DIY Delays: 99 Million Outstanding Jobs Across the UK

Two thirds of us have incomplete DIY jobs, with a lightbulb now taking us two months to change.

Football pitch outline in the background. A stopwatch graphic sits beside text saying 'HalfTime Help'

New data from HomeServe suggests there are 99 millionoutstanding jobs around the home.

Cleaning gutters, re-grouting the bathroom, and fixing holes in the walls are most likely to be left for months on end.

  • Experts say many DIY jobs could be fixed at home in just 15 minutes - the length of a football half-time
  • HomeServe is helping the nation tackle these little DIY tasks during half-time with its Halftime Help hub
  • Former footballer and now television presenter, Dion Dublin, is backing the campaign and launching #DispatchoftheDay where people can share their issues on social media with a chance of winning an engineer to fix their problem free of charge

Brits are leaving DIY tasks 108 days on average before they fix them, with the longest outstanding jobs cleaning the gutters (183 days), regrouting the bathroom (179 days) and fixing holes in the walls (161 days).

The new research from Home Assistance provider HomeServe, found that even relatively simple jobs such as changing a lightbulb are delayed, with it taking us 58 days on average to replace a lightbulb. (For a list of 10 longest outstanding DIY jobs see table 1 below).

When asked why they haven’t tackled their DIY, close to one in three adults (31%) said it wasn’t a priority, a fifth don’t know how to do it (20%), or say they don’t have time (20%).

That’s why HomeServe is today launching the Halftime Help hub, helpful 15 minutes guidance on how to fix common issues around the home – the same period as a football halftime – as the research shows that a third (33%) have delayed DIY to watch the footie and one in seven (16%) missed an important goal due to DIY. 

Former football player and now television presenter, Dion Dublin, is backing the campaign and is launching HomeServe’s #DispatchoftheDay service, calling on people up and down the nation to share their outstanding DIY jobs via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for the chance to win a trained HomeServe engineer to come to their home and fix their DIY.2

The research also shows the impact of outstanding DIY, with a quarter (22%) of Brits who live with a partner saying they have been nagged by them to complete a task and close to half (47%) have had an argument. This is even worse for those who currently have an outstanding DIY job, with 56% getting into an argument with their partner including 1.6 million arguments in the last month.3

Dion Dublin, comments:

"Unfinished DIY in the household, not only looks ugly but can be a cause of frustration at home. And that’s where HomeServe’s Halftime Help hub is designed to help the nation fix their DIY jobs quickly and efficiently, as we know time spent doing other things is more of a priority. This could be anything from relaxing with the family to watching the footie on a Saturday afternoon.

And for those jobs that are just too difficult, we’re launching #DispatchoftheDay to give Brits the chance to get the help they need by calling out on social media, free of charge."

When Brits do attempt to do DIY themselves, it tends to be men over half (56%) of the time, with most DIY, when it happens, taking place on a Saturday.

A spokesperson at HomeServe added:

“We know a fifth of Brits need guidance on DIY and they often overestimate how long a fix will take them. We’ve launched our Halftime Help hub to give Brits tips on how to easily fix common jobs around the home so they can spend more time enjoying the things they love. And there's no need to wait over 100 days to fix a leaky tap or a faulty toilet flush, with cover from HomeServe you can call our claims line 24/7, 365 days a year and rely on our trusted home experts to help solve the problem.”

For guidance on DIY jobs that can be fixed in 15 minutes and for full terms and conditions on the #DispatchoftheDay service and how to apply please visit the Halftime Help hub here.


Table 1: The 10 DIY jobs which are left outstanding for the longest

  • 183 days - Cleaning the gutters
  • 179 days - Regrouting the bathroom
  • 161 days - Fixing holes in the wall
  • 136 days - Replacing a tap
  • 130 days - Putting up pictures
  • 126 days - Bleeding the radiators
  • 110 days - Fixing a leaky tap 
  • 102 days - Fixing the toilet flush
  • 102 days - Changing a plug socket
  • 99 days   - Fixing a wonky toilet seat
  • 79 days   - Fixing the toilet cistern

Notes to editors:

For more information, or to arrange a media interview, please contact:

Suzie Barrett

Telephone: 07464 543 693

Liam Reeves – Third City

Telephone: 07398 268 187

About the research

Unless otherwise stated, the research was conducted by Opinium Research among 2,000 UK adults in May 2023.

A little bit about HomeServe

As one of the country’s leading home assistance providers, HomeServe has 30 years’ experience looking after UK homes. From plumbing, drainage, boiler, heating, or electrics cover to new boilers and one-off repairs, they're always looking for ways to bring you better care for your home, through their range of products and services. With a nationwide network of Home Experts and a claims line that’s open 24/7, 365 days a year, you can count on them to be there when it matters most.

Diversity and inclusion

HomeServe is proud to promote equality and inclusion through all their partnerships, including Business in the Community, Stonewall, Race at Work Charter and the Business Disability Forum. In recognition of these efforts, they’ve become a signatory of the Race at Work Charter, voted Best Place to Work for Women 2020, achieved accreditation to become a Disability Confident Committed employer and are now ranked in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. In 2021, HomeServe also earned a place on the list of European Great Places to Work.

HomeServe - we’re on our way.

On a nationally representative survey of 2000 UK adults, 1278 have an outstanding DIY job in their home. According to latest ONS figures, the UK adult population (18+) is 53,188,000, meaning that 33,987,132 adults have an outstanding job. The average number of outstanding jobs is 2.9, so 2.9 * 33987132 = 98,562,682

Jobs chosen will not exceed the value of £250

On a nationally representative survey of 2000 UK adults, 62 of them surveyed have had an argument about DIY with their partner in the last month. According to latest ONS figures, the UK adult population (18+) is 53,188,000, meaning that 1,648,828 adults have had an argument about DIY in the past month