Me Versus Various Tradesmen. My Renovating Experience So Far

If you read my last post about moving, you will know the flat I bought needs a lot of work. I will be honest, I didn’t realise how much! I have been (and am) at the mercy therefore of various tradesmen, (I haven’t found a woman round here in the renovating field as yet).

The start of it all

After much delay, the purchase of this flat went through all of a sudden. This meant I wasn’t ready to move! Although I had a date for leaving the rental flat I hadn’t had a completion date in advance so I hadn’t been able to book people in. So there I was, with a week to moving in, not really wanting to pay for two places but with very little packed. What was more, the flat to move to had mouldy walls, ceiling bowed with a leak, yucky carpet and various other issues . What to do?

I have to admit I felt a little in the dark as to where to start. I am lucky enough to have a mate who is a retired teacher who can decorate and he has helped a lot. Only trouble was, he was not available for my move date.

I approached a random couple of decorators working in the flats next to mine and got a quote. I also decided to post in the local neighbourhood group. It was through this group I thought I had all my prayers answered. Tip: never think that! Go for separate entities. Go by word of mouth of friends or neighbours. It seems in the building trade it is very much a case of “I scratch your back and you’ll scratch mine”. Everybody that has come over knows someone who can tile (mainly, but other stuff too).

It is all well and good if you are happy with the work of the first person, but if not, why listen to their recommendation?

Issues with the tradespeople have been:

    1. Pest control put down poison boxes, came twice, but did not find mice. There was a nest of mice though! (I even saw one run through the kitchen)
    2. Mess and rubbish not cleared away (including tiles, bits of tubing, mice droppings and poison under the sink
    3. Half removing a carpet but leaving the breaking up lining which I had to pull up and sweep
    4. Decrator didn’t sand doors down thoroughly, didn’t paint clean edges, did not fill holes in wood and not taking off door handles so paint gets all over them
    5. Not lining or filling walls so not a smooth surface to paint on
    6. Leaving a leaking pipe in the kitchen
    7. Tiles taken off (maybe to get tiling work?) leaving bare brick and dust
    8. Handyman refusing to strip the wallpaper as there was stuff in the middle of the room 

I wonder why I have had issues

Why has work not always been to the standard I would expect? Am I too fussy? Should builders/ carpenters etc not clear the mess after themselves? Should I not expect neat edges as the doors are old?

Other possibilities in my mind are:

I am being taken advantage of as a single woman

Laziness

Trying it on

Pressure to get to another job elsewhere

So what have I done about problems left by the tradesmen?

  1. The kitchen fitter got rid of them somehow and filled holes
  2. I have swept up the rubbish under the sink and the carpenter has been back several times to try and sort (patch) the leak.
  3. Got rid of the lining by scraping it up myself
  4. I got the men over and the painter spent another day neatening the job
  5. as above
  6. kitchen fitter bringing plumber today
  7. hopefully, my mate will be able to tile will walls like that
  8. moved the stuff (with difficulty) and persuaded him to come the next day

If I move again, I will definitely try and extend the gap between and make sure I choose people carefully. It will save me money, time and hassle in the long run!

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Lucy At Home UK gentle parenting blogger

1 reply
  1. Lucy At Home
    Lucy At Home says:

    Oh I hate having to get workmen in – as you say, the quality of work can be so hit-and-miss. I’m sorry you had such a rocky start to your renovation and I hope that things go a lot more smoothly from now on #blogcrush

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