Tackle Home Improvement Projects With HGTV’s Chip Wade

June 23, 2015 | By | Comments (2)

Photo Courtsey of Jessica McGowan

You’ve seen do-it-yourself expert Chip Wade on HGTV’s Elbow Room, Curb Appeal, and Designed to Sell. Along with being the owner and lead designer of his firm, Wade Works LLC., Chip is also the New Beginnings Expert for Liberty Mutual Insurance. The Atlanta-native chats with Southern Living about do-it-yourself home improvement projects that can be completed in a weekend this summer. The pro offers his advice to SL on how to give your home a quick, easy, and affordable face-lift. Pick your project, gather your materials, and get started!

Southern Living: What are some ways we can create an outdoor living space for summer entertainment?

Chip Wade: 

  • Creative Seating: A bench or multi-purpose seating in a yard can be a really good confidence-builder for first-time DIYers. Think versatility. Start with a stationary piece, but 8-inch diameter casters can be attached on the seating as well for more mobility.
  • Change up the trellis: Whether it’s a change in color, or a change in profile, try switching up your trellis from the traditional. Or, you can use the trellis to hook on a swing and bring your seating up off the ground. Off-ground seating also makes clean-up easier and makes everything feel airy.
  • Exterior lighting: If you have any overhead structure, that’s best. But the low-voltage backyard options have come so far. Most of my recent projects include LED lights—safe, bright, long-lasting. Put lawn lights around the focal features of the yard. (Light up a water feature, for example.)

SL: What are some tips for giving a kitchen an easy, budget-friendly face-lift?


  • Before replacing anything in your kitchen, look around. You’d be surprised what can be salvaged when you really start to evaluate your kitchen pieces.
  • Kitchen cabinets are a major piece in any kitchen. Whether they are stained wood or painted, changing the look can make them look brand new. Spray paint is always a great DIY option to give your cabinets a new feel. As well as changing the color, changing the knobs to be more contemporary can also trick your guests into believing you’ve ordered new cabinets.
  • As well as replacing cabinet handles, you can replace rusty handles or parts on your appliances as well. This can give off the appearance you have bought new ones, but really you’ve just refurbished pre-existing parts.
  • Lighting can make or break the vibe of any room. Changing the fixtures can change the mood in your kitchen as well as changing the lighting switches to be more modern. Try looking into installing dimmers if you don’t already have them and under the counter lights.

SL: How do you recommend installing a new bathroom sink?


  • Before replacing any sink, the first step that is most important is to turn off the water supply. Have a bucket ready to catch any excess water that may leak out in the process of replacing the sink from this point forward.
  • Next, loosen the slip nut at the top of the P-trap and remove the entire trap if necessary.
  • Once the trap is loosened or removed you’ll want to disconnect the water supply lines. Then begin cutting the sealant along the backsplash. Once finished, tug on the sink top to free it from the wall and remove the sink top from the vanity base.
  • To install the new vanity, you’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific steps.
  • To install the sink, you need to assemble the faucet and drain on the sink before you install it on the vanity.
  • Then, add a thin line of silicone adhesive to the rim on the sink opening in the vanity. With help of another person, carefully place the sink top to the vanity, making sure the plumbing is lined up and let the adhesive settle. Once settled, reconnect the drain and then reconnect the water supply lines.
  • Finally, when the drain and lines are reconnected apply a line of bathroom caulk along the back edge of the sink.
  • Make sure when completed to turn on the sink to test for leaks and needed adjustments. You can also reattach vanity doors if needed to finish the installation.

SL: What are your tips for repainting a front door?


  • Choose a color you will not get tired of and one that accents the color of your house.
  • Remove any hardware off of the door before painting. In addition, you’ll want to remove the entire door from its hinges.
  • Find a clean space you have painted large objects before – either in your backyard or basement to tackle the paint job.
  • Prime and sand the door before painting in order for the color to last and stay vibrant for longer.
  • Another option to add some color to your front entry without using paint is by purchasing premade planter boxes and hanging baskets and place them on either side of your front door.
  • Once you have completed the primary steps, you’re ready to paint. Make sure you paint with the grain of the wood and remember the door may need several coats.

SL: How do we install a flagpole in the front or backyard?


  • First, you need to choose the space you’d like to place your flag. You will need to take into account that in order to install the flag pole you’ll probably need to dig a hole at least 12-18” in diameter and about 2-4” deeper than the ground sleeve. Make sure the space you’re choosing has the correct soil for this kind of installation.
  • Once you dig the hole, the next step is placing in the ground sleeve. Work in the ground sleeve with filling it in to the gravel or sand.
  • Then, you’ll want to pour concrete into the hole and around the tube to within ½” of top of the tube. Be careful to keep the inside of the tube clean and free of concrete. Allow the concrete to settle at least 24-48 hours before installing the flagpole.
  • After the concrete has cured for 24-48 hours, you’ll want to follow the exact directions of the flag pole you purchased to view the correct way to feel the halyard through the pulley and the other parts of the pole that may need to be screwed on before attaching your flag.

SL: What are some other examples of DIY home-improvement projects we can accomplish this weekend?


  • Place rubber mulch around foundations. I like placing rubber mulch in planting beds around the home. The color should last up to 10 years as opposed to having to replace dyed mulch every season.
  • Buying rugs can be very expensive and your options can get limited. It can be more cost effective to simply have a piece of high quality carpet cut to size and surged to create a custom rug for any space. This is the perfect weekend home remodeling project as a fresh rug can bring in a whole new feel to any room.
  • Use a power washer to clean everything from the driveway to vinyl siding, the front way, deck mildew, or patio furniture. Sometimes a simple, hard cleaning is just what your home needs.
  • When remodeling any space, it is great practice to remove everything from the space, including furnishings, rugs, and art so you can more clearly visualize the space you have to work with. One weekend, start clearing the space you’re interested in improving so the next weekend you can easily begin the project.
  • Restore the wood on older furniture with home furniture polish. Mix together half a cup of olive oil and half a cup of vinegar. Then, grab a rag and rub the mixture into the furniture. Layer on multiple coats for the best finish.

 For more information on Chip Wade and his work as the New Beginnings Expert for Liberty Mutual Insurance, read the Liberty Mutual Insurance New Beginnings Report or visit www.LibertyMutual.com/newbeginning.


  1. Daniel

    Very interersting post. It will help you encourage especially to those who have talents in wood carving.Thanks for sharing.

    December 6, 2015 at 8:24 pm
  2. richard leverette

    this’s very helpful for me. Thanks for sharing!

    August 18, 2015 at 12:31 am

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