Rip-Off Tradesman didn’t Catch Me Out

Is it any wonder that tradespeople get a bad name for themselves?

I live in a Victorian, semi-detached house. A couple of years ago, my neighbour had some work done on one of the chimneys of his house. While on the roof, the workman noticed that one of the tiles on my roof had broken and come loose. He pushed it back into place for me. We had been experiencing a very minor leak during extremely wet weather, and that seemed to fix the problem, at least temporarily.

We’ve had a lot of heavy rain and wind recently and I guess that the tile has moved again, causing the rain to get in. It’s a fairly minor leak, but it’s obviously better to get it fixed as soon as possible before further damage is done. Unfortunately, my ladder doesn’t reach that far, and if it did, it would be pretty scary going up there.

The people across the road are property developers so I asked them to recommend a hire company for scaffolding towers. Instead, they recommended a roofer as he would probably be able to fix the roof quickly and cheaply.

So today I called the roofer and he said he would come and look at the roof at 2.30. I said that was ok as my wife would be in until 3.00. He actually arrived at 2.00 and got no answer from the door-bell. My wife was actually at home, but it turns out that the battery in the door-bell had died, so she didn’t hear it. He called me to ssay that he would have a look at the roof anyway. I called my wife to tell her he was there.

She didn’t see anyone use a ladder to examine the roof and she was sitting in a room where she would have definitely seen him through the window. Later, a neighbour said that she had seen somebody standing in front of our house looking up at the roof, so it must have been him.

The roofer then called me to tell me what the problem is. He said that two tiles needed replacing, but most of all, the cement that holds the tiles in place in the gully between the roofs needed replacing and it would entail removing and re-fitting a whole row of tiles and then fixing with new cement. The job would cost £395 + VAT, bringing the total to £474.

As he had obviously not actually been on the roof, I was slightly mystified as to how he could have determined that was the problem. When I arrived home I looked up at the roof and there was no way he could possibly have seen what was causing the leak from the gound. He would have to have been about 5 metres tall and also posess the abilty to see through a substantial brick chimney.

Knowing that the price of roof tiles is £1.68 each, a bag of cement is about £5, and the hire of a scaffolding tower is £135 for a week, I think I’ll do the job myself. I even found a website showing how to replace broken tiles, complete with photographic illustrations of how it’s done. And while I have the tower for a week, I’ll be able to paint the barge boards, fit soffits and clean out the gutters.

June 19, 2012 · Phil Rogers · No Comments
Posted in: DIY - Home Improvement

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