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Q & A with Which? Trusted trader: Contac Tiling

The tiling industry has undergone some changes in recent years. We asked Which? Trusted trader Paul Huggett, for his thoughts on a range of issues: from what’s hot at the moment to what he looks for when hiring a new tiler.

How did you get into the tiling industry?

After having worked in large blue chip companies, where I progressed into senior management, I took an opportunity to fulfil my dream of running my own business. I used the skills I had gained to set up Contac Tiling.

What attracted you to tiling?

I was attracted to tiling because I was looking for a skill that would enable me to show off the finished article, and allow me to use my craftsmanship.

What do you look for when employing a new tiler?

I would only employ new starters that have the potential to work hard. They must be polite, patient, reliable, and willing to learn all aspects of customer handling. They must also have a good eye and attention to detail.

Do you offer any bespoke tiling services?

We cover all aspects of tiling including porcelain, mosaics, natural stone, and Victorian tiling. We also cover repair work, removing tiles, making good, fitting under-tile heating, levelling floors, preparing walls and floors, and we advise on the most appropriate materials to use as a base for tiling onto. We also offer a full advisory service.

What are the trends in tiling at the moment?

Large format tiles are very popular at the moment. For example 600x300mm or 600x600mm are becoming standard tiles to fit. Tiles of lengths of 1 metre and larger are not uncommon although these are found more in the commercial industry than on the domestic side. Wet rooms are also very popular and depending on the market place you aim your business, we have found that the customers’ expectations are focused on value for money as well as a very high level of workmanship.

What are the sorts of issues do you face when starting a new job?

Most of the problems we encounter are around preparation work - uneven walls, unlevelled floors, poor screeding, or screed that is not allowed to fully cure and dry out. Others include workman undertaking work without the knowledge, skills and understanding of what is required. This normally leads to unsatisfactory work and leaves the customer in a very difficult situation. On the domestic front we often have to cut the tiles outside and then transport them upstairs to the bathroom or en-suite.

How do you go about overcoming these issues?

Most of these problems can be ironed out by communication.  I believe that when you specialise in an area/trade your knowledge should be conveyed to offer a full understanding of what is required and that the customer understands what they are paying for, and what to expect.  I believe that a workman should fully communicate with their customer to offer the best service and workmanship everyone can be proud of.


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