Craig Phillips: Home Improvement

Craig Phillips not only took part in the first series of hit reality TV show Big Brother, he also knows a lot about home improvements. So if you’re hoping to increase the value of your property, follow Craig’s trusted tips to make sure you do the job right

Craigs top ten:

1. Painting

Giving both the inside and outside of the house a fresh lick of paint is always my first DIY recommendation. Not only does this give the house a better look and feel, but fresh paint will also keep the value of your property at its highest. Look at painting external walls, windows and woodwork. Doing this regularly will also help to keep your property in good condition.

2. Updating décor

The are a number of ways to upgrade the décor of your home. For example, replacing your old kitchen cupboard doors and draw fronts with new ones is the perfect place to start. Also, levelling all the existing carcasses goes some way towards giving the look of a newer kitchen and this of course is a less expensive option! If you’re really going for a ‘new look’ of a kitchen you could consider changing the worktops too.
Take this idea around the rest of your home; look at cabinets and drawers in your lounge, bedrooms and bathrooms, and see where you can update door handles and taps or replace worn out shelving.

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3. Adding storage

Doing this where and when you can around your home, is a great idea. It always helps to keep your home organised and uncluttered; a tidy house is much nicer to live and work in! If you’re selling your property, extra storage will appeal to potential buyers as a tidy property will give a feel of more space and show off the property in a more flattering light.

4. Laying new flooring

This can completely change the look and feel of a room. There are so many different kinds of flooring, from soft options like carpets to harder floorings like wood or laminate. Tiled floors can look amazing finished with soft rugs.

5. Tiling

Renewing tiling above kitchen worktops is another great way of updating the look of a kitchen. There are so many different options available and choosing wisely can give your kitchen a whole new look. Tiles come in different shapes, sizes and textures – everything from ceramics to slate and even glass. Most can be fixed and grouted the same way, so enjoy shopping around for a style you like.

6. Wallpapering

Just wallpapering one main wall in a room, as a focal point, can change the overall feel and look. Whether it’s a bedroom or living room, a very nice heavily textured or patterned wallpaper on just one wall can really stand out. Leave the other three adjoining walls plain – and take your time choosing colours and prints, whatever you go for could really make a statement, not only on the room itself, but about the homeowner too!

7. Mirrors

A great way of making a small, dark room look and feel bigger and brighter. Think strategically about where you position them – the aim is to try and use the mirrors to bounce natural light (from the windows) around the room as much as possible.
Also consider the frame – thicker frames are dramatic but heavy. Thinner options will be less noticeable, drawing your eye to the mirror rather than the frame, making it a better option for creating a lighter, brighter feel to a room.

8. Bathroom walling

Changing the finishers on bathroom walls can completely change the style and look to your bathroom – it will also make it a lot more maintenance free! Perhaps the walls are looking old and shabby, with paint flaking away at the touch, or maybe the tiles are cracked or you can’t clean the grout out anymore? Give them a face-lift. Plastic panelling is available in a variety of different colours and styles. They come in long three-metre lengths and are around 10-12 inches wide with a T&G joint where they interlock together. You can apply them to the wall with glue and a whole room can be done in just half a day. It lasts for years and requires very little maintenance.

9. Grouting

Over time, the grouting inbetween your wall or floor tiles can get dirty and discoloured, becoming difficult to clean. Re-grouting between the tiles can bring them back to life in no time! Remember to scrape the old grout out as much as possible so the new grout can really get deep inbetween the tiles for a longer lasting finish that’s easy to clean and far more hygienic.

10. Treat your external fence panels and decking planks

This needs to be done at lease once a year to keep them well maintained and looking great. It can very easily be done with a paint sprayer, just make sure you clean the decking well beforehand with a powerful jet sprayer so the new treatment or varnish bonds better to the timber.

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What’s the best power tool to invest in?
A good 18 Volt Cordless drill driver; this allows you to drill into all the different materials around a house such as wood, tiles, masonry walls etc.

Which is the most effective way to refresh walls – wallpaper or paint?
Normally painting is the cheaper option and can be done more easily if you have little DIY experience.

What’s the best way to paint over tiles?
When painting over tiles the preparation is very important, the surfaces need to be sanded and primed. Make sure to do your research into which paint to use for the specific material your tiles are made from as this will give you a better professional finish.

Is it better to replace or repair damaged skirting boards?
If sections of the skirting board are damaged, decayed or worn away, I feel it’s always better to just replace the skirting around the whole room. This is because by the time you start trying to patch and match sections, you’ll find that the freshly painted newer sections will make the older ones (that seemed fine beforehand) look worse! You’re better off replacing the whole lot.

What’s your advice for tired looking baths and sinks where the silicon has gone grubby?
I always recommend for people to keep on top of the maintenance of silicon (used to seal around the edges of baths, shower trays, basins, kitchen sinks and work tops).
It very often goes black over time and comes away from the tiles, leaving it looking very unsightly and worse still, not water tight.
This needs to be fully removed and replaced using a silicon gun and a tube of silicon. When purchasing tubes of silicon, always make sure you get one with a substance called miroban with in it which will help to stop any future black mould from growing back into any hard-to-clean areas.

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