Tuesday, 30 December 2008

LCD TV Installation

Hanging an LCD TV or Plasma screen is one of those jobs that most people would prefer to have a professional do for them.

Silver Saints is London's Premier Handyman Service, all our multi-skilled Handymen are experts at fitting LCD & Plasma screens and we promise fantastic service from booking to billing to every customer.

Call our friendly and experienced Operations Team on 0207 0999 199 or email us at fixit@silversaints.co.uk to book or discuss your LCD installation. We are more than happy to offer help or advice about LCD TV installations.

How much?

Take advantage of our ‘Peace of Mind’ fixed labour price for LCD installations:

Any screen up 42” in size - £80+VAT
Any screen larger than 42” - £95+VAT

How long?

Exactly how long fitting a LCD TV or Plasma screen takes depends mainly on the size of the LCD screen (generally the bigger the screen the longer it takes to install) and the type of wall on which the bracket will be fitted (fitting a screen on a plasterboard wall takes a bit more preparation and care)

Who brings what?

All you need to have on site is a suitable bracket and the LCD screen. if unsure, call us for advice on choosing a suitable bracket. (Try http://www.dekomount.co.uk/ for good bracket deals online)

We will supply all the tools, fixings and screws needed to install your TV screen securely and professionally.

Hiding cables?

Some customers do want to have the cables and wires hidden within surface mounted trunking or actually into a wall or chimney breast. Although cable management is not part of the standard LCD installation; it is a service we offer.

If you would like a fixed price for concealing cables, please email your requirements to fixit@silversaints.co.uk.

Why close down?

I was surprised to see a report, click here to read it, stating that thousands of small businesses have decided to shut down for two weeks over the Christmas period to save on their electricity bills.

I can’t believe that small businesses would close to business because they want to reduce their electricity bill. After all the biggest liability for most businesses is payroll and they still have to pay their employees during the shutdown period. There is no doubt that things do slow down over Christmas and businesses know that it is going to be their quietest time of year (besides retailers and airports of course). They know that a large portion of their employees will take holiday anyway and allot of their clients will shut down over the Christmas period.

Current legislation dictates that permanent employees are entitled to 24 days holiday each year. All small business owners and managers know how frustrating it is to have employees request holiday during busy periods. By closing down for two weeks over Christmas the small business owner gets to ensure that at least 10 of each employees 24 days statutory holidays are taken over the quietest period of the year.

Companies closing down over the Christmas period has never been a contentious issue as it corresponds with school holidays, a time of year when extended families want to come together and pretty much everyone wants to get out of England to a warmer climate or at least go skiing. The fact is that even though they don’t really have a say in it, employees want to be on holiday over the Christmas period.

Now I may or may not believe all I have just argued, but I think it is allot more believable than small businesses are shutting down for two weeks to save electricity. One other thing that caught my attention in this very week article was the photo comparing traffic across Westminster Bridge this December with a December day a few years ago. The picture they have chosen to demonstrate a past December day was the ‘last ride’ parade of the 159 Routemaster bus. You can even see the police motorcycle escorts in the photo!

Silver Saints decided to stay open to business this Christmas and we have been very busy. Most likely because many of our competitors have closed down until 5th Jan.

Friday, 19 December 2008

My Windolene

If anyone has seen the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' they will remember the ongoing gag throughout the film where the brides father believes that windolene is the cure for almost anything. Including the pimple she gets on her wedding day.

Well for me my windolene is silicone grease also known as plumbers grease. It properties are magical and its uses are endless. Its intended use is on rubber plumbing seals such as push fit connections or o-ring seals but as a London Handyman who takes on a lot more than just plumbing I use it on any rubber, plastic, metal connection that comes in contact with water or needs a good seal. I also use it on sticking sash windows in order to get them to slide freely as well as on the tip of self tapper or wood screws just before I drive them into position. It’s lesser known lubricating uses include:

- Stiff Locks
- Sticking flush valves
- Bicycle chains
- Rusty bolts
- Drill chucks
- Pretty much anything that suffers from friction or needs protection from damp.

Silicone grease has in the past been very difficult to get hold of. It's not the kind of thing that B&Q or Homebase will stock in their plumbing section. In fact most plumber’s merchants in London don't even stock it, which in itself has become an indicator for me on how good a plumbers merchant is. If they have silicone grease on the shelves, by default they must be good.
I'll have to keep you all posted on the additional uses I find for silicone grease, at the moment I'm testing it as a sun screen.

Draught Proofing Sash Windows

Draught Proofing Sash Windows

Silver Saints London Handyman Service offers an effective, great value sash window draught proofing service.

The procedure we follow is to remove the lower sash, replace the two existing parting beads with ones that contain a draught proofing pile. We fit draught proofing rubber strip on the top face of the upper sash rail where it meets the head jam and another strip on the bottom face of the lower sash rail where it meets the window sill. We then use a router to cut an 8mm channel into the meeting rail of the bottom sash and insert another pile type draught sealing strip. The window is then reassembled rattle and draught free.

The cost to draught proof a sash window is £90+VAT, inclusive of both labour and materials.

uPVC Window Repairs

Repairing uPVC windows.

One of our motivating beliefs at Silver Saints is that if something is repairable we should be able to repair it. Our handymen have decades of experience between them in almost every trade area, there really aren't many jobs they can't do. If there is a gap in any one of the handyman's know how it doesn't take long for him to pick up the information he needs from one of our other handymen who has the necessary experience in that particular task.

But every once and a while there is a job that pops up that just stumps all of us and it normally has something to do with a new product or an imported technology that we have not seen before. Lately we have seen a big increase in the amount of people asking us to repair faulty uPVC windows. These are fairly new to the UK but have been widely used throughout the rest of Europe for many years because of their sound and insulating properties. They are normally double or triple glazed, have multiple seals and manufactured to fine tolerances. These modern uPVC windows also have ingenious opening and locking mechanisms which make them both very secure and capable of opening in multiple orientations. Any mechanical engineer would tell you that these windows are excellently designed.

The problem is however that we in the UK just aren't used to these windows yet and unfortunately the full set of operating instructions they are supplied with don't seem to be passed on from the installer to the user and so most people are forced to figure out their correct workings by themselves. It's often like watching a baby girl discover that the square shaped toy does not fit into the oval shaped whole. But after a few attempts they discover that the square toy into the square hole fits just fine. However little boys aren't so quick off the ball, they will pick up the square toy, try and insert it into the oval hole and on finding it does not fit will persist until the square toy becomes oval. Unfortunately when this principle of stubborn determination is applied to very heavy finely engineered windows the result is normally the failure of the window mechanism, which in the end results in a window that either does not open or does not close properly.

In the past we have always advised customers with faulty uPVC windows to contact the manufacturers or the company who installed the windows to repair them. This solution however easy to say was becoming a very unsatisfactory response to both the office staff and the handymen, who all like to solve any and all problems that they are presented with, or at least give it a go. So on our latest desperate request from a customer in Battersea we decided it was time to dive in head first to try and repair a triple glazed uPVC window that was not closing properly. We gave the customer a 'no win, no fee' offer, so if we did not fix the window we would not charge her for our time. We set aside a few hours and assigned two handymen to the task, knowing that the window would need to come off the hinges and would be very heavy.

It was clear as soon as the window was taken down that the window had been swung open rapidly, probably blown open by a strong wind, which had completely bent the top hinge by more than 90 degrees. The window was never going to close without us changing the hinge. As a temporary measure we removed the top hinge altogether and secured the window in place.
That same day we called the window manufacturers in Italy and they gave us the contact details of their agents in the UK. The agents promised to send us a replacement hinge in the post and we will return to reinstate the window fully as soon as it arrives.

It's good to know that the next time a customer calls to enquire about the repair of a faulty uPVC window we will be able to offer assistance.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Commenting on another tradesman's work

Silver Saints employs a team of the most experienced handymen in London. But with experience and knowledge comes the ability to quickly spot shoddy workmanship done by other tradesman or handymen. The difficulty is pointing out to the customer that things are not right without sounding like a salesman trying to build up a job.

We went out to draught proof sash windows in a West London last week. When we arrived we found four of the biggest sash windows I have ever seen. On inspection we found that they were under weighted and as a consequence they did not stay open. The sash cords were also way to thin for the weight of the window. It was clear that the person who had last worked on these windows tried to save on materials costs and as a result had left the customer with very poorly functioning sash windows.

The temptation is always to demonstrate your knowledge to the customer by pointing out all the things that the other tradesman had done wrong. But this doesn't really help anyone. Instead we opted for a direct approach. We simply told the customer that the windows were not functioning very well and asked if she wanted us to sort them out and then draught proof them or if she just wanted us to do the draught proofing. We then gave her a price for both options.

She chose to have the repairs carried out to the windows as well as the draught proofing. In the end everyone was happy and we didn't have to slag off any other tradesman.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Replacing Spiral Sash Balances

We attended a job in Islington last week to measure up for replacement spiral balances on four double glazed aluminium windows. The tenant told us that we where the sixth company to take measurements. For some reason all the other tradesmen had turned the job down.

We returned to the property yesterday, armed with 8 pairs of replacement balances and had them all fitted in four hours. The job did need two handymen, due to the shear weight of the windows, but the job could not have gone smoother.

In the end we left a very happy landlord and a relieved flat of tenants who had been complaining about the windows not working since the summer.

It felt good to succeed where five others had failed to even try......now that's Silver Service.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

London Handyman - David Guest

I took a call on Tuesday last week and immediately recognised the caller as David Guest, the wacky yank from last years series of 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here'. I personally find him hilarious. His relationship with the other celebrities and his crazy stories had me in stitches every evening the show was on.

The job we were asked our handyman to do was to hang 300 framed gold 45s on a wall. They all had to be in perfectly aligned rows and columns. There is no getting away from the tediousness of this type of job but using a laser level to mark out a grid does make life allot easier for the handyman.

David was so impressed with the results that he has asked us to come back for a few more hours next week. Hopefully he passes our business card around the celebrity circuit.

It would be nice to be the London handyman service to the stars.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Seal the draught and stop the whinning

We had a sash window draught proofing job on Saturday. The tenant let us in and showed us the troublesome windows. She had been complaining to the landlord for weeks that cold draught was whistling through the windows and that the flat was impossible to keep warm.

On inspection we found multiple problems with the windows, in fact the top sashes were painted shut and hadn't moved in decades. We called the landlord and explained that we could just do our normal draught proofing service, which would cure the draught problem, or we could carry out additional repairs to get all the sash windows operating as well as draught proof.

His response was clear. 'I just want the complaining to stop, so just do the draught proofing'.

So this is what we did. Five hours later all three sash windows had been thoroughly draught proofed. The tenant was happy and the landlord was happy.

Crumbling Bricks

I took a call last week from a gentleman who wanted his 50" LCD screen hung on a chimney breast. Normally this is a very simple job, in fact installing LCD TVs is one of our most common tasks. But in this case the customer had a cantilever style bracket and he lived in Clapham. Both of these facts set alarm bells ringing.

The cantilever style brackets undergo allot more bending and twisting forces than a flat or tilting bracket would ever have to deal with. These forces are transferred to the wall and fixings. Therefore to hang an LCD TV of that size on the bracket he had there would have to be no doubt to the structural integrity of the walls.

It is however our experience of many years of hanging pictures, LCDs and curtain rails that it is often the case that the old brick that holds up our homes simply crumble away when drilled into. This is particularly true for houses in the Clapham area of London and was the case with this customers chimney breast.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Draught Proofing Sash Windows

Draught Proofing Sash Windows

As temperatures fall and wind speeds rise along with the price of fuel, it's time to consider plugging those gaps which are so often a feature of London's millions of sash windows.

Silver Saints Handymen have years of experience in maintaining sash windows and draught proofing is one of the services we offer to keep your home or office snug this winter.

London has many companies specialising in sash window restoration but you will usually be asked to part with several hundreds of pounds per window for their services. If your window is basically sound but rattles a bit in the wind and lets in draughts, then Silver Saints offers a unique value-for-money draught proofing service.

We will professionally draught-proof your sash windows for an all-in price of only £95+vat per window. What is more, if any of your sash cords needs replacing, we can do this at the same time for only £8+vat per cord.

We will dismantle your sash window and apply high quality draught-proofing materials to all surfaces which can admit draughts. We will then reassemble the window, make good and leave your window smart and draught-free.

How can we do this for such a low price?

At Silver Saints, we realised that companies offering sash window restoration were offering more than many of us needed, if all you need is draught proofing. So, we started experimenting on our own windows at home to find a cost-effective solution to draughts and have come up with an approach which offers unique value for money. There are no short-cuts. Every surface which can admit a draught is sealed with the highest quality materials. What we leave out is the wider restoration of the window which is what takes most time and is where most companies make their money. Because our Handymen have many years experience of working on sash windows, they are able to work quickly and effectively and so reduce labour costs. This is how we can offer the Silver Saints customer unrivalled value for money.

To enquire further or to book a handyman to draught proof your sash windows call us on 0207 0999 199 or send an email to fixit@silversaints.co.uk

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Handyman Services Are Not All Created Equally!

If you glanced at our website, www.silversaints.com, and then at our main competitors, 0800handyman. You'd be forgiven for thinking that both our services are very similar. In fact a friend of mine passed a comment recently that all handyman services are the same. Oh, but how wrong he was and I took it upon myself to convince him other wise.

Comparing Silver Saints to 0800handyman is like comparing a Nissan Micra to a Aston Martin DB9. Sure they are both cars and they'll both get you from A to B. But one of them offers just the basics with questionable efficiency while the other comes with style, class and performance. In this analogy, Silver Saints Handyman Service is the Aston Martin and 0800handyman is the Nissan. Now imagine that you could get the Aston Martin for the same price as the Nissan, which one would you choose?

My friend chuckled. But anybody with knowledge of both handyman services knows this to be true.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Pushing Product

When exchanging the small-talk when meeting someone for the first time it is often the "what do you do?" question that can move a conversation on quite zestfully. For over 20 years I had said always said Advertising knowing that this wasn't a very stimulating answer and I could then ask the same question in hope that they said something less boring.

It's a strange thing habit, my answer, Advertising, was meant to sound glamorous once in the hope that I could impress but as the years went by I dreaded the question but never got around to changing my script. Presented the same question at a film premier last week I found myself saying "I unblock toilets", for this is true, I packed in my stressful world last year and became a Handyman for Silver Saints, a unique handyman company employing the talents of like minded men in pursuit of a better life.

I thought was a good answer but no one seemed to believe me. I have to explain that through a family connection I had found myself rubbing shoulders with more than one film star and the elite of Hollywood's movie men. I quickly gauged that they thought I was comedian and I was about to seriously impress. I added that I had an agent, again this is true, but it only seemed to add substance to my new career in Hollywood. I was on a roll... But then I ruined it, I explained that I don't always unblock toilets, I sometimes unblock sinks! They started to believe me. As my audience dwindled to just one I found myself missing the best part of the evening talking to an art gallery owner who's urinals were periodically overflowing and wondered if I could offer any advice.

Following my impressive strike record of clearing blockages I seem to have become the specialist amongst the Silver Saints crew. Apart from the obvious unpleasantness, there really is something very rewarding in hearing the obstruction release itself followed by the gushing sound of water. For the client, yes I'm pleased, I've sorted their problem but more interestingly, I truly regard an unblocking like an instinctive pleasure. My Grandmother was obsessed with her drains and I sometimes wonder if one can inherit feelings like these genetically.

Without actually seeing what's causing the blockage or where it is along pipe's route, it is normally case of narrowing down just how bad the situation is. I should add that this isn't part of the pleasure especially when you have to climb inside an inspection chamber full of floaters. On the other hand this could bring high rewards later. Did you know, a backed up blockage from where your waste leaves your property can sometimes show the same symptoms as a mere clump of hair in u-bend under your bathroom sink?

I found this out on a job earlier this year... It was my first job of the day and booked in as just a blocked bathroom sink. After removing the wad of hair from the u-bend, I turned on the taps and all was well again. I started packing up and then noticed that the bath was filling from its plug hole. My cup of tea then arrived with the customer and I asked her when she last had a bath? I wasn't questioning a lack of hygiene, I was just trying to establish how much water could be standing in the pipes below the bathroom. Anyway, after laughing a little at my unfortunate remark she said "this morning"! I knew then that we were dealing with a major backed-up blockage and I could explain why. I suggested that the 'blocked sink' was only locally and probably not completely blocked and what I had done by running more water than usual down it on top of the emptied bath was not a typical morning for the bathrooms use. Furthermore, the waste trapped in pipes and the inspection chamber would very slowly drain away during the day making enough room for tomorrows bath water again. Bingo!

As it turned out this is exactly what was going on and by the appalling state of the inspection chamber at the front of the house, it had been for quite a while. What's needed at this stage is courage, a call to the office for moral support and an all-in-one suit. After emptying thirty five buckets of vile brown liquid from the chamber I revealed a rodding point and got going with the auger. The auger is basically a long flexible rod designed to dislodge blocked material. It gets round tight bends in the pipe with the assistance of being rotated.

On this particular occasion it glided in and its end proudly poked up at the base of the chamber, as I would expect it to. My problem was that it seemed to have made no difference to releasing the remaining waste in the chamber. After several attempts at withdrawing the auger and reinserting it, I started to push and pull the auger in a flossing action and then suddenly I had done it! A long stream of waste sitting on the pipe from the house was on its way and started to disappear down the hole.

The obstruction turned out to be a solidified cake of limescale and debris sitting in the base of the chamber's U-bend. I had obviously disturbed it with my flossing action and after bravely reaching down the hole, I pulled out two huge chunks to complete my job. Advertising was all about pushing product. I realise now that clearing drains is no different.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Waste Disposal Repairs

Waste Disposal Repair Service

Silver Saints is London''s Premier Handyman Service. One of the many specialist tasks we undertake is the repair and replacement of waste disposals.

What is involved?

We will investigate the fault in order to repair your waste disposal.
If a repair is not economical we will recommend that you replace the unit with a like for like model.

To discuss a waste disposal repair or replacement call our knowledgeable and friendly Operations Team on 0207 0999 199 or send an email to fixit@silversaints.co.uk.

How Much?

Initial visit costs £ 40+VAT

If a replacement unit or spare parts are needed we will advise you on the cost of the unit and fitting cost while the handyman is on-site.

Some more common models are available at local plumbers merchants, but we often have to order replacement models for next day delivery.

Let’s do it!

To book a Waste Disposal repair or replacement:
Call our Operations Team on 0207 0999 199 OR Email us: fixit@silversaints.co.uk

London Handyman : London Handyman Service : Handyman London : Home Maintenance

Electric Shower Repairs

Electric Shower Repairs - London

Repairs to Triton, New Team, Mira, Redring, MX, Aqualisa, Gainsborough, Heatrae Sadia ... pretty much all electric showers.

Has your electric shower stopped working?

Silver Saints can get your electric shower working again. We carry out repairs to all makes and models of electric showers.

We offer a fixed labour price of £80+VAT to get you showering again.

How our service works

1.) Give us a call or send an email to fixit@silversaints.co.uk letting us know the manufacturer, model and symptoms of your electric shower fault. We can help you to identify the model if you email us a photo of your electric shower

2.) Based on the symptoms you describe we will be able to diagnose the most likely fault and we’ll schedule an appointment for repair.

3.) On arrival we will run diagnostic tests on your electric shower. These tests will reveal the actual fault with the shower and we will undertake the repair. It is sometimes necessary for us to order in replacement parts for the shower. This will mean we will have to return for a follow up visit in order to fit the new parts. This does not affect the labour price, we charge £80+VAT whether the repair is carried out in one or two visits.

4.) It is important to note that all parts we supply for your shower are in addition to the £80+VAT fixed labour price.

London Handyman : London Handyman Service : Handyman London : Home Maintenance

Hanging LCD Screens

Our London handymen have mastered the hanging of LCD screens to any wall, plasterboard, masonry or chimney breast. But we get loads of requests to conceal the TV and accessory cables behind the wall. But this part of the job is far more complicated and time consuming than customers often realise.

Plasterboard is put up on vertical timber or metal studs, which block the horizontal route for cables behind the plasterboard. This means the only simple route to follow is vertically between two studs. The most common installation on plasterboard involves cutting a 80mm hole behind the screen and a second hole just above the skirting board. The cables are pushed through the hole behind the screen and exit above the skirting board. They are then routed to the plug socket and accessory along the skirting board.

On disused chimney breasts we cut a 80mm hole into the brickwork behind the screen and an exit hole on the side of the chimney breast where the accessories and power point are. The cables are then pulled through the cavity in the chimney breast and exit on one or the other side.

With solid masonry walls however, the process is allot more time consuming and messy. A channel has to be cut and chiseled into the masonry following the route the cables need to take. A trunking is fitted in the channel and the cables inserted into the trunking. The channel is then filled over and the filler allowed to dry for 24 hours. It is then sanded smooth and painted over. It is essential to ensure that the paint used is an exact match to the original paint.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

London Handyman

London Handyman

Our customers are generally home owners, office managers, small businesses, shops, restaurants, property managers and landlords.

What our customers say about our Handyman service

Residential Customers

Choose from our list of fixed price jobs or just pay for the time it takes for us to get through your list of jobs.

Our Handymen can undertake most plumbing, electrics as well as all your hanging, fitting, fixing, mending, assembling and minor decorating.

We'll offer you a fixed arrival time slot and you can pay the Handyman directly at the end of the visit using a Credit/Debit Card, Cheque or Cash.

Our Handymen travel around London on motorbikes, so traffic, parking and the congestion charge are not issues. We carry a full set of tools and a selection of screws and fixings with us on the bikes. If you require any specific parts we'll nip out to the nearest store to pick these up, this never takes very long, but is often necessary.

Because we are on motorbikes, we cannot carry stepladders. If you require any work to be done at height a stepladder or sturdy chair will need to be onsite for us to use. We don't mind standing on furniture if you don't.

Commercial Customers

All our Handymen are considerate and discreet. We'll carry out the work you need doing with as little disruption as possible to the work environment.
We'd prefer to be paid at the end of each visit. However we can invoice business customers if there are no payment facilities onsite.

We'll send you one Handyman that can: Change light bulbs, repair door handles, mend office furniture, hang whiteboards, repair faulty toilets, fix dripping taps and much much more.

Property Managers or Landlords

We offer a product specifically designed with Landlords and Property Managers in mind. For the cost of £35+VAT we'll arrange a visit to suit your tenants schedule, inspect the work that needs carrying out and issue an estimate for repair. This estimate will contain a ceiling price.

This means that we will guarantee that the cost of the work will not exceed the ceiling price. The cost could be less if the job goes quicker than expected.

Whether you choose to go ahead with the work or not, all you'll have to pay is £35+VAT for the survey and estimate.

The survey is booked as a half-hour slot and the Handyman will usually have to return on a separate day to actually undertake the work. However it may sometimes be possible to complete the work on the same visit.

The cost of the survey will need to be paid up front, but we will invoice you separately for the cost of the actual work should you choose to proceed.

Half-Term Handyman

Even though none of us in the office have kids, we can always tell when it is half term or the schools are on holiday. Bookings drop noticeably.

It must be a combination of allot of families going away for the half-term break and mothers not wanting to deal with a handyman when they have their hands full looking after their kids.

Hopefully we can expect a peak in bookings when everyone gets back from their break and realises they need a handyman to get all those odd jobs done around their homes.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Handyman Service

Silver Saints - London handyman service
Silver Saints - is London's premier handyman service. We employ a team of highly experienced, flexible and trustworthy handymen that travel around on motorbikes carrying out a wide variety of jobs from plumbing and basic electrics to fixing, fitting and hanging stuff.Here are a few examples of the types of jobs we specialise in:- Furniture assembly- Bath screen installation- LCD and Plasma installation- London plumbing service- Toilet unblocking- Sash window repairs- Sash window draught proofing- Picture hanging- Light fitting replacement- Shower repairs- Blind installation- Toilet repairs- Tile and grout cleaning.And many many more...There are practically no home or office maintenance jobs we cant do so why not give our friendly and experienced operations team a call on 0207 0999 199 or visit our london handyman website to book a Silver Saint - London handyman today.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Draught Proofing Sash Windows

As temperatures fall and wind speeds rise along with the price of fuel, it's time to consider plugging those gaps which are so often a feature of London's millions of sash windows.

Silver Saints Handymen have years of experience in maintaining sash windows and draught proofing is one of the services we offer to keep your home or office snug this winter.

London has many companies specialising in sash window restoration but you will usually be asked to part with several hundreds of pounds per window for their services. If your window is basically sound but rattles a bit in the wind and lets in draughts, then Silver Saints offers a unique value-for-money draught proofing service.

We will professionally draught-proof your sash windows for an all-in price of only £95+vat per window. What is more, if any of your sash cords needs replacing, we can do this at the same time for only £8+vat per cord.

We will dismantle your sash window and apply high quality draught-proofing materials to all surfaces which can admit draughts. We will then reassemble the window, make good and leave your window smart and draught-free.

To enquire further or to book a handyman to draught proof your sash windows call us on 0207 0999 199 or send an email to fixit@silversaints.co.uk

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Electric Shower Repairs

We've had another flurry of electric shower repair jobs last week. It must have been something in the water, but they all seemed to be Triton electric showers and they all had solenoids which had failed.

Out of the eight electric showers we repaired last week, six were Triton showers, one was a New Team electric shower and one was a Mira electric shower. All six of the Triton showers needed replacement solenoids and three of them had internal leaks as well. It is quite often the case that the solenoid fails because water has been dripping onto it from a leaking joint somewhere else within the electric shower. As soon as we have replaced the solenoid and fired up the shower again the leak becomes evident. It is then just a case of repairing the leaking joints.

In the case of the Mira electric shower it was the PCB that had failed. The cost of which was almost the cost of a new shower. We gave the customer the option of just replacing the electric shower all together but he opted to go for the repair. In the end we had to take out almost every component to get the replacement PCB connected.

However with the New Team shower, the customer needed it repaired in a hurry as he had guests staying with him for the weekend. The quickest way to guarantee he would have a working shower was just to fit a like for like replacement electric shower. This only took 45 minutes in the end and the customer was very grateful even.

In fact it is often the case with things like electric showers and taps that the labour cost to repair them sometimes out weighs the replacement cost. Allot of electricians and plumbers therefore will only ever recommend replacing things. It's not that they are trying to rip customers off, they just think it is the most economical solution, because they can be sure at the end of their visit the customer will be left with a working shower that should last a few years before it needs any attention.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Office Maintenance

Silver Saints is fast becoming London's premier handyman service. A large percentage of the work we undertake is in offices. It's no longer necessary for companies to have a dedicated maintenance contract. Whenever companies have odd jobs like whiteboards that need hanging, light bulbs that need changing, toilets that aren't flushing or desks that are wobbly. They can just give Silver Saints a call.

We will send one multi-skilled handyman who can take care of all the bits and pieces around the office and we only charge for the time we are on-site.

We always have a handyman in the City and West end which means that we can almost always get to companies within a day or two.

Also, all our handymen have had successful professional careers themselves and therefore understand working in an office environment and the importance of customer service. I think this one of the main reasons many companies are turning away from their usual tradesman style maintenance engineers in favour of our smart, flexible handymen who always arrive with a 'can do' attitude.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Handy man

Silver Saints Handyman Service

We are best described as a team of multi-skilled, experienced and reliable Handymen who travel around London on motorcycles undertaking plumbing, electrics, fixing, fitting, assembling and hanging jobs. In fact we employ the most experience handymen in London.

Friendly, Flexible, Efficient and Trustworthy - these are the words that describe our Silver Saints Handyman Service and these are the words you'll be using when telling your friends about how we showed up on time, did all the jobs on your ‘to do’ list, cleaned up after ourselves and charged you fairly and accurately.

(Read what our customers think about Silver Saints)

Silver Saints has the most experienced Handymen in London. In addition all of our handy men come from professional backgrounds that include: Engineers, Accountants, Management Consultants, Quantity Surveyors and even a Royal Air Force Pilot. This means that you are getting a person who has great communication skills, copes well under pressure and understands the value of customer relations.We know what it takes to offer great customer service and we strive to leave a satisfied customer 100% of the time. Our dedicated Operations Team, based in Central London, are on call to discuss any jobs you need doing, as well as manage your booking until completion. That is enough about us! Give us a call or book online and let us concentrate on giving you the Silver Service you deserve.

Handyman : Handy Man

Grohe Toilet Repairs

Silver Saints London handyman service repairs all makes of toilet flushes, siphons and ball valves.

One of the toilet flushes that stumps most plumbers is the Grohe or Grohedal concealed cistern with push button flush. These toilet cisterns are designed to be fitted behind tiled walls and panels. On first inspection all the working parts seem to be inaccessible without taking off at least a couple of tiles and most plumbers do just that.

The fact is that these toilets so well designed that all the inner working are maintainable through the push button panel.

We have become experts at dealing with Grohe toilet, shower and tap faults.

Blocked Toilet

Silver Saints is London's premier handyman service, one of the many jobs we specialise in is the clearing of blocked toilets.

Toilet unblocking in London has given me plenty of stories to blog about. This morning I went to a property in East London. On entering the property the customer told me that it was a clean job and that he knew why the toilet was blocked. On enquiring further he confessed that he had flushed a cucumber down the toilet and it had obviously become stuck.

On hearing this I thought I was in for a complicated process of trying to retrieve the cucumber from somewhere in the waste pipe. But luckily I was able to blast it free after about fifteen minutes of trying.

One of our handymen, Roger, had less luck when trying to clear a blocked toilet in Croydon recently. The customer had tried to flush an old rag down the toilet and it had become stuck in the soil stack. Roger had to use a 10m auger to pull the rag down the pipe to an access point where he could remove the rag by hand. Unfortunately, the rag was followed by everything that was backing up behind the blockage.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Electric Shower Repairs

The steady stream of shower repairs has continued this week. Mostly it seems to be electric showers that are developing faults.

We often find that the fault in an electric shower is a solenoid that has failed. But recently we've discovered that a failed solenoid is a symptom of another fault. In two cases last week we replaced faulty solenoid valves on electric showers to discover that the original solenoid had actually failed because a leak had developed within the shower.

Given the cost of the replacement parts for electric showers compared the actual cost of the shower, it is often more economical to replace the shower with a similar unit. Often these days it's the labour cost that is the deciding factor between repair of replacement. A like for like shower replacement can normally be done in 60 minutes. Whereas fault finding, ordering parts and fitting them does often take allot longer than this.

If you have a shower that needs repairs, don't hesitate to contact us on 0207 0999 199 or send an email to fixit@silversaints.co.uk

London Handyman Service

Silver Saints is London's premier handyman service.

0207 0999 199

We are best described as a team of multi-skilled, experienced and reliable Handymen who travel around London on motorcycles undertaking plumbing, electrics, fixing, fitting, assembling and hanging jobs. In fact we employ the most experience handymen in London.
Friendly, Flexible, Efficient and Trustworthy - these are the words that describe our Silver Saints Handyman Service and these are the words you'll be using when telling your friends about how we showed up on time, did all the jobs on your ‘to do’ list, cleaned up after ourselves and charged you fairly and accurately.

(Read what our customers think about Silver Saints)

Silver Saints has the most experienced Handymen in London. In addition most come from professional backgrounds that include: Engineers, Accountants, Management Consultants, Quantity Surveyors and even a Royal Air Force Pilot. This means that you are getting a person who has great communication skills, copes well under pressure and understands the value of customer relations.We know what it takes to offer great customer service and we strive to leave a satisfied customer 100% of the time. Our dedicated Operations Team, based in Central London, are on call to discuss any jobs you need doing, as well as manage your booking until completion.

That is enough about us! Give us a call or book online and let us concentrate on giving you the Silver Service you deserve. 0207 0999 199

Tile and Grout cleaning

We've recently added a new service to the list of specialist jobs our London handymen undertake, grout and tile cleaning.

In short a Handyman arrives with a special machine that uses steam to blast out any ingrained dirt or soap that has settled into the tile grout over the years. The result is a new lease of life for both wall and floor tiles in either bathrooms or kitchens.

For this tile and grout cleaning service we will normally charge:

£40+VAT for the first 1m2 of tiles
£15+VAT for every 1m2 after that.

If you would like to know more or would like to book a Handyman to clean your bathroom or kitchen tiles don’t hesitate to contact me directly via email, fixit@silversaints.co.uk or on 0207 0999 199.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

DIY Plumbing ending in tears.

We have had a series of jobs recently were we have been called in to redo plumbing that was done by amateur DIYers. Normally when this happens its because the dodgy plumbing has failed and resulted in a persistent or catastrophic leak.

One of the jobs we were called to last week was because a downstairs neighbour had complained of a leak through their ceiling. It turned out that our customer had recently purchased the house not realising that all the kitchen plumbing had been done by the previous owner himself. What we found was that all the waste pipes were actually running up hill which had resulted in a blockage and the waste water from the dishwasher flowing back up the stand pipe when the dishwasher drained.

In the end we had to pull out all the kitchen cabinets and redo all the kitchen waste plumbing. A full day of work and certainly not what the customer wanted to find out about her new flat.

Toilet and Sink Unblocking - Service and Beyond

One of the more specialist tasks Silver Saints Handyman Service undertakes is the unblocking of sinks and toilets. Usually this is a straight forward task, but we have had our share of difficult and messy jobs over the past week.

One of our handymen, Richard, was asked to replace a sani-flo unit in a basement toilet last week. He arrived to find that the customer had already purchased a replacement unit and just required us to fit it. It all seemed straight forward. But when Richard proceeded to dismantle the old unit he found that it had obviously failed sometime before the customer had stopped using the toilet and both the waste pipe and old sani-flo unit were completely blocked. It was a smelly and messy job to get the pipe work clear enough to fit the new sani-flo. Once the old unit was un-installed and emptied it was clear that the cause of the failure was that the customer had flushed bits of carpet thread down the toilet which had become entangled in the sani-flo's motor. Resulting in it burning out.

The second, out of the ordinary unblocking job also took place in a basement. We were called out to unblock a bathroom basin, but when we arrived we found that the basin, shower and toilet were blocked. After about 3 hours of roding we managed to break off a piece of limescale about the size of a coke can, which had obviously been building up over many years.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Sash Window Repair London

One of the most common of the more specialist jobs we undertake is the repair and replacement of sash window cords and sash balances.

We recently had a request to replace sash chains. Although sash chain is readily available from architectural iron mongers. Its very rare to find sash windows which use chains instead of normal sash cord. This is because the cost of the chain is about four times that of nylon cord with no additional benefit other than been out of the ordinary.

Unfortunately for our customer only one chain needed replacing and the shortest chain we could purchase was a 50ft reel at a cost of £90.
At least they'll have plenty of chain at hand if any of the other chains need replacing in the near future.

Shower Repairs - London

I've had a theory for some time now that shower faults occur in batches. This is reflected in the fact that we will not have a shower repair job for weeks and then all of a sudden we'll get 6 faulty shower repairs in one week.

This week has been one of those weeks.

Yesterday we had a successfully completed the installation of a replacement thermostatic shower valve.

On Monday one of or handymen repaired an exotic shower divertor which two specialist plumbers had failed to repair.

On Tuesday we replaced an electric shower, replaced parts in another and did two estimates to supply and fit shower pumps to cure low pressure problems.

Our operations department have become experts at identifying shower valves and sourcing replacement parts for even the rarest of showers.

There aren't many shower faults that silver saints cannot solve.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Special Delivery

Silver Saints is London's premier handyman service. One of the things that makes us different from the other London handyman services is the fact that we will go out of our way to solve our customer's problems.

Over the last few weeks this has lead to us having to source, deliver and fit a few out of the ordinary items. These included:

Porcelain Tiles:
We spent 3 days searching for 1 box of a particualr polished porcelain tile in order to repair a leaking shower without having to re-tile the whole bathroom. After 15 different tile shops and about 100 miles of traveling we managed to source the matching tiles from a specialist tile shop in Kingston.

Electric Shower:
Sourced an unused electric shower matching a customers current faulty shower. This particular model was made obsolete a few years ago. Replacing it with a different model would have meant almost a full days worth of work. We found a like for like replacement on ebay and snapped it up. The job was done in 90 minutes.

Roller Blind Mechanism:
Sounds trivial, but you try find a single replacement part for a roller blind. It took us about two days to source a manufacturer who was willing to sell us a single component.

Tap Aerators:
If you don't know, these are the small mesh filters that you find at the end of tap spouts. We were sent a photo of a tap and asked to source the aerators without any hint of the manufacturers name.

The both are just a few of the dozens of specialist parts we source for our customers every week. Something I know other London handyman services will not do for their customers.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Hanging LCD Screens - Cheap SCART leads

One of the more specialist jobs our London handymen take on is the hanging of LCD TVs. As an added service we also offer a cable concealing service. Where our London handyman will conceal the Scart/HDMI and power cables within a surface mounted trunking or behind the plasterboard wall itself.

One issue that customers don't usually prepare for, is that the cables need to significantly longer than the ones supplied with most TVs if they are to be concealed in any way and still reach the desired accessories or power sockets. So we always ask the customer at the booking stage to ensure that they have sufficiently long cables on-site for us to be able to complete the installation.

I realised on last week, that not only is the length of the cable important but the quality of the SCART lead does affect the picture and sound quality. We arrived at a LCD fitting job in Fulham where the customer had a 5m SCART cable which he wanted concealed in trunking and connected to his sky box. Once we had fitted the TV, and connected the sky box using the 5m SCART cable supplied by the customer, we noticed that the picture quality on the LCD was not very good. We had a 1.5m SCART cable with us and so changed the SCART lead to see if it had any effect. Sure enough the picture quality improved to near perfect. I examined the packaging that the 5m SCART had arrived and noted that it had cost the customer £5.99. This obviously seemed like a bargain at the time. But it was clear that it was the cause of the poor quality picture.

Luckily there was an electrical wholesaler nearby where we managed to get a better quality 3m SCART for around £20. The end result was good and we all learnt that if you are going to spend close to £1000 on an LCD TV, its worth spending £20 on good quality cables.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

London Handyman - London Plumber

Silver Saints London Handyman Service takes on a wide range of both domestic and commercial plumbing jobs. in fact there aren't many plumbing jobs our multi-skilled London handymen can't undertake.

Along with the most simple of plumbing jobs like fixing dripping taps and repairing toilet flushes our handymen take on a lot of more specialised plumbing tasks like repairing electric showers, repairing waste disposals, unblocking toilets and sinks and installing washing machines and dishwashers.

The next time you need a plumber in London, give Silver Saints a call. We guarantee fantastic service from booking to billing and charge less per hour than almost all specialist London plumbing firms.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Plumber London

Silver Saints undertake a massive range of both domestic and commercial plumbing jobs. It fact there are almost no domestic plumbing jobs our Saints can't do.

The most common London plumbing jobs we undertake include:

and much more.

So if you need a London Plumber give Silver Saints a call on 0207 0999 199 or send an email to fixit@silversaints.co.uk.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Toilet and Sink Unblocking

One of the more specialist jobs our London Handymen take on is the clearing of blocked toilets, blocked sinks and blocked urinals. We have specialist equipment for dealing with blockages which means that 90% of blocked toilets, sinks and urinals can be cleared in 60 minutes.

We have had three unblocking jobs recently which deserve a mention.

The first was a blocked toilet for a regular customer. He had gone away on a business trip and left his two sons, who are 18 and 17 years old respectively, to look after themselves at home as they themselves were on school holidays. Just like you would expect any self respecting teenagers to do when their parents have left them alone for an extended period of time......they through a house party! It was three days later that the housekeeper discovered the guest toilet was blocked. Not a pleasant job to go to but we managed to unblock the toilet before the father returned home.

The second job was a bit more pleasant. A young mother had called us to unblock a toilet which had a history of becoming blocked. Unfortunately despite prior instruction, their housekeeper had flushed kitchen towel down the loo which resulted in the toilet becoming blocked. It was an easy job to clear the blockage, but it was also easy to see why the problem was occurring. The toilet was offset from the waste pipe. In order to overcome this problem, the bathroom fitters had cobbled together two 35 degree pan connectors. Unfortunately this was resulting in the waste having to make to fairly sharp turns through the pan connector before it entered the waste pipe and hence the frequent occurrence of blockages.

The third job was a blocked sink which also had a history of frequent blockages. Because the homeowner had been ripped off by a specialist drain clearing company a few months ago he was hesitant to call any other professional sink unblocking service and instead attempted to clear the blockage himself using various DIY plungers, rods and chemicals. Having been unsuccessful in his attempts he left on honeymoon, choosing to deal with the blocked sink on his return. By the time he called Silver Saints the blockage had been sitting undisturbed for three weeks. We managed to clear the blocked sink in about 45 minutes using an array of specialist drain clearing tools. But the smell that wafted from the drain pipe when we removed the u-bend will haunt my dreams for eternity.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Suspended Ceiling Repairs

Silver Saints prides itself on been able to solve almost any problem around homes of offices. Often the most important ingredients are experienced handymen and a flexible approach. But some problems also require a bit of research to get right.

We were asked by one of our commercial customers to repair a two large holes in their suspended ceiling having had two air conditioning units removed.

It might have looked like a simple job to them. But suspended ceilings come in a wide variety of styles which are not compatible with each other.

We sent a handyman to site armed with a catalogue showing all the possible varieties of grids and tiles. He has able to match the exact system they had and we ordered the parts we needed.

Once the parts arrived, we were able to completely restore the suspended ceiling in a matter of hours.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

London Handyman - Experience Counts

One of the messages we try to get across to all of our customers is the fact that we don't just take on general handyman jobs like other handyman services, but a wide range of specialist tasks as well.

One of the most obvious benefits of employing the most experienced Handymen in London is the knowledge they all bring with them and are able to pass on to the rest of the team. This means that Silver Saints can take on almost any home or office repair that comes our way.

The more specialist jobs we take on include:

Installing LCD TV's
Unblocking Toilets, Sinks and Urinals
Replacing Sash Cords and Sash Spiral Balances
Electric Showers Repairs
Grout Cleaning
Garbage Disposal Repairs
Mouse Proofing
PAT Testing

In fact there aren't many jobs our multi-skilled London Handymen cannot take on.

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Rat Zapper

There is an 'urban stat' that has spread like wild fire amongst Londoners. I don't know where it came from or how they worked it out, but it is said that in London you are never more than 5 meters away from a rodent.

Been a very houseproud person, I was horrified to have discovered that I had a mouse living behind my kitchen cabinets and at once took measures to exterminate it. A quick web search for mouse trap revealed a wide range of the latest technology in rodent death apparatus. I settled on the 'Rat Zapper'. This is a battery powered execution chamber, that zaps the unfortunate vermin with a large current of electricity as soon as it enters the chamber. Killing it instantly, without the usual blood and gore of the old school mechanical traps.

I followed the advice on the quite comical instruction booklet to the word. It said that a small piece of bait should be placed at the entrance of the trap with the trap turned off for the first night. On the second night the trap should be rebated and this time the bait pushed a little further into the trap. On the third night, the bait should be placed at the back of the trap and the unit turned on. According to the instructions, rodents are suspicious of changes to their surroundings and need to get used to taking food from the chamber before they will enter into it completely.

Having baited the trap on evenings one and two with a small cap full of peanut butter. I wasn't sure whether the mouse had been taking any bites. On the third evening I added a bit of cheese to the bait and turned the trap on. Sure enough the next morning a red light on the trap was flashing, indicating a successful kill!

I've left the zapper baited and ready for another few nights, the hunt is on.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Office Maintenance - London Handy man

About 45% of the work we do is for offices. The most common jobs we do for commercial customers include:
- Repairing Toilets
- Unblocking Toilets, Urinals & Sinks
- Changing Light Bulbs
- Hanging Whiteboards and Pictures
- Repairing Office Furniture
- Fixing Dripping Taps
- Repairing Door Handles
- Hanging LCD TV's

Although most London offices will have a maintenance contract for larger works through the buildings management, they often battle to get smaller repairs and odd jobs done. That is why companies love Silver Saints London Handyman Service. We provide a multi-skilled handyman who can take care of all the general jobs listed above as well as many more specialist tasks.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Really Really Old Sash Windows

One of the most requested jobs Silver Saints Handyman Service undertakes is the repair of broken sash window cords and spiral sash balances. But our London handy men also get requests to repair sash windows that just aren't in balance and won't stay open. I'm sure we've all experienced the problem, you open a sash window and as soon as you let go of it, it slides closed.

The reason is that the counter weights on either side of the window are not heavy enough to keep the window up. The answer is to add an extra lead weight, called a make weight, to the current window weights.

Our handy man Don, undertook just this job for a media company in Covent Garden last week. The interesting part of this job was that they had a dozen windows which seemed to be over a hundred years old, which still had the original Victorian 2mm thick glass in them. As a result Don had to be extremely careful in the way he handled the windows.

It was amazing to see young creatives sitting at ikea desks with multiple flat screens using the latest the Apple software to edit films and documentaries while starring out a window that is 150 years old.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Intercom Madness

One of the jobs that makes even experienced electricians nervous is fault finding on an intercom system.

We attended a job for a commercial customer based in Covent Garden this week. The complaint was that one of the twenty intercom handsets installed on the system was not opening the main door when the door release button was pressed.

Armed with the wiring diagrams for this particular system we set out to test for a faulty handset or loose connections. After about an hour of testing it became clear that the handset was fine and the problem with the wiring from the handset (on the 2nd floor) down to the buildings main door.

In the end it took us four hours to repair the problem, but I'm happy to report that both Don and I are now experts at fault diagnosis of intercom systems having run through every possible fault and tested every connection in the system.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Wobbly Washing Machines

A landlord asked us to attend one of his properties last week. The tenants had reported that their newly installed under counter washing machine was vibrating violently when it reached the spin cycle. The shaking was so violent that the downstairs neighbours had complained that a picture had fallen off their wall as a result.

New washing machines almost all arrive with long bolts, called transit brackets, which secure the drum in place during transit and delivery. They normally have big orange or yellow arrows pointing at them telling the installer to remove them when fitting the machine. You'll be surprised how many experienced installers forget this vital step. The result of not removing the transit brackets is obvious when you try and run the machine for the first time. The machine attempts to shake the transit brackets loose itself by bouncing across the room.

So when the landlord described the problem, we thought we knew the answer straight away. The installer (not Silver Saints) had left the transit brackets in. But alas, when our handyman arrived and inspected the machine he found that the transit brackets had been removed and the violent shaking was as a result of something else.

On further investigation it became clear that the problem was been caused by the fact that the washing machine was resting on top of floorboards which were not level or very stiff. This meant that the washing machine was constantly fighting against the eccentric forces caused by the weight of the spinning load of washing. The reasons a washing machine should be level are the same reasons your car wheels need to be balanced. Out of balance centrifugal forces cause vibrations. (Read more about cetrifugal forces)

The cure to this particular problem was to fit a piece of 18mm ply wood across the floorboards as a stable surface for the washing machine to sit on. The handyman then spent some time adjusting the feet of the machine to make sure it was perfectly level. He then attached the feet of the machine to the ply wood with screws drilled through each foot of the machine (this particular machine did have pre-drilled holes in each foot for this purpose, however I'm not sure if all machines have these)

The end result spoke for itself. Amazed tenants watched on as the machine smoothly went through it's spin cycle. A very satisfying job all round.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Leaking Silicone Sealant - A Cultural Problem

One of the most common jobs our London handymen undertake is the resealing of baths and shower cubicles. People sometimes just want the old sealant replaced because it has become discoloured or mouldy, but mostly it is because signs of a leak have appeared on the ceiling below the bath or shower.

It must be said, it is not always the silicone, in some cases there are cracks in the grout or water is making its way behind a valve or tap. However nine times out of ten there is a gap or hole in the sealant. The cure is often simple, scrape out all the old silicone and replace it.

Leaking sealant is a very common problem in the UK. If you visit your local B&Q or Homebase you'll find a whole aisle dedicated to different kinds of sealants, sealing strips and sealing tapes. All offering new and improved ways to seal your bath or shower. But why are there so many baths and showers that leak, is it the sealant?

I spent the first 24 years of my life in South Africa and I had never seen a tube of silicone, a silicone gun or heard anyone complain about a leak due to a hole in their bath or shower sealant until I moved to London. I realise now when I go back to South Africa on holiday that all baths and showers are sealed with silicone exactly the same way they are in the UK. So why is leaking silicone sealant such a problem here and not in South Africa.

As with most blog articles, I pose the question just so I can answer it myself. So here goes.

I believe the answer lies in space, or lack there of. The UK, or London in particular, has a lack of space. Houses are split into halves, quarters, basements and lofts. Flats are shared, even rooms are shared. Everybody lives either on top of or underneath someone else.

If you have ever lived in a flat or house share you will know that the efficient scheduling of shower/bathroom facilities is the cornerstone of any successful house share. The shower is in almost constant use. Some flatmates shower in the morning, some in the evening, some in the morning and evening. My point is the average London shower cubicle sees a lot of action and a lot of water. If there is even the slightest hole in the silicone with a constant stream of water flowing over it day in day out. Of course there is going to be a problem.

I propose that even the best silicone job is susceptible to wear and tear and a shower or bath that sees constant use day in day out will need to be resealed every couple of years to ensure a permanent and good seal.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Good Neighbours

One of the jobs we are doing today has an interesting story behind it that I thought I would blog about.

We took a call last week from a gentleman who wanted to know what the cost and availability was for Silver Saints to supply and fit a replacement front door. He attached a photo of the current door and wanted a like for like replacement. After a bit of research we found the same door was available from Wicks in SW19. Having given him a fixed price for the supply, delivery and fitment of the new door. He agreed to go ahead with the work and asked us to contact someone else to gain access to the property as the person who lived at the address where the door was to be fitted was in hospital.

It turns out that the door had been kicked in by paramedics who needed to gain access to the property because the elderly gentleman that lived there had fallen ill and was unable to let them in.

The gentleman who had contacted us was one of his neighbours who had volunteered to arrange and pay for the replacement of the door and the person who was going to give us access to the property was yet another neighbour. They wanted to ensure that the property was secure and that the elderly resident would not have to worry about having the door replaced when he returned from hospital later in the week

Its good to know that people still go out of their way to help each other out and that a sense of community still exists within a very complex city like London.

Friday, 27 June 2008

My Day Out with the Ladder.

In case you don't know, all our handymen travel around London on either motorbikes or push bikes. One of the few drawbacks of these modes of transport is that we cannot carry step-ladders with us. This is not normally a problem as most customers have a step ladder or sturdy chair we can stand on if a bit of extra height is required.

This however was not the case for one of our customers who had just moved in to a flat in W2. Unfortunately she did not have a step ladder or much furniture yet and wanted us to install some curtain rails and replace a faulty lighting transformer.

So yesterday morning I set out from SW12 on my push bike with a trailer loaded with a 4 rung folding step ladder. Traveling through Clapham Common, over Chelsea bridge and across Hyde Park I arrived at the customers house at 9am as the Handyman Nick was just arriving.

I spent the day following Nick from job to job and even assisted in assembling some furniture at his last job of the day. After which I headed home, following the same route back through Hyde Park.

All in it was a 2 hour round trip and about 2000 calories of energy to get the ladder to W2. But I loved it.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


We have recently set up a Silver Saints Youtube chanel which will feature how 2 videos of our london handymen carrying out some of the more common jobs we take on.

We have posted our first video on how to hang a flat screen TV and aim to post a new video each week. Look out for next weeks video on changing sash cords.

Visit our chanel to view our most recent video - How to hang a flat screen TV.

Silver Saints - Londons premier handyman service.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Last Minute Cancellations

We have a fairly liberal cancellation policy. A customer can cancel their job at anytime before we actually turn up at the door without attracting a charge. Although we do get last minute cancellations and they are always disappointing, the fact that our average job is only 90 minutes long, means that it normally is not the end of the world. We can usually reshuffle our schedule in order to keep the handyman busy.

But yesterday we had a customer cancel a large wall-papering job, that was due to last two days, the evening before the work was due to commence. It was too late in the day for us to do anything about the handyman's schedule and as a consequence he had a very unproductive day.

We have always shied away from jobs lasting more than four hours, mainly because they are normally complex, hard to be competitive on pricing and are generally a greater credit risk. This particular customer was desperate to get the work done and had already given us credit card details for payment so we were happy to take on the work. But in the end we had our figures burnt and it has given us yet another reason to stick to the small jobs that we do so well.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Tap Repairs, Tap Valves and Tap Spares

One of the jobs we have become experts on over the years is curing problems with household taps. Identifying makes and models from emailed photos, sourcing specific valves, ceramic cartridges, handles, diverters and indices has become somewhat of an obsession amongst the Silver Saints Operations Team.

I had a particularly satisfying enquiry this morning. A lady had picked up one of our business cards at her local South West London coffee shop and given us a call about her leaking bath taps. She obviously did have some DIY knowledge as she explained that the tap internals would need to be changed as the problem with the valve felt a little more than just a worn washer.

I asked her to email me a picture of the taps. Which she did.
Within a half-hour we had identified the make and model of the taps and ordered the replacement parts. I'd be very surprised if any other London handyman service or Plumbing service had the same knowledge or resources to identify and source parts from a picture of a 10-15 year old bath tap. But we do it half a dozen times a week.

It must be said, we don't always find the parts needed. Sometimes we just don't have enough clues from the taps themselves to identify the manufacturers and sometimes they are just cheap no-name taps imported from China and sold online (so parts are not available). But at least a customer can be confident that if we suggest fitting a new tap, the parts really are impossible to find.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Upgrading Electric Showers

Many Londoners have a love hate relationship with electric showers. Landlords and property developers love them, because the allow an additional shower at relatively low cost. While tenants hate them, because of their mediocre performance (especially in Winter).

Electric showers are fed cold water directly from the mains. The shower then 'instantaneously' heats the the incoming water to the desired temperature set by the user. In fact what is happening is the shower slows the flow of water down to give it enough time to heat the cold water. That is why in winter, when the incoming mains water is very cold, all you get is a trickle from the shower head.

The more powerful the rating of the shower (7.5Kw, 8.5 Kw, 9.5Kw or 10.5 Kw) the quicker it can heat up the water and the less it has to slow the flow down.

A lot of people have picked up on this fact and have opted to upgrade their poorly performing 7.5KW showers with a more powerful 10.5KW shower. Unfortunately, DIYers don't always understand the electrical implications of changing the rating of an electrical appliance to the rest of their wiring and protective devices (fuses, miniature circuit breakers). Simply, the amount of current that a cable can carry without overheating is limited mainly by the cross sectional area of the cable. Fuses and MCB are in place to protect the cable from overheating and therefore are rated to blow or trip before the electrical current gets to the cables failure current.

A 7,5 KW shower will draw a maximum current of 30Amps - 32 Amps. An installer would thus get away with a using a 32amp MCB and a 6 mm2 cable. A 10.5Kw shower would draw a maximum of 40-43 Amps and therefore would require a cable thickness of at least 10 mm2 which should be protected by a 45amp MCB. So if a person wishes to install a 10.5KW shower in place of a 7.5KW shower they should be confident that the electrical supply is capable of coping with such a change.

With a bit of domestic electrical knowledge and plumbing knowledge, upgrading an electric shower is a straight forward job. But without knowing what one is doing it can lead to a dangerous situation, mainly a fire risk.

So my advice is if you are adamant on doing the work yourself, get a competent person to check your electrics for you. Otherwise hire a professional handyman to do the whole install for you.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Sash Window Repair - Handyman London

One of the more specialist job Silver Saints London Handyman Service undertakes is the replacing of broken sash cord or sash spiral balances. As we head into summer and the temperature rises many people are opening their sash windows again after the long winter. Only to realise that the sash windows won't stay up, this is normally due to one of two things. The sash cord has broken and so the window is no longer attached to the weight or the window has been re-glazed with a thicker glass than it was first installed with and the weights are no longer heavy enough to keep the sash from sliding closed under its own weight. Both these are problems our handymen can fix.

Arriving in London six years ago from South Africa, sash windows were very new to me. In fact the only example of a sash window I had seen before was in old colonial hotels which are still scattered around South Africa. But sash windows have been around for a very long time and their popularity today is probably as high as it has ever been. In a recent search for a particular nylon sash cord I came across a specialist Sash Window design company that had an extensive history of the sash window.

The origins of the vertical sliding sash window are still subject to speculation and debate, but it would appear that the design probably derived from the much simpler horizontal sliding sash commonly known as the 'Yorkshire Sash'.

For many years it was believed that the vertical design had originated in Holland, during the later part of the Seventeenth Century. Others claimed it to be of French origin, as the word 'sash' is derived from the French word 'chassis' , meaning frame. However the French sash had not yet developed counter-balancing and the sliding sash frame was held in place by a swivel block.

The earliest recorded account may be that of W.Horman who in his 1589 'Vulgaria' wrote-"Glasen wyndowis let in the lyght.....I have many prety wyndowes shette with levys goynge up and down".

Certainly toward the end of the Seventeenth Century, sash windows were apparent in England examples include Chatsworth House (c1676 - 1680), Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace. Sir Christopher Wrens master joiner, Thomas Kinward, recorded possibly the earliest specification of a fully developed sash window, whilst working at Whitehall Palace. With the royal patronage and adoption by Wren, wooden sash windows soon became a fashionable status symbol across Britain and the Colonies.

Many earlier casement windows were replaced and sliding sash windows were used almost exclusively in new buildings, from royal palaces to simple cottages the sash ruled supreme and remained popular until the earlier part of this century.The sash offered many advantages, including being better suited to the wet British climate, as it can be closed down to a narrow gap, allowing for good ventilation whilst reducing the chance of rain entering. Being contained within the box, the sashes are less susceptible to distortion and rot than a hinged casement adding greatly to their life span. Aesthetically the sash is constructed from delicate sections of wood, with large areas of glass that add a certain grace, even when open they do not detract from the facade, as an open casement does.

Georgian architecture embraced sash windows wholeheartedly, improving the design from a single moving sash, with the top being fixed, to the more familiar system of two moveable sashes. Oak was the common timber used for construction, with thick glazing bars to hold the small, valuable crown glass panes, made by blowing. The 'bulls eye' formed at the centre by this manufacturing technique was commonly used at the rear of buildings. As glass manufacture improved larger panes started to appear and the ‘classic’ Georgian design consisting of six over six panes, with narrow glazing bars became the norm.

For the Victorians, box sash windows were a central focus to the character of their buildings, inside and out they lavished ornamentation and decoration on their homes. Curved horns, multi-arched heads, intricate mouldings, leaded lights and latticework started to appear in the sashes, which were often grouped into impressive bays and offset with ornate stone reveals. Graduating the size of windows from the ground upwards not only improved the perspective but also increased the amount of light to the lower rooms.

By the turn of the century the sash was the most widely used window, but since the first world war their popularity has been in decline. This decline is probanly due to the labour costs involved in their manufacture when compared to the easily mass produced wooden or metal casement window.

Given the advances in glass manufacturing and the increased efficiency of sash windows I think sash window will be around for a very long time still.