Professional plumbers warn against DIY hacks on TikTok

Toolstation spoke to over 100 trade professionals for their opinions on the most popular DIY hacks on TikTok.

  • The professionals used in our research worked across many different trades including plumbers, decorators and carpenters allowing Toolstation to get an accurate, educated opinion on the videos we showed them.
  • Our professionals let us know their thoughts on each of the videos shown to them, letting us know if they recommend them or not and providing some alternative advice where it was needed.
  • A ‘Shower Head Pressure’ hack with 4.8m views was not recommended by 65% of our professionals, showing that some popular videos out there should not be attempted.
  • The same goes for the ‘Water Leak’ hack, this video has over a million views but 87% of our professionals do NOT recommend trying it.

The list of home improvements we want to do in the home can seem never-ending. And so, it is no wonder that much of the UK is looking for DIY shortcuts.

TikTok can be a great place for DIY hacks for the home, but the danger with this is that they’re not always done by professionals and their advice might not always be given with longevity in mind.

Toolstation has taken some of the most viral TikTok hacks and surveyed their trusty panel of experts to find out which TikTok hacks are worth a try, and which should be avoided. Toolstation also asked the professionals to provide commentary and alternate advice on the videos, so you can learn how to correctly carry out any tasks featured in the research.

You can view the full piece here.

The five trends our experts say to avoid

These are the five worst TikToks from our study with the percentage of professionals NOT recommending them.

Hack

Not Recommended by (% of professionals)

Water Leak

1.2m views, 26.7k likes

87%

Rental Wallpaper

216.6k views, 43.3k likes

82%

Honey Sander

165k views, 1332 likes

69%

Shower Head Pressure

4.8m views, 237.1k likes

65%

Kitchen Island

132.4k views, 5191 likes

60%

  1. Water Leak (1.2m views, 26.7k likes)

https://www.tiktok.com/@twinhomeexperts/video/6931355385446141190?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&q=plumbing%20hack&t=1636554904097

@twinhomeexperts Néw innovation in permanently fixing underground water leaks without DEMOLITION! #leaks #plumbinghacks #twinhomeexperts #plumbing #hack ♬ TOES – DuWayne Phinisey

This video suggests placing an epoxy ball into a pipe to stop a water leak. However, as our professionals have said, this could lead to water contamination and there is also no way of controlling how the ball will act once it is placed inside the pipe.

Experts’ verdict- 87% do not recommend

‘Can of worms comes to mind.’- Plumber

‘I feel that will not work and for the UK you will be contaminating the water supply as you have introduced a foreign body into the water supply.  I think you would need to re-check your Water Regulations.’- Plumbing and heating engineer.

‘Another video from the USA, maybe what he’s using is easily available over there.I’m not sure I would risk trying this on a customer’s property, I would cut out the leaking pipe and replace it.’- Pete, plumber.

  1. Rental Wallpaper (216.6k views, 43.3k likes)

https://www.tiktok.com/@kaytuc/video/6957817699934293254?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&q=diy%20wallpaper&t=1636712223037

@kaytuc no such thing as too many florals 🌸 #diy #wallpaper #homehack #renterfriendly ♬ original sound – katie

This hack shows a way of putting up wallpaper using tape in ladder formations, however this time saving technique will not give you a flush finish and will also leave marks once the paper is removed.

Experts’ verdict- 82% do not recommend

‘If it is a rental and you can’t decorate, the painter’s tape and double-sided tape will leave ladder marks. The longer it is left up, the worse it will be. It is not a hack I would use. I would go back to the landlord and ask permission to paper a feature wall.’- Painter and decorator.

‘You could still damage the wall by removing the masking tape.’- Decorator.

‘So many things wrong with this!1. You can’t use double sided tape in selected areas and leave air pockets behind the paper. 2. A decorator relies on being able to ‘slide’ the wallpaper into the previous edge to get a flush finish.  Using tape prevents this. 3. The manufacturer recommends paste for a reason.’- Decorator.

  1. Honey Sander (165k views, 1332 likes)

https://www.tiktok.com/@tmbrman/video/7018603557825809670?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

@tmbrman Honey Trick #fyp #fypシ #foryou #foryour #foryourpage #tips #trick #carpentry #hack #hacks ♬ original sound – Nate Halverson

This idea suggests using honey to stick a pad to your sander, however our professionals advise against this as it will cause your sander to get clogged with sawdust. Avoid this technique – instead you should use a pad saver or just buy a new pad.

Experts’ verdict- 69% do not recommend

‘Honey will not keep sandpaper on and will get clogged with sawdust. I would buy a new pad for sander or get some new Velcro and glue it to the base.’ – Joiner

‘This is a short-term fix that will result in clogging of your sander, for something that can easily be solved by replacing the hook and loop pad or using a pad saver in the first place.’ – Toby, bespoke furniture maker.

‘I would maybe use it with chicken but not a sander!’ – Joiner.

  1. Shower Head Pressure (4.8m views, 237.1k likes)

https://www.tiktok.com/@damgoodbuildr/video/6977831170532756742?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&q=diy%20plumbing&t=1636713516896

@damgoodbuildr Shower head pressure fix! #PerfectAsWeAre #foryoupage #fyp #lifehack #showerhead #showerpressure #diy #plumbing ♬ Twist and Shout – Twist and Shout

This video suggests removing a flow restrictor from a shower head. However, our experts advise that these restrictors are there for a reason, removing them could cause temperature issues and void any warranty on the part. Some of our experts even expressed the danger of this hack.

Experts’ verdict- 65% do not recommend

‘Hospital A&E departments are busy enough already’ – Plumber.

‘Flow restrictors are in place for a reason, removal can cause temperature issues, especially in the case of combi boilers. I would say NEVER remove them unless the manufacturer clearly states they can be removed entirely. Most appliances call for a flow rated item to be fitted, different coloured ones indicate different flow rates and you should always adhere to manufacturer advice.’ – Plumber and bathroom fitter.

‘Unsafe drilling practice, plus voiding any warranty on the part.’ – Plumber.

  1. Kitchen Island (132.4k views, 5191 likes)

https://www.tiktok.com/@onabudgetofficial/video/6978788709713841414?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&q=diy%20kitchen%20hack&t=1636710371078

@diyonabudgetofficial DIY kitchen island IKEA hack! What do you think? 🤩 #ikeahack #ikeahacksdiy #kitchenislanddecor #learnontiktok ♬ Say So (Instrumental Version) [Originally Performed by Doja Cat] – Elliot Van Coup

This video shows a low budget guide to building a kitchen island, however the structure shown is not safe to use as it is prone to collapsing. Only attempt this if you can ensure a safe build to prevent a great mess in your kitchen.

Experts’ verdict- 60% do not recommend

‘Not secured to the floor. Not particularly strong.’- Kitchen fitter

‘Such poor-quality finishes – not really suitable for the usage it will get in a kitchen. Not too bad an idea if you really can’t afford anything better.’- Nick, kitchen installer.

‘Looks terrible and unsafe.’- Stephen, bathroom fitter.

A spokesperson at Toolstation comments: “The Internet, especially places like TikTok, can be a great place when it comes to homeware hacks that can save time and money. However, some of the more complex problems you might encounter in your home really require a professional to evaluate what the best course of action is. We wanted to speak to experts about some of the most viral hacks on the Internet to see what is recommended and which you might need a professional for. Remember: there is absolutely no shame in calling a tradesperson out if you’re not confident in doing it yourself, not only can you be sure the job is done right, but it might also prevent some stress in the long run.”

For more information on what DIY TikTok hacks professionals recommend, head over to the full study here: https://www.toolstation.com/content/tiktok-diy-hacks-debunked