Toolbox of mum and dad plugs the DIY skills gap

A growing DIY skills gap and an empty toolbox is leaving young adults ill-equipped to do basic household maintenance tasks, relying instead on mum and dad for both advice and hands on help.

Less than two-fifths (38%) of young people know how to do a selection of ten basic household DIY tasks, such as putting up a shelf, changing a fuse or assembling furniture. And one in five (20%) don't have any basic tools such as a hammer, screwdriver or spanner, according to our new research that highlights the extent of the DIY skills gap among the generations¹.

The younger generation (18-24 year olds) are up to four times less likely to be able to do a selection of basic DIY tasks than the older generation (65+ year olds.) The skills gap is most pronounced on jobs such as tiling a bathroom (only 9% of 18-24 year olds could complete, compared to 45% of 65+year olds) and fixing a leaking tap (only 14% of 18-24 year olds could complete compared to 42% of 65+year olds).

While many of us (43%) turn to the internet to plug our DIY skills gap and gain advice and help on how to complete simple home maintenance tasks ourselves, 51% of 18-24 year olds instead turn straight to mum and dad for advice on solving their DIY dilemmas.

But it's not only DIY advice that grown up children are looking for. More than half (55%) of empty nest parents with children up to the age of 40 are still being called upon to actually help with hands on home improvements in their children's homes.

Parents spend the equivalent of nearly one hour per week (51 hours per year) carrying out home improvements for grown up children aged 20-40 living away from home, doing tasks that would equate to over £1,280² per year if carried out by a professional tradesman, including garden maintenance (47%), painting (46%) and building and assembling furniture (34%).

In addition to their time, parents fork out an average of £3341 per year to buy materials and goods to help with their grown-up children's household improvements.

Unsurprisingly, 81% of parents believe they were more capable of handling their home improvements at their children's age than their children are nowadays.

Commenting on the research, Heather Smith, our Director of Home Insurance said: “Learning how to do DIY and simple home maintenance jobs around the home are important life skills to have and it seems that the temptation to call in mum and dad for both advice and hands on help is hindering many young people from learning these skills themselves.

“Passing down this knowledge through the generations is an important step to help young people equip themselves with the basic home maintenance skills, so they should watch and learn when dad or mum are putting up pictures or hanging shelves, and of course they can always bolster their knowledge with the vast range of advice and ‘how to' tutorials on the internet once they've built up their confidence.”

Anyone seeking specific help and advice on vital home maintenance skills can find a range of information to help on our website.

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Rebecca Holmes
Aviva Press Office
01603 685177: (0)7800 690731:rebecca.l.holmes

Karen Butcher
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
0207 413 3181:

Methodology and research methods:

¹Aviva commissioned the research with Populus who interviewed 2050 GB adults online between 1st and 3rd March 2013. Additional research was carried out among 1,855 UK parents of 20-40 year olds living away from home online between 11th and 13th September 2012.

²Average tradesmen price calculated as below. Sources for tradesman hourly rate from a selection of website quotations.

ActivityCost for tradesman / hourMean Time spent by parentsTotal cost of jobWebsite






Average of £15.75



General DIY jobs

Average of £30



Furniture assembly




Dealing with contractors and coordinating logistics / deliveries




General carpentry




Plumbing issues




Electrical equipment repair





Technological appliances and installation




White goods installation




Pest Control







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