UK's Most Stressful DIY Jobs

By Brenna

24th Mar 2020

5 mins read

DIY & Technical

Whilst taking on a new DIY job can often be a fulfilling, fun experience, let's not pretend that this is always the case.

UK's Most Stressful DIY Jobs

Sometimes, the financial pressures and time constraints - not to mention setbacks when you haven’t got the right tools - can create a whole mixture of negative emotions, and exciting new projects can quickly spiral into something overwhelming and stressful.

So which jobs cause us the most trouble? We wanted to find out! Combining data sources such as Google searches, YouTube views and information on the size and scope of each renovation, we’ve created a stress scale index to find which job causes us the most problems.


UK’s Most Stressful DIY Jobs Ranked

UK Index Table Graphic

Scoring 1,221, the UK’s most stressful DIY job is...plastering the ceiling! Plastering is tough work, and not because you’ll need balance and patience to see any decent results. Ceiling plastering means a constant battle with gravity, and it’s all too easy to accidentally find yourself plastering the floor instead. And when you do manage to get the plaster onto the ceiling, getting it flat and smooth requires a great deal of hard work and patience.

There are some DIY jobs on our list which turn out to be surprisingly hard - the sort of jobs you expect to be a walk in the park and quickly find them to be far more complicated than you expected. Take second place - hanging wallpaper - which scores 673.

It’s difficult to hang wallpaper straight, and the high-price of some wallpapers today adds an extra level of stress. Wallpapering is a job people tend to dismiss until they’ve struggled with it!

Third place is similar too - who would have expected unblocking a drain with chemicals to score 588? Again, this is one of those on paper jobs that seems simple, but if you’ve got a stubborn blockage clearing a drain can be an unpleasant experience all round.


Renovation Stresses by Region

Regional Graphic

What causes your home town the most renovation rage? It turns out, different regions of the UK have different stresses. So you might be surprised to find that Northampton struggles the most when it comes to installing toilets. Plastering ceilings causes problems in Plymouth, whilst Cardiff gets crazy over tiling bathroom floors. Aberdeen finds hanging doors disastrous, and Bristol balks at removing grout.


Time Spent on the UK’s DIY Tasks

Time Graphic

One of the biggest causes of DIY stress is time - often the longer a job takes to complete, the more chances for something to go wrong and to get worked up about it. When ranking jobs by time, the biggest offender is laying solid wood floors, which takes the average person about 3 days.

Installing cabinets also lands highly with an average time of 2 days. It’s a job only the experienced should take on. Installing new kitchen cabinets is both precise, extensive and time-consuming, and it’s a job that realistically requires two-people - doubling your chance for potential stress!


Tools Needed to Complete UK’s DIY Tasks

Tool Graphic

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘a bad workman blames his tools,’ so when it comes to DIY, having the right tools to hand is important. Preparation is a key way to beat DIY stress. Tiling a bathroom floor, which requires 9 different tools including a hammer, diamond blade wet saw, a hammer drill, notched trowel, margin trowel, rubber float, a level, measuring tape, fiberglass tape takes the lead here.

Make sure you have the right tools to hand before you start, and that they’re in great working condition.


Solving DIY Stress

So what’s the answer for beating DIY stress? As with anything, organization is key. Remember to plan ahead and find out as much as you can beforehand about what the job will entail. Give yourself some financial wiggle-room if you can - just in case anything does go wrong.


Making difficult decisions about budget, time and equipment might seem tedious but it’s a crucial aspect of DIY. Create a step by step plan with a time scale highlighting each process required to complete the job. And if you’re not entirely comfortable, it can be wiser and more cost-effective in the long run, to hire a professional.


Most Stressful DIY Jobs Overall

Overall Graphic

And what about taking a look at things globally? We also included US search data into our index to see how that changed our figures. Scoring 3,463 on our weighted index scale, installing a toilet takes top spot as the overall most stressful DIY job. Whilst most toilet installations are actually pretty similar, they involve a fair few tools and any job requiring plumbing runs the risk of spilling over. Follow our expert tips, and make sure all connections are secure during the installation.



Data was compiled by analysing ‘difficulty queries’ across UK and US Google - i.e. how many people were searching for ‘how to successfully fix...’ or ‘problems with installing toilets.’ As well as Google, YouTube views were taken from ‘how to’ videos on the first page of YouTube for each enquiry. Research was then done into time-frames and the number of tools needed. These figures were then assigned a weighted value to get the final scores.

Need to install a toilet? Take some of the stress out of the job by following our simple bathroom DIY guide here…

Brenna blog author


Brenna is one of our dedicated bathroom bloggers here at VP HQ. Look out for her posts on all the latest interiors trends, as well as expert how-tos on all manner of bathroom DIY jobs.

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