Welcome to my blog!

This blog tells my experience with buying a house in Dublin, Ireland, and renovating it. 

I wanted to share everything I learned along the way, my misadventures and any tips and tricks!


Planning a bathroom renovation? It could be harder than you think - Part 1

Planning a bathroom renovation? It could be harder than you think - Part 1

Renovating our two bathrooms is the last big project we have for the house interior - so far we have:

- Levelled the new ground floor open space (new concrete poured in)
- Insulated all the walls
- Replaced the ground floor ceiling
- Replaced the floor boards on the first floor and installed a new laminate floor on both floors
- Installed a new kitchen
- Moved the radiators under the windows and rewired the entire house
& other minor jobs

.... quite a bit of work for the two of us, in other words! 

To help us have the house ready for the new year, we've thought to scope out how much it would cost to hire a contractor to renovate the bathrooms. 

However, receiving a reply back from a contractor and getting to the point where they send you a quote... wasn't easy. I selected the following 8 contractors after sifting through dozens on the Internet - OF THESE 8, ONLY 2 GAVE US A QUOTE!!

-1- TC SYSTEMS
-2- ELEGANT JOHN BATHROOM
-3- RIPPLES
-4- DUBLIN TILE & BATHROOM CENTER
-5- BATHROOM RENOVATIONS DUBLIN
-6- O'CONNOR CARROLL
-7- CRONIN BATHROOMS AND HEALTHCARE
-8- BATHROOM SOLUTIONS

I wanted a good sample size of quotes ... but, in the end, WE EXCLUDED 6 OUT OF 8 BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY WEREN'T PROFESSIONAL. 

3 auto-disqualified themselves for not answering my emails and phone calls.
2
more were excluded because they didn't send me a quote after more than 3 WEEKS from the consultation.
1 more was eliminated because I couldn't chase them forever to have a consultation.   

Check out the rest of the post as to why we excluded the remain two.

Here's the current state of my two bathrooms - as you can see it's quite an extensive renovation we need ... wouldn't more contractors be interested in a big payday?

UPSTAIRS BATHROOM

GROUND FLOOR BATHROOM


-1- TC SYSTEMS

  • I emailed them on Sept 24th, asking specifically for a home consultation.
  • I received a reply directly on the 26th and we scheduled a consultation for the 27th. 
  • On the 29th I received an email with the following quote (valid for one month).

To summarize it:
+ 1.300,00€ for a new combi boiler
+ 1.600,00€ for fittings and labour
+ 2.710,00€ for the tiling and bathroom fixtures
= 5.610,00€ total

The quote seems reasonable and I like that it's broken down per items - although we would have to choose everything from a catalog and not in a showroom.

HOWEVER, during the consultation, the contractor did not take any notes or measurements, BUT he was so kind as to comment on every work we've done on the house, offering free non solicited advice about everything, even if it had nothing to do with the bathrooms - regardless of the fact that I mentioned multiple times that we know our way around renovating a house, he felt the need to explain to me even how to use a spirit level to apply correctly plasterboards in our entrance. 

I've already had to deal with my share on mansplaining and condescension from the time we (mistakenly) hired builders to finish some works in the house - hiring another contractor that will treat me as a clueless, ignorant doll is not something I'm looking forward too. 


-2- ELEGANT JOHN BATHROOM

  • I emailed them on Sept 24th, asking specifically for a home consultation.
  • After not receiving a reply for 1 WEEK, I left a message on the answering machine on Sept 30th.
  • I called again on Oct 4th because I hadn't been called back and we set an appointment for Oct 5th.
  • On Oct 7th I received a quote by email (it took 2 weeks to get the quote) - when I had called I was warned that we'd first receive a ballpark price, which would be adjusted when we choose the specific products. This is the quote we received:

I thought that the consultation had gone well: the contractor took notes and a video of the two bathrooms and he attentively listened to everything I wanted to do. However, he didn't take any measurements (which I find very odd, because how else can you estimate how much will the tiling cost?!?) and didn't mention anything about needing to fit appropriate plasterboards in the bathroom or adding a pump in the attic if we install a combi boiler.

HOWEVER, that quote. That quote is a joke. Besides the fact that my name is spelled incorrectly (after I've also corrected the contractor when he came over), do you seriously want me to give 10.000,00€ to someone who doesn't even make the effort to give me a professional quote, instead of a scribble next to his notes???

I had specifically asked him to break down the quote by the different items, and give me an estimate for a combi boiler and a pump shower... yeah, I don't see those either in the quote.


-3- RIPPLES

  • I emailed them on Sept 24th, asking specifically for a home consultation.
  • After not receiving a reply for 1 WEEK, I called on Sept 30th leaving my contact details, and I was told I'll be called back.
  • I called again on Oct 4th, after not receiving a call back, and we set an appointment for Oct 5th.
  • I called back on Oct 19th because I still hadn't received a quote after 2 WEEKS from the consultation (even though the contractor had promised he'd send me one in a couple of days' time).
  • I was promised that I'll hear back from them, but on Friday 21st I had to call back again because I hadn't received anything yet. 
    In this last call I clarified that I wouldn't chase after them anymore for a quote, and if I don't receive anything by Monday Oct 24th, they don't have to bother sending me a quote. 

    I never receive a quote. They disqualified themselves. 

It was a shame too, because I had liked very much the consultation - the contractor seemed very competent and listened attentively to what I wanted, asking me technical questions.

He took measurements and jotted down notes and drawings for our two bathrooms, making suggestions on which solution would be best to get rid of the hot water cylinder in the bathroom (installing a combi boiler and a water pump in the attic which would serve only for the water in the showers, so that the noise is kept to a minimum). 
He also clarified that for best results we'll need to replace the plasterboards and might also need to replace the pipes. 

Overall, this was the contractor who left me with the best impression - so disappointing that the follow up was non-existent. 

NOV 2016 Update - we were ultimately able to get a quote from this contractor - coming soon - the post for the second part of the saga. 


-4- DUBLIN TILE & BATHROOM CENTER

  • I emailed them on Sept 24th, asking specifically for a home consultation - The email address listed on their site (info@dtbc.ie) returned a 'Mail Delivery System' error message. I didn't think that was very professional so I excluded them from the list. 
  • On Sept 30th, since I was calling all the other 7 contractors who hadn't replied to my emails, I thought I might as well call DTBC too. I left my contact details and I was told I'll be called back the next week, to arrange for a consultation (Monday Oct 3rd).
  • I called again on Oct 4th, after not receiving a call back, and we set an appointment for Oct 5th.
  • I called back on Oct 19th because I still hadn't received a quote after 2 WEEKS from the consultation - When I asked if I could have the quote broken down by items, I received the following answer 'I presume that's the way he does it' - You presume?! Don't you know for sure? Do you actually work in the same company?
  • I called back on Friday Oct 21st because I hadn't heard back from them, but there was no answer and the answering machine was full.

    I never receive a quote. They disqualified themselves. 

The contractor was friendly and competent enough - he even sent me a text message to confirm the time of the consultation and took notes and measurement. 
He didn't mention the need to change the plasterboards or for a pump in the attic in case we choose to instal a combi boiler.

I asked for a quote outlining the cost of a combi boiler and keeping the current one but with pump showers - obviously, I didn't get any. 


-5- BATHROOM RENOVATIONS DUBLIN

  • I emailed them on Sept 24th, asking specifically for a home consultation.
  • After not receiving a reply for 1 WEEK, I called on Sept 30th leaving my contact details - I was told I'll be called back the next week to arrange for a consultation (Monday Oct 3rd)
  • I called again on Oct 4th, after not receiving a call back, and I was asked to send a text to a mobile phone, which I did. 
  • I never received a reply back. 

They auto-disqualified from the race. 


-6- O'CONNOR CARROLL

  • I emailed them on Sept 24th, asking specifically for a home consultation.
  • After not receiving a reply for 1 WEEK, I called on Sept 30th leaving my contact details - I was told I'll be called back the next week to arrange for a consultation (Monday Oct 3rd)
  • I called again on Oct 4th, after not receiving a call back, and they said that they'll be in contact. Strangely enough, they did call me back after two hours, but I had already arranged another consultation for the same day / time they proposed. The guy who called me just seemed miffed that I had dared have another appointment for that same time, and refused to tell me an alternative date. 

They auto-disqualified from the race. 


-7- CRONIN BATHROOMS AND HEALTHCARE

  • I emailed them on Sept 24th, asking specifically for a home consultation.
  • After not receiving a reply for 1 WEEK, I tried to call on Sept 30th but nobody answered and the voicemail was full.
  • I tried calling again on Oct 4th, but once again, nobody answered and the voicemail was full.

They auto-disqualified from the race. 


-8- BATHROOM SOLUTIONS

  • I emailed them on Sept 24th, asking specifically for a home consultation.
  • After not receiving a reply for 1 WEEK, I left a message with my contact details, on Sept 30th.
  • Since I hadn't heard back, I tried calling again on Oct 4th, but nobody answered and the voicemail was full.

They auto-disqualified from the race. 

I found an electrician! I know, I couldn't believe it either!

I found an electrician! I know, I couldn't believe it either!

Replacing old windows and doors

Replacing old windows and doors