I am guessing you wouldn’t want the surgeon operating on you to be self-taught, right? How about the bus driver taking your kids to school, he has a car licence what’s the difference between that and a bus? You can wire a plug, what do you need a qualified electrician for? Okay when I use those analogies to compare against floor installation and care you’re probably thinking that the consequences are not nearly as serious… and you’re right, no one ever died from a poorly installed or maintained floor (I think) BUT THE CONSEQUENCES CAN BE VERY EXPENSIVE!!!
About 10 years ago I got a call to look at a house where there was a problem, the problem was that the guy who fitted the solid oak floor to this brand new house didn’t have a clue, he didn’t allow any expansion spaces and therefore had cracked every block in the downstairs walls of the house at about 1 metre from the floor, this could be disguised but not repaired. Another one was the engineered oak floor that was written off for the price of a secondary damp proof membrane costing about £10, and another was a floor sander who failed to use a primer before lacquering resulting in a maple floor that needed completely re-laying. I could go on for hours with stories about money wasted by customers because the cheap tradesman didn’t turn out to be so cheap and some of those above were considering legal action (not cheap either). All these situations could be avoided if the contractors had done training, understood the implications of their actions and done the right thing, two of the scenarios would have been a few pence per square metre more to do correctly and one would have cost nothing more.
Like everyone I am a total hypocrite, I have had many tradesmen in my house, and I haven’t always been as thorough in my selection of them as I should have been and consequently I am now re-doing a lot of work that wasn’t done properly the first time (or work that I did myself but wasn’t qualified to do). So, what is the answer and what should we be looking for?
It is really simple, choose your contractor wisely based on their reputation but also question what training they have done. If they say “been in the game 30 years love, no one could teach me anything” show them the door, some of the worst work I have ever seen was done by tradesmen proud of doing it wrong for many years. Good tradesmen understand that things change, that you can always learn something new and you need to keep up with current trends in both the flooring itself and the materials used to fix it and finish it. Often training is provided free of charge by manufacturers who are tired of tradesmen messing up with their well-developed product and would rather show contractors how to use them, the problem is greedy contractors won’t take a day off to learn more, they would rather “blag it”.
Let’s look at the reasons why training is essential.
First experience isn’t the worst teacher in the world, a controversial statement? No not really just common sense, experience cannot teach you how to do it right until you have seen the consequences of doing it wrong. Do you want to be the customer who it goes wrong for so your contractor can gain experience?
Second, the range of products used in flooring is massive, for example Uzin make approximately 40 different floor levelling compounds, they all make floors level but each one has a specific quality that makes it just right for a circumstance. Pallmann have a number or primers, several fillers and multiple lacquers for the same reason, how can anyone know what each one is for without training?
Thirdly, like I said things change, in our business stricter chemical regulations are regularly introduced which means the chemical composition of products must be changed which often has significant consequences in terms of application, drying times or performance. How can you know this if you don’t keep up with developments within the industry?
I could go on about the benefits to both the contractor and the customer of better training but I am sure you are getting the idea by now. As a contractor remember that good customers value good tradesmen, please understand that the lowest price should not be the primary goal, remember that if a contractor has put time and money into improving their skills and knowledge they will most likely be a bit more expensive that the local “chancer” but will inevitably end up being better value.
The Ultimate Floor Care Company basic floor sanding training course is over 2 days and is very "hands on".
You will be trained on all the traditional machines types such as belt sanders, edgers, finishing sanders, buffers and basic planetary machines, but more excitingly the new Pallmann Spider, the machine that is changing the face of floor sanding. Find out more