How many times have you eagerly started a DIY project full of enthusiasm only to get half way into it and get bored? If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. About 1.7 million of us are living with a DIY or home renovation project that’s remained unfinished for the past two years or more.
If you think that’s bad, almost a quarter of a million households are so resigned to their ongoing DIY nightmare that they have lived with an unfinished project for more than 10 years.
For many of those DIY part-timers a restful sleep is also out of the question, as 38 per cent have unfinished projects in their bedroom, while culinary creations will be difficult for the 2.8 million of us who are living with unfinished kitchen refurbishments. You won’t even be able to wash the DIY dirt off yourself if you are one of the 2.5 million British households living with an unfinished bathroom. And you can forget that fancy dinner party you’ve been planning if you’re among the 15 per cent of households awaiting completion of a dining room refurbishment. Make that another TV dinner.
However, it’s not only your or your spouse’s sanity you risk by taking on sizeable DIY and renovation projects. You may also risk invalidating your home insurance policies, especially if you take on complex electrical, plumbing or building work that you are not trained to complete. If an unqualified householder causes a fire with faulty wiring or floods the house when installing a shower, they may find they are left picking up the cost of any claim.
A bad workman blames his tools, or so the saying goes, but in the UK it seems a bad workman blames lack of time to complete the job. Half of those living in a property with an unfinished DIY or renovation project blamed too little time for the project being left unfinished. Almost a third blamed a lack of finances for the incomplete project.
If it isn’t time or money that’s stopping us completing a task, it’s other people, according to the study. Disputes with tradesmen, planning departments and neighbours have called a halt to nine per cent of unfinished projects.
Household appearance isn’t the only thing to suffer as a result of uncompleted tasks. It seems that when our DIY projects get left on the back burner, so do our social lives, as a quarter of households living with a never-ending renovation drama (NERD), have been unable to invite friends or family to visit their property. On top of this, unfinished DIY projects provide a big source of conflict. In a quarter of households this has resulted in arguments between partners. This is hardly surprising when you consider that in 10 per cent of all cases at least one room has been left completely uninhabitable.
As a result, ongoing DIY dramas result in significant mental anguish, according to the study. Nine per cent of us with unfinished projects have suffered from insomnia, while five per cent believe the emotional stress has damaged their performance at work.
David Rochester, head of underwriting at Halifax Home Insurance, says: “Budgeting effectively for the financial cost of completing a DIY project and being realistic about the time it will take to complete it can save significant heartache. Employing a professional tradesperson can be an effective strategy to ensure work is completed on time, on budget and to an acceptable standard. Indeed, employing a qualified tradesperson to complete complex renovation projects is vital if householders don’t want to risk invalidating their insurance policy if a problem occurs.”