Worst home improvements: YouTube DIY fad behind bad renos
Property owners are using increased time at home during lockdown to attempt more DIY renovations and repairs with disastrous results.
Insurance data revealed there has been a spike in home improvements this year, but many property owners were shunning tradies in favour of do-it-yourself jobs guided by YouTube videos.
This had costly insurance implications in cases where the workmanship was not up to code or illegal and often meant tradies needed to be called in to do expensive fix up jobs.
There has also been a rise in DIY injuries, with CareFlight observing at least four Australians fell from their roofs carrying out repairs since the start of May.
"There have been terrible injuries in the past few weeks from people tackling repairs and home improvements," said Matt Jones of business platform Tradiematepro.
"It's understandable, especially with the forced isolation, that people have carried out home maintenance to save money and for health reasons, but in many cases it's a disaster."
DIY work guided by YouTube advice was tied with tradies as the top option for conquering a home improvement project, a Suncorp Insurance survey showed.
Kitchens, bathrooms and home offices were the most frequent targets for works, but Suncorp head of claims Michael Miller said some of the most popular DIY jobs were risky.
"Kitchen and bathrooms in particular need a high level of expertise to ensure plumbing and electricals are installed correctly," he said.
"It can be dangerous if things go wrong (and) insurance will not cover damage to property if it's related to poor workmanship or doesn't meet building codes."
The average cost of redoing work or fixing damage caused by bad DIY repairs, maintenance or renovations was $1500 in 2019, according to hipages.
Suncorp noted garage to room conversions were another common source of problems as DIY renovators rarely considered drainage and suitable flooring. This led to leakages insurance would not cover.
Plumber Alex Taskun said requests to have DIY work fixed have spiked during lockdown. "We'd usually get one of these calls a fortnight. Now it's four or five a week," he said.
Many of these requests were from wives wanting work their husbands did to get fixed, Mr Taskun added. "Sometimes they call in secret and ask us to come when their partner isn't there," he said.
DIY renovators were often emboldened by online videos that made certain jobs look easier than they really were, Mr Taskun said.
"We encourage people to learn and fix things that are easy because tradies can be expensive, but there are some things you shouldn't attempt without training."
Hipages chief customer officer Stuart Tucker said reality TV shows were creating another false perception of work, resulting in homeowners biting off more than they could chew.
Mr Tucker said it was one thing to attempt painting or gardening but plumbing and electrical work needed to be done by professionals.
"It's important to know the limits of your capabilities," he said.
COMMON DIY DISASTERS
> Incorrectly installed plumbing or water filters
> Building without a permit
> Bathroom renos not compliant with waterproofing standards
> Decking installed without adequate clearance or support
> Carport rot due to use of untreated wood
> Faulty electrical work
Source: Suncorp Insurance
Originally published as YouTube DIY fad defacing homes