Mold Protection

If you need mold protection paint, perhaps to cover over dried out water damage marks, I can highly recommend Héra Penészgátló.

Mold Protection PaintMold Protection Paint

For my water damage marks I first used a primer and then used Héra Penészgátló as an under coat. It is a little thicker than normal paint (in a good way) and costs 4,299 HUF (£11.46) for 2 Litres.


Polyfilla

If you need a good equivalent to Polly cell Polyfilla, use Primastěrka Prima Glett. Available from any OBI D.I.Y Shop.

PolyfillaPolyfilla

Its impressive, versatile, creamy toothpaste texture can literally fill any space, hole or gap; making it perfect for renovation jobs. It dries hard and can be sanded down like Polyfilla.


Wood Gloss

A good wood and metal gloss is the Trinát Magasfényű Zománc range of paints, which come in a variety of colours. A 0.25L tin, costing 2,190 and upwards (depending on the paint colour), can cover 2 square meters (two coats).

Wood GlossWood Gloss

I have used the brown for the wooden frames around my balcony windows and the white Trinát Radiátorzománc (metal/radiator gloss paint) for the metal around my balcony.



How To Get Cheaper Renovation Work Done

Black Hat Jobs - Cheaper Labor - Tax Avoidance - The Taxman

If you have lived in Hungary long enough you will know the tax for a self-employed tradesman and small limited company is ridiculously high. With other taxes and insurances too, a self-employed plumber for example will pay almost 50% of their earnings towards tax and insurance. Meaning, they have to double the price of a job before they have even started it. And as the customer does not like, and cannot afford, a doubled priced job the tradesman is forced to do a 'Black Hat' job in order to survive.

A 'Black Hat' job is basically a job where the tradesman or small limited company avoids the taxman by only charging you for materials, labor and travel expenses while adding a little profit. They do NOT double their price to include taxes and insurances. Hence a 'Black Hat' job price. You are both happy.

NOTE - 'Black Hat' tradesmen/workers/companies, which are normally found on Facebook and via Hungarian friends, are NOT cheap labor. It is just that you will be getting professional tradesmen/workers without the extra tax/insurance charges added to your quote/final payment.

Get The SMALLER RECEIPTS

If you suspect or know a job is going to be 'Black Hat', always insist on receipts for the smaller jobs and their materials. That way, you (as a customer) can show receipts to anyone asking questions (i.e. the taxman). Better still, make out you brought someone over from the UK to do the major jobs. The Hungarian taxman loves interpreting English! As you may of guessed, I have no sympathy for rip-off governments/regimes.

TIP! - It is not unusual for tax officers to visit your property shortly after you have bought your new Hungarian property to make sure you have paid the correct amount of Stamp Duty. They may even take photos of your new property. So it is wise NOT to start your renovation until at least 3 months after your property purchase, for example, if you are going to go down the 'Black Hat' route. Also watch out for jealous neighbours. They will not hesitate to snitch you. You have been warned!

The Standard HUNGARIAN TRADESMAN

The standard Hungarian tradesman normally works on a 'Whole Job' basis rather than on a 'Per Hour', 'Individual Job', basis whereby in their head they calculate each individual job (i.e. each room) on a Square Meter basis. This is initially based on previous work of course in terms of the boss knowing how long the 'whole job' will take, how many workers to employ, how much to pay each worker, transport costs and how much material to buy (if you are not buying your own).

The TRAVEL EXPENSES

Travel expenses are normally based on distance 'Per Kilometer' if taking multiple trips or 'Per Litre' if only one trip is needed. On top of this a little is added for the vehicle's maintenance fees (m.o.t, insurance and tax) because the tradesman sees it as "It costs more than petrol to visit you"! And any emergency trips to d.i.y shops or standard trips to collect additional unforeseen materials, for example, are your costs.

The PAINTER & DECORATOR

As an example of the above said: If a painter is decorating two 5 Square Meter rooms with one coat of paint (i.e. a whitewash), they will quote you an overall price that includes material (i.e. 10 square meters of white paint costing 5,000 HUF), labor hours (i.e. 8 hours at 1,500 HUF per hour, per worker), travel expenses (i.e. 400 HUF per litre plus 100 HUF per litre for vehicle maintenance) and a little bit of profit.

The TILER

A tiler that has to tile two 5 Square Meter rooms will quote an overall price that includes materials (tiles, tile cement and grout that covers 10 square meters), labour hours, travel expenses and a little bit of profit. Although the tiler might also, initially, mentally calculate on a 'Per Hour' price, based on previous jobs they have done, they normally price by the Square Meter rather than the time (per hour) to be fair to the customer and themselves.

By The SQUARE METER

If a tiler has to tile medium to large tiles on a floor for example they are happy because it will not take them that long to finish the job, especially with two or more tilers working on that job. It will be a quick, easy profit, job for them; and perhaps a slightly lower labor cost for you. So the larger the tiles the better. Larger tiles are also in fashion in Hungary for this reason alone.

One job a tiler does not like is a mosaic job or smaller tiles job simply because they know it will be a long laborious, not-much-profit, job whereby you (the customer) will not pay by the hour. So have medium to large tiles tiled if/where possible to keep your tiler happy and your own costs down.

Pay Per Job - PAY LATER

One bad thing about Hungarian poverty is that it breeds people who want their money NOW. In the UK it is quite acceptable to give a cheque to a tradesman for the work they have done completely or in part. Or to tell them "I will pay you next week". It is a cultural trust that exists between a new customer (you) and the new tradesman (your new stranger). The cheque allows you to cancel its payment if you are not happy with the tradesman's work (i.e. you find one or more faults immediately after they have carried out their work).

In Hungary there is no cheque system and therefore no payment cancellation system. And even if there was a cheque system, the Hungarian tradesman would not like it because it might take too long for the cheque to clear. Furthermore, they need the cash NOW because they have family to take care of, bills to pay, etc. They do not have the luxury of banking their small profits because that money is almost spent before they receive it. Think forint, think poverty, and you will slowly get to know Hungary better.

Pay Per Job - PAY AS YOU GO

With the just said, it is best to sort out part payment or full payment arrangements before any job(s) begin. In general: If you have a builder who has a tiler for your tiling work, a plumber for your pipework and an electrician for your electrical jobs, it is best to pay for each individual job (plumbing, wiring, etc) when each of those individual jobs have been completed. In other words, a 'Pay-As-You-Go' (PAYG) system.

You might have to pay the builder an initial, small, down payment first, to cover their workers initial wages and so on, but after that use a PAYG system.

Tell Them EXACTLY WHAT YOU REQUIRE

If you are not buying the materials yoourself and/or doing a job yourself, tell whoever is doing your renovation work or individual jobs exactly what you want doing.

As an example: All I wanted was a new sink fitted in my new bathroom. In the UK the sink, taps, pipes, plumbers tape and anything else that is required for the job would be taken care of by the plumber when you say "Can you buy and install a new bathroom sink for me". Not in Hungary! All I heard was "OK. The plumber is coming around next week to fit the new sink", "By the way, you have not bought the pipework and taps yet"!

A Gletter Is NOT A PLASTERER

NOTE WELL - In Hungary a Gletter is a person who applies glet to your walls. Glet is a kind of white 'plaster of paris' and 'polyfilla' mix that is normally applied as a 3-5 milimeter skimmer (outer layer); on concrete walls or plasterboard. In other words, it is not UK plaster that can be applied to plasterboard only as an ½ inch or 1 inch wall layer.

In other words: Do not confuse plaster with glet. Although glet is especially good at sticking to raw concrete, I would recommend covering your raw concrete walls with plasterboard first wherever and whenever.


RENOVATION TIME
RENO MATERIALS
Index