Well, having finished my recent energy efficiency makeover, I have worked this week on a floor tiling job and yet another of my bugbears has turned up once again.
So, you are busily laying down tiles on the floor. You have made loads of cuts, carefully worked out the angles and generally made a pretty good job. You come to the last box of tiles and you discover they are completely different to the ones you have already laid.
This happened to me this week. Now, before I start tiling I always check to make sure that each box of tiles is from the same batch. This usually means they are all the same, having been produced from at the same time using the same mix of materials.
I totally accept that there is some variation between tiles due to all sort of factors. However in this case – even though the box claimed to be from the same batch – the difference was huge. For a start the surface was rough instead of smooth, the colour was beige instead of cream and the quality was terrible with chips and scuffs all over them.
I can only assume that this box was due for the skip and someone decided to give it a go selling them.
So this led to some frantic calls. The homeowner had to get on the phone to their supplier to see if another box of the same tiles could be tracked down. This proved impossible. So the decision was made for me to lift as many of the side tiles as I could and replace them with the rubbish ones where they wouldn't be so obvious. Then the good tiles were used where they’d show.
As it happened most of the sub-par tiles were placed under appliances or in corners – but that isn't really the point. A day and a half job turned into a three day job and I had to charge more. The customer was a bit peeved about that and has said she will be contacting the supplier to get reimbursed.
I have also learned my lesson. In the future I will be opening each and every box and looking for odd tiles, ones which don't match and those which should just be discarded.
This whole episode got me thinking about what the responsibilities of the supplier are. Should they be checking that each box within a batch match exactly – or is it down to the consumer to check these things before they buy?
I spoke to Claire about this and she was reminded of her knitting. Yep, strange connection but bear with me. She said that when she buys wool, she always buys the same batch number for each ball because she will then be sure that she won't have a patchy jumper. In fact the manufacturer recommend this.
However in the case of wool you can see what you are buying because the packaging allows you to see and touch it.
Tile packaging doesn't allow this and you can't open it in the shop. So how can we as consumers be responsible for any faults which occur? We do as recommended and are still caught out.
Anyway – rant over. See you next week!