Category Archives: Members

What is a High Integrity Consumer Unit and When Should It Be Used?

Often hidden away from view, the consumer unit is the central hub of the home’s electrical network from where all circuits are connected to the main supply and isolated when required.

Protecting circuits, appliances and crucially the occupants, it is in many ways, the single most important electrical device in the home.

Yet it’s only on those rare occasions when rewiring our homes that we give any thought to this box of wires and devices that allows us to live our comfortable modern lives.

Every home, just like the people living within, is different. There are consequently vast differences in the way that electricity is consumed and thus distributed throughout the dwelling.

However, since the rules that govern how circuits are protected in the UK are quite precise there are surprisingly few types of consumer unit. In fact, (ignoring size, enclosure type and manufacturer) there are only four:

1. ‘Main Switch’
2. ‘Dual RCD’ (also known as ‘Split Load’)
3. ‘High Integrity’
4. ‘RCD Incomer’

These four types – in combination with the circuit protection devices they house – MCBs, RCBOs and RCDs – allow for infinite configurations and circuit design.

For much of the last decade, the Main Switch and Dual RCD boards have reigned but the relative newcomer – the High Integrity consumer unit is beginning to take over. Before we look at it in detail, let’s first remind ourselves of the context in which it was born.


In seeking to improve safety, the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations, released in January 2008, introduced one of the most significant pieces of legislation determining how circuits are protected. In essence it stipulates that all circuits must be protected against earth leakage.

Earth Leakage describes the fault situation in which electricity leaks or is lost from a circuit. Electricity, like water, seeks the path of least resistance and if that pathway happens to be a human then they will receive an electric shock – which of course can be fatal.

It is also useful to remember what the protection devices are and what they do:

  1. MCB – Mini Circuit Breaker. Costing between £2 and £3. Protects cables from overload, thus preventing fire and protecting appliances. All circuits must be protected from overload…even prior to the 17th Edition.
  2. RCD – Residual Current Device – Costing between £20 and £40. Protects a group of circuits and bank of MCBs against earth leakage. When earth leakage is detected on one circuit, the RCD will cut power to all the circuits it is protecting… which may be very undesirable if afault with the garden lighting cuts power to your freezer or fire alarm.
  3. RCBO – Residual Current Breaker with Overload. Costing between £15 and £25. As the name suggests, a combination of both MCB and RCD, an RCBO protects against both overload and earth leakage.

A popular solution which answered the demands of the new 17the Edition Regulations was – and indeed still is – the ‘Dual RCD’ consumer unit. Housing two banks of MCBs protected by two RCDs, the dual RCD board is both inexpensive – so liked by the home owner – and easy to configure, so often chosen by the electrician.

The problem with dual RCD boards is that they offer virtually no circuit separation and to reiterate that which is stated above – When earth leakage is detected on one circuit, the RCD will cut power to all the circuits it is protecting, which could cause serious problems for the homeowner, depending on what circuits are under that RCD.

Dual RCD Board                                                       Main Switch Board

On the other hand one could employ a ‘Main Switch Board’, in which all circuits are protected against earth leakage independently by RCBOs. This offers total circuit separation, but since RCBOs are considerably more expensive than MCBs, this solution comes at a price.

The High Integrity Consumer Unit

A compromise was needed – a consumer unit which offered the best of both solutions at an affordable price and recognising this need the well-known British manufacturer, Wylex introduced the High Integrity Consumer Unit.

With three neutral bars the HI unit allows for two banks of RCD/MCB protected circuits and a further bank of individually protected RCBO circuits. Indeed, it may be thought of as a combination of a Dual RCD and Main Switch board.

The MCBs and RCDs are used for whatever the homeowner considers ‘standard’ circuits, for example lighting, sockets, oven and electric shower. If any of these circuits suffer earth leakage it doesn’t really matter that the RCD cuts power to all the circuits on that bank. This is a cost effective way of protecting multiple circuits from earth leakage simultaneously.

Meanwhile the RCBOs are used on circuits that are considered ‘mission critical’ and should be separated from all other circuits and potential nuisance tripping. It is important to note that what one person considers ‘standard’ and ‘mission critical’ can be very different from someone else.

The image shows an example lay out of a 10 way HI unit. (The colours are merely for illustrative purposes).

Here we can see two RCBO circuits protecting the smoke alarm and stairwell lighting circuits, and 8 MCB circuits, in two separate banks under each of the RCDs.

The more popular High Integrity consumer units tend to be larger, offering 20 to 34 ways. This is because larger properties have many more circuits and usually more varied uses of electricity.

These larger units are supplied in ‘Duplex Enclosures’ with two rows of circuits, such as the model pictured – the 26 way VML71214CU from Hager.

  1. Bottom Row
    1. 1.1.  Main Switch (red toggle)
    2. 1.2.  Next to this, 6 RCBOs, (with yellowlabels and blue fly leads)
    3. 1.3.  RCD 1
    4. 1.4.  6 x MCBs
  2. Top Row2.1. RCD 2
    2.2. 10 x MCBs
    2.3. 6 x Blanks for future circuits

Modern electricity requirements in the UK are becoming ever more demanding and varied, such as Jacuzzi baths, garden offices, home entertainment systems, tropical fish tanks, intelligent lighting systems, security and fire alarms, door entry systems etc etc.

For this reason HI units have grown rapidly in popularity, offering much greater flexibility over circuit design with the dual benefit of circuit separation and inexpensive earth leakage protection.

Information supplied by Consumer Unit World

What Does Health and Safety in Construction Look Like in 2018?

The construction sector represents 7% of the UK workforce, which equates to around 2.2 million people. As a result, the health and safety of those who work in the industry is paramount to ensuring construction sites – in terms of both large, commercial projects and smaller, residential briefs – operate in a time-efficient and secure way in order to benefit both clients and construction staff.

In today’s post, we’re delving deep into the history of health and safety within the construction industry, exploring the origins of hard hats and risk assessments and their importance in 2018.

Image source: Unsplash


The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century led to a high demand for construction workers to help create roads and railways across the UK. The extreme quantity of available work that was created because of this resulted in poor living conditions for those employed in long-term, large-scale projects – which often left workers weak, ill, and therefore more susceptible to serious harm and injury. This movement lasted well into the 20th century, when cranes, power tools and heavy equipment created hazardous working conditions for site workers.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the government finally recognised the significance of implementing solid safety regulations for those working in the sector, at which point they issued the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974. The implementation of this act encouraged others to ask questions about the safety of themselves and others in the workplace, and would ultimately lead to other mandatory regulations, such as the 2005 Work at Height Regulations.


Beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, poster advertisement campaigns began the process of raising awareness of the dangers behind work in the building and construction industry with the British public. The posters created by the British Safety Council (BSC) in the 1980s targeted the use of hard hats in the workplace as a new and essential practice on construction sites, alongside warning workers against using old, broken and unsafe tools. Finally, at the end of the decade, earmuffs and hard hats became frequently used pieces of protective equipment recognised by all site managers and operational personnel.

Protective workwear

It wasn’t until the 1990s that protective workwear became a solidified, mandatory requirement for workers in the building and construction industry. In 1993, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, otherwise known as PPE, came into effect, and made wearing protective clothing in and around the site a necessary health and safety provision in the industry.

Today, protective gear goes far beyond the obvious hats and reflective jackets. Offsite, outdoor construction can be tough in harsh weather conditions throughout the winter period. As a result, workers need to make sure they’re dressed appropriately – ready for a variety of weather dependent circumstances.

Long, protective sleeves are often worn to shield the skin from exposure to unpleasant, irritable materials – while durable, denim men’s jeansare worn as a safeguarding measure due to their thickness and resilience – making it harder for workers to sustain cuts and small injuries from work equipment.

 Image source: Unsplash

In 2018, before a potential construction project can begin, a full health and safety risk assessment is completed in order to evaluate all potential risks to those working on the site. Risk assessments have become a normalised, common practice since the 1990s, and are so well-integrated into today’s contemporary construction culture that, without the completion of thorough site evaluations, a site cannot be worked on.

We’ve come a long way since the dangerous working conditions of the 1800s and the high fatality rate of the early 20th century to ensure construction sites are a safe and productive environment for all workers – and in the years to come, we can’t wait to see what other health and safety innovations make their way into the sector’s standard practices.

Author bio: Luke Conod is Managing Director of Buy Jeans and its parent company Denim Nation, providing competitively priced men’s jeans and other high-quality clothing from leading international labels.

5 Ways To Make Your Site Secure and Safety-Conscious

Image source: Unsplash

In this day and age, there’s little room for unchecked health and safety hazards in the workplace. So, when it comes to construction, where fatal injuries are around four times more common than in other industries, the importance of a safe and secure site is paramount. Whether it’s a small-scale home extension project or a grand residential scheme, construction companies and tradesmen have a duty to keep themselves and their employees safe from harm.

And that’s why, in today’s article from Action Storage, we’ll be taking you through five crucial changes you can make to show that security and safety are at the top of your priority list.

  1. Involve staff at each level

As site safety involves everybody – from senior management to apprentices – it’s crucial that everyone is on board. Tradesmen and construction companies often fall down when they keep safety at a management level – and that can be a costly mistake to make. It’s worth setting up a system or forum that staff can use to raise safety concerns, whether that’s a dedicated safety officer or a monthly meeting with representatives at each level of the business. This way, you’ll ensure concerns are raised with the people who need to hear them and any updates are filtered through the entire workforce.

  1. Appoint a safety officer

While personal safety is everyone’s responsibility, appointing a staff member who is available for discussing concerns and actioning changes will ensure nothing slips through the cracks. This doesn’t necessarily mean hiring someone specifically for that role (unless your company is large enough to warrant it), as, with some training, an existing employee should be capable of taking on the responsibility day-to-day. Whether they’re speaking to fellow team members, reading up on the latest safety regulations or carrying out regular checks of the site, having a dedicated safety officer on hand will ensure site safety is always on someone’s mind.

  1. Stay organised

Image source: Pexels

Because safety is sometimes seen as an inconvenience in operations, making things more difficult than they have to be can cause things to be missed – and that means organisation is key. From the site equipment to the procedure for raising concerns, keeping all aspects streamlined and straightforward will make it as easy as possible for staff to follow safety rules. Whether that means installing dedicated lockers for PPE, managing spreadsheets to ensure that pipelined concerns get through to management or setting up a basic intranet for employees to log queries anonymously, try your best to make safety improvements accessible and easy to understand for all staff.

  1. Set aside some resource

The reality of site safety is that it will probably cost something – whether that’s time, money or both. And that means that setting aside resource specifically to support with new procedures and equipment is crucial to ensuring security and safety updates are always possible. From a small financial budget to fund extra helmets, gloves and goggles to time allocated for a safety officer to read up on the latest regulations and perform checks, ensuring you have the time or money to accommodate necessities will mean you won’t be scrambling for cash, should something crop up.

  1. Encourage younger workers

In any trade, you’re bound to find young and motivated workers eager to learn about their chosen industry – and it’s these impressionable youngsters who comprise the workforce of tomorrow. This means that communicating the importance of safety to them is vital if you want to create a culture where health, safety and security are respected. Whether you develop a training structure with these aspects at its core, or set up a buddy system where experienced workers show them the ropes, setting the precedent from the moment they walk in is essential for today, tomorrow and the years to come.

Site safety doesn’t have to feel like a chore. By taking steps to create an atmosphere that actively promotes the welfare of employees – whether that’s 10 people or 100 – you can ensure your team becomes safety-conscious by default. By putting these tips into action today, you can gain peace of mind that your sites will always have staff welfare at their heart.

Top tips to save money when driving!

Did you know that the way you drive can impact your fuel economy? From accelerating more smoothly to closing your windows on the motorway, here are a few simple things you can do.

Slow down

Aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking often wastes fuel. It can lower your fuel economy by 33% at motorway speeds and by 5% around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than money on fuel money.††

Windows and roof Rack

If driving at 60 miles per hour or more, keep the windows up. Open windows create a lot of aerodynamic drag, which can add to your fuel usage when driving at high speeds. Also, remove the roof rack if you’re not using it, for up to 10 percent savings on fuel.****


Don’t let your car idle for prolonged periods of time. If you get stuck in a traffic jam, consider switching off your engine, provided it is safe to do so.

Car maintenance

Keep your car well serviced, and make sure you check the oil levels regularly to help keep the engine happy.

Lose some luggage weight

Removing 45 kg of stuff from your vehicle could increase fuel efficiency by 2%.††

Tyre pressure

Make sure you check your tyre pressure at least once a month and before you set off on a long journey. Under-inflated tyres can increase your fuel consumption by up to 4 percent.***


Air conditioning is known for using power, which consumes fuel and emits CO₂.** If you’re driving at a low speed, switch it off and open your windows instead.

Choose your fuel carefully

Using a high quality fuel from one of the major networks such as Esso can increase fuel efficiency, ultimately meaning you get more miles for your money

Esso fuel engineers spend hours and hours testing different ingredients and formulas, because they know the smallest change can make a difference. Like the molecules in Esso regular Synergy diesel that have been specially designed to help clean vital parts of your engine (like your car’s fuel injectors) and help look after your engine. You may have heard that nasty engine deposits can build up in your engine over time which prevent your car from performing at its best and can reduce your fuel economy. In fact, when it was tested it on everyday cars it helped improve fuel economy by an average of 1.8%.*

Finally, save money with an Esso Card™   fuel card with a special offer for Checkatrade members.

Apply for an Esso Card™ fuel card and save UP TO 5P PER LITRE off pump price.

Checkatrade have teamed up with leading fuel card provider, WEX Europe Services in order to negotiate highly competitive pricing for their members.

As a valued Checkatrade member you are eligible to apply for an Esso Card™ fuel card and receive a highly competitive fixed weekly price of UP TO 5P PER LITRE off pump price. Along with this great offer – the first 100 members to be accepted for a fuel card account will receive their first tank of fuel on us!

To take advantage of this offer go to the Checkatrade Members area.

††Source: The U.S. Department of Energy and Natural Resources Canada.

*Esso Synergy Diesel Claims based on (1) internal or third party vehicle engine testing; and/or (2) government publications; and/or (3) industry or scientific literature. Testing based on diesel vehicles purchased on the UK used car market and independently tested at Mahle, UK. Fuel economy was assessed in the condition vehicles were received. Testing occurred over 4000 km using Esso Synergy Diesel and the average increase in fuel economy in the cars tested was 1.8%. Benefits may vary depending on factors such as engine type, engine condition, driving style, and diesel previously used.  **Esso Synergy Supreme+ claims based on (1) internal or third party vehicle engine testing; and/or (2) government publications; and/or (3) industry or scientific literature. Esso Synergy Supreme+ Unleaded Petrol has a new formula and double additive treat rate, compared to Esso Synergy Unleaded Petrol. Check manufacturer’s guidance on octane requirements. Benefits may vary depending on factors such as engine type, driving style, and petrol previously used. Esso Synergy Supreme+ fuels are available at selected Esso service stations only. ***International Energy Agency. ****European Commission. †Terms and conditions apply; please see the website for more details.

Boiler Guide by Heatworks

Take a look at Heatworks handy advice guide to help answer all of your boiler questions.

Types of Boilers

There’s a range of different heating requirements, these depend on your requirements and preferences, so if you need a new boiler in your home, take a look at Heatworks’ guide on the different types available to you.
Boiler types…

    • Combi Boiler
    • Regular (Conventional) Boilers
    • System Boiler

What is a combi boiler?

Combination boilers, known as combi boilers, can combine the dual functionality of heating your property and producing hot water from one boiler system.
Combi boilers are very popular in homes across the UK for a number of reasons, over half of domestic boilers which are installed in Britain are combi boilers. The combi boiler works as part of a closed hot water system, it heats water up as it flows past a heating component in the boiler. The water is then distributed to your showers and taps using the mains water supply and pressure.
These types of boilers are known for providing hot water on demand and the performance levels are efficient unless a situation where multiple outputs are being used at the same time. The main things to look out for when buying a new combi boiler includes the central heating output, this dictates the amount of energy that the boiler generates to keep hot. Hot water flow rates depend on the level of power that the water can distribute in the home. Heating Engineers can provide advice and advise you on the necessary boiler specification you should invest in.
Unlike regular and system boilers, with combi boilers, no additional equipment is required, so there’s no need to worry about extra space being taken up. There’s also no need for a hot water cylinder or cold water cistern, the process of installing the boiler will also be a lot quicker, which will also reduce your costs. If you choose to have a combi boiler installed, then you’ll need a flue, this is to take the waste gases outside of your home. You may want to consider a set of heating controls to get your heating working how you wish.

What is a regular boiler?

Regular boilers are known as conventional or heat only boilers, they’re known as being traditional, especially when it comes to older peoples’ properties, you’ll often find these types of boilers in their homes. They’re known for taking up space, this is due to the use of the hot water cylinder or cold water cistern.
Regular boilers generate heat from the central heating system directly, the hot water that’s produced from this will be stored in a hot water cylinder until it’s required. Stored supply of hot water is drawn through when it’s needed in the water outlets, such as your kitchen or bathrooms.
Regular boilers include a boiler, heating controls, a hot water cylinder and an expansion cistern. Heating Engineers are able to recommend the exact items you’ll need if you are replacing and upgrading your boiler system.

What is a system boiler?

System boilers can be considered as similar to regular boilers, they provide the heat for your central heating system as well as producing hot water that’s stored in a hot water cylinder until it’s required. System boilers were designed to make boiler installations a quicker and more streamlined process. This is down to the fact that the components require efficient heating and hot water which is built into the boiler itself.
A feed and expansion cistern isn’t required with system boilers as hot water will be pumped directly from the system boiler to the radiators and hot water cylinder. It supports the process to make it more efficient and financially beneficial.
System boilers can work as part of open-vented and un-vented hot water setups, a Heating Engineer will be able to explain this and address any questions you may have.

Heating Control

Take a look at our heating controls guide, this aims to provide you with everything you need when it comes to finding the right heating controls for your home. There’s a range available so we’ll run through some of the more popular models which are available for different boilers.

What types of heating controls are available?

Did you know there’s a difference between a timer and a thermostat, there’s hundreds of heating controls out there which all offer a range of different functions…
A timer is one of the more basic types available, these generally offer on/off timing options over 24 hours. For example, if you’d like the heating to come on at 7am and turn off at 7pm every day of the week, then a basic timer is suitable.
Programmers are similar to timers and provide a lot more options when it comes to your heating control operations, you can ‘program’ when you’d like the heating to come on. The difference between programmers and timers is that they operate your heating at the same time period each and every day, but a programmer allows you to heat for different times on different days of the week.
Room thermostats
Room thermostats are one of the more simple heating devices, they allow you to control the temperature of your central heating system and usually sit centrally in a hall way or somewhere else easily accessible in the property. Room thermostats don’t allow the option to automate control but they do mean you can control the current temperature.
Programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats are a popular type of heating control as they mean you can control both when your heating turns on and what temperature it operates at. They also provide flexibility with a variety of timing periods including 24 hours and 7 days.
Internet (SMART) heating controls
Internet enabled heating controls are one of the latest innovations in heating controls, once they’ve been installed, everything is controlled through an app using a device like a smartphone or tablet. The heating temperature is then accessible from anywhere in the world if you have access to the internet.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Heating Engineers at Heatworks, who have a wealth of experience when it comes to new boiler installations.

Content supplied by:

DIY SOS? More Like DIY, Yes, Yes Yes!

diy 2

Working in construction, like me I suspect the last thing you want to see when you get home is a cement mixer, brickies, plasterers, plumbers and all the other trades you’ve been working around for the previous 9 hours.

But there is something different about the BBC’s DIY SOS that sets it apart from the usual ‘someone buys a house, does it up, lives in it’ show that is a staple of so many of the channels these days. Nick Knowles and his team (in case you haven’t seen it) arrive at a property where there is genuine need and where the property that they live in is genuinely unsuitable for them. It might be a disabled child who needs specialist lift equipment as they grow, or somebody with a disease that makes them deteriorate and need a lift in the house, or a ramp to the garden.

I’ve seen quite a few of these over the years and there is something amazingly moving and uplifting about the programme when to be honest it could just be a slightly depressing version of the standard make over show. I think it is the camaraderie on site when all the trades pull together for someone in need. Whatever the reason I was surprised and really pleased to get a call from Mark Millar who features in the show.


He needed help. The latest project was a house in Bristol where a young man needed various adaptations to the property to radically improve his quality of life. There was one stumbling block – damp.

Mark hadn’t come across the problem before, patchy damp in upper rooms with no sign of a leak, and even in the floor area which was over a driveway. After a short chat I knew we could help.

A few days later Neil and I were in the van on our way to Bristol from Worthing armed with industrial vacuums, compressors, generator and plenty of bags. We’d been told about the catering so we arrived early and after demolishing a massive free breakfast we set to work extracting millions of damp insulation beads from the house which were bridging the cavity and causing the damp.

It was a strange feeling to see familiar faces from the TV, to be interviewed on camera and see all the back room things that go in to a show like this. By 4pm we were on the road home, feeling a massive sense of achievement and to be honest, good old fashioned pride. What use would all the state of the art equipment be if the rooms were damp and  mouldy? We’d had fun, done a good deed and were fed like kings.

If ever you get the call I recommend you grab the chance to help. You’ll be glad you did.

And the bacon sarnies are amazing!


Blog Post provided by Aydin Sigva of Cavitech UK Ltd.

Checkatrade Member to the ‘Garden Rescue’!

One of our members was recently called upon by the BBC to take part in their new series ‘Garden Rescue’ with Charlie Dimmock and the Rich Brothers.
The series will help people who have the money put aside for their dream garden but no idea where to start. TV favourite, Charlie Dimmock, and the stars of the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show, The Rich Brothers, will both pitch their designs to the customer who will then pick their favourite and hand over their money.

Red Terrain Landscaping was completing a job in Surrey Heath when he was approached by the programme’s project manager who has been aware of the company for some time and asked them to work on the show as a landscaper.


They arrived at the job on 16th October and were given two days to complete the garden with the teams help. The weather was against them on the first day but they soldiered on and even with a patio, decking and fencing to complete, they managed to finish by the deadline and as you can imagine, the customer was thrilled with the results and their new garden.


Alan from Red Terrain said “Working with Charlie Dimmock and the crew was a pleasure and I’m looking forward to next year with more builds with them.”


Keep an eye out for the show in the New Year and let us know what you think of the gardens.

Everyone at Checkatrade would like to say a massive well done to Alan and his team, it’s great to see our trade’s getting the recognition they deserve!

If you’d like to find out more about Red Terrain Landscaping, visit their page at

Revolutionary Lightweight Boots from Dr.Martens

Industrial safety footwear experts Dr. Martens has launched their new, revolutionary footwear collection, DM’s Lite. Designed to provide ultimate comfort without compromising on function or safety, Dr. Martens has unleashed a game changer in the form of three new styles, the Calamus, Linnet and Corvid. Lightweight without compromise.

Weighing in at only 3.2lbs a pair, Dr. Martens’ Calamus are guaranteed to keep you light on your feet. Each pair of DM’s Lite comes with a Softwair memory foam footbed, positioned and shaped for arch support, and also includes breathable linings, padded collar and tongue for all-day ease and comfort.


When it comes to safety footwear, it’s crucial to have the right type of foot protection to suit you and your workplace. Research suggests that 2.1 million working days were lost in 2014/15, with over half caused by slips, trips and falls from height. DM’s Lite offer lightweight, comfort-driven styles, ideal for those working on their feet all-day. From the everyday DIY-er, to the full-time Transport Operations Manager, DM’s Lite makes for an ideal choice.

Aside from the lightness, each style boasts a range of safety benefits, including a composite toe cap, a flexible puncture-resistant midsole and a Nitrile rubber outsole that provides exceptional heat and slip resistance.

For more information on what you can expect from the new Dr. Martens range, click here.


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

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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£5,000* and Paid Apprentice up for grabs to the Ultimate Tradesperson



IRWIN®’s Ultimate Tradesperson Competition Calls on Outstanding Tradespeople to Nominate Themselves, Friends and Colleagues for the 2016 title

LONDON, UK [August 3rd, 2016] – IRWIN® Tools, innovation experts in the hand tool and power tool accessories industry for over a century, has launched its annual Nominate a Tradesperson competition to find the UK and Ireland’s Ultimate Tradesperson.

IRWIN is on the lookout for trade professionals – joiners, electricians, plumbers, metal workers and mechanics to nominate themselves or colleagues and share their stories of when they have gone above and beyond to get a job done, no matter how big or small.

Tradespeople worldwide rely on IRWIN for superior performance on the job and now IRWIN wants to celebrate the UK and Ireland’s best. The successful candidate will receive a year’s paid apprentice for 2017, £5,000 (€6,440) to help build their business and a range of IRWIN products including IRWIN’s new Pro Comfort Screwdrivers, WeldTec™ Circular Saw blades and VISE-GRIP® cutting pliers.

The winner will be announced at the Build Show on the 18th and 19th October at the NEC in Birmingham.

Ahead of the 2016 winner being crowned, between June to October a monthly winner will receive a prize package bursting with IRWIN tools to the value of £660 (€851) as well as an all-expense paid trip for two to the Build Show to the value of £850 (€1095).

The competition now in its second year gives IRWIN the opportunity to recognise the positive difference tradespeople are making to the UK and Ireland. IRWIN spokesperson Amber Popowicz, Senior Brand Activation Manager explains: “We established Nominate a Tradesperson to find tradespeople who through their skills and dedication make a real difference. This could be a tradesperson who has shown their commitment to instilling their skills in the younger generation by working with apprentices or someone who always goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional client service.”

2015 Winner, Stacey Greenwell, from Stoke-on-Trent added, “When I began my career over 15 years ago I never thought I would become the UK’s Ultimate Tradesperson. I started buying uninhabitable derelict properties and renovating them to provide affordable housing to help my local town. It’s been such an experience to have won and it’s been great to have been recognised by such a long-standing company like IRWIN.”

To nominate yourself, a friend, a colleague or family member who you think deserves the recognition of UK and Ireland’s Ultimate Tradesperson, and to find the full terms and conditions of this promotion visit: