Unfinished business: homeowners living with imperfections and issues for up to five years | Checkatrade
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Unfinished business: homeowners living with imperfections and issues for up to five years

Doors that won’t shut properly, wonky kitchen cupboards and hot and cold taps fitted the wrong way round are amongst the top 50 issues1 homeowners simply put up with according to new research out today by Checkatrade.

Fast Facts

  • Doors that won’t shut properly, wonky kitchen cupboards and hot and cold taps fitted the wrong way round are amongst the most common issues homeowners put up with
  • Almost one in five (18%) no longer ‘see’ them around the home or simply accept them as a quirk of the property (13%)
  • Household niggles have led Brits pointing the blame at their partner (16%), with a further 16% too embarrassed to invite people round due to their homes looking incomplete
  • Despite many putting up with imperfections and issues around the home, Brits have wasted £1,139 this year alone trying to fix these problems

The study of 2,000 British homeowners2 revealed people typically put up with these household niggles for six months, but the longest issues have existed for five years before getting fixed.

No longer ‘seeing’ them around the home (18%), falling to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list (16%), and simply accepting them as a quirk of their property (13%) are some of the reasons why homeowners have put up with the issues for so long.

The long list of household issues has even led one in four (25%) to point out the imperfections to visitors to avoid accidents. Others place the blame on their partner (16%), and a further 16% are just too embarrassed to invite people round altogether due to their homes looking incomplete, showcasing the uncomfortable reality of living with household niggles.

Work in progress

When it comes to addressing their household imperfections and issues, over a quarter (28%) admit they have good intentions of sorting them but never have time. While 28% also know they need to call in a professional but haven’t gotten around to it.

Despite this, calling in a tradesperson made people feel relieved (32%). However, 16% admitted they were also mortified with some of the incidents resulting from failed DIY attempts (12%) and drunk accidents (11%).


Contending with financial pressures and busy workloads, Brits have wasted on average £1,139 trying to fix home imperfections this year alone.

When looking at existing issues, the study found that it will take homeowners another eight months before getting round to fixing them or calling in a professional. Motivators for addressing issues sooner include putting their home up for sale (30%) and hosting a big event such as a Christmas or birthday party (22%).

Despite their own home imperfections, many admitted they’d be put off a potential future property due to the likes of cracks in walls and ceilings (22%), doors that don’t shut properly (16%) and wonky kitchen cupboards (15%) revealing the importance of not ignoring these household issues for too long.

Mike Fairman, CEO at Checkatrade said,

‘’With so many UK homeowners living with imperfections and issues in their homes, it’s no surprise some issues have been around for as long as five years.

Whether it is doors that won’t shut properly to finally getting round to finishing that paint job, we’re all familiar with adding such things to a never-ending to-do list.

We know not everyone is able to hire a professional, so we have created a wealth of expert advice, how to and cost guides to assist you in your home improvement projects on the Checkatrade blog.

Meanwhile, for those imperfections and issues that do require an expert, make sure they are verified to ensure a job well done.

Incorrectly labelled hot and cold taps

Other household issues that homeowners are just putting up include having hot and cold taps labelled incorrectly.

Natasha Goodman, aged 37, from North West London, says,

“Our upstairs bathroom taps were fitted and labelled hot and cold incorrectly, and we also have a bathroom cabinet light that still hasn’t been replaced from when recent work was done too.  

Over the years, we have gotten used to the taps being labelled wrongly, but it did take time for our children to realise (and if someone was helping with bath time or a guest was here to stay, we always have to explain). 

For the light, it is very frustrating, but we have a stronger main bulb, so we just use that instead. It also probably saves on electricity by only using one light.  

Even though both these niggles create annoyance in everyday life, we’ve learnt to embrace them.”

Incorrect taps

Missing light

Quirky oven dial

Living with household issues and imperfections is something that 29-year-old homeowner Ross Manester from Essex can relate to. He says,

“During lockdown, we renovated our kitchen, which was designed and purchased through Wren, including all of our appliances. To save on costs, we opted for a family member to fit the kitchen for us. Everything seemed fine, and we were happy with the look/quality of the kitchen.

However, we soon discovered that every time we turned the oven off, it would trip the whole electrics in the house.

In the end, we had three service workers from Bosch to come out to try and fix the oven issue. We were then told that they had found a ‘solution’ and that to not trip the electrics, we needed to turn the dial clockwise to turn off the oven.

Given how long it took to find an answer, my girlfriend and I simply accepted this as a quirk of the property and got used to turning the oven off a certain way.

In fact, we’re so used to it, that following a summer BBQ, we forgot to tell a friend who was helping out in the kitchen about the oven quirk, which then resulted in them tripping the electrics and stopping the music and festivities. Not a big deal by any stretch, but an inconvenience when you’re running around and hosting.”

Faulty oven dial

1Top 50 current imperfections and issues in homes:

  1. Cracks in walls / ceiling
  2. Old sealant that needs removing e.g., around the bath
  3. Peeling/flaky paint
  4. Unfinished painting jobs
  5. Paint mistakes
  6. Mouldy grout
  7. Loose/creaky floorboard
  8. Stained floor / carpet
  9. Peeling wallpaper
  10. Doors that don’t shut properly
  11. Bathroom needs retiling
  12. Door handles that need replacing
  13. Fingerprints on paint e.g., dirty paintwork
  14. Unpainted fences
  15. Holes in the wall that need filling
  16. Leaky / blocked guttering
  17. Incomplete landscaping
  18. Kitchen needs retiling
  19. Chipped radiators
  20. Add more plug sockets
  21. Mould on walls / ceiling
  22. Cracked tiles e.g., in bathroom or kitchen
  23. Loose toilet seat
  24. Changing taps
  25. Leaky taps
  26. Broken or non existent curtains/blinds
  27. Exposed pipework which needs boxing in
  28. Kitchen cupboards fitted wonky
  29. Creaky/squeaky doors
  30. Loose skirting boards
  31. Dodgy electrics (e.g., white goods, TV etc. trips electrics)
  32. Sun stained / marked windowsills
  33. Scratched wooden flooring
  34. Loft hatch ladder broken / dodgy
  35. Sun marked windowsills
  36. Squeaky garden gate
  37. Alarms not working e.g., carbon monoxide, fire alarm
  38. Fallen/slipped roof tiles
  39. Lino flooring coming unstuck
  40. Door handles not fitted to doors
  41. Carpet fitted incorrectly
  42. Unpainted / stained shelves
  43. Leaking bath
  44. Door frames hung wonky
  45. Door locks fitted incorrectly
  46. Hot and cold taps around the wrong way
  47. No gripper rods fitted to carpets
  48. Wonky shelves
  49. Chipped architraves
  50. Doorknobs not fitted to kitchen cupboards

2Research carried out by OnePoll of 2,000 UK homeowners between 21st October and 27th October 2022

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