to tackle any issues themselves. In Wales however, 68% of individuals admitted that they regularly avoid DIY tasks.

Amount of Brits avoiding DIY

The most popular home improvements in the UK & cost associated with them

When it comes to home renovations and improvements, a new kitchen is the most common home renovation desired by 22% of British homeowners, according to our data, closely followed by a garden makeover (20%) and new bathroom (16%).

The renovations adding the most value to a property include a new home office (10.8%), with a loft conversion being as equally valuable – it will however cost you an average of £35,785 to complete.

If money was no object, however, many people would choose “statement” sheds, libraries and swimming pools. A tennis court was the most expensive renovation Brits aspired to, with just 2% of people stating that they would invest if money was no object.

Most popular home improvements

Percentage of people taking out loans for improvements and the duration of the loan

When planning major home improvements, there are a number of options you could consider to help fund them, but according to our data, many people choose to take out a personal loan.

In fact, loans for home improvements accounted for 20% of all loans taken out between June 2017 and July 2019 through our site. The graphic below highlights the proportion of loans taken out by UK DIYers for home improvements, as well as how long these loans are required for.

Loans taken out for home improvements

The average home improvement loan taken out by region vs. average salary and home improvement loan length

Based on analysis of loan application on our site between June 2017 and July 2019 the average home improvement loan tends to vary by region across the UK, with factors like average salary and average loan duration also fluctuating significantly by area.

When it comes to region, the graph highlights that London, Brighton and Southampton are the locations that took out the largest loans on average. Unsurprisingly these were also the locations with the largest average incomes. However, Bristol was the area that required the longest average borrowing length of 5.41 years.

Average loan amount taken out and time period

What to consider before taking out a loan

Home improvements are often a costly investment and if you’re planning to use a personal loan to help pay for them, it’s important to weigh up your options carefully.

If you have sufficient savings, using some of them to help pay for your home improvements could be the most sensible option as you won’t have to borrow and pay back what you owe.

Alternatively, you could consider using a credit card - providing you use it carefully and the credit limit meets your requirements. A 0% purchase credit card will allow you to spread the cost interest-free over a number of months. However, bear in mind the best deals are only offered to those with a good credit rating.

Representative example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a. your representative APR is 19.9% APR (variable).

If, on the other hand, you prefer to take out a personal loan, it’s important you have a plan in place to make your repayments on time and that you know you’ll be able to afford to repay the amount you borrow. Remember too that the best rates are reserved for those with good credit scores. MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker and not a lender and credit is only available to eligible UK residents aged 18 and over.

Top DIY tips

Below we’ve outlined some top tips to ensure your DIY plans go smoothly:

Shop around for discounts

It’s worth investing in decent tools, as the cheapest ones are often made of weak material and can break easily. However, it’s worth looking around for discounts before you buy

Update rather than rebuild

Replacing kitchen doors and worktops rather than fitting entire new units can save money and effort. Also, these changes still make a noticeable difference around the home

Don't forget insurance

Some home renovations can affect your home insurance policy, so it's important to check the wording and inform your insurer of the changes you are planning to make

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