Pre quotation stage

I would firstly like to point out that I’m not aiming to patronise anybody with any of my writing here, I’m simply extending my knowledge from inside the industry to enable the consumer to have more confidence to deal with any maybe cowboys that enter their home or industry. The way I see it at the moment is, that a lot of cowboy tradesmen are masquerading as professionals behind logos written on vans, by so called guilds and associations that only require a fee to join, and don’t actually mean that they are good tradesmen, so beware! Check them out first before allowing them into your home, or go for personal recommendation only, where you can see their work done for a friend or family. There are also some good recommended tradesmen websites to check out, just be sure to check for references, and try and find out the criteria needed for them to register on there or their affiliate membership association. Websites tell a great story about who you are dealing with. Invaluable in my honest opinion. As a professional tiler, it’s all too frustrating to see how many people are still hoodwinked into employing cowboys who want to do the job for maximum profit with minimum care.

Quotation stage

Assuming that you are happy with their credentials, or that, intuitively, the company/attitude feels correct, you are now at the point where it’s necessary to make contact with the company/person. It’s extremely difficult to get an accurate quotation over the phone, as every single job has different scenarios, in my opinion, it’s essential for the company/tiler to survey the site prior to a quotation.

On arrival at your premises, a professional, in my opinion, would need to have a means of writing information down, some form of measuring equipment, and a spirit level, at the very minimum, to be able to provide an accurate and fair quotation, I would be very concerned if there wasn’t a tape measure to take basic measurements. I would also expect eye contact, and a good general demeanour, feeling comfortable with your tradesperson is important for good communication later, should anything crop up. If you feel intimidated, go elsewhere. You may have to leave them in your house alone at some point, it’s unavoidable sometimes, would you trust this person?

When they/he/she have measured the area to be tiled, ask the following questions or similar, to establish their professionalism, and to get an idea of whether they know the correct procedure or not, you will understand the logical process of it all by collecting information at this stage, and you are more likely to get an accurate second opinion, if you need one.

1. How much preparation is necessary, and how long will it take? The answer should be something like; -x no. days to remove the tiles/wallpaper/paint; x days to re-board walls/floors or re-plaster/render to make good. (Sometimes it’s necessary for the tiler to go away and think carefully, so he/she/they should say so at this point). They also should have a rough idea of the time for the actual tiling work also at this point.

2. Do you prime the surfaces before tiling? The answer should be something like; All surfaces that need to be primed will be primed.

3How do you cut round the window? (if applicable). The answer should be something like; I centre the tiles to the window reveals and then cut to the corners of the room as they fall (if you have a tile handy it can be demonstrated there and then, it’s always handy to have a sample of the tile anyway so that the job can be priced according to the type of tiles to be fitted).

4How is/are the floor/walls going to be laid out? The answer should be something like, I centre the floor/ walls according to the obstacles at the edges and the position of pedestals (e.g. toilet/basin), if these are removed anyway, then the tiles would normally be centred to the room and tiled out to the edges so as to avoid slivers at the edges and in the corners. At this point, it’s good to agree which way round the tiles are going to face,and, if there are any patterns, borders to be fitted, or staggered joints. This way, there will be no surprises for either party when it comes to the start of the tiling itself, or at the time of billing when the price increases because the job has taken longer as a result of a bespoke design. Use your imagination as much as you like, a professional tiler can do almost any design with tiles, provided you want to pay for it of course, I find all too often that consumers are sometimes told what they are going to have, there’s no need, you have the choice!

5. How do you finish the edges and corners? The answer should be; silicon sealant to the floor edges(only if up against skirting or tiled walls or left open if skirting is to be fitted over the tile edges), silicon sealant to all the internal wall corners and around the bath and tanking behind the bottom tiles over the bath (to prevent water ingress around bath edges). At this point you should agree whether you want tile trims to exposed edges and external corners also, as with some tiles, it’s not necessary, and you may want to have the exposed corners with the tile edges mitred together. I would also hope that the tiler would give you the option of silicon to match the tiles and grout as closely as possible too, it shows conscientiousness.

6. What colour grout can I have? The answer should be; I can find a matching grout for you or a close colour, or you can have whatever colour you like (there aren’t many you can’t have- even sparkly pink is available). If you want to see a sample of the colour, most tile stores have grout swatches to look at, but, please bear in mind, that special colours may be more expensive and take a while to be delivered, compared to stock items.

It’s a lot to think about and remember, but don’t worry if you have to read it from notes while the tiler is there, I never have a problem answering questions, as I know my stuff and so should any other tiler that enters your house in my opinion, please don’t hold back! I can pretty much say that after these questions, you will know your tradesperson and their abilities pretty well to make an informed decision at this stage. I’m sure they will have shown their true colours by now. There are so many good tradespeople being robbed of work by the less caring among us, I feel with the experience I have gained over the years, that it would be a shame to keep this knowledge from people, so I felt I had to share it with you, and I hope that you may be able to use this format for any trade that you employ to work in your much treasured home in the future.

I am passionate about all things to do with tiles, whether it’s ceramic, marble, sandstone, limestone, granite, mosaic or slate tiles, I love them all, they make a huge impact in a room, and for relatively small outlay if that’s what you desire. My approach is unassuming, professional and friendly, which you will find out if you decide to take me on to beautify your home. My main areas of work are Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, and, I will travel anywhere to work, and, I will take on any design that you require, your imagination and budget are the only things that limit you.

If you would like to find out what a real professional tiler is, please click on my above url, here you will be taken to the homepage of my website, wherein, you will be able to find out more about the type of work that is the mainstay of my business and view some photos, and when it’s finally finished, a video of my work in progress.

For information on floor tilers in London click here.