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Adige Blog

Energy Saving Tips for Your Bathroom

Bathrooms are traditionally the smallest rooms in the home, but in terms of energy consumption a bathroom is right up there near the top of the list. Nearly a quarter of our energy consumption goes towards heating water for showers, baths, and sinks. This is bad for our pockets and the environment, so it is important to look at ways to save energy, so your cash isn’t disappearing down the drain on a daily basis.

There are many ways to save energy in the bathroom. Some are fairly obvious, but others may not have occurred to you, so check out the following list and see how many you can implement in your home.

Reduce Water Consumption

Water wastage is a big problem in many households. Because water is viewed as an infinite resource, we are all guilty of leaving the tap running when we brush our teeth, or ignoring a dripping tap for weeks because it is a hassle to fix the problem.

The problem is, a dripping hot tap could be wasting thousands of litres of water every year, not to mention the fact that your boiler is heating water unnecessarily. It isn’t a huge job to fix a dripping tap, but if it is beyond your DIY skills, call in a plumber.

Swap the Bath for a Shower

Nothing beats a long, leisurely soak in a hot bath. It’s blissful to lie there for thirty minutes or more, relaxing and thinking about nothing in particular. Unfortunately, a daily bath uses an awful lot of water – as much as three times the amount of water used by a shower. Modern showers are more economical to run, so if you are looking to reduce your energy consumption, it is sensible to skip the bath and have a quick shower instead.

Water efficient shower heads can reduce water and energy consumption, but they are only suitable for power showers and mixer showers.

Speaking of showers, do you really need to have a shower twice a day? Personal hygiene is important, but some people take it a bit too far. It’s perfectly understandable that you would want a shower after a gym session or hot, sweaty day at work, but showering too often is bad for us. As your grandma probably used to say: a little bit of dirt never killed anyone!

Heat and Ventilation

Heat and ventilation are very important in a bathroom. If the bathroom is too cold, moisture in the air can’t evaporate and over time mould and mildew form. Ventilation will allow moist air to escape, but leaving the window open all day during winter is unproductive, as it will take a lot more energy to heat the room back up in the evening.

Ideally, you need to make sure you have sufficient heating installed in your bathroom. A radiator plus a heated towel rail is best, but in a small room, a heated towel rail on its own will provide enough heat to keep the room warm and your towels dry.

In the summer, open the windows and let the steam escape naturally. In the winter, open the window for a few minutes to allow the room to ventilate, and then close it again.

Fit a Modern Bathroom Suite

If your bathroom is old and dated, it could be worth replacing it with an energy efficient new one. A smaller bath will reduce the amount of water you use and fitting a dual flush toilet will save around 16,000 litres of water every year. Alternatively, try inserting a brick in the cistern, as this will also reduce water consumption.

Making a few changes to your bathroom will save lots of energy, so give it a try and let us know how you get on!

Energy Saving Tips for Your Bathroom
How to Make Your Guest Room Extra Welcoming This Christmas

When Christmas is coming, many of us plan to open our homes to family or friends for the big day, and often, if you are inviting people who live far away, this means overnight guests. If you have a guest room in your home and want to make it especially pleasant for your visitors to stay in this Christmas season, here are some tips!

Make the Bathroom Cosy and Comfortable

If you have an en-suite bathroom for your guest room, now is the time to make sure it feels nice and cosy for guests staying in the coldest part of the year. Heated towel rails make for a warm and enjoyable shower experience and are also a good space-saving device for smaller bathrooms like many secondary or en-suite rooms. If you already have heated towel rail-style radiators, make sure these are nicely stocked with fluffy towels and perhaps even robes for your guests to use. This is always appreciated in winter! If your guest room does not have an en-suite bathroom and your guests will be sharing yours, leave some nice soft towels nicely folded in their room so they do not have to ask for them or wonder about which towels to use in your bathroom.

Winter Bedding

If you don’t have overnight guests staying very often throughout the year, you may tend to use the same bed linen all year round in your guest room. With heating, this is normally perfectly fine, but if you want to make the room feel cosier and more Christmassy, then swapping in some warmer blankets or a higher tog count duvets can be a nice way to make your guests really comfortable. It can often be a good idea to have layers, such as a sheet, a duvet and a blanket, so people can use what suits them most and they won’t end up feeling too hot or cold at night.

Festive Touches

A fun way to make your guests feel especially welcome for Christmas is to extend your Christmas decorations into their room. This doesn’t mean you need to turn it into a replica of Santa’s grotto (though that can be a fun thing to try if you have children visiting!), but some small touches like some fairy lights or a little miniature Christmas tree on the nightstand can make your guest room feel more festive without being distracting when your guests are trying to sleep. Another cute touch, for both kids and adults, is to hang simple Christmas stockings at the end of the bed with some treats like sweets inside.

Getting ready for Christmas can involve quite a lot of work, especially when you are hosting the celebrations. However, if you can find some time to make the guest room as warm, welcoming and comfortable as possible, this can go a long way to ensuring your guests have a special and memorable Christmas while they are staying in your home.

How to Make Your Guest Room Extra Welcoming This Christmas
Choosing the Right Lighting for Your Bathroom

The main bathroom is often one of the most underrated parts of a house. Just because it is one of the smallest rooms, people who are decorating or renovating often think it needs less thought put into aspects like colour and lighting than the living room, kitchen, or bedrooms. In actual fact, how comfortable and luxurious your bathroom is can make quite a difference to how it feels to live in or visit your home, and so it is worth putting some time into planning out the details. This doesn’t just mean the main fixtures like the shower or bath, but also aesthetic elements like lighting.

Why is Lighting Important in a Bathroom?

You may think that as long as you aren’t trying to shower or use the toilet in the dark, then the lighting in your bathroom is fine. Actually, with good lighting, your bathroom can become a more relaxing place in the evening, a more energising place in the morning, and a more convenient place to do things like put on makeup, style your hair or shave. This generally means that you need to think about separate lighting elements – your above mirror lighting, lighting for the room in general, and possibly also lighting for the shower or bath.

LED is Always Best

When it comes to bathroom lighting, always go for LED for new or refurbished fittings. LED lasts longer, is more energy efficient, and gives you more choice when it comes to light tones or colours. Plain LED lights allow you to choose between blue, yellow or white tones for your light, and in the bathroom, a yellow tone that emulates sunlight is preferable. This is because it is less harsh and gives you a better impression of how you actually look in daylight when you are getting ready in front of the mirror. White or blue tones can be effective as a style choice for the whole room, but if you are using spotlights above the mirror, a warmer tone is better there.

Colour Changing Lights

It is currently quite fashionable in interior design to use colour changing lights in showers, and there is a good reason for this. It has been shown by psychologists that different colours from the light spectrum have different effects on the brain. This means that being able to change the lighting in your shower is not just a cool gimmick but can actually be used to help relax you or wake you up. Naturally, this makes taking a shower is a better experience, and also looks great, so consider getting a colour changing LED light system for your shower. These are less expensive than they were just a few years ago and can make a big difference to how luxurious and pleasant using your home shower is!

As you can see, bathroom lighting is important when you are trying to make your bathroom as convenient as possible, just as other things like heated towel rails can make your bathroom one of the nicest parts of your home, despite it being small!

Choosing the Right Lighting for Your Bathroom
How Often Should You Wash Your Bath Towels and Rugs?

The question of how often you need to wash towels, bath mats and rugs is a common one. If you stay in a hotel, you would expect the towels to be freshly laundered, but at home, it is very easy to overlook the fact you haven’t washed a towel for a week or two, particularly if it is a colour that doesn’t show the dirt. So how often should you be throwing these items into the laundry basket?

Mould and Bacteria

Hygiene is a big issue in a bathroom. Water, moist air and a lack of ventilation can all cause mould, mildew and harmful bacteria to build up. Towels are absorbent, so they hold on to moisture. Damp towels soon become a breeding ground for bacteria and other germs. Hanging a damp towel on a radiator or heated towel rail will help it to dry out faster, but if the heating isn’t on during the day, damp towels stay damp for extended periods of time.

Every time you use a towel to dry off your body when you step out the shower or bath, dead skin cells collect in the fibres of the towel. Over time, that’s a lot of exfoliated skin!

Hand towels are used multiple times a day: for drying hands and wiping faces. If there are four people living in your home, that’s an awful lot of use for one towel every single day.

Washing Bath Towels

Whether you have a shower once a day or every three days, it really doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that you wash your towel every 3-5 times you use it. So if you have a shower every other day, your towel needs washing about once a week. Ideally a towel should be left to dry out completely between each use, preferably on a heated towel rail or over a radiator. But, if your towel never has the opportunity to dry out thoroughly, it needs washing more frequently.

Washing Hand Towels

Hand towels get a lot more use, so these need washing regularly. The more people sharing the bathroom, the more often you need to wash your hand towels. Experts advise that a hand towel should be laundered every two or three days. For this reason, it is sensible to have a stack of clean towels on the go, so you can throw the dirty one on the laundry basket and replace it with a fresh one.

Washing Bath Mats

Bathmats don’t have the luxury of being allowed to dry off. They usually sit in a waterproof floor, so every time someone climbs out of the bath and stands on the mat, dripping, as they towel dry their body, that’s a lot of water collecting right there.

Damp bath mats soon become a magnet for bacteria and mould, so it is sensible to wash a fabric bath mat once a week. Just throw it in with your towels. Rubber backed bath mats need to be treated with greater care, as frequent washing will destroy the rubber coating. If this is the case, wash it every 3-4 weeks and have a spare handy, in case your mat starts to look grubby.

Towels and fabric bath mats need to be washed on a warm 60 degree setting, as this is the only temperature guaranteed to eradicate germs. They can then be thrown in the tumble drier or hung on a washing line for a dose of outside freshness (note: rubber backed bath mats should be left to air dry; do not put them in a tumble drier!).

Once your towels start to look a bit threadbare or they have lost their colour, replace them with some fresh new ones.

How Often Should You Wash Your Bath Towels and Rugs?
How to Get the Most Out of Your En-Suite Bathroom

En-suite bathrooms are no longer a luxury accessory, reserved only for wealthy home owners. Today’s modern homes come with an en-suite as standard and if you have kids, having an en-suite adjacent to the master bedroom is a definite advantage. So how can you get the most out of your en-suite if you decide to add one, or you want to give an existing en-suite a makeover?

The Benefits of Adding an En-suite Bathroom

If you don’t yet have an en-suite and are considering the pros and cons of one, here are a few reasons why adding an en-suite could be a smart decision.

  • No more queues – It is no fun at all having to queue up outside the family bathroom in the morning while your teenager conducts her beauty routine on a go-slow. If you have an en-suite, you can roll straight from bed into the shower in one easy movement.
  • Add value to your home – A stylish en-suite bathroom attached to a master bedroom will definitely add value to your home, as long as you have not sacrificed a bedroom in the process.

Attract buyers – Most buyers have a list of must-have features in their head when they go to view a property. Since an en-suite is considered to be very desirable, especially for families, you could lose out on a sale if you do not have one.

Space Saving Designs

An en-suite bathroom is typically on the small side, so it is important to maximise what space you do have in order that the room doesn’t feel claustrophobic. Luckily there are lots of ways to do this.

Fitted bathroom units will make the most of the space by hiding pipework away. Back to wall toilets have cisterns hidden behind panels and small, modern sinks are ideal for smaller en-suites. Look for units with a toilet and sink, plus storage space in one unit. By removing a sink pedestal and adding extra storage, you create more space. Alternatively, consider fitting a half pedestal sink so that the floor area remains clear.

En-suite Showers

A shower is a popular choice for an en-suite bathroom. Walk-in showers are a very modern option, but if you really want to push the boat out, go for a wet room instead. With a wet room, you can remove the need for a shower tray and create a greater sense of space. As long as the room is correctly waterproofed by an experienced professional, it is the perfect solution for many home owners.

Many en-suites are not large enough for a full-size bath, but if you have the space, look at a roll top or standalone bath. These are the ultimate in luxury and guaranteed to turn your bathroom into a high-end oasis of pampering.

Create the Illusion of Space

The best way to create the illusion of space in a small room is to keep the floor as clear as possible and use light, bright colours. Floor to ceiling white tiles are a good choice for a small en-suite. Cabinet storage and wall mounted sanitary ware is another way of creating the illusion of space. Lastly, don’t forget to use mirrors to reflect light back into the room.

Minimalist Design Ideas

Less is more in an en-suite, so make sure you include adequate storage for your toiletries. Glass shelves above sinks and functional, yet stylish fitted furniture will all help to create a modern vibe in your en-suite. A modern designer towel rail will also help to cement the minimalist look in your en-suite.

Start work on your en-suite today – it will be money well spent!

How to Design the Perfect Bespoke Bathroom

A well-designed bespoke bathroom will significantly enhance your home. Nobody enjoys spending time in an old, slightly grubby bathroom with cracked tiles, mouldy grout and an avocado bathroom suite. If you install a beautiful white suite with a walk-in shower, chrome towel rail and designer tiles, it’s a very different scenario: instead of rushing in and out, you will want to spend lots of time in there!
Designing a bespoke bathroom is way to achieve the right bathroom for your individual requirements. It can sometimes be tricky to make the most of what space you have to work with, so it pays to consider the layout practically as well as aesthetically when planning the perfect bathroom.

Create a 2D Bathroom Plan

Draw a plan of your bathroom and carefully measure up each dimension, making a note of where doors and windows, soil pipes, extraction vents, etc. are. You will already have various fixtures and fittings in place, but unless you are retaining any of these, start with a blank slate.

There are many things to consider when designing a bespoke bathroom.


Think about whether you need storage. Many older bathrooms don’t come with any storage, so you end up with bottles left on the side of the bath and towels stored elsewhere, which is not convenient. Incorporating storage in your bathroom design will lead to a cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing bathroom.

This can be achieved in a number of ways. Sink vanity units come with storage in the form of drawers and cupboards. Alternatively, you can go for a fitted unit along one wall that includes a sink and a toilet – this type of design maximises space, which is useful in smaller bathrooms. Fitted units can be built to suit any space; even awkward spaces in non-standard shaped rooms. This is a popular choice for modern bathrooms, as it allows you to select from a range of doors and worktops.

Bathroom Heating

There is nothing worse than stepping out of a hot shower into a glacial bathroom, so think carefully about what type of heating you want. Radiators are typically used to heat a bathroom, but underfloor heating is also useful if you want the floor to feel warm underfoot. A heated towel radiator is a stylish and attractive option for a bathroom, plus it will keep towels nice and warm, but on its own, a designer towel radiator may not give out enough heat for a larger bathroom.

Fixtures and Fittings

Think about what sanitary fixtures and fittings you would like. Standard bathroom suites include a bath, toilet and sink. However, if you never use the bath, consider installing a walk-in shower instead. Or, if you have the room, how about a roll top or freestanding bath together with a shower cubicle? There are many options available, so be creative!
Water pressure is also a major consideration when designing a bespoke bathroom. Gravity fed central heating systems don’t deliver sufficient water pressure for a power shower, so this will directly influence your choice of products.

Floor and Wall Tiles

Tiles are a practical choice for bathrooms, as they are hygienic and cut down on maintenance. Colourful, patterned tiles go well with plain bathroom suites, but neutral colour schemes usually work best if you plan on selling the property.


Lighting is also important. Ceiling spotlights work well in bathrooms, but don’t forget to include extra lighting around mirrors.
It is always advantageous to take advantage of a free bathroom planning service offered by bathroom retailers. They can help you get a good feel for the space and suggest things you might not have considered. You are not obliged to use their products or installers, but do make sure you use a professional bathroom fitter when you are ready to have the work done.

How to Prevent a Central Heating Meltdown

With winter upon us, the nights are growing colder and you can no longer avoid turning the central heating on. If your central heating is in good condition, this will be a seamless process, but if your boiler is feeling its age, there is every chance that you might run into problems in the very near future. So how can you reduce your risk of ending up with no heating as winter approaches?

In a wet system, central heating boilers heat the water that circulates around your network of radiators. If the boiler is working correctly, you turn the heating on and within a few minutes the radiators will begin to heat up. There are other types of heating, but in the UK, a central heating boiler powered by gas, electricity or oil is the norm.

Annual Boiler Service

Boilers need servicing every year. Some boilers are less complicated than others – oil boilers have relatively few working parts – but even so, they still need checking over once per year if they are to remain in good working condition. If you buy a new central heating boiler, it will be covered by a warranty for parts and/or labour. This will give you peace of mind for the first twelve months or so, but you do still need to have it serviced.

Servicing a boiler helps to ensure that any faults are picked up before they become major problems. It also means your boiler will work more efficiently, which will save you money on fuel in the long term. However, there is little point in having your central heating boiler serviced if you don’t use a suitably qualified engineer. Engineers lacking experience or qualifications are not going to do a good job and under certain circumstances could even put your life in danger.

Gas Safety

Gas boilers need to be serviced by a Gas Safe registered gas engineer. Registered engineers are listed on the Gas Safe register; they also carry a Gas Safe registration ID card, which you can check. These are the only people who are legally allowed to work on gas appliances, including gas central heating coilers, so if you are not sure of an engineer’s qualifications, ask him to show you his Gas Safe ID card.

Simple Reasons Why the Heating Isn’t Working

If your central heating is not working, it is worth checking to see if there are any ‘quick fixes’ before you call out an engineer after hours.

If radiators are coming on, but not getting very hot, there may be air in the system so try ‘bleeding’ your radiators. If the radiators upstairs are hot, but the ones downstairs are stone cold, your pump might have stopped working. Another common problem is where the waste water pipe from the boiler to the outside freezes in very cold temperatures – using better insulation on the pipe can prevent this problem from recurring. Other possible issues include:

Gas boilers

  • Has the pilot light gone our? If it has, try re-lighting it.
  • Have you run out of gas – this is only applicable if you are on LPG rather than mains gas.

Oil boilers

  • If the water pressure has dropped below safe level, the boiler will automatically lock out. To correct this, top up the water pressure and then press the restart button (check the manual for details on where to find this button).
  • Have you run out of oil? This is unlikely if your oil tank has a sensor, but it can still happen if the sensor is faulty.

Central Heating in Rental Homes

Landlords are responsible for fixing central heating problems as quickly as possible. Having no spare cash to pay an engineer won’t cut it, so if your landlord drags their feet and you have been without heating and/or hot water for more than 72 hours, give your local housing officer a call and explain the situation.

Most central heating problems can be fixed fairly easily, but if your heating is off more than it is on, it might be time to replace the system with a new one.

Flat vs House- Which One is Better?

Homes come in all shapes and sizes and for many people, as long as they have a roof over their head, they don’t care whether the home has one floor or ten. But if you are looking at buying a new home, you might be wondering whether a flat or a house is going to be a better choice. Both are likely to be on offer, although if you are looking at inner city properties, flats will be more prevalent than houses. So what are the main differences and what do you need to be aware of before investing?

Leasehold Vs Freehold

Flats are normally leasehold whereas houses are freehold. This creates a lot of problems and can make it harder to sell the property or obtain a mortgage if there are not many years left on the lease. If you are considering buying a flat, always take specialist advice on the subject of leases, as they can be very restrictive.

Extra Expenses

When you buy a house, you expect to pay the usual expenses such as gas, electricity, etc. With flats it can be a bit different and there are sometimes ground rent and service charges to take into account. You may also be expected to contribute to major building repairs such as a leaking roof, even if your flat is not affected, so once again, take advice before buying.

Size Matters

Although there is a common perception that flats are smaller than houses, this is not true at all. Many flats are just as spacious as houses and encompass just as many square feet of living space. You may even find a flat with living space split over two floors. However, if you want a property with multiple bedrooms and a large amount of living space, there will be a lot more houses to choose from. And if you are short of money and can’t afford a large home, the opposite will be true and flats are likely to be at the top of the affordability scale.

Shared Space

Most flats have some degree of communal space, be it a shared landing and staircase or a communal hallway. This doesn’t mean that you will ever see any of your close neighbours, but if you are the solitary type who prefers to avoid other human beings, a flat might not suit you. It is possible, however, to find self-contained flats with their own private entrance that feel like houses rather than flats. These are perhaps the best of both worlds.

Noise Levels

A lot of modern houses, particularly low-cost homes, are built in very close proximity to one another, with paper-thin walls. This can lead to noise problems if you have neighbours who like the sound of their rock music and enjoy arguing at 3AM in the morning. Flats can be even worse and there is nothing worse than listening to an ignorant resident in the flat above stomping around and making a racket for hours. The only way to avoid this problem is to buy a detached house on a large plot.


People with mobility problems will find it hard to cope with stairs, which rules out most homes built over more than one level. Since flats tend to be built on one level, they are a good choice for people with disabilities, although anything above ground level may represent a problem unless there are elevators in the building. If you still want to live in a house, your best option is to opt for a bungalow.

Ultimately, whether you buy a house or a flat will be a decision governed by your personal circumstances and the property available, but do make sure you take expert advice before investing any money in property.

Top DIY Gadgets Every Home Should Have

Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or not, there are some gadgets and power tools you really should invest in. You don’t necessarily need to be skilled at DIY to use them, but if you do decide to undertake a DIY project such as removing a vertical designer radiator from the wall in order to strip off old wallpaper, a few handy tools will make life so much easier. So what tools and gadgets are worth investing in?

Screwdriver Set

A Multi Purpose Screwdriver Set

Every home should have a set of screwdrivers stashed away in a drawer somewhere. Screwdrivers come in handy for all kinds of things. From opening a plug to change a fuse to tightening up a hinge on a door, there will come a time when you need a screwdriver, so make sure you have at least one of each variety available.

Wallpaper Stripper

Steam Wallpaper Stripper

Scraping off wallpaper by hand is a backbreaking job if you are tackling decades of ugly woodchip painted in magnolia. By contrast, most wallpaper will come off pretty easily if you use a steam wallpaper stripper. The only thing you need to be careful of is that if you get a bit too enthusiastic with the steam, you might notice chunks of plaster falling off too.

Power Drill

Power Drill

You can’t put up a shelf without a power drill. Well, you could, but it might not stay up for more than five minutes. Electric drills are cheap and easy to use. Choose from corded economy drills or upgrade to a cordless drill for outdoor projects. For simple DIY projects, go for a cheap and cheerful brand, but if you plan on building an extension, look at quality brands such as Makita or Bosch.

Electric Screwdriver

Electric Screwdriver

If you are a big fan of flat-pack furniture, an electric screwdriver will make your life an awful lot easier. Instead of sweating away with an old screwdriver, you can get the job done in half the time. And the good thing about electric screwdrivers is that they often come with a selection of multi-functional accessories, such as corkscrews, so if you are struggling to uncork a bottle of wine, pull out your trusty electric screwdriver and get Happy Hour off to a fine start.

Mini Sander

Mini Sander

In order to achieve a professional finish when painting skirting boards and doorframes, you need to sand the wood down to remove lumps, bumps and imperfections. To do this by hand takes ages and the end result is not always that great. Investing in a mini sander will make life a lot easier. You can also use mini sanders to renovate wooden furniture if you fancy introducing a bit of ‘shabby chic’ into your home.

Chop Saw

Chop Saw

Chopping sticks for the fire is a pain when you have to do it by hand. A far easier way of chopping small sticks for kindling is to use a chop saw instead. Chop saws are great if you have a huge pile of timber off-cuts. It takes minutes to zap through a stack of wood and turn it into kindling size pieces. For larger pieces of timber (for example old pallets), a circular saw is a better choice, although this requires more strength to wield for any length of time.

Universal Cutter

Universal Cutter

A universal cutting tool is like a penknife on steroids. With one of these little gadgets you will be able to cut through just about anything: carpets, vinyl flooring, electric cabling, and anything else you need to sever in two.

This is just a small selection of the many DIY gadgets you will find at your local DIY store, but with one or two of these in your garage, you should have most DIY projects covered.

How to Find a Top Tradesman

There are times when it feels as if a good, reliable tradesman is more elusive than a unicorn. You know the feeling: you want a new stainless steel radiator or a towel radiator fitting in your home, but finding a plumber to do the job is impossible. None of the people you contact are interested in such a small job, and most don’t even bother replying to your voicemail message. So what are your options?

You could have a go at doing the job yourself, but there is only so much you can learn from a YouTube video and besides, you don’t have the right tools for the job anyway.

Asking a DIY enthusiast friend to help you out is a better option, but that will leave you indebted to them and do you really want “Big Mike” asking you to baby-sit his Rottweiler for a weekend?

Word of Mouth

The best way to track down a reputable tradesman who isn’t going to rip you off and leave your home looking like a building site is to use personal recommendations. Using word of mouth will ensure you only hire tradesmen who have a good reputation. If you have some work that needs doing, ask friends and family if they can recommend a plumber, heating engineer, electrician, etc. It isn’t foolproof, but it will weed out the worst offenders.

Another way to find someone reliable is to task another tradesman in a different niche. For example, if you need a plasterer, ask a builder or plumber as they usually work with plasterers and will therefore have lots of contacts. You might even be able to score a discount in the process.


TrustMark is a government-backed scheme. Tradesmen listed on the website have to be approved, which means they are more trustworthy. In order to be able to display the TrustMark logo, a tradesman must sign up for a code of practice, submit to checks on his financial and trading history, plus allow on-site inspections. There is no guarantee that a TrustMark approved contractor won’t go out of business and leave you high and dry, but you are more protected than if you hire a random person from the Yellow Pages.

Online Recommendations

There are plenty of online recommendation websites purporting to offer reviews and ratings of tradesman. Think of them as a kind of ‘Trip Advisor’ for tradesmen. How they work is pretty simple: Fred the Plumber can register on an online recommendation website, which provides a convenient platform for him to tout for business. Once he has done a job, his customer is invited to rate his services and the more positive reviews he has, the more work he will get. In theory it sounds good, but in practice sites have been accused of removing negative reviews. There is also nothing to stop tradesmen asking friends and family to leave glowing feedback in order to boost their online profile.

There are several big recommendation websites to choose from, including:

  • RatedPeople
  • Mybuilder
  • Trustatrader

Practice Due Diligence

Once you have drawn up a shortlist of potential tradesmen, check them and their work out thoroughly. Make sure they carry the correct licenses for the type of work they are quoting for. Ask if they can provide references and if they use social networking, look at how they interact with customers.

Always obtain detailed quotes and if there is anything you are not sure about, ask for clarification. Do not pay in advance for work to be carried out, although you may be asked to pay a percentage of the cost of materials in advance. Lastly, make sure you get everything in writing, including the scope of the job and the amount agreed upon. That way you are protected if it all goes wrong at a later stage.