Can You Help DIY SOS?

Checkatrade foundation


DIY SOS have appealed for help from traders in the Isle of Sheppey and the surrounding areas to help rebuild a home for a family with four disabled children.

Kyle Ratcliffe and his husband, Garry have adopted four children, Haydn, Curtis, Isobella and Phoebe, who each have their own complex and life limiting diseases.
After originally fostering the children, the couple chose to adopt them to help keep their family together but their house was completely unsuitable to deal with each child’s needs.

The DIY SOS team were approached by many of the family’s friends and started the mammoth task by knocking down the couple’s home. They will then be returning in October to try and rebuild them a brand new one in 9 days!

If you think you are able to help with this massively worthwhile cause, please email [email protected] with trade details, availability, telephone contact details and a copy of public liability insurance.

You can also read more information about the family and project at;

Together We’re Stronger – Local Authority Trading Standards & Checkatrade working in partnership

Members, News

For the past 18 years Checkatrade have been working hard to combat rogues trades and services. 4 years ago Suffolk CC TS joined us and today we stand in partnership with 9 Local Authority Trading Standards. This session is about our journey, the partnership model and the awesome results we’re achieving together for residents.

Combining the intelligence of Trading Standards and the 18 years of award winning pioneering service from Checkatrade, there is before us probably the most significant opportunity this country has seen to date to protect residents from rogue trades.


Kevin Byrne Founder of Checkatrade:

“Checkatrade is one of the UK’s monumental successes on many levels. It started in 1998 when a tornado caused over £10m of damage to the home town of Checkatrade founder Kevin Byrne. After being reported on national news, trades from all over the UK flooded to Selsey and victims of the weather became victims of rogue trades. After a search to see if an answer to the rogue trade problem was out there, Kevin couldn’t find one, so with nothing more than a telephone and a PC Kevin set out to develop an answer.”

Today over 850,000 individuals every month use Checkatrade to find the right trade for them. These trades have to go through 18 considerations, 14 of these being checks before they are able to join Checkatrade. If the member in one of our partnered Trading Standards areas these can increase up to a total of 25 considerations. These include ID references, insurance, qualifications and professional memberships. This has contributed massively to make Checkatrade the first port of call for residents to find quality trades and services. In the last 12 months we have generated over 8,500 new jobs in the trade industry and an estimated £2.7b for the trades listed on Checkatrade and for the UK economy. Not many UK companies can claim these numbers and for the comfort of many the company is still privately owned and passionately run by the Byrne family with no city investment.

Our Local Authority Trading Standards partnership journey started 4 years ago when Suffolk County Council Trading Standards decided to discard their Approved Trader scheme and adopt Checkatrade as their partners. Which was then soon followed by Kent County Council. When Checkatrade partnered with Kent County Council they both took considerable time developing a scheme that would bring a standard to the status, “Trading Standards Approved”. One that could and should be recognized by other Local Authorities across the UK.

The aim being:
• To bring a UK standard for Trading Standards Approved.
• To protect all residents both able and vulnerable.
• To help trades become more compliant to consumer laws and improve their service.
• To bring valuable help and income to local authorities.
• To enhance the economy of local regions.
• To bring valuable employment to local regions.
We have achieved all the above in measure.

Our vetting is even more stringent where we have a partnership with a local authority. There are an additional 7 considerations, which includes Trading Standards Intelligence checks. A key factor that is well worth highlighting is that the final decision of who can join and be listed on Checkatrade and label their company as Trading Standards Approved is in the hands of the Trading Standards officers in the local authority.

To find out more or to search for a recommended trader, visit


Checkatrade’s Fundraising Reaches Great Heights!

Checkatrade foundation


Sunday, 11th September saw 40 risk-takers come together to descend the mighty heights of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower – all in the name of charity.

The event was a fantastic success bringing together staff and representatives of local businesses, also testing his courage on the day was TV personality and Checkatrade ambassador – Big Brother’s Craig Phillips.

While during his time on Big Brother Craig certainly faced his fair share of challenges, descending the 170m landmark, which is taller than Big Ben, is perhaps one of his greatest!


Speaking of his daredevil descent, Craig said, “I have worked with Checkatrade for a while now and I am continually impressed by not just the great service they offer consumers, in helping them to find a trustworthy trades person, but also by their commitment to raising money and supporting in-need causes. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and it was great to see so many people turn up”.

On the day the weather was perfect, offering the plucky abseilers outstanding views of Portsmouth, the Solent and beyond as they made their descent down the tower, cheered on by their supporters.


Together the group have raised nearly £8,000 for the Lighthouse Foundation which works to support the victims of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the money will also be used to help women and children at risk of a life of trafficking, offering a safe home, clothing, medical care and an education.

Devastating the country, the Nepal earthquake left thousands dead or injured and hundreds of thousands more homeless. It is hoped the money raised from the abseil will go to support the area’s children’s home along with general relief efforts.

This is just one of a series of fundraising events that Checkatrade hosts throughout the year, the company is committed to supporting those in need.

Checkatrade Conquer The Mountain!

Checkatrade foundation

On Saturday 17th September, our fantastic group set off early in the morning to conquer Ben Nevis!
We thought it was about time you met the team, so before they left we asked a few of them what they were looking forward to about the event and what they thought their biggest challenge would be…

Matt ‘Stonecold’ Simpson – Personal trainer (Checkatrade’s very own Scotsman)


Matt says: I am most looking forward to the actual challenge of climbing Ben. I am not looking forward to the hangover the next day after we celebrate our achievement!
(Checkatrade encourages those who fancy a tipple to drink responsibly!)


Julie Adams – Membership Liaison Manager


Julie says: I am looking forward to a snowball fight at the top (safety first please Julie, safety first). I think the biggest challenge will be getting up and back down before the pub shuts. Nervous that Matt’s knee may give way and we will have to stretcher him down!


Rachel Burt – Project Manager


Rachel says: I’m really looking forward to visiting Scotland for the first time and taking that team photo at the top! Hopefully the weather will permit us to reach the top and enjoy good views. I’m most nervous about the toilet situation… There are none! We’ll be drinking lots of water to keep hydrated and I can just imagine being the first one in the group that needs to go. If I can survive that I should be able to survive the car journey there and back.


Craig Norris – Developer


Craig says: I’m looking forward to climbing the tallest mountain in the UK, I think I have done the other two of the three peaks, but not Ben Nevis, also looking forward to drinking scotch in Scotland! However I am not looking forward to the post-climb celebration hangover and then achey legs on the drive back! (Again, Checkatrade encourages those who fancy a tipple to drink responsibly!)


Donna Trethewey – Retention Specialist


Donna says: Can’t wait for Ben Nevis. I aspired to see more of this beautiful country at the beginning of the year and decided that climbing it’s highest three peaks would bring that about. Having climbed Snowdon in May and Scafell Pike in June I’ve been lucky enough to visit both Snowdonia and the Lake District this year so far. Climbing Ben Nevis, the highest peak, will see me achieve my year’s goal, see Scotland’s Highlands and complete it with a great bunch of people. Having climbed …& descended two peaks, I’m least looking forward to coming back down the mountain. Going up’s great, you’re fresh & motivated and determined to reach the top. Coming down is just a necessity, you’re tired and it’s much harder on the legs. Also wondering if there’s going to be snow on the peak and if it will allow us to reach the summit. Flippin’ hope so.


Jonathan Woodham – Developer


Jon says: I’m looking forward to the sense of personal achieve with the reward of the view of the top – Being able to have that lifelong accolade of saying I have climbed the highest mountain in the UK. My biggest concern is that there might not be 4G at the top. Haha!


Kristina Dolan – Membership Advisor


Kris says: I love nature and I have always wanted to go to Scotland since I was a kid so I’m really looking forward to exploring. The biggest challenge for me will be looking down once I’m at the top as I am a little scared of heights! But I know the view will be worth it.


Melissa Fletcher – Retention Specialist


Melissa says: I am looking forward to getting to the top and coming back down again – I hope there’s a watering hole at the bottom! The thing I am dreading the most is the journey there and back!


Ester De Vries – Membership Advisor


Ester says: The thing that I am most looking forward to about this trip is to better get to know everyone who is going and help and support each other to reach the top as a team! The thing I am most nervous about is the fact that I do not have much experience and feel a little in the dark as to just how challenging this may be. I am an active person, I love walking and swimming but I am not exactly a gym bunny. So the question is: Am I fit enough?!


Abbie Milnes – Membership Enquiries Advisor


Abbie says: One thing I am looking forward to is getting to the top with my team mates and one thing I am not looking forward to is pushing Shaun to the top! There is nothing else I’m not looking forward to or nervous of!


Emma Nunn – Membership Enquiries Advisor


Emma says: I am looking forward to being able to say that I have completed the challenge! My biggest challenge will be myself… Getting over my nerves of heights and believing I can finish it.


Shaun Fox – Membership Enquiries Advisor


Shaun says: I am looking forward to the challenge of climbing Ben Nevis! I like to think I am quite fit but I am still a bit nervous I won’t make it to the top.


Harriet Milne-Taylor – Membership Consultant


Anthony Holland – Membership Consultant


Craig Parnell – Office Manager – Nottingham


We’re very happy to report every member of the team made it up AND down Ben Nevis safely……but more on the actual climb coming soon!


Please consider sponsoring them! They paid for their travel, accommodation, food and equipment themselves so every penny will go straight to those who need it more.
They’re raising money for The Checkatrade Foundation* and Chestnut Tree House**

You can sponsor the team via or text BNCF48 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.
Thank you for your support!

*The Checkatrade Foundation was set up to support people in need, both locally and oversees. It provides ongoing support to orphanages and schools in Nepal that rescue children from the sex slave industry, as well as supporting other local charities, causes and individuals in need of help. See more about our charity work here

**Chestnut Tree House is a children’s charity providing hospice care services and community support for children and young people with progressive life-shortening conditions throughout East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire. Checkatrade staff have spent time volunteering at Chestnut Tree House and really value the support they provide to local families and feel moved to help support the amazing work they do.

Statement from Kevin Byrne, Checkatrade Founder.


Following the recent episode of BBC’s Rip off Britain aired on Tuesday 13th September which featured a segment on Checkatrade, Kevin Byrne CEO and founder of Checkatrade has issued a statement.

“Checkatrade would like to sincerely apologise to Brian Lambert for the substandard work he received. Checkatrade ensure all trades joining today are interviewed face to face, vetted with 18 considerations and 14 actual checks. This results in only 1 complaint in every 200 jobs for poor workmanship but sadly a small minority of jobs don’t always go to plan. Mr Lambert’s complaint was received on 17th September 2015 and at this point the trader had 42 positive reviews from happy customers. However, after an inspection of the workmanship in question we agreed the work was of a poor nature and after numerous attempts to contact the trade, we took the decision to expel them on 27th October 2015. Checkatrade are now partnered with Trading Standards to further support monitoring and vetting systems.” Kevin Byrne CEO and Founder of Checkatrade.

The advice and training which we have received from our primary authority, Trading Standards, has been implemented and acted on and we try our utmost to ensure that our scheme is robust with only genuine traders being allowed. We are continually monitoring and adjusting our processes to try and prevent these types of instances from happening.

Checkatrade would like to take this opportunity to remind all customers that we are dedicated and committed to maintaining our reputation and do everything we can to ensure we provide only the best and most reliable tradespeople in the UK.

We have over twenty two thousand reputable tradespeople at the click of a button and although accessing them is a simple process, we can guarantee that these tradespeople have been through rigorous checks before they feature on the site.
This rigorous vetting process, which includes valid Public Liability Insurance, accreditation’s and monitoring of the company’s status, continues throughout their membership to ensure our tradespeople meet the Checkatrade standard.

This is something that Checkatrade are extremely strict on and we want to reassure all of our past, present and future customers that should we receive a negative review of a sub-standard job, we will action it immediately and the company/person in question will be investigated and their place on the site will be re-considered.

As with any company or service, sadly mistakes can and do happen but did you know that 1 in every 5 jobs in the UK carried out by tradespeople need to be put right based on a National Average. At Checkatrade we pride ourselves on being able to confidently state that on average for every 200 reviews we obtain only one is negative. From the date of this being published we have also had 2,561,965 reviews posted on the Checkatrade website.

The Ultimate Eco Drive Challenge – 2000 Miles Across Europe Using Limited Fuel!

Inspiration, News


This Friday (2nd September) two teams from will begin their 2000-mile trip across Europe in cars they purchased for £250. They are hoping to raise £2000 for the Sussex Community foundation, a charity that helps fund community groups tackling deprivation and disadvantage.


Starting at Whitebox HQ in Lancing, West Sussex the two teams will be driving across Europe as economically as possible, time penalties will be added for every refuel. Using their skills to keep the fuel stops to a minimum, they will cover approx. 500 miles per day. First car back to HQ is the winner.

“It’s fantastic that companies like Whitebox are willing to give their time to help support the local community”. Miranda Kemp, Sussex Community Foundation.

The eco run will take place betw een Friday 2nd until Monday 5th September. To ensure that no one misses out on the action the whole event is to be filmed by Punchy Pictures. For more information about the Sussex Community Foundation see their website or view the interview.  More information about the eco run is available via &

For further information, please contact [email protected]. 07818 414758.

It’s Time to Get Your House Ready For The Colder Months


As you bask in the heatwave of another British summer – well, we can dream! – the last thing you will be thinking about is the coming autumn and winter. But remember when the government used to talk about fixing the roof when the sun was shining? Well this time we should take the politicians seriously because that’s precisely what we have to do.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves by talking about roofs, let’s start on the ground floor and work our way up.

It certainly pays to be prepared and perhaps the most important thing to consider now is what happens when you turn your heating back on after all those weeks and months when the system has been switched off and you’ve been saving on your bills!

Gas Boiler (Low)

Gas safety is absolutely essential and so before you fire up the boiler you really need to get it checked by a qualified and registered engineer. Firstly, you need to make sure that it will work when you need it – nobody wants to be replacing their boiler in the winter! – but also you need to be checking if any carbon monoxide is being released.

As we know, carbon monoxide (otherwise known as CO) is a silent and odourless killer and just a few simple steps can keep you and your family safe. Firstly, get a CO detector in your house and make sure that it’s working. Then if you haven’t had your gas appliances and flues checked for a while, now’s the time to do it.

And while you’re checking flues you might want to look at any air vents or even your chimney (if you have one) to make sure nothing has grown over and is causing a blockage. Finally, when you are happy with everything and you come to fire up your boiler, make sure that the gas flame burns blue. If it doesn’t, shut the boiler down immediately and call that engineer. Of course, your heating system’s efficiency is not just about the boiler so take time out to check all your radiators – do they leak, do they have air in them and so need bleeding, do the controls still work or have they seized up?

Another way of preparing your home for those colder months is to minimise the risk of having any floods or water damage when the downpours come or when the snow falls. Gutters and drains are always susceptible to getting blocked by leaves or other debris and if you get a spell of heavy rain or lengthy periods of snow you could be in big trouble. Also, make sure that no downpipe connections have come loose because that could lead to water pouring down an outside wall which you really need to avoid. One more thought: is all your guttering strong enough to take the weight of snow sitting there for days or even weeks on end? Does it need replacing?

Roofer (Low)

Now let’s look at that roof. You need to make sure that all the tiles are in place, that lead flashings around your chimney (again, if you have one) are in good condition and that there are no gaps anywhere that could either let in water or allow the wind to get underneath and cause havoc and even potential danger. On the subject of chimneys, it’s always good practice to have it swept before you start up a fire since there can be debris, old birds’ nests and all sorts of things causing an unsafe blockage.

Of course, you should always get an experienced roofer to climb up and check your tiles – never think you’ll just nip up there yourself! – but one job you can do is go into your loft and check the roof from the inside. Assuming your loft is boarded and you have a light in there, get yourself into a safe position away from the loft entrance then turn out the light and look for daylight coming in. This only works if you do it during the day, of course, and bear in mind that there will always be some chinks of light coming in but you are looking for major tears or yawning gaps. Hopefully, there will be no bird or squirrel damage. Whatever you do, make sure you turn the light back on before you move away from your secure position!

By the way, if you haven’t g  ot your loft insulated and boarded, now is the time to think about doing it and also about insulating elsewhere in your home. Insulation has been shown to make a big difference to the size of energy bills, with some people reporting savings of over £200 a year!

Speaking of bills, with it starting to get dark at around four in the afternoon and still being dark when you go to work in the morning, you will obviously be using your lights for long periods of the day. So why not go around now and check your lightbulbs? Do you still have the old-style energy sapping versions? Fitting energy-saving bulbs can also make a major difference to your electricity bill while at the same time helping you to play your part in saving the planet.

Coming back down to earth, while you may have welcomed a bit of a breeze coursing through your home in the warm months, when the cold sets in you will want to get rid of any drafts that drift into your home through leaky door seals or windows. Most people now have double-glazing but you’d be surprised where those bone-chilling gusts of wind can come from. No house is fully sealed and everywhere that there is a void in its structure – including letterboxes, anywhere that holes have been created for passing pipes or cables through, and even cat flaps – there is the potential for a draft that you will almost certainly feel down the back of your neck as you watch TV. Even inner doors can be a problem so, even though it may seem a tad old-fashioned, the humble draft excluder across the bottom of a door can make all the difference!

Home Security (Low)

Before we finish, let’s go back to the subject of home insurance. It’s something that you hope you never have to call on, of course, but it is worth spending a little time double-checking that it covers you for weather-related damage. Many people get a rude awakening when they find out that they cannot claim for any of the thousands of pounds worth of rain or wind damage that has wrecked their home. It’s a double whammy that you really need to avoid.

Follow these tips and you will be well prepared for the colder months. In the meantime, let’s hope that they are not here for some time to come and that the only problem we have to worry about is having to keep ourselves cool!

Of course, if you can’t manage any of these jobs yourself, just check out Checkatrade and find a tradesperson that you can trust to do the work for you.

Craig Phillips is an official brand ambassador for Checkatrade.

For more information please visit



On Tuesday 30 August the new look Checkatrade Trophy will get underway with 64 clubs competing to reach a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 2 April 2017.

With an innovative new competition format pitting 48 League One and League Two sides against 16 invited Category One Academy sides, the revamped and expanded Checkatrade Trophy will give some of England’s brightest young talents the opportunity to gain experience and develop their skills against EFL clubs.

Prize money for the 2016/17 Checkatrade Trophy stands at £1.95 million, an increase of over 300% from 2015/16, making this season’s rejuvenated competition the most lucrative for participating EFL clubs since its inception in the 1983/84 season.

Clubs will benefit from financial prizes as they progress through the competition which includes £10,000 per win and £5,000 per draw during the Group Stage, increasing prizes for following Knockout Stage victories and a £100,000 prize sum for the eventual winner. In addition, invited clubs will donate all or some of their share of gate receipts to a fund that will be shared equally by clubs from Sky Bet League One and Two.

Kicking off the Checkatrade Trophy, a newly introduced group stage will be regionalised with 16 groups of four teams. Each group will include at least one side from each of Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two, plus one Academy team.

In the Northern section, Bolton Wanderers will look to continue their strong start to the season against Everton at the Macron Stadium with a family friendly kick off time of 7pm. Elsewhere, Sheffield United will take on Leicester City’s young guns at Bramall Lane while Scunthorpe United and Middlesbrough will lock horns at Glanford Park.

In the Southern section, opening fixtures will see last season’s Sky Bet League Two Play-Off winners AFC Wimbledon begin their Checkatrade Trophy campaign against Swansea City, West Ham United travel to Coventry City and Charlton Athletic will host Southampton.

Ahead of the Checkatrade Trophy’s opening fixtures, Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of the EFL said: “Following the changes in the competition structure and format, the introduction of an additional £1million in prize money and a new and enhanced sponsorship agreement with Checkatrade, the competition offers significant financial benefits for EFL clubs in 2016/17 when compared to previous seasons.

“Clubs will receive prize money for the games that they win or they draw in the first round group stage as well as the knockout rounds.  Of the 48 EFL clubs that competed in the competition last season, 29 teams earned less than £10,000 from the competition and 37 received less than £20,000.  With £10,000 on offer for each group stage victory, it is clear to see there are now tangible short term financial benefits to the Checkatrade Trophy as well as the more established longer term ones. This has not been possible previously.

“Additional revenues will be generated for EFL clubs with invited Category One clubs agreeing to donate a proportion of their allocated net gate receipts to an EFL ‘pot’.  The final sum will be shared equally amongst League One and League Two clubs following the conclusion of the competition.”

He added: “Alongside the financial increases, the new format is intended to reinvigorate the competition as well as assisting with the development of the very best young players in English football.  The EFL and its clubs remain committed to producing more and better home grown players which will deliver benefits to both the domestic and international game.”



Editors Notes:




  • 48 clubs from Sky Bet League One & Two.
  • 16 invited Category One Academy teams.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • EFL clubs – a minimum of five ‘First Team’ players in the starting 11 as defined under the competition’s existing rules.
  • Invited clubs – six of the starting 11 to be U21 (as at June 30).

Prize Money and Proceeds

  • £1.95 million, an increase from last season’s total of £478k (over 300% increase)
  • Sponsorship income increase
  • Due to an increase in games in Round One (16 to 96) it is assumed that there will be a significant increase in net receipts to clubs;
  • Match proceeds split 45% home and away club, 10% to the pool account
  • Invited clubs will donate a proportion of their match proceeds back into the prize pot:
    • 100% in group stages,
    • 44% in round Two-Four and
    • 33% in Semi-Finals and Final);
Round Prize Money Total
Group Stages £10,000 per win

£5,000 per draw

Round Two £20,000 per win £320,000
Round Three £40,000 per win £320,000
Round Four £50,000 per win £200,000
Runners Up   £50,000
Winners   £100,000
Total   £1,950,000

The ‘pot’

The ‘pot’ will be divided equally between the 48 clubs from Sky Bet League One and Two at the end of the competition.

Group Stage:

  • 16 groups of four teams organised on a regionalised basis.
  • Groups to include one invited club and at least one club from each of Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two.
  • Clubs to play each other once, either home or away.  Invited clubs will play one home game at the club’s first team stadium.
  • Clubs will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw.  In the event of a drawn game (after 90 minutes), a penalty shootout will be held with the winning team earning an additional point.
  • The top two teams will progress to the Knockout Stage.

Knockout Stage:

  • Round Two (32 teams) will remain regionalised with each group winner being drawn at home to a second placed team from a different qualifying group.
  • Round Three (16 teams) and Round Four (eight teams) will be ‘free’ draws.
  • Semi-Finals (four teams) will be a ‘free’ draw and will consist of single ties played at the stadium of the club drawn first in each tie.
  • If scores are level after 90 minutes in Rounds Two, Three and Four, the game will be determined by the taking of penalties.  The EFL will confirm arrangements for the Semi-Finals and Final in due course following further consultation.  


  • Group Stage
  • w/c 29th August 2016
  • w/c 3rd October 2016
  • w/c 7th November 2016
  • Round Two – w/c 5th December 2016
  • Round Three – w/c 9th January 2017
  • Round Four – w/c 23rd January 2017
  • Semi- Final – w/c 20th February 2017
  • Final – 2nd April 2017 (Wembley Stadium) 


  • At the summer conference 2016 clubs voted to change the format of the Checkatrade Trophy competition following a request by the Board of Directors;
  • Over 60% of League One (15) and League Two (15) clubs in favour of new proposals;
  • Less than 30% of League One (8) and League Two (6) clubs voted against;
  • Part of the proposal was a season-long trial whereby 16 Category One academy teams would be invited to participate;
  • The decision was made on the basis the competition was in ‘serious need’ of innovation to survive;
  • The EFL is dedicated to supporting, through EPPP, English football’s commitment to creating more and better home grown players.  The Checkatrade Trophy provides opportunities for young players to play in meaningful fixtures;
  • Each invited club to be known by their usual name i.e. Swansea City;
  • The final mix of clubs includes 10 Premier League sides and six from the Championship;
  • Confirmed clubs are: Leicester City, Southampton, West Ham United, Stoke City, Chelsea, Everton, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Brighton and Hove Albion, Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Reading;
  • A Wembley appearance in the Checkatrade Trophy can be worth over £400k.


A Mountain of A Challenge!

Checkatrade foundation

Here at Checkatrade we have a big heart for charity – both local and worldwide. We’re always looking for new ways to raise money to help those in need and there’s one challenge that is heavily looming over the heads some of our staff… The Ben Nevis Challenge!

On Saturday 17th September, 17 brave souls will be putting on their hiking boots and scaling Ben Nevis in aid of The Checkatrade Foundation* and Chestnut Tree House**.

ben nevis

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles and standing at a whopping 1346 metres above sea level and attracts climbers and mountaineers of all levels. It takes an average of 7-9 hours to get up and back down again with a variety of terrain and unpredictable weather so it’s no small feat!

Especially for us office-jobby lot!

team 1It’s a mixture of excitement and trepidation from the team in Selsey!

With less than 4 weeks to go, training and preparation has started with lots of walking, hill climbs, gym workouts and buying appropriate hiking gear. All Checkatrade staff taking part are paying for their own travel (a 10+ hour car journey for those from our Selsey office!), accommodation and equipment themselves so all the money raised will go straight to people who need it more!

map 1

You can sponsor us via or text BNCF48 £5 to 70070 to donate £5. Thank you for your support!
Any donations will be gratefully received and put to good use.


Will all 17 make it up to the top?
Will they all make it back down?
Will there be blood, sweat and tears?
Will they make it through the 10+ hour car journey together to get there?

Stay tuned for future blog posts with updates and introductions to the amazing TEAM BEN NEVIS from Checkatrade.

*The Checkatrade Foundation was set up to support people in need, both locally and oversees. It provides ongoing support to orphanages and schools in Nepal that rescue children from the sex slave industry, as well as supporting other local charities, causes and individuals in need of help. See more about our charity work here

**Chestnut Tree House is a children’s charity providing hospice care services and community support for children and young people with progressive life-shortening conditions throughout East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire. Checkatrade staff have spent time volunteering at Chestnut Tree House and really value the support they provide to local families and feel moved to help support the amazing work they do.

Paper Hanging Tips by Multiple Award Winning Painter & Decorator Wayne de Wet

Advice, Members

As with all decorating  projects, the secret to a good finish is to do your home work! By that I mean to; prepare yourself, prepare the room/area and the surfaces being decorated and make time!
A very helpful way to learn the basics of wallpaper hanging can be reading books and ‘How To’ articles on line and of course watching YouTube videos as they also let you know about which tools to buy.


My advice is to get the best tool kit that you can afford. This will make the whole project much easier, as using quality tools that are made well will always be better than using cheap and cheerful tools.

  • Start off with a small project until your confidence builds.
  • Always prepare the surfaces that are to be wallpapered, time spent preparing the surfaces to be wallpapered is time  well spent!
  • Wash old paste off the area to be wallpapered and rinse well, this is to prevent mould growing through the new wallpaper.
  • After washing the walls – fill, sand and line.
  • Make sure you buy enough wallpaper and some spare (it’s also very important to check the batch and colour codes are the same.)
  • Have all the tools that are needed before you start.

My wall paper tool kit has evolved over 38 years but even now I still add to it whenever something catched my eye!
However, the basic kit always remains the same…


Wallpapering Kit

To hang wall paper. the following tools are a must;

‘Paste the Wall’ wallpaper

‘Paste the wall’ wallpaper is becoming the standard now. It basically means what it says, you paste the wall instead of pasting the wallpaper. This makes the process much faster.
The main plus of using this type of wall paper is that you don’t need to wait for the paste to soak in and you can hang straight from the roll…..with a bit of practice!

For the novice, the first thing you should do is check the pattern match.
This could be a straight match, where the pattern is straight across the wall or a reverse hang, where every other length is hung upside down. It could also be a drop pattern where every other length the pattern is seen to drop.
This and the other information can be found on the hanging instructions so make sure you read them as every wallpaper will have its own unique instructions.
You also need to make sure you buy enough wallpaper plus at least one spare roll.

It’s worth checking if the ceiling line or coving is straight. You can do this by drawing a straight line around the room with a spirit level and pencil then measure from that line to the ceiling/coving.

When setting out, position the pattern so its pleasing to the eye.
On the paste table; measure, match & cut each length allowing an extra 50mm to the top and bottom then mark the back of the paper at the top/bottom on the left, right and in the middle.
You do this so if you trim part off a length to fit some where else, you may cut this mark off.

A good habit is to gently reverse roll all the lengths of paper at both ends. This helps to stop the paper curling up when you have it on the table.

You will need to set our your room or feature wall by centering any patterns on say a chimney breast (remembering that the pattern on the paper is not necessarily on the edge of the paper).
Once you have done this, create a straight faint line using a Plumb Bob & Pencil, check it with a spirit level and then hang the first drop using the line as your guide.
Using a small roller pole, a roller/tray with a medium pile sleeve and a 50mm brush, paste an area of wall that’s just a little wider than the width of the wallpaper. This is so you never have to paste up to the length on the wall.
My trade tip is to position the pattern at the top of the paper so that its  pleasing to your eye, then simply let the wallpaper make contact but not stick to the wall then smoothing the paper from left to right and up and down as you go. You can then align the pattern to the plumb line or pattern if you have got more than one length up.

A key tip is to keep the face of the wallpaper clean at all times.

Traditional ‘Paste to Paper’

Paste to paper is the traditional method and it also has its good and bad points.

Pasting a sheet of wallpaper and keeping the face clean is very important.
This is made easy by keeping the wallpaper in line with the edge of the paste table then pasting down the centre of the paper gently working your way to the edge. You must make sure you are always spreading the paste on the outward stroke.

The good points in this method is the paper becomes softer to handle and fold, creases less and can be stretched a little with skill and experience but it can only be pasted on the paste table and is then cut off the roll.
I always number every length, making sure to mark what is the top & bottom. When marking, do this on the left, middle and right as if you need to trim the paper you may cut off the markings.

The negative points are it has to be allowed to soak for the right amount of time and cut to a length that can be trimmed when on the wall.
I generally cut the whole room or feature wall on the paste table allowing for a pattern match, add an extra 50mm top & bottom for trimming but that comes with a life time of experience.

Make sure you always always read the hanging instructions label and follow the manufacturers recommendation on adhesives.
Vinyls and sponge-able wallpapers will require a fungicide adhesive.

Where I can, I always use a ready mixed trade quality adhesive as this has a thicker consistency but can be sometimes thinned to suit the various wallpapers like heavy duty hessian, vinyl’s, and  embossed papers as well as flocks.

You should always use the same wallpaper adhesive to hang the lining paper and wallpaper.

Sachet or packet paste is still used and the secret to using this adhesive is to mix it to the right strength, and make sure it is lump free. Some powder adhesives are instant mix, which means its very hard to get lumps when mixing. When mixing your paste, always use clean cold water and clean tools.
My trade paste mixing tip is to get the water moving fast in a circular motion and whilst it’s being stirred gently pour the powder in, a little at a time.
Allow the mixed  adhesive to “stand” for about 5 mins then give a final stir, it’s now ready.

Count how many rolls you’re going to hang then the wallpaper adhesive packet will have a chart giving helpful tips on how much water you need to add depending on the type & quantity of wallpaper you’re using.
When you’re overlapping any wallpaper in corners, around windows or hanging boarder;, use a strong border & overlap adhesive and always keep the paper clean by rinsing with warm water.



Hanging wallpaper around sockets and switches is easy once you know how but caution should be had when this is being carried out and you must always turn off the electricity when hanging wallpaper.

Cut a cross to each corner and trim the excess off or for the best results,  ask an electrician to remove them.
To trim at the ceiling and skirting lines, gently crease the wallpaper into the crevice then push the paper in with a thin bladed spatula and holding your scalpel at an angle, trim the paper to the desired shape.
The spatula protects the wallpaper as the blade cuts it so always cut above the spatula.
Repeat this where ever you need to trim and also make sure the blade is fresh and sharp.

Papering around windows is easy once you know how too. It is, however, only possible to wrap the wallpaper into one side of the reveal, so its always best to wrap the sides.
To do this; hang a length straight, visualise your cuts as at some point their will be a little overlap and/or cut & splice.
Match a new piece to go on the face above the reveal and under into the window and splice though the two on the face. Take your time as patience makes for a job well done.


In many properties, both internal and external, corners can be out of level. It is so important that you understand this, and even more important to know that the wall paper must always be hung straight.

Cut a line right on the corner where the paper meets the skirting corner and also where it meets the coving corner which will allow for the paper to be smoothed round the external corner.
Check it is straight with a spirit level and once it’s right, carry on!
If it’s not straight, you will have to trim the returning paper about 15mm to 20mm then match a new length after trimming off the same section that is on the wall.
Depending on the type of wallpaper and pattern match, it can be overlapped by keeping it a few mm back from the edge and using over lap and border adhesive, but a much better finish can be achieved if it is spliced.
This process uses a straight edge and a very sharp snap blade knife. You cut gently through both papers and peel the underside off, roll with your seam roller and wipe with a damp cloth.
Never wrap wallpaper in and out of an internal corner – always trim about 3mm to 5 mm onto the unpapered wall.

Use overlap  paste and plumb a straight new length out of the corner after matching it.


Good Practices

Always clean any adhesive paste off the ceiling or coving, skirting, windows and frames.
Change you water regularly.
Wash and rinse the cloths or sponges often.
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