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HGTV's Chip Wade Spills His DIY Secrets

Got a toilet, crown molding or a tile backsplash to install? We asked the HGTV pro for his insider tips on making the job easier.

We asked HGTV pro Chip Wade to spill his DIY secrets for installing toilets, crown molding and backsplashes; thankfully, he obliged! Here are Chip's tips:

How to Install a Toilet on Your First Try

1. Buy everything you need (not just the toilet) before starting the installation. “You don’t want to go back to the hardware store five times because your supply line was too short or you forgot one of the bolt flanges,” says Chip Wade, whose new HGTV show, Elbow Room, recently debuted. Delta Faucet’s Corrente toilet makes shopping a cinch—everything you need to complete the job, from the tool to the toilet, is included in one box.

2. Figure out a temporary rest stop for the old toilet. “A lot of times someone will remove the toilet, and then they’re hopping around with a 75-pound porcelain anchor that has water in it, wondering where to put it down,” Wade says. His recommendation: the bathtub.

3. Ditch the current water-supply line for a new one. “Toilets aren’t always identical, so the current supply line is probably not going to fit,” Wade says. What’s more, when you haven’t touched the supply line in years, it’s probably going to leak when you reconnect it. (Good news: Corrente toilets come prepackaged with supply lines, saving you a shopping step.)

How to Install Crown Molding Like a Pro

1. Rent or buy a cordless electric drill/screwdriver. Using a cordless tool lets you easily access hard-to-reach spots without having to be near an electrical outlet.

2. Choose the best material for your particular home. If you’re in a newer house, go with wood—the longevity and finish are worth the price, Wade says. But for older homes with significantly uneven ceilings, he advises using a composite or fiberboard. It molds well to the ceiling so you don’t have half-inch gaps, a common problem.

3. Wait until caulking is dry as toast before painting. “Don’t jump the gun once you’ve spent all that time hanging the molding,” Wade says. So there’s no guesswork, buy caulk that goes on in a bright color and turns white when it’s dry.

How to Install a Tile Backsplash Without Regret

1. Tweak outlet locations to fall within an entire tile rather than intermixed with a joint. To get it right, “I lay all my tile out on the ground exactly as it’s going to go up, and do markings and measurements on the floor before I ever start to lay a tile.”

2. Rent a good tile saw or snap saw. Avoid the $5 special, which tends to create chipped edges. “It’s not that expensive to rent a high-quality saw, and it will cut smoothly, efficiently and very straight,” Wade says.

3. Reconsider that farm-animal backsplash. “A lot of people pick overly decorative backsplashes, but I recommend complementing what’s already in the kitchen,” Wade says. “Since the backsplash space is consolidated, it’s better suited to a simpler, clean design that works with your countertops.”