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Choosing the right fascias, soffits and guttering specialist
Last updated 9th May 2017
- Choose someone with lots of specific experience
- Find out exactly what a tradesman’s process is going to be
- Get a detailed quote from each tradesman you’re considering
- Find out about scaffolding
- Ask whether they’re a registered installer
- Ask who will actually be doing the job
Let’s look at each of these in a bit more depth.
Choose someone with lots of specific experience
First, look for a tradesman who has plenty of experience of doing your type of job - preferably using the same sort of materials.
Lee Picknell of LP Fascias has only been a MyBuilder member for a few months - but he’s already built a fantastic positive feedback rating. He explains what homeowners should be looking for:
I’d recommend that homeowners ask to see photos of a tradesman’s previous work - preferably with some sort of proof that they’ve done it, rather than just downloading some random photos from the internet! For example, look to see if the tradesman is actually in some of the photos. And people shouldn’t be afraid of asking to speak to a tradesman’s previous customers.
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Find out exactly what a tradesman’s process is going to be
Jobs on and around the roof area of a property can cause real confusion for homeowners, because they’re often unable to inspect the area for themselves and work out what the main issues are.
That’s why when it comes to work involving fascias, soffits or guttering, it’s particularly important that a tradesman explains exactly what his process is going to be. Lee gives an example of something to watch out for:
There are some tradesman who will do a job in a way that looks good from the outside - but which isn’t done properly underneath. For example, one of the styles of soffit we fit is called tongue and groove. And obviously it fits in place in a tongue and groove style - it should slot together. But what some tradesman do is, they don’t cut it to fit the tongue and groove style; instead they just nail it up in one sheet. This looks fine from the outside, but in the long run, when the wind gets underneath it, it’s going to wave around, and potentially even flap out.
So, it’s really important that a homeowner asks each tradesman to explain, in detail, how they’re going to install the soffit. With the guttering and the fascia board itself - there are different ways you can fix those. For example, there are different ways of nailing them on. But the soffit is the main thing.
MyBuilder member Ron Carr - of Northwest Roofing and Building Maintenance - has over 30 years experience in the roofing industry and 100% positive feedback rating. He highlights another example of how processes can differ:
There’s a lot of people who don’t quite know what they’re doing, so their process will be wrong. For example, are they going to take everything off and start again, or are they just going to be overboarding?
Someone shouldn’t just cover everything up all the time. If the wood or felt is rotting, it should be replaced. So, before you choose a tradesman, make sure he describes exactly what he’s planning to do.
Ask a tradesman whether they would be willing to take photos of the working area before, during and after the job is completed. A good fascias, soffits and guttering specialist will be happy to do this, and it means you don’t need to get up on the roof to inspect the work.
Get a detailed quote from each tradesman you’re considering
Every tradesman should present you with a quote in writing, broken down to highlight the individual costs of labour, materials and any other expenses that might be involved (like the disposal of waste). In their quote they should describe the process they plan to go through, step by step.
As Ron indicates, many fascia, soffit and guttering specialists will be happy to wait until after work has been completed before receiving any payment:
I generally only take payment on a job when it’s completed and the customer is happy with the work.
Whatever you do, never hire a tradesman who demands the full amount upfront.
Find out about scaffolding
If your project involves work at height, ask whether the tradesman will need to erect scaffolding. Scaffolding isn’t always essential when fascia, soffit and guttering specialists are working at height; it depends on size and scale of the individual job, and some tradesmen will opt to use a ladder or hydraulic crane (cherry picker) instead.
However, a tradesman should be happy to explain to you how he plans to use his equipment safely, and in a manner compliant with the law. There are various Work at Height regulations which every tradesman should adhere to, and the Health and Safety Executive has produced a brief guide to what the regulations and guidelines mean in practice.
If the tradesman does plan to erect scaffolding, ask how much this will cost. Lee explains:
Make sure you ask about scaffolding, and any costs associated with that. I’ve actually got a cherry picker, which can save homeowners a lot of money. Scaffolding can cost an absolute fortune to hire - typically they won’t come out for less than £300. Whereas I can hire my machine for £100 and use it all day long, on one, three, five, ten jobs. So, the homeowner should ask a tradesman whether he plans to erect scaffolding, and whether or not the cost of that is included in his overall quote.
If scaffolding is needed, the homeowner should be given the option to hire it himself, or at least compare hire costs before agreeing to a tradesman providing it. This is because some tradesman will be unscrupulous and actually make money on the scaffolding hire - for example, hire it for £300 and then tell their customer it cost them £600.
Ask whether they’re a registered installer
It’s worth asking whether a tradesman is registered as an installer with one of the companies who manufacture fascias, soffits and guttering materials. If they are, find out whether this means there’s an extra guarantee on the products they use on your job.
Ask who will actually be doing the work
Finally, make sure you find out who will actually be doing the work. Lee explains:
The person who quotes for the job should be the one there installing it. Because everyone I know that does it installs it differently, so once someone has explained how they’re going to work - and you’re happy with their process - check that it will be them doing the job.
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