Generation gaffe, young people failing at maintenance and DIY

DIYA lack of DIY and home maintenance skills is leading to a 'Dad'll Do It' generation of youngsters who can't even wire a plug...

· 50% of under 35 year olds can't wire a plug
· 65% of under 35 year olds admit their dads are better at DIY than they are
· Lack of home maintenance and DIY skills could store up problems for the future
· Check your home insurance policy before embarking on a DIY project, says Halifax

More than half of young people lack the basic DIY skills necessary to maintain their homes, a recent study shows. Research undertaken for Halifax Home Insurance has demonstrated that half of under 35 year olds can't wire a plug, 63% wouldn't attempt to put up wallpaper and 54% can't bleed a radiator.

Senior claims manager for Halifax Home Insurance, Martyn Foulds says: "This survey strongly suggests that younger people feel they don't have the experience or knowledge necessary to tackle even the most basic of home maintenance and DIY tasks. This indicates a significant number of younger householders could be storing up problems for the future, as the lack of home maintenance starts to take its toll on their homes."

The research results also showed many younger people would not even attempt jobs such as putting up shelves (45%) or gardening (36%), preferring to call their parents for help, with some even opting instead to pay a professional. This demonstrates a trend for the 'Dad'll Do It' generation, with 65% of under 35 year olds admitting their dads are far better at DIY than they are.

The study also showed younger people's lack of DIY expertise is leaving them out of pocket. The cost of putting right botched jobs averaged a hefty £2,498 for the under 35 age group, far higher than the average repair bill of £838 for the more competent over 45 age group. Amazingly, one in five (20%) of the under 35 year olds don’t have any home insurance cover, compared with only 7% of the over 45 age group.

Halifax Home Insurance recommends homeowners check their home insurance policy before embarking on a DIY project, or they could find themselves forking out when things go wrong. Accidental damage to some parts of the home such as sinks, baths and ceramic hobs is included in most home insurance policies, but it is worth considering taking out additional accidental damage cover to protect against common DIY mishaps such as spilt paint, drilling through pipes, or putting feet through ceilings.

Martyn Foulds adds: "We advise anyone undertaking big home improvement jobs to check their home insurance policy to ensure they are adequately covered for accidental damage around the home. For larger jobs involving gas, electrical or plumbing work, it's best to call a qualified professional, otherwise homeowners run the risk of invalidating their home insurance policy if things go wrong."

Halifax Home Insurance offers the following tips to help those planning to DIY over the weekend:

* Preparation is key – make sure you have all the correct tools and equipment for the job before you start to avoid coming unstuck later on

* Plan a budget beforehand and stick to it

* Call a professional for large complex jobs involving gas, electrical or plumbing work

* When choosing a tradesman, ask for references and certificates to demonstrate that they are competent and reliable.

Regionally, homeowners in Wales and the South West consider themselves most adept at DIY, with 49% rating themselves as good or very good, compared with just 41% of Scottish householders, who were least confident in their abilities.