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The rise of the DIY do-nots

Published: 12 November 2019 - Neil Mead

DIY skills in danger of dying out as only a third of the UK feel confident at DIY in their homes.

From painting and flooring to changing fuses and lightbulbs, it seems the rise in home inspiration and decorating hasn’t done much for our DIY skills – with 66% of the UK admitting they don’t have the skills or the tools to do DIY at home.

Research with over 1500 UK consumers was conducted by Paddle, the app which connects homeowners with local tradespeople, and found the older generations of 45+ to be the most DIY-confident in comparison to younger generations, who would typically defer to their partner, their dad or a qualified tradesman.

Respondents were also asked to judge their level of skills at a range of DIY tasks including wallpapering, painting, changing a lightbulb and unclogging a sink. The skills, ranked in order of most likely to need outside expertise, are:

  1. Plumbing a toilet – 76%
  2. Laying flooring – 70%
  3. Putting up a fence – 67%
  4. Wallpapering – 50%
  5. Patching a hole in the wall – 46%
  6. Building furniture – 42%
  7. Gardening/landscaping – 39%
  8. Varnishing furniture – 36%
  9. Changing a fuse – 32%
  10. Building flatpack furniture – 29%
  11. Painting – 24%
  12. Unclogging a sink – 24%
  13. Changing a lightbulb – 14%

Paddle also used the findings to find out which cities in the UK are the most likely to call on DIY help for which tasks, with Cardiff coming out as one of the least DIY confident across the nation:

  • Plumbing a toilet – Belfast
  • Laying flooring – Belfast
  • Putting up a fence – Newcastle
  • Wallpapering – Cardiff
  • Patching a hole in the wall – Cardiff
  • Building furniture – Newcastle
  • Gardening/landscaping – Leeds
  • Varnishing furniture – Newcastle
  • Changing a fuse – Plymouth
  • Building flatpack furniture – Sheffield
  • Painting – Cardiff
  • Unclogging a sink – Leeds
  • Changing a lightbulb – Cardiff

The study also found that the dreaded ‘life admin’ and DIY is often put on the back burner, with many of us preferring to spend our time off work just relaxing (49%), travelling abroad (36%), shopping (27%) or exercising (12%). Inevitably the jobs must pile up though, as over a fifth of us (22%) admitted to taking time off work to get the household jobs done such as putting up shelves and changing lightbulbs.


Commenting on the research, Mark Fraser, co-founder of Paddle, said: “The news is rife with stories about people now being unable to carry out basic DIY tasks but this isn’t always down to a lack of ability or tools. With people working longer hours and spending more time commuting, consumers now seem to be prioritising other activities such as spending time with family and relaxing over doing DIY. That’s why we set up Paddle, so that the life admin doesn’t pile up and we can help take the tasks off your hands. 

He added: “54% of homeowners have admitted to spending between one and six hours looking for a reliable tradesperson with over a fifth of them doing it during working hours. Thanks to Paddle, it’s never been quicker or easier to find quality tradespeople, so now your time can be spent doing things you actually want to do.”

For more information on Paddle, and to sign up, visit:



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