Eight DIY jobs about the house to tackle now before they end up costing you dearly

If left, little jobs can end up costing a lot

MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN: Makeshift fixes can end up costing you lots of hard earned money in the long run
MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN: Makeshift fixes can end up costing you lots of hard earned money in the long run MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN: Makeshift fixes can end up costing you lots of hard earned money in the long run

Avoiding spending on home maintenance tasks could lead to costly damage down the line. Lisa Salmon speaks to some experts.

A quarter of homeowners admit they’re trying to avoid spending money on fixing, servicing or safety checking household appliances or fixtures – until they break entirely and they’re no longer able to use them.

Almost half (45 per cent) say they are more likely to try and find a makeshift solution to a home maintenance issue, rather than call out an expert tradesperson, according to a new survey by Gas Safe Register, the UK’s official registration body for gas engineers and gas businesses.

The trouble is, leaving things until they get worse can often end up costing far more in the long run. The poll of 2,000 UK homeowners also found a fifth have ignored warning signs in their homes in a bid to save money – but ended up spending an average of £1,885 per homeowner on tasks that could have been a lot cheaper if they’d been tackled quickly.

“While the cost of living is understandably top of everyone’s mind, getting a verified tradesperson in to help fix an issue in the home earlier can save people money and hassle further down the line,” says Mike Fairman, CEO of Checkatrade.

Rob Denman, head of professional and field services at Gas Safe Register, adds: “There’s no denying that we’re all feeling the financial strain as our bills increase and the cost of living rises. But it’s important to recognise that, much like with our health, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to gas safety and keeping you covered for the unexpected.”

Here are the top maintenance jobs the Gas Safe Register research found often get put off, and how much they can cost if not tackled sooner rather than later…

1. Leaking toilet

Quick fix: £40-£60

If left: £2,600+

If your toilet is leaking, you can expect to pay around £40-£60 an hour for a plumber, or £100-£120 for an emergency call out fee plus the cost of repair, says Fairman. “If you don’t repair the toilet straight away, it could cause damage to the flooring and you could end up spending around £500 for new vinyl flooring,” he adds.

“You might also have to repair the damp ceiling below, which could cost around £150 for a painter and decorator to apply anti-mould/stain paint.” If the leak is major and you need water extracting from your home, it could cost more than £2,600, he adds.

2. Gas appliances safety checked & serviced

Quick fix: £100

If left: £400+

Checkatrade estimates the average cost of getting gas appliances safety checked is £100 a year. But, if your boiler breaks down, each call-out could cost up to £400, and replacing a boiler can cost thousands.

“It’s important we stay on top of boiler upkeep to avoid the unexpected, and potentially more serious issues occurring,” warns Denman. “An annually serviced boiler not only works efficiently, helping reduce bills, but can also reduce the risk of gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning – keeping you and your loved ones safe.”

He stresses it’s wise to use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service gas appliances.

3. Clearing gutters

Quick fix: £120

If left: £500 – £1,500

The average cost for guttering to be cleaned on a medium semi-detached home is around £120, according to Checkatrade. “But if you don’t maintain your guttering and the gutters are blocked, dirty water may overflow down the brickwork or render of the house, which will stain the house,” Fairman explains.

He estimates soft washing (safe removal of organic stains and mildew from outdoor surfaces using a low-pressure washing technique) a house can cost around £500-£1,500.

4. Draughtproofing windows and doors

Quick fix: £225 (- £69 saved on bills)

If left: £850 (+ higher bills)

Draughtproofing windows and doors and blocking up any cracks in floors and skirting boards costs around £225, and it can also save around £69 a year on energy bills, says Fairman. “But if you don’t draughtproof, you could end up spending more on your energy bills, plus damage repair for damp.” He estimates the average cost of damp proofing a home is around £850.

5. Loose roof tiles/damage

Quick fix: £300

If left: £7,500 – £16,250

“Keeping an eye on your roof is essential,” advises Fairman. “If you spot a loose tile or some damage, we recommend hiring a professional immediately to prevent further issues.”

He says it costs around £300 for a roofer to repair one or two cracked tiles and prevent a leaking roof or water ingress, but warns: “A leaking roof can cause thousands of pounds of damage, for example to loft insulation, rotting timbers and damage to plasterboard on ceilings below.” The cost of a new roof could be between £7,500-£16,250.

6. Leaking tap

Quick fix: £0

If left: £330 – £1,500

If a tap is leaking, you can repair it yourself for free, says Fairman, if you’ve got a screwdriver, a spanner and maybe a new ceramic cartridge. But if there’s a serious leak, repairing the property’s main water service line can cost between £330–£1,500, he warns.

7. Leaking water pipe

Quick fix: £330

If left: £330 – £1,500

Immediate action is needed if you have a leaking or burst pipe, warns Fairman. “The first thing you should do is shut off the water supply. This will prevent flooding and minimise the amount of damage caused,” he says. “Next, you’ll need to call a plumber to assess the damage and provide a cost for repair – the average is £330.”

For larger leaks, repairing the main water service line can cost between £330–£1,500.

8. Blocked drains

Quick fix: £6

If left: £240-£500

Minor blocks can be resolved with a sink and drain un-blocker from most supermarkets for around £6, says Fairman. “But some are more stubborn and require specialist care,” he warns. “If left unrepaired, drains can cost more to fix in the long-run, with a high risk of damage to your home as a knock-on effect.” The cost for clogged drain repair is around £240, he says, while more extensive drain repair could cost £500.