Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Meet Our Tradies of the Month - A&E Tiling in Adelaide

In the first of a series of regular monthly features, Tradies SA recently met with Anthony Crouch and Enzo Antonello of A&E Tiling, to learn more about their trade, their training and some of the things that mark out a professional tiler from a cowboy.

You too could be our Tradie of the Month! Simply complete the contact form, with the message that you would like to be featured, and we'll get in touch. 

Adelaide tradies can list their businesses for free!
Enzo (left) and Anthony from A&E Tiling look so happy because they've listed for free on Tradies SA!
We met with Anthony Crouch (AC) and Enzo Antonello (EA) onsite on a domestic project they are working on in Lockleys. The discussion started with the pair recounting their apprenticeships and early training.

AC: I started my apprenticeship in 2000, with a tiler called Mario based in the eastern suburbs. I was working with him and going to TAFE at Gilles Plains. Then when I was qualified and licensed, I stayed on working with him for a few years, before he retired and then I started out on my own.
EA: There was no trade schools in my day! I think I started labouring back in about 1977, and I just learnt the trade on the job the hard way and by getting sworn at! After a couple of years, I started to get sent out to to jobs on my own and I went from there. In those days, when you applied for a licence, they got some references from your employers and you were all set to go. 

How long have you been working together as A&E Tiling?
AC: We’ve been working together for about four years, although we’ve known each other since I was an apprentice.
EA: He’s more like a son to me than a business partner!

In the tiling trade, what’s the most important skill that you need, and why is it important that a tiler is properly trained and qualified?
EA: If you haven’t been trained how to do screeding properly, that can cause a whole heap of problems. You need to make sure you know how to get water to flow the right way.
AC: That’s why we have to be qualified in water proofing too.
EA: Getting the falls right before you begin is also pretty important.

What are some of the things that can go wrong if you have tiling work done by someone who isn’t properly trained and qualified?
AC: Flooding, definitely. If you haven’t set things up so that the water flows the right way, you can get a flooded bathroom pretty easily. 
EA: You can also tell when someone hasn’t done a good job because the gaps between the tiles are all different, or they’re uneven.
AC: On a floor, one uneven tile can ruin the whole look of the job. Our business is about presentation, and so these skills are what separate the really good tilers from the okay ones. So it’s also about cutting tiles properly, as well as installing them.

When you’re about to start work for a new client, what is some useful advice you’d like to give them?
EA: We always like to meet up with a client on site before we start, to make sure that they haven’t made any changes that they might have told the builder about, but that we don’t know about.
AC: We can the go through stuff like feature tiles as well, and check that the batches of tiles they’ve ordered all match properly.
EA: The most important thing, though, is to say to people that if you’re not happy with something, tell us during the job, not when we’ve finished. It’s a lot easier to pull tiles off when the glue’s still wet!
AC: If something isn’t going exactly as the client planned, we can always work something out if we’ve got time to change it. So don’t leave it until the tiling’s done if you don’t like something, that’s our advice.

What advice would you give to an Adelaide homeowner who’s looking to find a good tiler?
EA: Don’t always go for the cheapest quote, or lowest price per metre quote. The cheapest quote isn’t always the best.
AC: You should probably try and get some recommendations from people you know who’ve had some tiling done. Go and have a look at their house and see what you think. 
EA: Recommendations from builders are also usually pretty good. If you’re having a new place, or an extension done, and you’ve got a builder on the job, they should usually be able to recommend someone for you.
AC: Talk to the tiler too. We’ve got loads of experience, and so we can talk through what you want to do. Remember, what looks good in your head mightn’t always be practical, so take advantage of our skills and experience, and we can help you get what you want. If you talk to a tiler in this way, you should be able to find someone you feel pretty confident working with.
EA: Don’t be afraid to ask for references, either. Most good tradies are always happy to tell you about who’ve they’ve worked for and who can vouch for the quality of their work.
AC: And ask about waterproofing. That’s important. Make sure that the tiling work is waterproofed. You should probably ask about the guarantee they’ll give you as well.
EA: And watch out for someone who’s a bit hesitant about giving you a full, detailed quote, saying something like, “Don’t worry, we’ll sort it out when we’re done.”  If you do this, your’e probably going to get a nasty surprise somewhere along the track.

So if I’m getting some tiling work done, why should I choose A&E Tiling?
EA: Experience, definitely. Between us, we’ve been in the business for about 45 years. And we’ve never had to advertise. We get so many good word of mouth recommendations, these keep us pretty busy.
AC: We take a lot of pride in what we do, too. We rely on satisfied customers, sure, but we also rely on how satisfied we are with our work too. We never cut corners and if a job takes a bit longer to get it done right, then we’re always happy to do that. 
EA: We give really honest, accurate quotes, too. All our experience means we know how to quote properly so a client doesn’t get any surprises at the end of the job. We always give a highest price that allows for all eventualities, but often that gets knocked down because all the things we factored in haven’t been necessary. We make sure people get what they pay for.
AC: When we walk off a job, we want to see a smile on the client’s face.
EA: For us, a happy client is a job well done.

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