More Than Half of Brits Aged 24 and Under Say Their Generation Is Losing the Skill of DIY, according to new HIPP research backed by TV handyman Robert Bent

Fresh research, commissioned by waste removal experts HIPPO and championed by TV tradesman Robert Bent, has revealed that more than half (58%) of Brits aged 24 and under believe their generation is losing the skill of DIY.

Meanwhile over 1 in 4 (28%) Brits wish more people would pass on their DIY skills. 

While older generations may have memories of learning the basics of DIY from their parents and grandparents, it seems as though younger Brits are missing out, with almost 2 in 5 (38%) young adults aged 18 – 24 admitting to having at least two DIY jobs waiting for their parents to complete. 

Robert, who is a father of four and known for sharing his DIY creativity and carpentry know how on TV’s Sort Your Life Out and his social media platforms, is passionate about keeping DIY skills thriving in the UK and is encouraging people to create their own DIY legacy. He said: “In the first 30 years of life, we master all sorts of skills including learning to walk, going to school and driving our first car; but for many adults, DIY isn’t on that list. 

“We’re very lucky to be surrounded by books and online resources that provide us with a steady stream of DIY guidance, but nothing quite beats sharing DIY skills face-to-face with family and friends. In my own family, we’ve been sharing tips for many generations and I’ve loved passing the DIY tricks and hacks I’ve learned from my parents and grandparents to my own children. It’s important that we carve out time to create our own DIY legacies, not only to support the generation below us, but to learn from them too.” 

It seems the know-how is currently staying with parents of adult children, with wallpapering a room (20%), putting up a shelf (18%) and fixing a leaking tap (17%) the top jobs parents can complete which young adults aren’t equipped for.

According to the research, the jobs Brits aren’t learning by the age of 30 include:

• Building flatpack furniture (49%)

• Unblocking a sink (54%)

• Bleeding a radiator (60%)

• Wallpapering (63%)

• Putting up a garden fence (77%)

With 52% of Brits believing parents should be teaching young people DIY skills and over a fifth (22%) of Brits admitting to feeling stressed and anxious about doing DIY without the support of other people, HIPPO is calling on the nation to start sharing old tips and new tricks with family and friends to ensure our DIY skills live on.

Robert has shared the DIY skills and tips he has learnt and passed on through the generations in his own family with HIPPO: 

Top tip passed down to Robert from his parents: “Planning and preparation. My Dad is a plumber by trade; he’s incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to general DIY and has passed on plenty of helpful nuggets over the years. He’s a real advocate for planning and preparation which I’ve always taken with me (that’s why you’ll rarely find me without a sharp pencil and tape measure in my back pocket!).” 

One DIY tip that Robert says stays with him is unblocking a sink. It is as simple as:

• Clearing the space under your sink – remove clutter and ensure you have space to work. Wear rubber gloves for this job!

• Place a towel under a bucket beneath the piping, in order to catch the water that has filled the sink. Releasing water from a fully blocked sink can be messy! Try and remove as much water from the blocked sink before you get to work and attempt to open the U-bend.

• Unscrew and remove the U-bend and any attachments such as the dishwasher/washing machine pipe. Turn off these appliances at their power source before doing so. Using a suitably sized pipe cleaner and some disinfectant clean the piping, removing any visible blockages such as old food waste, hair or gunk!

• Once this is complete, gently run the tap with the bucket in place to run clean water through the plug hole and fixed piping that is immoveable.

• Once all pipes are clear, reattach in position and ensure the visible compression joints are tight and nicely secure.

• To test the flow of water put the plug back in the sink – fill the sink halfway and then remove the plug. This pressure test will also demonstrate whether you’ve reattached and secured the compression joints tightly enough as you don’t want any leakages.

This method applies to both bathroom and kitchen sinks where the piping is easily accessible, Robert adds. If the sink persists in blocking you may have a deeper drain blockage and at this point will need to call in a professional, registered plumber. Remember, as with any household or DIY task, health and safety is paramount and you must assess each scenario based on the tools you have, the skills and experience you have and if in doubt, always defer to professional advice. 

A further top tip passed on to Robert, this time from his children, is the art of upcycling: “My children are naturally influenced by their generation and peers, and thankfully are much more sustainably aware than previous generations might have been. They often direct me towards social/selling platforms where bargains can be picked up, with a view to upcycling or using unwanted furniture for scraps etc, rather than buying things new.

“Take an old wooden chest of drawers for example, important initial steps are removing all of the drawers, taking off the handles and giving everything a good clean with sugar soap where required.

Then you can sand it down – depending on the age, material or condition, you will need different grits of sandpaper.

You then have a few choices for the aesthetics – you could either varnish all over, if the item is made of natural wood, to bring out the unique wood grain, or prime, undercoat and then paint. For other materials such as veneered pieces, carry out a light sand using 120 grit sandpaper and then undercoat using the appropriate paint ready for your topcoat.”

“Problem solving is a huge part of DIY, but nothing beats just getting stuck in and having a go, which is why I’m proud to pass the baton on.”

Robert’s final DIY legacy tip – make do and mend: “In terms of my DIY legacy, it’s hugely important to me that the skill of DIY is passed on through the generations. If something is broken or needs attention, my children have always seen me attempt to fix it first and this ‘make do and mend’ mentality is key to a sustainable future and furthering the DIY skills of future generations.

“I want them to know they can do it too, with a little guidance from loved ones and with a mixture of old school advice and modern hacks and techniques, DIY legacies can of course live on! I love the thought of breathing new life into furniture and household items and I’ve done everything from re-using parts of a wardrobe and turning them into drawers to turning doors into hidden bookcases. 

“It’s all about thinking creatively and giving things a go before simply throwing them away or buying new. For those times that something is absolutely no longer of use, it’s handy to have a HIPPOBAG in the garage – I’m much more comfortable throwing my home and garden waste in there, knowing that at least 95% of it will go on to be recycled.”

For those looking to put their newly learned DIY skills to the test, HIPPO’s waste removal service offers a convenient and environmentally-friendly clear-up option. The clever skip bags are available in three handy flat-packed sizes, so they don’t take up valuable room outside your home until you need to use them – and can be filled with home and garden waste, ready for kerb-side collection with 95% of collected waste going on to be recycled.

HIPPOBAGs are available to buy online at hippowaste.co.uk or from more than 2,000 outlets across the UK including all major DIY stores.