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Plumbing, drilling, sealing: home repairs Brits struggle with the most, study reveals

There’s no denying that there is a common belief that older generations are much more in-the-know when it comes to home repairs compared to their younger counterparts - but is this strictly true? 

Here at Chums, our latest campaign takes a closer look at whether Millennials (people born between 1977 and 1995) and Generation Z (people born between 1996 and 2015) are in fact less clued up on DIY than Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X (people born between 1965 and 1976). 

As part of our campaign, we conducted a survey which asked 1,000 people (500 individuals from each generation) how confident they feel when it comes to certain DIY tasks, as well as how important they think these repair jobs are and how they feel about them.  

We analysed the data we collected to see which tasks Brits struggle with the most and determined if there is any truth to this generational divide. Keep reading to discover more.


DIY home repairs: is there really a generational divide?

So, which home repairs do our survey respondents struggle with the most, and is there a clear divide between the generations?

To help us answer this, we analysed over 100 common home repairs and took the respective average Google search volumes of each one. This then enabled us to narrow down which specific tasks people generally find the most challenging, giving us a list of 19 common DIY tasks. 

With this list, we asked our survey respondents to answer if they felt confident, not confident at all or neutral when it comes to performing these tasks - and the responses aren’t what you might think.


Generally, the two sets of generations compare fairly evenly, in that Millennials and Generation Z feel just as confident (or not as confident) as Baby Boomers and Generation X when it comes to carrying out certain tasks around the home - disproving the point that older age groups are more handy around the home than younger people.

DIY decorating

According to our survey data, 85.8% of our Baby Boomer and Gen X respondents feel they could confidently paint a wall or room, with Millennials and Gen Zers following close behind with 79.2% of these respondents saying they’d feel optimistic that they could do the same. 

Meanwhile, nearly half (48.6%) of Gen X and Baby Boomers said they’d know how to put up wallpaper, while 43.2% of Gen Z and Millennials said they would also feel at ease doing this task. 

Along the same vein in terms of decorating 52.6% of the older generations said they would feel confident upcycling furniture, pipping the younger generations to the post ever so slightly with 52% of Millennials and Gen Zers saying they would also feel comfortable giving an old piece of furniture a new lease of life. 

However, when it comes to upholstering furniture, all generations admit they don’t feel so confident in this particular field. More people said they don’t feel confident upholstering compared to those who do, with over half (52%) of Gen X and Baby Boomers and 40.4% of Gen Z and Millenials saying they lack confidence in this DIY activity.


Cleaning with confidence

There are a number of cleaning tasks that need to be done around the home on a regular basis, however there are some jobs that take a little extra time and effort. 

Generally speaking, our survey reveals that both generation sets are fairly confident when it comes to the trickiest cleaning chores. For instance, 72% of Gen X and Baby Boomers feel they could confidently unblock a toilet, and 78.2% could remove bathroom mould. 

Meanwhile, Gen Z and Millenials are just as at ease in completing these tasks, with 65.6% and 64.6% of these generations answering ‘confident’ for these tasks.Other cleaning tasks included polishing wooden floors, removing carpet stains and removing sticker residue, for which both sets of generations had a majority vote of ‘confident’. 

However, when it comes to getting rid of mice, just over half (55.4%) of Gen X and Baby Boomers were confident in sorting this problem, while just 42.4% of Gen Z and Millennials felt they knew what to do in this scenario.


Car maintenance

It could be assumed that since older generations have more driving experience, including having owned vehicles for longer, that these age groups are more knowledgeable when it comes to car maintenance. 

However, our survey reveals that there is not much difference between these generations. Our data shows that while nearly all (93.4%) of our Gen X and Baby Boomers respondents said they would feel confident cleaning a car, 87.2% of our Gen Z and Millennial respondents would too. 

But the data doesn’t always match up like this. Just over half (52.3%) of respondents in the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations said they’d be confident if they needed to jump start a car, while 27.6% said they wouldn’t feel confident at all. In comparison, just 37% of our Millennial and Gen Z respondents would feel confident carrying out this task, while 34.4% wouldn’t be sure on what to do in this situation. 

Odd jobs

In terms of ‘odd jobs’ that sometimes need carrying out around the house, both sets of generations fared similarly For instance, 40.8% of our Gen X and Baby Boomer respondents and 39.2% of our Millenial and Gen Z respondents said they would feel confident enough to replace a door lock, while 34% of the older generations and 39% of the younger generations said they’d know how to confidently replace an entire door.

However, it seems that the younger generations might be lacking when it comes to intricate DIY skills - such as sewing a button. Although 68.4% of Millennials and Gen Z said they’d be able to carry out this tricky task, their older counterparts are more confident sewers, with 81.2% saying they’d be able to fix a button with no problem.

How does each age group really feel about DIY home repairs?

Now we know how confident the generations are, how do the age groups actually feel about home repairs?

Just how important are home repair skills?

When conducting our survey, we asked our respondents to tell us if they think home repair skills are important - and the results were pretty much split. Just over half (54.4%) of Millenials and Gen Zers, and over half (53.6%) of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, said that this skill set is ‘very important’. 

Meanwhile, 30% of the older generation and 30.4% of the younger generation said they feel these skills are ‘important’. From this, it shows there is no divide between the generations when it comes to valuing the importance of these skills.

DIY: love it or hate it?

The whole point of DIY is just that - you ‘do it yourself’. But how do people really feel about completing these tasks solo? In our survey, we asked our respondents to choose the statement that best describes their stance on carrying out home repairs themselves. 

The general response was that the majority of people from all generations feel reasonably positive about carrying out DIY jobs, with 62.8% of Gen Z and Millenials, and 69.6% of Gen X and Baby Boomers choosing ‘I may be able to do some home repairs on my own’ as their response.

Meanwhile, 24% of respondents from the younger generations and 22.6% of respondents from the older generations answered ‘I can confidently do home repairs on my own’, showing that the majority of people across all age groups are more than happy to get stuck into DIY tasks on their own.

What happens when you can't DIY?

While it’s possible to do home repairs yourself, some people prefer to leave it up to someone else - and our survey looked into why. We asked our respondents the reasons behind why they might not do home repairs on their own, and here’s what we found out. 

The majority of our respondents simply admitted ‘I don’t have the skills to do home repairs’, with 60% of Millennials and Gen Z, and 69.23% of Baby Boomers and Gen X, choosing this answer, showing that there is no big generational divide when it comes to DIY knowledge. 

Just 5.13% of Gen X and Baby Boomers admitted they don’t do DIY because they ‘lack patience’, while just over double the amount of respondents (10.91%) of Millennials and Gen Z said they avoid home repairs for this same reason.

Do it yourself or ask someone else?

Whether it’s a wall that needs a fresh lick of paint or a door that needs replacing, what do you do when you have home repairs that need to be done? In our survey, we asked our respondents the same question, and the majority said they would ‘try and give it a go’ themselves. 

Nearly three quarters (73.8%) of our Gen Z and Baby Boomer respondents would get stuck in, while over half (59.4%) of our Gen X and Millennials would do the same. 

Interestingly, each set of generations are just as likely as each other to hire someone to carry out home repairs on their behalf, with 10% of the older generation respondents and 10.8% of the younger generation respondents choosing this answer.

However, one big difference between the generation sets is that Gen Z and Millenials would feel more inclined to ask a friend or family member to help, with 27.8% of respondents picking this answer. On the other hand, it appears that the older generations are less likely to lean on their loved ones for assistance with DIY jobs, with just 3.6% of Gen X and Baby Boomers choosing this response.

Millennials and Gen Z: attitudes towards home repairs

As part of our campaign, we specifically targeted Gen Z and Millennials to see how they would best describe their attitudes when it comes to home repairs - and the results may surprise you.  

The majority (62.6%) of respondents from these generations said they ‘will learn how to repair something’ if needed, showing a willingness from this younger demographic to obtain new skills if it means fixing something themselves. 

Meanwhile, just over a quarter (25.6%) of respondents from these generations said they ‘actively search for upcycling or repair opportunities’. 

That leaves just 9.4% of Gen Z and Millennials admitting that they ‘do not like repairing things’ themselves but they ‘would like to learn’, while just 2.4% said they ‘do not like repairing things’ around the home. 

While it is often believed that older generations are more clued up on all things DIY, it seems that isn’t actually true. It appears that all age groups are willing to give it a go, and that there isn’t necessarily a generational divide when it comes to home repairs. 


How confident are you when it comes to carrying out DIY home repairs, and how do you feel about it? 

Join in the conversation using #HomeRepairSkills.

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