Friday, 27 January 2017

Tricksy Tradies, Half Jobs and other lessons

We live in a generously sized house. When we bought the market was quite depressed and we got a good deal. Northland is not an economic power house so if you have a good job you can do quite well. We brought our house with very little to do inside and plenty to do outside. A blank slate if you will and this is where the fun begins.

I am convinced Northland is not an economic power house because of these simple business type things. When you start looking for help and quotes for work you discover.

People have phone numbers they do not answer.
People have Voicemail they do not check.
People have email addresses they do not check.
People give quotes over the phone and then do not honour them.

Exhibit A.

We have quite rough concrete outside. Not baby or child friendly. Crappy dance floor as well for that matter. We were told by a knowledgeable chap to measure the area we wanted smoothed out and get a quote from a concrete grinder.

We did this and we were quoted $10 a square meter.

The tradesperson then came to visit us and the quote ballooned out to $15 a square meter as a starting rate. This could go up to $20-30 a square meter depending on how smooth we wanted it.

We got a lot of supplementary information about this.

Diamond teeth costs.
Hand edging.
Concrete sealant
Sun spot activity.

A load of bullshit really.

We are pretty convinced he saw the size of our house and decided to try and rip us off.

Not discouraged we decided to do the job ourselves. The tradesperson did make the error of showing me how the job was done selling his elaborate tale.

It is not that dissimilar to using a teak scrubber which I am forever repairing.....

At some point in the last eight years I have become somewhat handy. This first inkling of this was about 4 years ago at Anna's 30th birthday. Our deck outside in the place we were renting started to sprout high heel related holes. I found some plywood/hammer and some painting hanging nails and started nailing ply to the deck to sort it out. I don't think my Parents have recovered. The deck is still there.

So armed with some youtube videos and a bit of spare time we decided to grind the concrete ourselves.

Concrete grinders cost about 3k to buy so we found one locally that we could rent. It turns out it is the only concrete grinder within 80kms that can be rented. I got it home and started grinding.

Side story. Anna likes to call me half job on the account that I quite often get bored with jobs and find more meaningful jobs to do halfway through boring jobs. I like to think this is more of an internal energy budgeting system. After I have expended what I think is the right amount of energy I need to be topped up with more creative endeavours. Like blog writing for example.



So it was quite hilarious when the said concrete grinder stopped working exactly halfway through my grinding..... To be fair I got as angry as I have got since I got home. I took the grinder back to the hire place told them what I thought was wrong with it like any good deckhand (it is electrical)

I then told the hire place I would fix it myself.

Fast forward a week and some spare parts later the grinder was ready to roll again and grind it did.


We now have a very smooth outside. Because of my repairs to the grinder the grinder did not cost anything to hire.

Some advice for first time concrete grinders.

Use the grinder is a clockwise motion from right left. Small circles that you can easily touch on subsequent runs.
Use a water blaster or hose to make the surface very wet before grinding.
Wet your windows and outside paneling before and after grinding so as to get rid of any excess concrete dust.
Wear some footwear. Exposed concrete will dry your feet out just like teak will.
Don't set the grinder down running for any length of time.
If you are in Northland be prepared to repair any tools you hire so you can get the entire job finished.

Do not be afraid to DIY especially if the only show in town is trying to rip you off. It's only a concrete grinder after all :D.


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