McKay tilers say this is the life for them

ON THE JOB: Adam McKay with his father Ian and uncle Ralph have 100 years of tiling experience between them. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 060418ctilers1
ON THE JOB: Adam McKay with his father Ian and uncle Ralph have 100 years of tiling experience between them. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 060418ctilers1

FIFTY years on the tools is a long time in anyone’s language, but tiler Ian McKay is about to hang up the trowel. Well, almost.

As a tiler he has lent a hand to countless building projects across the city during his career – from humble homes to the All Saints’ Cathedral bell tower.

Such is his love for the job that his son Adam and brother Ralph also followed him into the trade and they have been in the jobs for 10 years and 40 years respectively.

Mr McKay said it was his parents who first suggested he undertake a trade.

“My Mum and Dad went to the Scottish dances on Fridays and on the Saturday morning, when I was in my third year at school and I was 16, she [his mother] said ‘you’re going to be a tiler on Monday,” he said.

“They were friends with a Scottish guy, Donald Gordon, who was a tiler.”

And, as the saying goes Mr McKay has never looked back.

“It’s rewarding at the end of the job when you can see what you’ve done,” he said.

“It was a good trade, there’s no excuse for a rainy day.”

Mr McKay can tile just about every surface, except for your roof, and said every job comes with its challenges.

“Over the years I’ve done swimming pools and the inside and outside of houses,” he said.

“I even did all the stone work in the bell tower at All Saints’ Cathedral.

“I also did the chapel floor at Mayfield Garden.”

With many days of hard work under his belt, Mr McKay said he was looking forward to his semi-retirement at the end of June and then just completing the “odd tiling job”.