Month: August 2020

Thinking of Starting a Tiling Business? Think about Networking (just keep your distance ?)

With the business and economic climate we are currently experiencing, it may seem like a bad time to consider starting up a new tiling business and becoming a self-employed tiler. But, for the construction industry, there appears to be some bright light at the end of the tunnel compared with other business sectors who are experiencing difficult times. Since March this year, the world of work in the UK has changed – shaken, stirred, turned upside down and inside out and for many people who were in employment then, have now found themselves without employment as their employers have suffered an economic Tsunami.

If you have been considering changing career, attaining a new skill or simply need to find some form of employment, then seriously consider the option of becoming a highly skilled floor and wall tiler.

The tiling industry is a part of the ever growing UK construction industry – with the demand for building new homes across the country and the domestic markets’ increased demand for interior and exterior makeovers, now is a good time to think about diving in and taking the plunge on running your own floor and wall tiling business.

Finding the right course that will give both the practical skills and theoretical skills is key to your future success and with a considered investment in our tiling training courses you are more than halfway to building a successful business.

In addition to the practical skills and detailed course information acquired at UK Pro Tiling Training there is continued support with the (optional) Elite Aftercare Package to give you peace of mind and a professional ‘help line’ for when you need it.

In addition to the practicalities of starting a business (take a look at www.gov.uk/set-up-business ), what are the personal qualities you need to run a tiling business or be a successful self-employed tiler? Qualities such as self-motivation, the ability to work long hours, offer fantastic customer service, develop good negotiating skills and have a great understanding of your market (i.e. your customer requirements) these personal attributes are key to being successfully self-employed and having a great business.

If you are looking to be self-employed only without the additional responsibilities of employing people, then learning how to price up and quote for potential jobs should be a bit easier than having to consider what each job will cost to cover all your material and labour costs. But whether self-employed or running a tiling business employing people, the basic business skills crossover. Most importantly, get your name (or business name) out

there! Marketing costs can be expensive and you don’t want to blow your budget. Use social media platforms, word of mouth, place a sign with your name, contact details and profession where you are working and advertise on your vehicle before placing costly adverts.

So what is the importance of networking when running your own business?

Well, by having knowledge of and contact with good quality suppliers who will negotiate with you on the best prices, advise on current market trends and put you in contact with other businesses that you could work alongside with ( for example kitchen and bathroom fitters, decorators, builders) will only grow your reputation when working alongside these businesses. Consider widening your network by joining a local business support group and attending professional events and trade fairs (when it is possible to do so) and keeping up to date with the latest tiling trends will impress potential clients.

If you are a UK Pro Tiling Training trained floor and wall tiler, your toolbox will be filled with all the skills, knowledge and continued professional support then your tiling business is bound to thrive.

Beyond The Tiles

As you start to grow your business and want to offer your customers the very best service, you may be able to save yourself (and your customers) some time and, indeed, money. If you can acquire some additional skills and knowledge outside of tiling it may save you having to try and find, and then pay for, some of the other trades people. Be aware that some jobs will definitely need you to get qualified trades people involved.

Know when to use an expert.

If you feel any electrical installation or modification is needed, then don’t be tempted to tinker yourself. Not only could this be dangerous, but also illegal. The same goes for plumbing and definitely if you feel a gas supply needs moving.

Another time when you should get an expert opinion is where any structural changes are taking place as part of the work being carried out.

Maybe do try this at home.

Many other jobs which might be taking place in areas you are tiling could be tackled by yourself. If there is to be small adjustments to studwork, maybe around a bath or shower area, it might be worth teaching yourself the skills needed to carry this out yourself. Often, befriending a carpenter or other tradesperson could be mutually beneficial. They might be happy to offer you tips rather than tackle a very small project themselves.

With studwork in place, another skill which is relatively easy to acquire is plasterboarding, maybe behind an area to be tiled. Be sure to check on the correct specification for the area. Behind a shower area for example, will need a specialised moisture resistant board.

You don’t need to be a plasterer.

Many of us have watched skilled plasterers and been in awe at the smooth flat finish they achieve. If an area needs plaster work repairing or replacing before you can tile, try and become confident enough to apply a browning, bonding or other undercoat. If you can get this flat enough to tile over, there really is no need to spend out on a plasterer. The finish doesn’t need to be silky smooth.

Finishing touches.

If your customer is having the majority of a room tiled, you might feel confident enough to offer to decorate any remaining wall space, be sure to research the best methods and use the best materials. Also, having the right tools will mean you can confidently fit mirrors and other finishing touches to the tiled walls.

Be sociable.

And don’t forget your admin! Being up to speed with social media marketing and other effective advertising platforms will save you money and hopefully generate income. If you can learn to use bookkeeping tools and understand Inland Revenue returns and documentation this could avoid employing an expensive accountant. As with the trades listed above, if you are really not confident, it is still better to bring in an expert.

Get in touch with us to chat about your tiling career, we have courses to suit all levels of experience and knowledge.

Tiling On Construction Sites

If you’ve only ever worked in domestic properties, not employed through agents, major contractors or other organisations, you quite possibly have got used to dealing with the customer directly. You will have been responsible for every aspect of the work from start to finish and will have needed just your skills and your customer service. Working on large sites as a subcontractor comes with added complications and requirements.

Health And Safety Executive (HSE) The HSE offers advice on how you should approach working as a subcontractor. Like all trades people on site, you are there in your capacity as a tiler and should only work in the area designated and only carry out the tasks you are there for. The main contractor will have policies for each site regarding disposal of waste (and whether you or their own staff will do this) and which PPE is appropriate for both the job in hand and the site itself. You should never assume anything or ignore risks on sites. Most have site managers and safety officers who you should approach with your concerns or queries.

Power Tools

Again, the HSE is a great source of advice. The main message is that tools should either be battery powered or operate using 110 Volt with Centre Tapped to Earth (CTE) system which ensures the total voltage doesn’t exceed 55 Volts. When you are asked to price work on sites, take into consideration tools which you may need to buy or hire.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

To obtain a CSCS card, which will give you access to construction sites, where you can work as, or for, a subcontractor, you will need to have passed an accredited CSCS Health and Safety at Work course. This is the minimum requirement for anybody wishing to work on a construction site. It is more complicated than that though: As a skilled tradesman, you will need to have a skill specific card.

Using NVQ To Obtain Your CSCS Card Check out our NVQ courses to see how we can help you get the level of qualification you need. The cards are colour coded depending on your level of experience. A trainee can get a red card before achieving an NVQ qualification although they would be unable to work on site alone. Similarly with the green card, you will effectively be just an ‘operative’. Achieve an NVQ level 3 or above and you can get your Blue, Gold or Black cards which will show that you are a skilled operative, a supervisor, or manager and can operate on construction sites accordingly.

We have courses to prepare you for all levels of tiling and to get you feeling comfortable about working on construction sites. You’ll need to be switched on to the business aspect of the job, and fully understand payment terms and contracts with larger organisations. Don’t forget we offer a one day course which has some great content to help you with your business model.

Get in touch today and let’s get your journey to construction sites started.

Entrance Appeal – A Tiled Hallway

How else to make real impact at the front door than with a beautifully tiled hallway. Both a chic and practical entrance to a property being hard wearing, durable and with a resistance to muddy and wet footprints.

Using floor tiles, either plain or patterned in the hallway will need careful preparation and planning. Most floor tiles are larger than wall tiles and most importantly choose a tile that has a non-slip finish. The style and type of floor tile will depend on the property and client choice.

With the floor measured and tiles chosen, prior to preparing the floor remember to wear heavy duty gloves and safety goggles, the removal of old tiles or getting the floor ready for applying the tiles may have shards of old tiles, large splinters etc. that could cause damage to hands and eyes. So, in the preparation of the hallway floor it may require some form of levelling and cemented backer board if the floor isn’t even or have a concrete base (tiles can be laid on any dry concrete level base). But if this isn’t the case it will be necessary to ensure the floor is levelled and suitable.

Can you lay new tiles over an existing tiled floor? It is possible and essential that the tiles are firmly laid if so. If the floor has a vinyl covering, ensure the surface is coated with a primer. For laying the tiles, choose a specific adhesive necessary for the floor type – for example if the floor is a wooden floor or concrete. Equally, if the floor to be tiled is of a wooden/timber construction then it may be advisable to strengthen it by using an appropriate plywood (an exterior grade ply would be best).

Once the floor is prepared, laying the tiles out is the next step. Dry laying using the key tile (that is the first tile that will be laid ) will set the rest of the layout. It is usual to start as central as possible so the key tile will be laid in this central position, followed by laying a row of tiles from the centre to the wall. This will give you an idea of what the floor edges will look like. Preferably, there shouldn’t be a small slither of tile at the edge, so if this is the case, move the tile line so that you have an even and equal edge on both sides. From this point continue the dry laying leaving a gap of around half a tile around the edge of the hallway these will need to be cut to size. For an immaculate and professional finish, take the chosen adhesive for the floor, spread around a metre of the adhesive evenly, working outwards to the hallway wall and ensuring that the markings that indicate the position of the key tile are still visible, and lay the tile. Tile spacers can be used and with the first tile in position continue at right angles across the floor ‘criss crossing’ the key tile and checking the level of the tiles regularly.

Once your floor is covered leaving only the edge tiles to lay, make sure excess adhesive is cleared from the edges to ensure a level finish. Apply adhesive to the edge tiles and not the floor to lay them. Finally use a well mixed grout appropriate for the tiles used and finish off the hallway corners with a flexible sealant matching the grout. After removing and leaning off any excess grout and whether the hallway is tiled with patterned or plain tiles, the final finish will be impressive, long lasting waterproof and damage proof. Perfect.

What type of tile is best to use for an outdoor patio?

So what type of tile to use? Well, firstly, porcelain tiles are used in favor of the ceramic tile as the porcelain tile is a more dense and stronger form of ceramic. Porcelain tiles that have a rating suitable for flooring can be laid outside. And the tiles will have a textured finish in order to avoid any slippery accidents.

Depending on personal choice (and maybe budget), the type of property and the overall look that is to be achieved, then a slate tile could be considered. The slate tile will need to be of a higher quality grade and make a great choice for exteriors as they have a resistance to stains and are non-porous. And where slate has been used in interior and exterior designs it gives a very eye-catching and striking look.

So why choose tiles over the more common (and popular) brick or paved exteriors? Well if you are looking to add a bit of style, individuality and uniqueness to your outside space, tiles will give you a wider choice of style, colour and pattern than the more usual brick and paved look.

There are things to consider when choosing tiles to be outside such as what is most appropriate for the climate and environment that the patio/ exterior space will be exposed to. We know that porcelain tiles are preferable to ceramic as it is a much more hard-wearing tile but isn’t the only option to choose from. Consideration for how the outside space is going to be used will be another important factor when choosing your tile.

For a patio/ outside space that will be used with heavy footfall (commercially or domestically) then the stronger the tile type the better; after all there is nothing worse than looking out on to your new outside area and a couple of cracked tiles appear.

Having looked at porcelain and slate, the quarry tile is a popular choice being strong and functional and if choosing the quarry tile, remember there is limited choice of colours to choose from and think about the climate where they are to be laid, as quarry tiles are not the greatest choice for cold and freezing temperatures. They do have a great resistance to water and are hugely popular in warmer climates, after all, haven’t we at some time sat on a warm, red quarry tiled terrace? And, being unglazed, the other great advantage of the quarry tile is that they are non-slip.

Maybe if you are looking for a bit of luxury (and may blow the budget a bit) granite tiles could be used, but, because they are normally highly polished then the ‘slip factor’ is high if the granite tiles get wet and because granite is more porous than some of the other materials it will require some regular maintenance by sealing it against water penetration. But if your choice is to go for a more luxurious and high maintenance look then granite tiles may appeal.

Then we come to travertine, a natural stone, which, depending on where it is quarried, can vary in its quality but is still a strong and durable tile. For a higher quality and more water resistant tile, travertine tiles from Italy or Turkey are a good choice. Travertine is a beautiful tile with earthy, warm tones and texture.

With the various choices of tiles available, it is highly likely that budget, style and colour and how the patio or outside space will be used will have an influence on which tile will be best for your outdoor patio.