DIY mishaps that spoil Christmas

One in Seven Admit to DIY Disaster

Aviva lifts the lid on some DIY mishaps that spoilt Christmas

With Christmas preparations now in full swing, homeowners may be tempted to undertake some DIY activities themselves in the lead-up to the big day.  However, Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC (Aviva), one of Ireland’s leading insurers, advises caution unless the enthusiastic homeowner is confident about the task they are taking on and encourages DIY enthusiasts to ensure they have all necessary safety measures in place.

A recent survey carried out for Aviva found that one in seven (14%) admitted to having some form of costly DIY disaster in their home, 45% claimed they leave the work to the professionals, while the remaining 41% admitted that either themselves or their partners have done work in the home, thankfully without mishap.

Of the 14% of respondents who experienced some form of DIY disaster or mishap, 46% claimed they were themselves responsible, 25% attributed the issues to a workman or professional and 20% laid the blame on their partner. Others said that their kids were responsible for the disaster at 5%, with 4% claiming the fault lay with their housemate.

Looking at the DIY activities that resulted in disasters in the home, 38% were in relation to painting, plumbing issues recorded 26%, 10% were garden related, and 8% were electrical.  Others included carpentry at 7% and 5% related to building works that went wrong.

Aviva’s DIY claims

Aviva highlights a number of DIY activities that did not turn out as planned;

  • A simple task of hanging a new wall clock in the kitchen turned into a bit of drama a few days later when the family sat down to enjoy their dinner.  Looking at the wall clock, the young son queried why it was filled with water.  As Dad took the clock off the wall, water gushed out spraying the family, ruining the dinner, and causing damage in the kitchen.  When hanging the clock the previous week, the DIY enthusiast had accidentally driven the nail into a pipe in the wall.
  • All did not go as planned for the DIY enthusiast who set about giving the chimney a clean by firstly removing ashes from the fire that was lit the previous night and placing them in the black bin at the side of the house.  He then cleaned the chimney, adding the debris to the outside bin.  Sometime later he once again opened the bin which ignited rapidly as the ashes from the fire were still a little warm.  Once oxygen was introduced when the bin was opened again, the fire engulfed the bin which then spread to an adjacent fence, and a single-story roof at the side of the house.  It also melted an oil tank, which leaked oil into the garden.  Significant damage was caused as a result but thankfully the oil tank did not explode.
  • Another enthusiast decided to do some DIY repairs to a flat roof over an extension. Unfortunately, the blow torch he was using ignited the felt under the roof, with the fire spreading to the entire roof and attic space causing significant damage to the house.

It can really be exciting to undertake home renovations yourself, achieving great satisfaction from a job well done, as well as potentially saving you money from undertaking the work yourself. However, it is important to be well prepared and safety conscious as DIY disasters can be financially very costly and even more so if the individual is injured in the process.

Billy Shannon, Aviva

“We have seen an increase in claims relating to home accident notifications where people were undertaking DIY projects, with falls from ladders on the rise during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. Safety for even straightforward DIY projects, such as painting, should be considered. In particular, where access ladders or the use of heavy tools or machinery is required, it may sometimes be cheaper in the long run to engage professionals”. 

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Aviva Group Services Ireland Limited, a private company limited by shares. Registered in Ireland No.322579. Registered Office One Park Place, Hatch Street, Dublin 2.