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Palace Chemicals provides ‘fast track’ system for ‘fit out’ of new T M Lewin Store

Perfectly located in the heart of the Canary Wharf, T M Lewin has opened a new store for 2017 in the shopping mall at One Canada Place.

The contractors responsible for the new ‘fit out’ were Noble Interiors, based in Bourne, Lincolnshire. Noble Interiors provide a nationwide interior fitting-out service for retail and commercial companies with over 20 years of combined knowledge in the industry, providing both bespoke and national roll-out programs on time and within budget.

They contacted Palace Chemicals for help and advice on the most suitable products for the preparation and tiling installation considering the time constraints put on them by the client.

Time is money goes the old agage, and this is especially the case when fitting-out retail units, more so at the start of a new season when shoppers are eager to purchase the latest business wear for their summer wardrobe.

For T M Lewin, Palace Chemicals provided the perfect ‘fast track’ solution.  When the old floor covering was removed, it required a levelling compound.  After being thoroughly cleaned and prepared, Palace Fast-Track Floor Leveller was applied.

Palace Fast-Track is a fast-setting, polymer-modified levelling compound which maximises early hydration and rapid strength development only requiring the addition of water.  This makes it ideal for use in circumstances where rapid access for tile installation is essential.

“I was so impressed with Palace Fast-Track leveller, we were able to tile after just one hour,” enthuses Martyn Giddings, Operations Manager at Noble Interiors.

The tiles were fixed with Palace Multi-Flex.  This is a polymer-modified, fast-setting adhesive that allows grouting to proceed just three hours after the tiles are fixed.

Palace Colour-Lock Grout in Sterling Silver was chosen for its high, early, flexural strength and durability; making it the ideal choice for use in a retail environment where a high footfall rate is anticipated.
To complete the look Palace matching Colour-Lock 100% silicon was used for all perimeter sealing ensuring a professional finish throughout the store.

Palace Chemicals - T: 0151 486 6101
T M Lewin: T: 0845 389 1898  W:
Noble Interiors - T: 01788 422241

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Tiling to anhydrite screeds

Anhydrite screeds are becoming increasingly popular, not just in new build projects but in renovations to existing properties too.  They dry with a laitance on the surface, often powdery or weak with a slight shimmer, but very nice and flat.  It’s worth being aware of the preparation required prior to tiling and the fact that this laitance needs removing before any works can commence.

Some schools of thought say that there’s no need to remove this laitance, and that, as time goes by and the harder it gets, it will never be a problem.  This, in itself, creates a problem.  The laitance is a weak, often friable, layer on the surface of the screed.  If you remove it after ten days or so, it can be sanded away to reveal the coarse screed surface underneath.  The longer it’s left, however, the harder it gets ... and the harder it is to remove.  Indeed, sanding may not be sufficient to remove the laitance and it may need grinding off the surface.  

Leaving the laitance on can also effect the screed’s drying.  While it remains on the anhydrite screed, it prevents moisture within the slab drying through.  So, the 60mm slab that has been left to dry for 85 days actually has not had 85 days’ worth of drying.  In some cases, drying only starts from when the laitance is removed.

Anhydrite screeds dry differently to traditional concrete or sand/cement screeds.  Cement uses the moisture within the mix as part of its drying process, meaning that a lot of moisture is used up whilst the slab dries. Anhydrite, however, requires itself to dry out, for the moisture to find its way out of the slab, which it isn’t able to do whilst the laitance remains on the surface.

Once the laitance has been removed, and the underfloor heating has been commissioned and put through its thermal cycle, the slab must be monitored for moisture.  Moisture content is critical and it is all down to chemistry.  There is a known chemical reaction between gypsum, which is within anhydrite screeds, and cement, which is in the large majority of tile adhesives.  This reaction is called ettringite: an expansive crystal that grows between the cement and gypsum, eventually forcing the tile adhesive and the tile away from the floor.  The biggest accelerator of ettringite is moisture, so a wet anhydrite slab tiled with a cement-based tile adhesive is likely to cause issues, such as the tiles de-bonding from the floor.

Good preparation centres around the moisture content and getting the floor slab down to its critical moisture content before installing floor coverings. Once you have the correct reading from a Hygrometer of the RH levels within the floor - typically less than 75% RH - it’s good to be installed on - but not directly.  A primer barrier needs to be put in place between the cement and gypsum-based products to ensure no chemical reaction can begin. Sometimes more than one coat of primer will be required to create a sufficient barrier between the gypsum and the cement. Once these coats have been applied, tiling can commence.
T: 01772 456831

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All the benefits and none of the headaches

A new water-based epoxy grout is set to revolutionise the UK tiling sector, claims Peter Vann of Ceramique Internationale.

Complicated mix-ratios, intense, unhealthy and headache-causing smells, short work time and difficult, lengthy clean-offs.   These are just some of the reasons that epoxy grouts currently account for just 5% of grout sales by value.

However, despite the negatives, the benefits of epoxy grout – durability and it being waterproof and stainproof – mean that it is still growing in popularity, with sales increasing 25% year-on-year.

Now, one product is set to revolutionise the market; providing all of the benefits of standard epoxy products but without any of the headaches.

Smart & Simple is a water-based product launched by Smartfield Solutions Ltd; an Essex-based company committed to research, development and manufacturing of environmentally friendly epoxy products.

Officially launched at The Surface Design Show in London earlier this year, and available exclusively via tile-specialist Ceramique Internationale, Smart & Simple is an environmentally-friendly, first-of-its-kind product, which replaces harmful components traditionally found within epoxy grouts, eliminating the VOCs, toxic smells and carcinogens.  This means the product is safer for both the installer and the planet, while still producing the same heightened performance properties as traditional epoxy grouts.

In development for more than five years, Smart & Simple is fully tested to European standards in UK accredited laboratories.  Its formulation has very low VOC content, is non-carcinogenic. The product has a 1:1 ratio of colour and hardener which makes it fool-proof to mix in its container-turned-mixing bucket.  In terms of performance the product boasts all the characteristics of epoxy: more strength, less shrinkage, less abrasion and no cracking.  It is also, stain-, moisture-, bacteria- and fungus-resistant; and so retains its appearance for much longer and is very easy to clean and maintain.

Smart & Simple is also a lot easier to apply than others due to its water-based properties, and the excess can be simply wiped off with cold water and a sponge, making the grouting process faster and also allowing for the repeat usage of tools and equipment and, therefore, making it more cost effective for the tiler and client.  This improved clean-off process removes the need for repeat site visits for additional cleaning-off of the residues commonly associated with the use of traditional epoxy grouts, thus also negating the need and cost of the aggressive, potentially harmful, cleaning agents that are required.

Additionally, Smart & Simple can be mixed with five pre-set colours to help match the aesthetic tones of the tile and the home; a move which has been commended by many designers and architects.  Any colour in the RAL spectrum can be produced on request, increasing personalisation.

Peter Vann, Director of Ceramique Internationale, says: “Despite the multitude of advantages, epoxy grouts still only account for a tiny percentage of all grout sales, and this is because of the difficulty installers have using them.  Even though epoxy grouts provide a significantly better performance than cement-based grouts, it is well known that installers dislike them due to the application limitations, smells and other health threats, and we’ve actually seen cases of tradespeople actively dissuading the consumer from using them, causing suppression of consumer demand.”

“When we met Ori Lamm of Smartfield Systems we recognised what he was trying to achieve with this new product and the potential it had to change the fortunes of epoxy grouts.  It is healthier for humans and beneficial to the planet; but it is also hugely beneficial in terms of saving time and resources for the installer.”

“We believe the tiling fraternity will embrace Smart & Simple once they understand it is quicker, easier, safer and more pleasant to use than any other epoxy grouts, while still offering the same leading performance benefits, and all at a similar price to current epoxies.”

Smart & Simple is available in 5kg tubs, which will fill approximately 11.5 sq metres of 200 by 200 by 9mm tiles with 3mm grout gaps.  Smart & Simple’s unique properties allow the grout to be slightly thinned with the addition of up to 5% water for additional speed of application.

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Best seat in the house is reserved for UltraTile

The multi-million pound redevelopment of Market Place in Bolton, which opened in late 2016, features an exclusive Light Cinema complex.  Helping to create this trendy, VIP entertainment experience, DM Tiling installed porcelain tiles using UltraTile.

An experienced commercial tiling contractor, DM Tiling was contracted to complete this 700 sq. metre project in under four months.  The areas to be tiled included the highly-trafficked foyer, toilets and bar.  Working with a Dural CI mat substrate throughout, the area to be tiled was first levelled over with flexible floor leveller, Level IT Rapid.  This is a single-part, high-strength, rapid-curing cementitious smoothing underlayment that boasts specifically-formulated UltraTile fibre technology, which aids application and strength resulting in a even, strong and durable base.

The product can be laid at depths from 2 to 15mm and can be walked on after only 30 minutes.  Its rapid drying properties allow for tiling after just 45 minutes providing the ultimate fast-track levelling solution.
A trader’s favourite, rapid setting flexible ProRapid RS cementitious tile adhesive in grey was used to fix the 600 by 400mm and 600 by 300mm tiles.  Sold in 20kg bags this high strength adhesive can be applied at thicknesses up to 12mm and has a pot life of one hour.  Tilers may begin grouting just 2.5 hours after ProRapid RS has been applied, subject to temperatures and conditions.

All tiles were grouted with UltraTile FlexJoint, a flexible grout for all tile types.  Popular with tilers due to its ‘easy wipe clean’ finish, it is often requested over cheaper alternatives.  Visit the UltraTile YouTube channel to see this high performing grout in action.
T: 01827 871871  E:  W:

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Saint-Gobain Weber specified for the renovation of a hotel and spa on the Chesters House estate

High performance tile fixing products by Saint-Gobain Weber have been specified in the extensive renovation of a hotel and spa on the Chesters House estate in Northumberland.  This boutique country house hotel near Hexham nestles in a 100 acre site on the edge of the Northumberland National Park.  The 18th Century Grade II listed Georgian hall has undergone an 18 month, multi-million-pound rejuvenation that blends the very ultimate in comfort and elegance offering guests a unique and luxurious experience with exceptional modern design detail.

The project has been faithfully curated by the owner and incorporates architectural design by an award-winning conservation and restoration specialist, as well as a talented team of interior design consultants, both of Hexham.  The main contractor was D P Builders of Amble, Morpeth, who contracted W Rodgerson & Sons for the tiling work; the company’s largest individual contract in their 48 years of business.  

Tiling features prominently in both the interior and exterior enhancements of the project.  This was integrated  with the stylish decor of the hotel’s grand entrance hall and public areas, en-suite bathrooms and kitchens, as well as the pool surrounds and spa complex.   In contrast to the heritage of the building, the spa is truly a modern architectural wonder located in a glass pavilion within the hotel’s private walled garden.

Weber tile fixing products were used exclusively.  The grand entrance has been tiled with marble although the existing underfloor heated screed was found to be up to 35mm out of level.  “This was corrected by applying a coat of weber PR360 primer followed by (60 bags of) weberfloor flex to achieve a smooth, durable and level finish ready for tiling,” says Neil Rodgerson of W Rodgerson & Sons, with an uncoupling membrane fixed with weberset SPF.”  

weberfloor flex is a fibre-modified, self-smoothing  renovation screed that can be used up to 50mm, is rapid setting and ready for light foot traffic in one to two hours.  It is used for correcting surface irregularities on difficult surfaces, including wood, in interior situations.  The benefit of the Low Dust Technology formulation ensures a more comfortable and cleaner working environment with less wastage. 

weber PR360 is a multi-purpose styrene acrylate primer that regulates the porosity of substrates, improves adhesion and the flow of levelling compounds, and reduces bubble formation.  It is suitable for most building substrates including wood, anhydrite, plaster and cement/sand screed.  

The large format 600 by 600 by 20mm Octagon tiles, with inset Italian polished marble, were fixed with weberset SPF in white. This is a polymer-modified, flexible floor and wall tile adhesive that will accommodate limited movement from heated screeds and even over-boarded wooden floors. It has standard 24 hour setting attributes and is ideal for fixing ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles.
Underfloor heating was installed in the 10 beautifully appointed ensuite bathrooms requiring 10mm insulation board, fixed with weberset SPF, to carry the underfloor electric heating.  This was screeded with weberfloor flex, the uncoupling membrane applied, and then tiled with 900 by 150/220mm porcelain wood-effect tiles.

“Using Weber products removes any concerns about effective performance, as we know from experience that every Weber product will work perfectly, whatever the job,” says Rodgerson.  “Our challenges at the hotel included levelling floors and fixing the giant 1,000 by 600mm marble tiles.  The pool building was a major challenge and we are delighted with the outcome.”

The spa complex visitors boasts double treatment rooms, pavilion pool, steam room and hot tub, all sited within the private walled garden.  A state-of-the-art gym and exercise rooms complete this beautiful facility where 130 sq. metres of primed walls have been tiled with 660 by 300mm porcelain tiles.  The walls have 50 by 50mm inset mosaic soap recesses, while 100 sq. metres of flooring has been finished with 1,200 by 200mm porcelain, wood-effect tiles and specialist pool edging tiles.

The swimming pool build was W Rodgerson & Sons’ greatest challenge.  Here 1,200 by 200mm tiles were applied to falls; around nine inspection chambers; 15 air conditioning ducts, and 28 120mm diameter LED light recesses.  “It was essential to keep ahead of the following trades in order to meet the official opening date, and this included working until the early hours of the morning on some occasions,” explains Rodgerson.  

The final phase of renovation involves the stable complex which is being converted into luxury holiday accommodation.
UK - T: 08703 330 070  W:   Ireland - T:l 028 9335 2999 W:

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Country house hotel receives marble makeover using construction chemicals from Codex-x

A variety of Codex products were used to install marble throughout the 21 en-suite bathrooms, and the fine dining room, at the Lympstone Manor Hotel, a new contemporary Country House Hotel overlooking the Exe estuary in Devon.  The conversion to a luxury hotel from a Grade II listed Georgian Manor House was the vision and inspiration of Chef and Patron Michael Caines MBE.  An exceptionally high quality finish was paramount on this prestigious project and Devon Stone were appointed as specifiers, suppliers and project managers to the project.  Devon Stone chose Codex as their partner because of codex’s commitment to high quality products and their expert technical advice.

Devon Stone specified Codex WX 211 adhesive to install tile backerboards over all floors within the 21 bathrooms, the WCs, wine store and gun room.  Reinforcement fibres were mixed with Codex FM 30 smoothing compound to cover the UFH cables.  Codex Hydrostop waterproofing membrane was installed with Codex WX 211 to tank the floors.  Tile backerboards were fixed to the walls and the joints sealed with Codex BST 75 tape.  The marble was then fixed to the walls and floors using Codex WX 211 adhesive and grouted with Codex Brilliant Colour Extra grout.  Codex SG 20 silicone was used to seal all rooms.

Nero Marquina and Estremoz marble were waterjet cut to provide a spectacular floor in the fine dining room.  The timber floor had to be strengthened following a site survey and Codex WX 11 was used to install tile backerboards to the strengthened timber floor.  Codex FM 30 and reinforcing fibres were installed to prepare the floor for the marble.  Codex Multimoll Fleece was fixed with Codex WX 211 to provide an anti-fracture layer.  The marble was installed with Codex SX 80 adhesive and grouted with Codex Brilliant Colour Extra.

Lympstone Manor offers guests the very best in accommodation and cuisine; and the new marble helps to create a comfortable, luxurious environment where guests can relax in beautiful natural surroundings. The client is extremely pleased with the completed installation and has received exceptional feedback and reviews from guests, as well as from the press.
Codex-x  T: 01788 530080  E:  W:
Devon Stone  T: 01392 879767  W:

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Marble installation at the Grosvenor House Hotel is undertaken using Mapei installation products

Over 700 sq. metres of marble tiling, with approximately two miles of brass inlay, has been fitted using Mapei’s high quality ceramic and preparation products to the foyer and reception areas at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel, Mayfair.  The refurbishment project took place over nine months.

The subfloor and screed products from Mapei was installed to the flooring after existing tiles were removed from the lobby and reception area, as well as lifts and bathroom areas.  Mapei’s Topcem screed binder was used as a fast track option, before Ultraplan Renovation 3240 screed was used to level the flooring.  Prior to tiling, Mapei’s waterproofing Primer S was also applied.

Mapei’s Mapetex anti-fracture membrane was installed to ensure the luxury tiles in the lobby area were protected from cracking.  Mapetex is a special non-woven fabric designed to alleviate stresses within the substrate, preserving the integrity of the tiled finish in areas of high pedestrian traffic and less than perfect substrates.

Installers Superior Stone commented: “We are confident users of Mapei’s products.  However, as this was a renovation project we came across many problems from the previous build up being up to 80mm out of level. Movement within the floor whilst fixing tiles also caused some problems but Mapei’s Technical Team were great at providing assistance on this important project.”

Mapei’s Keraquick adhesive in both Grey and White shades were used to fix Superior Stone’s Crema Marfil tiles with brass inlay to the lobby and reception areas, using Latex Plus adhesive polymer admixture to improve elasticity and vertical slip characteristics.

Muza Lab designed the refurbishment of the historic Grosvenor Hotel’s foyer area to revive the rich history of the venue, enhancing the “sense of place” of the hotel and transforming the public areas into a destination in their own right as traditional English architecture mixes with contemporary twists.  

T: 0121 508 6970  E:  W:
Above: Lobby at The Grosvenor House Hotel by Richard Waite Photography.

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Marblewaterproofing and ceramic systems used for swimming pool at the American School, London

Mapei systems have been installed for the construction of a swimming pool at the American School in St John’s Wood, London.  Complete waterproofing and ceramic tiling solutions were installed over a nine month period to areas in the pool tank and changing room interiors and exteriors.

The American School in London was founded in 1951 and currently educates 1,350 pupils.  The new swimming pool is part of a £10 million development comprising underground sports centre with fitness studio, multi-purpose room, and changing facilities; along with a 25 metre swimming pool where Mapei’s involvement in the project was contracted.  As the 1,430 sq.metre sports centre is below ground level, curved changing rooms with brightly tiled walls reflect the available light, while voids allow natural light to flood the space.

The project was completed while the school remained open, which meant materials had to be installed quickly and with as little disruption as possible, without compromising on quality.  EP Ceramics installed Mapei’s Planitop Fast 330, a quick-setting, fibre reinforced cementitious mortar to smooth out surface irregularities for the pool walls.  The base of the pool was then formed using Mapei Topcem, a hydraulic binder mixed with sand and bonded using Mapei Planicrete; this formed screed allows fast track installation of subsequent materials.  Once the pool tank had been formed the Mapei Mapelastic was applied.  The Mapenet 150 reinforcing mesh was installed between two coats combined with the Mapeband at the joints to reinforce the waterproofing layer.  Once dry the ceramic tiles were then installed using Keraflex Maxi S1 adhesive and the joints finished with the highly water and abrasion resistant Ultracolor Plus in shade 112 (Medium Grey)

Matt Dudley  from EP Ceramics commented: “The installation was made easier by the early involvement of the Mapei team working alongside ourselves and the architect to produce an M40 with the correct products for each stage of the works. Fixers working on the job commented on how high the standard of products being used were, not only for ease of use, but for workability and drying times allowing each stage of the process to progress smoothly. Going forward on future projects we will be pushing the architects and designers to use Mapei products and technical expertise.”

Orms architects oversaw the project and specified Mapei’s system.  Rosie Bard, from Orms Architects, commented: “Mapei was the obvious choice for a high end swimming pool environment such as this. The quality of the design, finishes and fit out meant that a product was required that met both the technical and aesthetic requirements “

The Mapelastic AquaDefense waterproofing system was specified for the changing room areas to the walls before fixing tiles.  Mapei ceramic products were specified, including high performance adhesives used to fix the tiles.  Keraflex Maxi  was specified for the tiles to the stair risers and Keraquick, together with Latex Plus, were used to install porcelain, stone, ceramic and glass tiles.  Ultracolor Plus grout in shade 114 (Anthracite) was used on tiles in the pool surround and changing room floors, and Ultracolor Plus grout in shade 112 (Medium Grey) for the changing room walls and glass mosaic.  To finish the project, Mapei’s Primer FD adhesion promoter was used to prime the edges of the movement joints subject to prolonged water immersion, before the Mapesil AC sealant was applied in matching shades to the Ultracolor Plus Grout.
T: 0121 508 6970  E:  W:

Above: Swimming Pool at The American School, St John’s Wood, London by Marcus Peel.

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It’s all in the mix

Kerakoll acquires Tilemaster Adhesives
The hot news in the UK tile adhesive sector is that Tilemaster Adhesives has been acquired by Kerakoll.   Following the acquisition, the two brands will continue to run separately, in order to continue building and progressing both brands.  Tilemaster’s Managing Director, Mark Kelly, and the rest of the team – including Paul and Rhona Kelly – will continue in their roles, with “business as usual” at the Lancashire-based firm.

“It’s been an incredible journey at Tilemaster over the last few years and our family has taken the decision to sell the company to Kerakoll, in order to take our journey to another new and exciting chapter. 

Time spent with the Sghedoni and Kerakoll family over the last few months has shown that our families and companies have many similarities and synergies; it was clear that Kerakoll is the perfect fit for Tilemaster Adhesives to work with, to continue the growth of both companies.  It shares the same values, ethos, motivation and customer care as we do – and an absolute commitment to customers.  Working together will provide us with a wealth of experience and investment to ensure that we continue to maintain our high levels of product innovation, product performance, service, support and care for our customers,” explained Tilemaster’s Mark Kelly.  

“We’re delighted about the acquisition of Tilemaster Adhesives; the company has grown considerably in recent years and is incredibly well thought of by the industry, in terms of its product innovations and customer service.  The acquisition establishes Kerakoll Group as a market leader in the UK tiling and flooring industry – and it’s just the beginning.  Over the next four years, we plan to invest £30 million to expand the production plant in Leyland; identify an additional UK production site and construct a new research and development centre, as well as new offices.   Product ranges will also be extended and new Kerakoll technologies introduced,” stated Gian Luca Sghedoni, CEO at Kerakoll.

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David Hackett heads up Building Adhesives
In late 2016 Building Adhesives Limited appointed David Hackett as General Manager.  Formerly Sales and Marketing Director, Hackett assumed full responsibility for the day-to-day running of the business.
The role of Sales and Marketing Director will remain under Hackett’s control to continue an active day-to-day involvement in the customer facing side of the business.

Summo is Wacker Polymers’ new President
Peter Summo took over as President of Wacker Polymers on 1st October 2016, succeeding Arno von der Eltz, who is retiring.

After positions as a Sales Manager in England and Executive Board advisor at Corporate Development in Munich, in 2005,Summo took over as Head of the Construction Polymers business unit and was then responsible for the Dispersions & Resins business unit. Since 2013, Peter Summo has headed the Engineering Silicones business unit at the Wacker Silicones division.

BAL adds Find A Tiler feature to You+BAL
Since TSJ’s last adhesive feature, BAL has encouraged tilers and contractors to create their own free web profile and get job leads as part of the manufacturer’s online Find a Tiler facility for homeowners.  Available by signing-up to BAL’s You+BAL partnership programme - - tilers and contractors can create a company profile, post project pictures, upload videos, add social media and contacts and advertise their skills, experience and qualifications to potential clients.
Homeowners looking for a tiler can select up to three local fixers on the search facility and ask them to quote directly for the job using the online form.  The homeowner can then select the best quote, with each fixer notified whether they’ve won or lost the job.
BAL Partners can also collect reviews, with customers leaving their feedback online and rating the tiler using a five star system. These are then published on each tiler’s web profile, subject to approval by BAL.
To encourage homeowners to review their tiler, BAL is also giving them the chance to win back the cost of their tiling work (paid for by BAL) every month by simply submitting their review through the web or the Homeowner Tiler Review form available to all BAL Partners.  BAL also re-introduced the Tiler of the Month competition.

Bond It continues investment programme
Bond It has announced a further six figure investment into its business.  Following investments of over £500,000 in 2014/2015 and of £1.1 million in 2016, the company is investing an additional £300,000 into infrastructure at its main manufacturing facility in Elland, West Yorkshire in Q1 2017.  The latest investment, which includes grant funding from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, will help Bond It to both increase and diversify its production output.  This will help the company to accommodate growing demand from UK customers for its ‘Best of British’ manufactured products.  It will also enable the manufacturer to pursue ambitious plans for future growth which include maximising strong export potential.

Bond It will use the latest investment to install additional, state-of-the-art and semi-automated plant to produce sealants, adhesives and fillers in a number of specific pack formats.  This includes product packaged in 900mm composite ‘jumbo’ cartridges and foil ‘sausages’ – two formats which are popular with high volume users such as professional contractors.  The new plant will also be used to produce Bond It’s new and innovative ‘Squeezies’ range.

Peter Bell’s achievements recognised by Ardex
Peter Bell, Managing Director of Ardex UK, Ardex Middle East and Africa and Building Adhesives Limited, has been promoted onto the Ardex Global Management Committee.  As well as his current responsibilities, Bell is also a full board member of the Ardex India business and, after joining the GMC as an associate member on 1st January 2015, has now been promoted to a full member of the highest management tier in Ardex.

Bell first joined Ardex in May 2002, and his appointment recognises his contribution to the Ardex business which, through strong internal growth and a number of successful acquisitions in overseas markets, saw the Ardex Group generate a total worldwide turnover of more than Euro 690 million in 2016.

BAL delivers brilliant white Micromax2 Grout
BAL has introduced a new brilliant white shade of Micromax2 Grout.  Formulated with the same built-in Microban antimicrobial protection for walls and floors, BAL Micromax2 Snow is highly flexible and rapid-setting in only three hours.

Available in 2.5, 5 and 10kg bags, and supported with a colour-matched silicone sealant, BAL Micromax2 Snow provides the perfect match with white tiles, or a contrast with darker shades.  The new brighter shade of white extends the Micromax2 core colour palette to 11, including its original shade of White, plus Manilla, Jasmine, Gunmetal, Pebble, Ebony, Smoke, Chocolate, Cocoa and Anthracite.

Designed and developed with fixers, BAL Micromax2 provides protection against mould and is recommended for domestic and commercial installations due to its enhanced durability and flexibility.  It’s technologically enhanced formulation ensures enduring good look and consistent colour with no efflorescence, patchiness or shading, even across the largest areas.  It’s super smooth formulation allows for easy application into gaps as fine as 1mm, while its strength and flexibility mean it is suitable for joints as wide as 20mm.

BAL Micromax2 is suitable for power showers, wet rooms, heated floors and timber screeds in a wide variety of projects; from domestic bathrooms to leisure centres, shopping centres, changing rooms and restaurants.

New gel adhesives from Kerakoll are set to revolutionise the UK tiling industry
Kerakoll has just launched a new type of adhesive manufactured using gel technology.  Gone are all of the different formulations for different substrates and tile types that exist with standard C2 cement-based adhesives: with Biogel adhesives there are only two choices that have to be made: powder-form Biogel No Limits or two-part Biogel Extreme.  Both of these formulations are suitable for internal and external use on any substrate even deformable ones, and for use with ceramic, stone and porcelain as well as practically any other material.

Apart from the simplicity of choice, the advantages of the range are many: the adhesives stay the same consistency as when you first mixed them, even after a long period in the bucket.  The mix doesn’t shrink, so you can make it the right thickness for the job and it’s softer and easier to work with.  The consistency means that it wets the entire tile as well as the substrate, giving an excellent bond and superior performance.  It is high-grab and no slip even on walls.  And the inclusion of resins gives it a high shear strength which means it can be used on the most deformable substrates.  

The icing on the cake is that this new type of resin has a low environmental impact giving Biogel No Limits a GreenBuilding Rating of 5.  BioGel No Limits is available in grey or White Shock: a white so pure it makes other brands’ white adhesives look grey beside it.  Both Biogel No Limits and Biogel Extreme are available from Kerakoll UK.
T: 01527 578000  E:

Mapei creates training video for Ultralite
Mapei has launched a new training video for Ultralite adhesive; a range of lightweight adhesives specially formulated for use with large format tiles.  The video shows the step-by-step installation technique for installing large format tiles on to a wall and floor space.

The range of Ultralite adhesives are one-component, high-performance, high yield, flexible and lightweight. Jason Brunt, Mapei’s Product Manager for Ceramic products commented: “At Mapei we understand the reluctance for the installer in fixing these materials, but with good practices and the right adhesive we should all embrace advancement and change.”

With no vertical slip, a long pot life and a long open time, very low VOCs and up to 80% higher yield than standard adhesives, Ultralite adhesives have been specified for a range of commercial and residential projects.

As shown in the video, which can be viewed at @MapeiUKLtd social media, the adhesive is easy to apply by trowel for installation of ceramic, stone and thin porcelain.

Bill Harrison, Senior Technical Advisor for Ceramics at Mapei commented: “We at Mapei are very aware of the greater technical expertise required in fixing such large format, thin porcelain tiles.  We are therefore proud to provide the necessary Ultralite products to enable the fixer to overcome any installation issues and have confidence in what they are being asked to achieve.”
T: 0121 508 6970  E:  W:

Level IT Super 30 smoothing underlayments improves efficiency of flooring contractors
UltraFloor has been working alongside contractors to develop products for over 10 years and understand that customer confidence is key when establishing a successful market leading brand.  UltraFloor knows it is important to offer peace of mind which comes from developing innovative products through rigorous testing and has been at the forefront of innovation for over 10 years with the aim to improve contractors’ performance on site.

Level IT Super 30 is an example of how smoothing underlayments have improved flooring contractors’ efficiency.  UltraFloor claim Super 30 was the first ‘level and lay in a day’ product; the first product in the market to offer a 30 minute walk on time that would take bonded floor coverings in three hours and loose lay materials in as little as 45 minutes!  In short, the manufacturer’s claim that Level It Super 30 revolutionised the flooring industry by allowing contractors the advantage of speed.

Another industry favourite is UltraFloor Level IT Two which was developed for commercial and domestic flooring projects.  Level It Two is so popular that, since its launch, UltraFloor has manufactured enough Level It Two to level around the world twice!  

UltraFloor constantly reviews and develops solutions for the flooring industry with Level IT Super Flex 30 is the latest addition to the range.  Super Flex 30 is a two component rapid setting and drying system boasting a fibre reinforced formulation.  Due to a high polymer content it also offers excellent flexible properties and has been specifically designed for use over a wide variety of subfloors including steel mezzanine decks, flooring grade plywood and can also be applied over damp proof membranes.  In addition, Level IT Super Flex 30 can be used as a finished wear surface.
T: 01827 254402  W:

Norcros Adhesives relaunches 4 into 1 grout range with new formulations and colours
Norcros Adhesives is relaunching its successful 4 into 1 grout range with new improved formulations, new colours, new packaging and marketing support. The Norcros 4 into 1 grouts and sealants range has established itself in recent years as one of the leading ranges on the market, known for technical excellence and ease of use, so the relaunch will be of considerable interest both to fixers and distributors.

The new range has been considerably expanded and now includes a total of 15 colours.  The products have been reformulated to be efflorescence-resistant and water-repellant.  Efflorescence is the movement of salts within a porous material, including tiles and grout, to the surface of the material where it can leave an unsightly deposit.  In some installations it can be a real problem negatively affecting the look of a tiled surface.

The formulation also contains Norcros Stop Mould Antibacterial additives to protect against mould and discolouration, which can occur when wet areas are grouted. This also means that the grouts can be used either internally or externally and in permanently immersed locations such as swimming pools.  They are suitable for use with all types of wall and floor tiles, including natural stone, especially where a narrow fine-textured joint is required.

Containing reinforcing polymers, the new grouts have a high flexural strength, meaning they are suitable for use in areas where movement of the substrate or vibration can occur, such as in heated floors or where tiling has been applied to wooden flooring.

One of the biggest tile trends of recent years has been the escalating popularity of wood effect tiles.  Norcros Adhesives has, therefore, created four new colours in the 4 into 1 grouts range that are specifically designed to complement this new generation of modern tiles: Autumn Chestnut, Forest Acorn, Tropical Ebony and Rustic Cedar.  The remaining colours which formed part of the previous range have all been reformulated, repackaged and, mostly, renamed.  The new names are Arctic White, Oxford Stone, Golden Jasmine, Cornish Cream, Blanched Almond, Sandy Beach, Silver Grey, Steel Grey, Slate Grey, Midnight Coal and Coffee Bean.

“In launching this exciting new range, we have sought to address two key issues,” says Mandy Searle, Technical Services Manager.  “Firstly the issue of efflorescence, which can be an unsightly problem for fixers, for which we believe we have provided a solution by implementing a technical enhancement of the product.  Secondly we have addressed the need to match our grouts to the latest fashion trends in the tiling market, and our new colours for wood effect tiles are our response to that.”

The new 4 into 1 grouts are available in 5 or 10kg bags and are covered by the usual Norcros lifetime guarantee. They are also supported by a new sample folder, PoS material and feature on the new Norcros website at
T: 01782 524140  W:

Botament formulations demand resin rethink
Until recently, resins had a reputation for being rather stiff and arduous to apply; a strong and unpleasant smell; and having a requirement for additional cleaning time.  Botament says that the latest research and development has unveiled a whole new side to reaction resins, opening up new exciting possibilities.

Reaction resins are currently used when the demands exceed what cement-based systems have to offer.  The most commonly used reaction resins are epoxy or polyurethane-based resins.  These mortar combinations can be set to be leak-tight or to be drainage mortars.  Their properties depend on the type of aggregates, the grading curve and the mixing ratio.

Today’s application methods are incomparable with those used  in the past.  In joint mortars, for instance, special additives mean free-radicals (pigments) are no longer required.  These would otherwise result in more time spent on cleaning the grouting off the tiles, as dark-coloured joint mortars are particularly prone to leaving behind a haze-coloured residue on tiles.  The washing off process now requires only using a hydro sponge and cold water, even when the tiles are dark in colour.

Botament’s Multidiamond range is now are able to demonstrate how much easier today’s tilers will find working with such a resin-based grouts.

Another positive development is that modern resins can be used on damp substrates, because they are able to cope with a higher water content.  This was just not possible with standard reaction resins. 

Substrates and additives had to be dry or oven-dry before the resin could be applied.  Nowadays, products exist that can also be stretched with sand that has a moisture content of up to 4 %, or even higher. 

The good news does not end here: because now tiles can even be jointed where some water has splashed into the open joint during an earlier cleaning stage.

A significant advantage of next generation reaction resins is their ability to re-emulsify in the days following grouting.  So, should there still be a colour-haze on the tile surfaces, it can be removed easily with a diluted vinegar-based cleaning agent, meaning that it is no longer necessary to reach for the aggressive chemical option.

In the past grout played a less important, secondary role.  Today the grout joint is a major consideration that can make or break the overall appearance of a tiled floor. Knowing how colours, colour harmony and colour contrasts work, are an essential skill for any tilers worth their salt: it may mean the difference between getting it ‘spot on’ or ‘totally wrong’

Can a cement-based joint produce the same colour intensity as the tile itself?  When adding certain special additives to reaction resins, it becomes possible to reach deeper colour intensities than was previously possible with joint mortars.  Multidiamond revolutionary colour–fastness is particularly suited to dark tiles.

The high chemical resistance of resins grouts has led to their ascendancy as the preferred choice, especially in areas that previously had the potential to lead to friction between tilers and their customers.  More often than not cement-based joints, particularly in showers, are cleaned trying to adhere to “strict ecological” guidelines but, as a result, joints suffer long term from cleaning agents that are far too acidic.  This can quickly destroy the cement matrix, leading to complaints about the product.  Resins, however, are much more resistant to acidic household cleaning agents.

A final plus resins have to offer is that they don’t contain any water-soluble lime, hence no unsightly efflorescence is created on balconies and terraces!

In addition to the great application properties of modern resins, such as those in Botament’s Multifuge Diamond, users should ensure that resins are suitable for use in such critical areas, as swimming pools or tanks where drinking water is stored.  Guidelines from the German Ministry for the Environment specify that polymers must be safe from leaching out any substances that could be ingested and harm human health.

The list of suitable products available for safe use is being updated constantly and the health and safety standard is being improved all the time. Botament’s Multifuge Diamond and EF/EK 500 comply with the latest guidelines and are meet these stringent requirements.  Besides their use in drinking water areas (KTW), Botament’s resins are equally well-suited for use in swimming pools (KSW).  In order to gain these approval certifications manufacturers have to show that the products don’t promote micro-organism formation.

Next generation reaction resins open up many new application possibilities and offer features against which existing resins available in the market simply cannot compete.  The result is that tile fitters now have plenty of new options at their disposal to add to their existing arsenal.

New epoxy grout from Codex is easy to use and effortless to clean
Codex has launched Codex X-Fusion; a unique epoxy grout which is easy to use and effortless to clean.  With 14 colours to choose from, it also provides clients with a variety of options.  Epoxy grouts are notoriously difficult to use and hard to remove when cleaning but Codex X-Fusion is as simple to use as a cement-based grout.  It’s revolutionary when it comes to cleaning, because it can be easily washed off tiles with water within a hour of being applied.

Codex X-Fusion can be used as a functional or decorative grout for ceramic, porcelain or natural stone floor coverings.  It is fine, pliable as well as water and chemical repellent making it extremely hygienic.  Codex X-Fusion offers all the advantages of an epoxy grout but without their disadvantages, claims the company.

Larsen Building Products publishes comprehensive new 70+ page Specification Guide for Tiling
Larsen has announced that, after many months of hard work across nearly all departments, it has released the company’s latest, and most comprehensive, piece of literature: The Specification Guide for Tiling.
This publication has been designed totally with the customer in mind, from the retail partner to contractors, architects and developers.  It not only helps to promote the whole range, but also provides the most up to date installation and technical guidance.

With over 40 years in manufacturing, Larsen knows the value of high quality literature and point of sale; and also the investment needed to remain relevant in this ever changing and evolving market.
Changes in tile size or even tile types, areas of installation or substrates to fix on have all led to numerous innovations but with this pace of change it is paramount that literature is available to help promote and support the individual products.

“I hope you will see from the depth of this Brochure - over 70 pages - our commitment to the industry as we continue to raise the standards across everything we do,” explains Paul Luff, National Sales and Marketing Manager.

“Literature is extremely important to the success of the range,” continues Luff.  “We continue to see excellent growth and loyalty.  This, in turn, means we must continue to pay back and invest for our customers.  Already this year we have launched two new levelling compounds and a hybrid primer.  We have our 2 in 1 waterproof anti-crack mat utilising all the latest technology launching July 2017 and a very exciting further levelling compound is imminent.  We have also added some ancillary products.  All of this work needs the support of good comprehensive and modern literature.”
T: 028 9077 4000  W:

Tilemaster range caters for all tilers’ requirements
Tilemaster offers a comprehensive range of grouts and adhesives, designed to cater for the needs and preferences of tilers and flooring contractors.  All products are manufactured in Leyland, Lancashire, by the UK-based family firm, in accordance with the CE process and to specified EN standards.  Products are available to suit all substrates and tile finishes, from large format porcelain floor tiles to intricate natural stone tiles and mosaics.  They are offered along with expert advice and back-up from Tilemaster’s hands-on team, renowned for its customer focus and support.

Tilemaster grouts include the best-selling Grout 3000 range, which comprises 14 colour options, in traditional shades and new, on-trend tones, including sage, almond, cocoa, natural grey and dark grey.  All shades colour-match Tilemaster’s neutral-cure Silicone 3000+ range.  The grouts are suitable for wall and floor tile installations -  inside and outdoors - and comprise over 25% recycled material.  All grouts are presented in a slim-format quick reference colour chart - with removal strips for colour matching - and a larger A4 colour chart, that includes matching silicone samples.

For adhesives, Tilemaster’s range now includes 13 individual products.  Developed to cater for all settings and location requirements, products span from highly flexible (S2) rapid-set adhesives, for surfaces subjected to movement, to eco-formulations that give an extended open time and provide more than 60% higher coverage.  Fast setting cement-based systems include Rapid Extrabond, Trade Flexi Rapid, Rapid Setaflex, Thick Bed Flexi Rapid, Ultimate and Gypsum-based Anhyfix.  

For longer working times, options include Standard Set, Standard Setaflex, Light Weight Standard, Standard Set Extrabond and Setaflex Semi-Rapid.  

All Tilemaster grouts and adhesives are offered alongside a comprehensive range of surface preparation products.  A complete overview is presented in Tilemaster’s lever arch Product Guide, which includes concise product and application data on robust, wipeable inserts for on-site reference.
T: 01772 456831  W:

Larsen Primer Grip claims to provide the ultimate mechanical key with speed
Larsen Building Products has strengthened its range of Primers with the addition of the super-fast setting Primer Grip360: a hybrid primer offering the ultimate mechanical key.  This high performance bonding agent was specifically-designed for tiling and flooring installations.  Formulated with advanced polymers and special fine aggregate, it is a universal multi-purpose primer.  It is designed to provide an improved mechanical key to all common absorbent and non-absorbent backgrounds, including plaster, plasterboard, timber, concrete, epoxy DPM, flooring grade asphalt and glazed tiles.  Larsen Primer Grip360 is rapid drying and can be tiled over or levelled in as little as 15 to 20 minutes.

Primer Grip360 is also easy to apply with a standard paint application technique.  It requires just one coat using a short pile roller or brush to give an even coating. Primer Grip360 is tinted Green to give a clear indication of coated areas and should be applied neat from the tub.

Paul Luff, Sales and Marketing Manager, says: “Preparation is always key to the success of installations and priming is an integral part of this important process. In Primer grip360 we have a true hybrid that will actually provide not just the answer in nearly all cases but also a mechanical key for the compound that it will receive.  This is the ultimate goal and enhances the peace of mind of a successful installation.”

“Time can often be a barrier and here we have achieved a 15 minute drying time allowing near instant tiling or levelling,” continues Luff.  “Time on site is so important today and fast track solutions are key.  However performance of product cannot be compromised,” concludes Luff “Here we have achieved both speed and key performance.”
T: 028 9077 4000  W:

The future is Brilliant White with Saint-Gobain Weber’s new Weberfix Pro Lite tile adhesive
Weberfix pro lite wall tile adhesive, launched in November 2016, is designed for fixing all ceramic and porcelain tiles in interior applications, and is both lightweight and Brilliant White.  This high performance flexible adhesive, which won the TTA Award 2017 for Innovation, enables extra coverage without increasing the load which is vital in eliminating the effect of any expansion or contraction in the substrate.

“Weberfix pro lite is a very sophisticated wall tile adhesive,” says Tracey Dempster, Head of Marketing, Saint-Gobain Weber, “which has excellent non-slip and very high grab qualities.  It is ideal where extra water resistance is required, such as in wet rooms, domestic and commercial showers, kitchens and bathrooms, but it is equally suitable to dry conditions.  This new product will be supported with 200 Weber Rewards loyalty points. And while we’re making tilers happy with extra points we’ve manufactured weberfix pro lite adhesive in Brilliant White which gives the applicator more confidence when using light coloured tiles or grout.”

Weberfix pro lite adhesive meets D2 TE Classification for improved dispersion and reduced slip as well as its extended opening time which is up to 30 minutes after spreading.  weberfix pro lite is quick and easy to apply and supplied ready mixed in 13kg pails (approximately 10L).  This adhesive requires no priming and is ready for grout in 24 hours.

Weberfix pro lite is manufactured in the UK helping to ensure product quality, uniformity and availability with reduced transportation costs and CO₂ emissions.

Saint-Gobain Weber has a team of experienced technical advisors available to provide advice both at the specification stage and during application.  Detailed specifications can be provided for specific projects; while site visits and on-site support can be arranged on request.
UK - T: 08703 330 070  W:   
Ireland - T:l 028 9335 2999  W:

Larsen strengthens with speed
Larsen Building Products has strengthened the company’s highly regarded range of levelling compounds with the addition of the super-fast setting SLC3015: a single pack, ultra-rapid setting, fibre-reinforced, protein -free underlayment capable of 2 to 15mm in one pass.

It is manufactured using Larsen’s proprietary cement technology, with a controlled blend of special sands and synthetic polymers to give a high quality flooring product which is self-levelling and smoothing.

It is ideal for use in fast track domestic or commercial situations, with a walk on time of as little as 30 minutes and covering from within the hour.  It is also ideal over underfloor heating and timber floors.

SLC3015 can be overlaid with ceramic and most tile types, suitable resilient floor finishes, carpet, vinyl and resin coatings, etc.  It is ideal for many locations including offices, dwellings, schools, hospitals and airports.

Paul Luff, Sales and Marketing Manager, says: “This again shows how Larsen listens to the requests from its customers and reacts, this is another well designed strong performer and an excellent addition to the highly successful growing range.”

“The development team at Larsen has formulated a real winner.  Time on site is so important today and fast track solutions are key.  However performance of product cannot be compromised.  Here we have a product that saves time and also provides an excellent professional finish.”

T: 028 9077 4000  W:

In-depth training across all product categories
At the Saint-Gobain Technical Academy in Flitwick, Bedfordshire, Weber’s training programmes embrace all categories in the company’s diverse product range.  This includes tile fixing, External Wall Insulation (EWI), monocouche through-coloured renders, technical mortars and flooring systems.  Courses can be designed to meet product-specific requirements, or to suit different levels of experience and skills.  Many one-day courses follow pre-determined content and are available on scheduled dates throughout the year.

“We understand how important training is for the future of the construction industry,” says James Mead, Technical Director, Saint-Gobain Weber, “and we tailor our courses to meet the ever changing requirements of the industry. Our aim is to bridge the skills divide by up-skilling our customers and we continue to work closely with contractors to create specific courses to meet the requirements of their teams.”

Weber offers a range of tiling courses, suitable for all skill levels.  Popular courses include tiling onto underfloor heating, waterproofing and tanking and levelling compounds.  The Saint-Gobain Technical Academy in Flitwick has purpose-designed practical areas and can provide bespoke training courses on request.

Designed for optimum speed and simplicity of application, Weber’s one-day flooring course is aimed at those using Weber flooring materials for the first time.  These high performance products create a smooth and durable surface that is ready for foot traffic after only a few hours and are suitable for use as floating, un-bonded and bonded screeds.  Product-specific training can also be arranged.

A full programme of courses supports the best-practice application of Weber monocouche renders and render systems.  Repair, protection and strengthening of concrete structures has become a growth area in the construction industry and Weber’s wide portfolio of technical mortar products and systems also feature in the courses.

A free download of the Weber App for iPhone and iPad users is also available from iTunes and from Google Play for Android smartphones and tablet users.  Follow Saint-Gobain Weber on Twitter @SGWeberUK for the latest company news and updates.
UK - T: 08703 330 070  W:   
Ireland - T:l 028 9335 2999 W:

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Tiling to anhydrite screeds: the latest challenge for tile adhesive manufacturers

Mandy Searle, Head of Technical Services at Norcros Adhesives, looks at the latest solution for tiling on to anhydrite screeds in time-sensitive tiling installations.

Anhydrite screeds, also referred to as calcium sulphate or gypsum-based screeds, are now increasingly popular for larger flooring installations. Their use has grown dramatically in the building industry over the last few years because they offer a number of benefits over sand:cement screeds.

The principal advantage is that, anhydrite screeds can be laid more quickly and easily than traditional sand: cement screeds and are more cost-effective, especially for larger areas.  They will self-level and offer minimal shrinkage, making them especially suitable for use with underfloor heating systems, where they will fully encapsulate all pipework. Up to 2,000 sq. metres of anhydrite screed can be laid in a single day; compared to 100-150 sq.metres which is the maximum possible with conventional sand:cement screeds, making them particularly suitable for use on large commercial contracts.

However, there are a number of disadvantages associated with this type of screed, mainly associated with the extended drying time. Typically sand:cement screeds should be allowed to dry for a minimum of 21 days before they are able to receive a tiled finish as per the recommendations contained within BS 5385-3:2003.

To achieve the required maximum relative humidity of 75%, the minimum drying times quoted for anhydrite screeds before tiling can commence  are one day per mm up to 40mm thickness, with an additional two days per mm thickness above 40mm according to BS 8204-7:2003.

In ideal drying conditions, therefore, a 40mm thick screed should be allowed to dry for a minimum of  40 days, at 50mm thick the minimum drying time would be 60 days and, at 60mm thick, a minimum of 80 days drying time would be required before the screed was sufficiently dry to receive a tiled finish.  Failure to follow these recommendations, and tiling before the screed is sufficiently dry, will generally result in adhesion failure at the screed/adhesive interface.

In an attempt to reduce the incidence of failures, Norcros Adhesives worked together with  a major national house builder and screed manufacturer Gypsol to prepare a generic specification for the industry. Whilst providing a safe method of tiling to anhydrite screeds using cement-based adhesives, it did not  improve the drying times required before tiling could commence.

Reductions in drying time can be achieved with the use of a gypsum-based adhesive. This eliminates the formation of ettringite, a chemical reaction which occurs between a wet cementitious adhesive and the gypsum in the screed, causing tiles to loosen and debond. Additionally tiling can be carried out when the screed reaches  85% relative humidity, rather than the 75% RH, required when fixing tiles in cement-based adhesive. A number of tile adhesive manufacturers are now offering a tile to gypsum product.

However, the latest innovation is a fast-track system which is a complete game changer in terms of the drying times required.  The new preparation systems now coming on to the market make it possible to tile with a cement-based adhesive on to anhydrite screeds which have a relative humidity as high as 95%.  This can normally be achieved in just seven days, at which point tiling can commence.

It can reduce the time required for the overall build-up of the floor surface by ten weeks, which clearly has a very significant impact on timescales and costs on-site.

These latest generation systems work by taking a system approach, comprising all the required elements: a primer, a moisture suppressant and a gritted primer to provide a ‘key’ on to which the ceramic tile adhesive can form a strong bond.

The adoption of one of these new systems will allow contractors to derive all the benefits of rapid and easy pouring of an anhydrite screed, without involving delays on the job caused by having to wait for an extended drying period.
T: 01782 524140

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Getting to grips with grout

Sian O’Neill, Head of Marketing and Online at Topps Tiles, explains how grout colour can have just as much impact on a design scheme as the tiles, and how tilers can best advise their clients on the right option for their home.

G rout can play a crucial role in the overall finish of a room and is a useful way for tilers to can transform a design into something much more tailored to their customers. It also has a significant effect on the look and feel of the tiles and is instrumental in either creating a seamless finish through a coordinating shade, or adding structure and definition through a contrasting tone.

As the ideal finishing touch to any tiled space, we’re urging tilers to look beyond the design of the tile itself and consider how grout selection could help give customers the look they’ve been dreaming of.

Colour is key
When selecting the right shade of grout, it’s important that tilers consider how the space is going to be used.  For example, dark grouts are ideal for areas of the home that see food spills or mould residue, such as kitchen splashbacks or bathrooms.  These shades offer a low-maintenance solution compared with  their white counterparts, which can show stains more easily.

However, for customers looking for a spacious and flowing design, using lighter coloured grout with white tiles will give the illusion of seamless tiling and open up the space.

Although it may not be immediately obvious, the choice of grout can also do wonders for accentuating certain colours and textures within tiles, as well as creating visual effects using the tiles themselves. Coloured grout is a great way to inject character into a home and a dark grey grout is particularly popular with a classic white metro tile or a pale, neutral coloured tile. This shade not only disguises marks, but gives a defined edge to the classic tile, creating a bold, geometric look that highlights its shape.

Consider the layout
Each tile laying pattern has a distinctive character and appearance that can enhance the look, feel and atmosphere of any room when used correctly.  The most popular designs are linear and brick due to their simplicity, however introducing more intricate patterns such as basket weave, arabesque or the ever-popular herringbone can add extra character and movement to a home.

Alternatively, a modular pattern can evoke a rustic country feel whilst breaking up the straight lines usually associated with flooring, leading the eye to the edge of your living space and often making a room look larger.  

The choice of grout plays an important role in achieving the customer’s desired look, regardless of which tile pattern is chosen.

A darker, contrasting grout will create a modern feel with graphic lines and bold colour, whilst the use of a coordinating grout will help soften any harsh angles and create a much more calming, serene space.”

Topps Tiles boasts an extensive colour palette of grouts, including shades designed to perfectly complement on-trend wood-effect tiles, and new pastel colours launching in August. Special sample ‘sticks’ are available in store so you can mix and match with your tile samples and wall paint colours.

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Ski resort invests in high end mosaic installation

The Cliff Lodge and Spa,which enjoys an outstanding Snowbird location close to Utah’s finest ski-resorts, golf clubs, and other attractions, also boasts some progressive architectural and design treatments, which now includes two very large mosaic murals.  Ron Treister fills in the details.

Today Snowbird, Utah is known as a multi-facility resort community.  While 150 years ago it was famous for its adjacent silver mines, now the shining draw is top-class winter powder skiing and snowboarding.

One major magnet, The Cliff Lodge and Spa, enjoys an outstanding Snowbird location near many of Utah’s finest ski-resorts, golf clubs, and other attractions.  It also boasts some of the most unique and progressive architectural and design treatments one could imagine.  Featuring wall-to-wall windows, with awe-inspiring mountain or canyon views, Cliff Lodge vistas are modern, spacious, and sumptuously well equipped.  The owners wanted some new indoor visuals.  As a result, the resort recently had two very large mosaic murals installed, which merit the story you are reading right now.

Kari Bennett is Principal / Interior Designer at Edge ID, a full-service hospitality design company, located in Salt Lake City.  Bennett prides her firm on “researching, planning, designing, involving and orchestrating all projects to the last detail.”

Such was the case for the innovative mosaic mural installations at The Cliff Lodge and Spa.

“We wanted in some way to bring the outdoors indoors,” says Bennett.  “There are so many beautiful vistas surrounding The Cliff Lodge.  In particular, there are exquisite Aspen trees indigenous to this part of the country, which look good year-round.  So we made the collective decision to create an amazing Aspen tree ‘wow factor’ motif on two large walls, one being in the ballroom lobby, and the other in the ballroom mezzanine.  These were to be very large murals, each thirty feet wide by four feet high - 120 square feet - each consisting of over 166,000 individual vitreous glass mosaic pieces.”

“We knew a bit about Artaic, and how the firm offered a unique, space-age service of creating mosaic murals using computer-driven robots.  Artaic provided us with its mosaic depiction of an Aspen tree motif. 

We immediately liked it, but wanted to change the colour of the trees from black-grey to more of a sepia tone, which was more relevant to the Snowbird landscape’s colours.  Artaic had no trouble whatsoever accommodating our request.  The people there were, without question, very professional and a joy to work with.”

Artaic’s Dr Ted Acworth, adds: “When Artaic was asked to design a beautiful custom mosaic for the Cliff Lodge renovation, we learned the designer was looking for a custom mosaic that really reflected the beautiful natural environment of the Utah landscape.”

“We were provided with a photograph of a stand of aspen trees.  We loaded that image into our proprietary design software and, subsequently, designed a beautiful custom mural out of glass tile from that image.  This was not hard to do, especially when working with clients who knew what they wanted and understood our process.”

Bennett went on to say that the tile installation contractor, Rod Katwyk, owner of Katwyk Tile, was quite stoked about using Bostik materials for this massive mural project.

“We believe we were hired because of the ‘touch and finesse’ we offer.  The people at Artaic highly recommended, Bostik’s Dimension RapidCure Grout, which we had used previously and were confident would be ideal for this project.  To begin with, we used exterior grade plywood, perfectly fitting it on the walls.  Once it was glued and screwed in, we used Bostik’s GoldPlus crack isolation product, (ready-to-use, roller-applied latex waterproofing and anti-fracture membrane for use beneath thinset ceramic tile installations) which also served as a good primer and bonding agent to the plywood.”

“After applying two coats, we started installing the Artaic mosaic sheets from the center of each mural.  To do so, the thinset we chose was Bostik’s Glass-Mate, using it one bag at a time.  We were very happy how the material ‘stayed active’ in the bucket, which gave us time to adjust each sheet if need be.  By far, this is my favourite glass tile thinset!”

Bostik Glass-Mate is a premium, polymer-modified, thinset mortar that exhibits superior bond strength, durability, non-sag properties and workability.  Its bright white colour and high polymer content make it ideal for installations such as that at The Cliff Lodge and Spa.

Katwyk went on to say that grouting was accomplished with Bostik’s Dimension RapidCure Grout, which his company knew well.

“We reached out to Bostik for advice, and Bostik came through. All their products are easy to use, their customer service is great!”

Acworth adds: “Our relationship with Bostik began when we started using Dimension RapidCure Grout, their unique formulation which contains 60% recycled glass content, in our productions.  The product is easy to apply, highly durable and most of all, actually adds more luminosity to mosaic productions.  For example, if a project contains glass mosaics, imagine another light source being incorporated: that’s what Dimension RapidCure offers.”

Designer Bennett observes: “We believe great design should be simple, so our process is one of honesty and communication throughout. Not only do we think it’s the right way to do business, but it does wonders for keeping efficiency up and costs down. Working with great suppliers such as Bostik, Artaic and Katwyk Tile, we were able to once again implement our philosophy for the mosaic murals at The Cliff Lodge.”

Scott Banda, Bostik’s Director of Marketing and Business Development, explains: “Along with our strategic partner, Artaic, Bostik is on a mission to resurrect the ancient art of mosaic design.  We’re bringing it back worldwide.  The two murals at The Cliff Lodge and Spa are perfect examples of how mosaic masterpieces can once again be specified by the architectural and design community.  We are proud and pleased to be an active participant in this ongoing, successful global quest.”

A video has been produced of this world-class project by Bostik. You may view it by clicking on

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Tiling and LVT at The Flooring Show 2017

The 55th Flooring Show is fast approaching, with over 190 exhibitors preparing for the show and visitors still registering to attend.  With a huge international group of tile exhibitors signed up, there’s still time for you to register to attend via the website,

Tile and LVT exhibitors at this years show include:

CAPEXIL. Stand Q1/30

CAPEXIL, under the Indian Pavilion, will be bringing 40 Indian exporters of ceramic products; granite, marble and natural stone; glassware; plywood and wood products to Harrogate for the first time.

Tiles Porcelain. Stand Q64

Three Durham businessmen formed Tiles Porcelain Ltd in 2007.  Initially just selling porcelain tiles, the company has expanded its range substantially over the last ten years to also include quartz, marble, granite, limestone, ceramic, travertine, slate, glass mosaics and stone cladding. Recently, Tiles Porcelain has introduced a variety of new products to its collection, with wood cladding, artificial grass and brick slips among the many wall and floor coverings customers can now choose from.

The company has grown to become the largest supplier of Jewelstone quartz tiles in the UK, distributing to a vast array of retailers, property developers and contractors.  Although the Durham HQ already houses over 150,00 sq. metres of tiles, work has begun on the construction of an additional warehouse.  This expansion will enable Tiles Porcelain to source an even greater number of premium tiles from across the globe and supply them to the UK market at affordable prices.

Distribution Supplies Ltd. Stand Q17/40

Many of DSL’s cutting edge products are designed in house and the company is able to offer ranges to suit all customer’s needs and requirements.  From the solid range of classic white tiles in a variety of sizes, to the outdoor porcelain paver ranges that are environmentally friendly, frost-resistant and can be laid in a number of different ways. DSL can also match walling and flooring and offer a full range of mosaic tiles, including glass, stone and metal ranges.

Visitors to this year’s Flooring Show can expect to see experienced and friendly staff who will present DSL’s large tile and mosaic collection.  A dedicated marketing team will be on hand to support customer’s range launches with images, leaflets and beautifully-designed display stands; all of which can be delivered directly to customers locations.  DSL sales managers will be on the stand to supply a tailored quote for any range and will be able to visit customers directly following the exhibition.

Amtico. Stand Q44/62

Your home and the space within it should be unique to you.  And it’s because every space is different that Amtico want to bring you inspiration and ideas to show off your individual style, even in the most unlikely places in your home.  Wherever your space, Amtico flooring brings an abundance of choice with a versatile and adaptable ways to effortlessly create the look you want.

Amtico had the vision to see the possibilities luxury vinyl tiles offered.  A vision that created a market for designer flooring that is beautiful but flexible, durable and sustainable.  That’s why they are a market leader and the choice of designers, architects and developers across the globe.

Entry into The Flooring Show is free and, by registering early, visitors can avoid queuing on the day.  Simply visit the website and complete the short form.  Using the website, visitors can arrange accommodation through the official accommodation agent, Reservation Highway, who are able to offer rooms at discounted prices for show attendees. Thanks to Virgin Trains and the Harrogate Convention Centre, travellers can enjoy 25% off advanced tickets.  Free parking is available at the Harrogate Convention Centre.

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