How to find a good tiler?
A common question - How do i find a good tiler?
Finding the right person for your next project can be pretty difficult. The words needle and haystack quickly spring to mind. As with all building trades, tiling is a skilled job and it’s important to ensure your tiler is up to scratch.
Choose well, it could go very wrong - After all, there’s no point splashing out on those lovely stone tiles for your bathroom floor if they end up looking like a dog’s dinner. They’ll need to be replaced – a messy and expensive job – and no doubt this will delay any other tradesfolk you have lined up. And that’s never a good thing, especially when the mother in law is due in a few days time.
Unregulated - Unfortunately, tiling in the UK is a largely unregulated trade. Unlike, say, electricians or gas fitters – who have to be qualified and registered in order to work – any Tom, Dick or Harry can pick up some tools and call himself a tiler. There’s no formal registration designed to protect you, the customer.
So without any qualifications required to practice the art of tiling, where on earth do you start when it comes to finding a good tiler? Let’s start finding some solutions and helping you draw up your shortlist.
Ask friends or family?
Envious houses of friends - Word of mouth and referrals. This works from a customers point of view also. Speak to all of the friends whose houses you are envious of. Ask any family members you trust. Ask what they were like around the place, how much they charged you, how you’d rate them out of 10. That sort of thing.
Ask the TTA - The Tile Association (TTA to those in the know) Its mission is to “promote professionalism and technical standards in the tiling industry”, so they are definitely a worthwhile place to start your search. In their words:
“Any tiler wishing to join the TTA has their experience, abilities, track record and financial health checked by the TTA. Tilers must also provide customer references, and have their work checked out or be recommended by an existing fixer member.”
The TTA have a very useful ”Find a tiler” service on their website which will tell you association tilers close to your postcode.
Use the internet...
Websites like MyBuilder.com - In recent years websites such as MyBuilder.com have grown in popularity. Acting like a modern day yellow pages, they allow tradespeople to set up profiles, advertise their services and showcase previous work in order to get jobs that people post on the site.
We think it’s best to tread with a little caution when using these sites. Make sure you shortlist tradespeople who are tilers only and only consider those who have a high rating, plenty of positive reviews and photos of previous projects. Where possible, ask for references from previous clients.
Social Media - Like plenty of other businesses, plenty of tilers up and down the country have embraced social media and have an active presence and following. Many showcase their talents on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so why not have a search for tilers in your area?
Those who are online tend to post plenty of photos and videos of their work and have followers and friends in the industry. If they’re putting an effort into maintaining a good online presence, they are probably worth considering for your shortlist.
Once you’ve scoured these sources, it’s probably a good idea to get your shortlist together. Three or four is a pretty good number to start with. Make contact and ask them round to take a look and chat about your project so they can provide you with a written quote.
Good questions to ask your tilers
1) Do you have a website where I can see a gallery of past work?
You don’t have to have a website, but they are a relatively simple and cheap way of showing off your work, so they question you should be think is, why wouldn’t you?
2) Can you provide any references of previous customers I can contact?
Any tiler worth his salt will have happy previous customers who are gushing in their praise. If they don’t they probably aren’t what they claim to be.
3) What are your working hours?
Do these suit your schedule?
4) How soon will you be able to start work?
Anyone able to start tomorrow would set alarm bells ringing. Good tradesman are usually booked up for a couple of weeks minimum.
5) Will you be supplying fixing materials?
Sometimes tilers have their own preferred brands, so its best to check before purchasing. Good brands are Mapei, Ultra and Bal. These guys supply adhesive and relevant grouts. Expect to pay no more than prices on the internet. About £20 per bag of white flexible adhesive should be a bench mark. Anymore than that then question it?
6) Do you clean the tiles properly after grouting?
Grouting can be a messy business and can leave a haze on the tiles if not properly cleaned off, so it’s important that your new tiles are properly cleaned post grouting. This should be a given but sometimes tilers are keen to jump onto the next job.
7) Do you dispose of all waste?
As with all building work, tiling creates some waste. Old tiles, off cuts and empty bags of adhesive need to be accounted for. Make sure you agree who is responsible for taking this rubbish away as you don’t want it left in a pile on the driveway at the end.
8) Who is responsible for floor and/or wall preparation?
Unless it’s a new build project, it’s likely there’ll be some work required before the tiler starts tiling. This maybe removing old tiles or boarding the floor ready for tiling. It’s best to read our guide to preparing floors & walls for more information. Find out if the tiler is happy to do this and get a quote for this.
8) What is your meterage price?
Most tilers will have a meterage rate for their fitting. This will vary depending on your area, but natural stone should be around £35-£45 per square meter. The higher end in cities like London. Check rates on tilers forums - Its good to check tiling forums for this. They will have rates on there for your area.
Once you’ve met the tiler, it’s worth checking out their references and then waiting for the quotes to come through. As with everything, tiling is definitely not just about price. A tiler who impresses you with his knowledge, with past work and with their general demeanour and attitude, is worth far more than one who promises the earth for next to nothing and can start tomorrow.
Good luck with your project!
BIG NO NO's and DO DO's
• NEVER use a tiler who says he can start tomorrow
• ALWAYS check their work. Look at their website and reviews. Look for complicated jobs on there not just basic tiled floors. A tiler who can do tricky work will have no problem tiling your kitchen floor.
• ALWAYS do your homework on the project your doing. If its underfloor heating, swat up on whats out there and the process of the installation. Know a bit about the work your asking them to quote.
• ALWAYS treat your trades people with love and respect! In return they will give you a very nice job and be nice to have around. Treat them like a lacky, and you will get the opposite....
• ALWAYS get in some nice proper coffee, and treats like biscuits and maybe even a bacon sarny on the first day! They will love you for it, and go the extra mile to make sure you are over the moon with your job!
• 2nd opinion - If your unsure, and need a 2nd or 3rd opinion on something, then get them! its an expensive and heart breaking situation to be in if something goes wrong and you have to start again! TRUST your gut feeling if someone tells you something and your not sure its correct....
CALL us at Rock and Wood for FREE advice anytime. We are here to help! 0845 4660192