May the roof above us never fall in
And may we good companions beneath it never fall out.

~Irish blessing

Friday, July 8, 2011

Screening Candidates

Let's face it, a lot of us DIYers are control freaks. What might start out as a desire to save some money by getting our own hands dirty becomes a labour of love and finding professionals that we trust can be a nerve wracking experience. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are many skilled and honest tradespeople out there with invaluable training and experience, and there are certain jobs we would never even think of doing ourselves, for instance I would never touch gas plumbing - that has to be left to the experts. I have found though that sometimes hiring someone that doesn't have the same love and concern for our home as we do has proved frustrating and disappointing.

The frameless shower screen for our ensuite was one of those things I'd mentioned I thought should be left to the professionals. We want something simple and non-invasive that won't add clutter to the tiny bathroom so a single fixed panel like this one below is ideally what we're after.

Source: The New York Times via Desire to Inspire

I am loving that 'Poetry' mosaic. Anyway, 60kg panes of glass can quickly turn to rubble if bumped or propped up in the wrong way and there are some safety concerns too. However after we stayed home waiting for a shower screen installer yesterday who never turned up then sent me a rude sms asking me to phone to reschedule, I politely told them I'd prefer to just leave it and started googling how to install a shower screen ourselves.

In the end, I phoned a local glazier that does screens and it turned out installation was only $100 on top of the cost of the glass and brackets, so I've organised for them to come and measure up next week. For those that are thinking of giving it a go though, I did find this video from Highgrove Glass Solutions that stock DIY screens at Bunnings.

My frustration with the lack of professionalism of the first screen installer got me thinking though, wouldn't it be good to have some sort of reviewing site for tradespeople - something like Urbanspoon but perhaps positive reviews only, so it didn't get bogged down with negativity but gave people a way of recommending people they'd had a good experience with. Is there such a site?

I don't like to name names and the difficulties we've had have been fairly minor. A few issues with having an oven installed, an electrician that broke the scotia off the top of our new wardrobes and just pushed it to the back hoping we wouldn't notice, a cabinet maker that couldn't measure straight, an unsealed granite counter (although the stonemasons themselves were very good), the list goes on, but small stuff really. I know many people have had it much worse and I can't tell you how sick I felt when design blogger Jo of Desire to Inspire posted photos of the damage some cowboy house painters had done to her 150 year old cedar floors. 

The worst, huh?

On a positive note though, I am always happy to mention the names of people and products that we've found to be fantastic, so in line with this I'd like to give 5 stars to John from Western Chimneys is Williamstown. He serviced our fireplace and chimney when we moved in last year and we were so impressed with his knowledge, work and affordability. Equally we had a great experience with Plumb Heating who installed our gas heating. Both the guy who came to do the quote and the installers were experienced and professional. They even cleaned up after themselves! Thanks guys.

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