Unhappy homes: DIY leads to relationship cracks

08 July 2015

  • Almost a quarter (23%) said their nearest and dearest had refused to help them with DIY
  • Half (53%) rely on partners to carry out DIY around the home
  • Two in five (37%) won’t put up pictures themselves

DIY is a key source of aggravation among households, as two in five have argued with a loved one about it (42%) according to new research from The Co-operative Insurance. *

Being sick of waiting for partners to embark on a project was the top reason for disagreements, with other quarrels caused by disputes over cost or how the job should be done.  Despite such strong opinions, of those that don’t do DIY, more than half (53%) would rely on partners to do all of the tasks including everything from changing a light bulb to laying flooring, rather than rolling up their sleeves.

Almost a quarter said their nearest and dearest had refused to help them with DIY tasks (23%) with almost one in 10 saying that they are too busy themselves (10%)  and one in 20 have declined to help because they had ‘DIY fatigue’ as they had been asked to lend a hand too many times already. 

For those who don’t do DIY, not knowing how to do the jobs was the main reason for not attempting the work (33%). Other reasons included preferring to pay someone to do it for them (18%), or the fact that they had tried to do jobs before and they have always ended in disaster (17%).

Some of the more basic jobs people would pay for included painting (12%), changing a plug (7%) and changing a light bulb (2%).

Top DIY tasks where paid help is needed

Major jobs Minor jobs
1 Electric wiring (60%)  Putting up an exterior light (33%)
2 Roofing (59%)  Fixing a leaking tap (30%)
3 Plastering (55%) 
  • Wallpapering (26%)
  • Fixing garden fencing (26%)
  • Unblocking gutters (26%)
  • Fixing a leaking pipe (44%)
  • Laying wooden/laminate flooring (44%) 
Grouting (23%)
5 Tiling (40%) Unblocking a drain (18%)

Of those who do attempt DIY, the majority have taught themselves (52%), though it is a case of Dad knows best when it comes to fixing things, with a quarter turning to him for tips – more than any other family member. 

One in 10 have already paid for a course to learn a professional skill to save money on DIY (11%), with the younger generation (those aged 18-24) most likely to have done this (44%).  A third of home owners would consider it (35%).

When it comes to what people won’t attempt themselves, it seems people really do sweat the small stuff, with more than two thirds of those questioned refusing to clean out their gutters themselves (70%). Almost two fifths won’t put up any pictures (37%) and a third won’t attempt to change a light bulb (31%). 

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance says:

“Updating your home can be a rewarding experience, whether it’s doing the work yourself or calling in friends, family or a local tradesperson to help. However, we would always urge people to consider the possible implications of DIY going wrong. 

“We would recommend that people double-check what their home insurance covers in advance of carrying out any work and assess whether it covers all of their needs.  While accidental damage insurance provides peace of mind in case of any spills or damage to the home, it is additional cover and should be considered ahead of planning more complex DIY tasks.  It’s just as important to check that any tradespeople coming into your home have the relevant insurance in case they have any accidents or cause damage to the property. Having the right insurance in place will ensure there is less to argue about if things don’t go to plan!”

Top reasons people argue about DIY  

  1. Because they got sick of waiting for their partner to do the DIY
  2. Because their loved one started a job and didn’t finish
  3. Disagreement over cost
  4. Because the job ended up in disaster
  5. Disagreement over how the job should be done

*Research carried out by One Poll online with 2,000 UK home owners on behalf of The Co-operative Insurance.

Notes to editors

The Co-operative Insurance is offering all new customers who buy a combined buildings and contents home insurance policy a free Kärcher WV2 Window Vac worth £60.  The offer is available from 19 May 2015 until 31 August 2015.   Terms and conditions apply.

The offer is available online at:  http://www.co-operativeinsurance.co.uk or by calling 03457 46 46 46.

For the full terms and conditions please visit: www.co-operativeinsurance.co.uk/karcher_tandcs

For media purposes only.

Offers apply to UK residents.

The Co-operative home insurance includes the following features:

  • The option to choose your own excess - choose a higher excess to make your premium lower. See exclusions.           
  • Up to £50,000 legal expenses cover - included as standard.  See exclusions.                                             
  • A range of optional extras - for peace of mind that you have the right level of cover should something happen in your home.                                                                                                          


  • Up to £500,000 rebuilding costs to cover against loss or damage to the structure of your home.
  • Accidental damage cover for underground pipes, drains and cables.


  • New for old replacement of items (except household linen and clothing).
  • Personal and occupier’s liability up to £2m plus legal costs.
  • Up to £2,000 cover from theft from domestic outbuildings.
  • Up to £5,000 cover for office equipment in the home.

For further information contact:

Alex Wilson – Press & Media Relations Manager 
The Co-operative Group
0161 767 4281/07540 641368