DIY women – doing it themselves

by Marylol

When something goes wrong at home, it’s more likely than ever that it’ll be a woman who comes to the rescue. Female DIY enthusiasts are proving to be more eager – and report feelin

Becoming a woman's world

The tired stereotype of the woman who can’t change a light bulb, let alone repair problematic plumbing, has taken a severe beating over recent years. Floods of studies have shown that woman are ready, willing and able to undertake a variety of DIY tasks around the home, and often consider themselves more competent than their male counterparts.

Customer research has shown that approximately 60% of women now shop for DIY items – three times more than a decade ago. In one survey, 82% reported feeling comfortable painting, 79% were happy to change a light bulb and 77% could remove wallpaper.

 Researchers believe that women have become tired of waiting for partners to carry out repairs. Others believe the rise in the number of home improvement programmes has helped swing the balance, no doubt coinciding with the fact that 20% of households are now owned by single women.


What to buy?

Retailers have quickly picked up on the potential for capturing the money of female DIY enthusiasts. Mark Waddy, director of MTW Research, says DIY retailers are ‘developing their ranges of home-adornment products and home-wares as they increasingly try to attract female customers’.

The sheer number of tools in existence can be a little overwhelming – even for the seasoned DIYer. Nevertheless, there are 10 essential tools that no female practitioner should be without:

  1. Hand-saw – a general purpose wood saw that will be suitable for most DIY requirements.
  2. Claw hammer – will hammer nails and, often more importantly, help remove nails.
  3. Stanley knife – the sharp blade will accurately cut everything from lino to hardboard.
  4. Ceramic heater – helps maintain a comfortable working temperature.
  5. Adjustable spanner – ideal for most plumbing jobs.
  6. Pencil – still the best way to mark up surfaces.
  7. Retractable tape measure – ‘guesstimates’ are the enemy of successful DIY.
  8. Screwdriver – choose one with a changeable head.
  9. Spirit level – to keep shelving and surfaces on the level.
  10. Pliers – a universally useful tool, especially the needle nose variety.

 You can pick up any items you need to complete your tool kit online at sites such as

Why do women prefer to do it themselves?

Top Tips

Painting and decorating                                 

  • Don’t paint a large area haphazardly. Start off in a corner and move systematically along the wall.
  • After measuring the walls, buy between 10 and 15% more wallpaper than the measurements dictate.
  • Buy thick wallpaper lining rather than the thinner, more easily torn, option.
  • Keep a bucket of warm water and a clean cloth nearby when papering.

Tiling and plumbing

  • Check tiles by tapping them. If they have air behind them, the sound will resound more than the duller noise of a secure tile.
  • When taking a U-bend, or any other relatively complicated plumbing assembly, apart, make a diagram demonstrating how to put it back together again.
  • Avoid using grout that’s darker than the tiles – it’s more easily noticed.

Resource Box

The DIY School
Women-only courses in plastering, tiling, bricklaying and decorating.

Chix & Mortar
Weekend DIY courses held throughout the UK.

Blog devoted to DIY projects.

Updated: 11/02/2011, Marylol
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


BrendaReeves on 04/09/2012

I was going to write an article like this, but you beat me to it. I'm a big DIYer.

Marylol on 01/22/2012

Thanks for passing by and leaving your advice, Holistic_Health. I always look for good tools, following my dad's advice :) I've just read your article on reiki, really informative!

Holistic_Health on 12/08/2011

I've done a few projects and still have all my fingers. Always feel wiped out afterwards though. Always buy good tools - it makes a difference.

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