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February 2012 Volume 9 Number 2 Editor Joe Simpson M: 07885 294814 Advertisement Director Stuart Bourne T: 01892 752400 Production Director John Heath 01892 752400


CONTENTS NEWS Brazil tile giants portobello and Eliane set to merge, American Marazzi cited for health and safety violations, Joe pape appointed MD at Waxman ceramics, and more


Editorial Director Alan Bakalor 01892 680816

INNOVATION inax’s innovative new Dent cube concept explained


Editorial Administration Elaine Hudson 01892 752400

TTA NEWSLETTER ttA Awards, new contractor benefit, don’t Dot & Dab!


Designer Neil Owen 01892 752400

EXCLUSIVE British ceramic tile’s new MD, tony taylor, looks ahead


Production and Design Janet Purchase 01892 752400

ON INSTALLATION Ultra tile’s Martin cummins on problem tile backings


Print Management DPI Print and Production, Tonbridge, Kent 01732 371271

DESIGN TRENDS RAK’s Abdulla Mahmood on the impact of digital printing


SUSTAINABILITY tSJ outlines the green credentials of ceramic tile


TOOLS & WORKWEAR Extensive survey of the latest in tiling tools and workwear



PORTFOLIO What’s new in tiles, tools, natural stone and fixing materials 56

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Tile & Stone Journal is published by © Kick-Start Publishing Ltd ISSN 1744-4276



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NEWS & COMMENT EDITOR’S COMMENT “With predictions of no let up in the current economic downturn it seems that more and more businesses are in for a rough time, with some disappearing completely. We’ve already seen a depressing list of high street names, like Peacocks, Woolworths and Adams, go bust. Companies and businesses are being forced to cut back in all areas, making people redundant, lowering prices and freezing wages. As well as these cost cutting measures, a lot of businesses are looking at the possibility of joining forces in an attempt, not to expand, but just to survive the next few years. It certainly seems that the global tile industry may be set for a string of additional mergers. Mohawk and Dal-Tile paved the way in 2002. More recently they have been followed by CP Group and British Ceramic Tile in the UK and now Portobello and Eliane in Brasil. Expect a number of similar mergers in Spain and Italy as the weak economy exerts more and more pressure on struggling tile manufacturing companies. The main motivation behind mergers is expansion. It makes sense that rather than lots of smaller companies fighting for the same market, a few larger companies may be more successful. vAlthough it is usually the bigger company that drives the merger procedure sometimes it can be the smaller company. vThey may realise that they have gone as far as they can without getting extra help, which often means capital, and the only way to move forward is through the cash injection that can result from a merger. When the motivation isn't expansion it's probably cost cutting. This is the trend that the mergers market seems to heading for right now. The integration of companies in the same area can save a small company thousands of pounds and a larger, international, company many millions. Mergers do not always achieve the desired goal, which is more to do with success, growth and money for shareholders. However in the current climate these concerns are likely to take a back seat as the overriding need to stay afloat takes precedent.”

Joe Simpson



Brazil’s Eliane and Portobello agree to merge early in 2012 Two of the leading Brazilian producers of ceramic tiles, Eliane and Portobello, have entered into an agreement to merge. The agreement was signed by the CEOs of the two companies, Edson Gaidzinski, Jr of Eliane (left) and Cesar Gomes, Jr of Portobello (right) on Christmas Eve. The ultimate transaction will result in a company with over 4,000 employees and US$650 million in sales, making it one of the top five world-wide producers by revenue. Combined, the two companies currently market their products globally in over 70 countries. The merger is expected to be finalised during the first quarter of 2012. While the merged company will have a new corporate name, both the Portobello and Eliane brands will continue operating independently under the new corporation. Early reports indicate that no major changes are anticipated for the marketing, distribution or manufacturing of either brand. Eliane, a family-run business, began operations in 1960 and is currently under the command of the third generation of the Gaidzinski family. Eliane was the first Brazilian ceramics manufacturer to produce porcelain tiles. The company has five factories in southern Brazil; four in Cocal do Sul, where the company's HQ is located, plus a porcelain unit in Criciúma. The company also has a factory in northern Brazil in Camaçari. Additionally, Eliane has an international office in São Paulo and two distribution centres, one in the USA and another in Canada. Founded in 1979, Portobello’s watchword has been technological innovation. The company’s early production was aimed at the Brazilian market, its chief product being so-called "verdão" flooring. The line consisted of two glazes, with some variations. The discovery of new raw materials coincided with research which highlighted a new market segment: ceramic flooring capable of carrying heavy loads, while also being easy to clean and aesthetically pleasing. This led Portobello to develop the first range of drip glaze, high traffic flooring in Brazil and one of the first in the world. The range’s name, Carga Pesada, meaning heavy load, was inspired by a successful Brazilian television series of the same name.

TSJFeb12p 4-22_News and comment 06/02/2012 12:15 Page 5

NEWS & COMMENT OSHA cites American Marazzi Tile for safety lapses The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation in the USA, has cited American Marazzi Tile with 25 safety and health violations for exposing workers to excessive noise levels, machine guarding hazards and other dangerous conditions at its facility in Sunnyvale, Texas. Proposed penalties total $318,000. OSHA's Dallas Area Office initiated an investigation in July 2011 at the company's Clay Road facility as part of a programme that directs enforcement resources to workplaces with higher-than-average injury and illness rates. "This company knowingly failed to implement necessary safety and health programs to protect employees from coming into contact with moving parts of machinery and prevent hearing loss," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "It's the employer's responsibility to know the hazards and safeguard workers from these hazards in order to provide a working environment free of injuries and illnesses." Three willful violations involve failing to

establish and maintain a hearing conservation programme for workers exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 decibels; provide the required machine guards for exposed belts, pulleys, chains, and sprockets; and establish a lockout/tagout programme for energy sources to protect workers from the unexpected start up of machinery. 21 serious violations involve failing to provide personal protective equipment, provide confined space training, provide machine guarding to prevent workers from coming into contact with rotating parts, develop energy control procedures for machines with more than one energy source, provide fire extinguisher training, properly store oxygen and acetylene cylinders, develop a bloodborne pathogens programme, and train employees on hazardous chemicals used in the facility. OSHA has placed American Marazzi Tile in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. American Marazzi Tile employs about 254 workers who produce ceramic wall and floor tile products at the Sunnyvale location.

NEWS IN BRIEF Waxman Ceramics has appointed Joe Pape to the position of Managing Director. Pape started at Waxman some 28 years ago in the Sample Room, at the very onset of the business. His position changed many times over the years as the company grew and, in 1999, was promoted to the position of Operations Director. ‘It is a privilege to be promoted to the position of Managing Director of Waxman Ceramics Ltd,” says Pape. “I look forward to the challenges that may lay ahead during these difficult trading conditions. Waxman offers a good service and an excellent range of product which I believe provide us with a good opportunity to grow our business.” In the early part of Waxman’s expansion mosaics were the primary product marketed, which led to Waxman becoming the largest UK importer. Waxman then expanded into larger format tiles and formed a national distribution network encompassing bases at the HQ in Elland, West Yorkshire, as well as in Bristol. Topps Tiles has appointed experienced retailer Andy King as a non-executive director. King has worked as a director at several of the country's leading retailers and is currently the CEO of Notcutts Garden Centre, a position he has held since 2007. Before joining Notcutts King held Global Marketing Director roles at The Body Shop, Mothercare and W H Smith. Before this King spent nine years with health & beauty trader Boots.

Instarmac, the company behind the Ultra Tile brand, has more than halved its waste to landfill as part of a commitment to reducing the company’s environmental impact. Instarmac’s real enthusiasm for meeting green targets has spawned a lengthy list of environmental programmes that have included transparent waste stream development, investment in solar and wind powered energy, and even providing shredded paper for use at local Twycross Zoo to keep the animals warm in winter. Instarmac has received ongoing recognition for its environmental and sustainability schemes, as well as the compoany’s projects to boost lean efficiency. The most recent accolade comes from UK’s FeRFA (Resin Flooring Association) where Instarmac was shortlisted for an Environmental Initiative award. For two years running the company won the same award from The Tile Association, for its waste stream processes, recycling and green ethics which involve every member of staff, not just the business as a whole. By utilising Kaizen techniques Instarmac’s employees have reviewed, defined, implemented, controlled and reduced their landfill waste by this outstanding 51%. Kaizen stands for continuous improvement; it derives from the Japanese words ‘Kai’ and ‘Zen’ meaning ‘change’ and ‘good’.

Tile distributor and retailer, Craven Dunnill, has appointed David Talbot as Technical Consultant, to support its strategy to offer a comprehensive contract design service. Talbot has over 25 years’ experience in the commercial tile market. He previously worked at Johnson Tiles handling numerous aspects of the contract tile market, including commercial design, technical specification, in addition to providing contract marketing experience in products, support materials and sales for the UK and export markets. David brings an in-depth knowledge of UK Building Regulations, Slip Resistance and Equality Act requirements. He will work closely with Craven Dunnill’s Marketing and Sales Director Steve Whitehurst.



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NEWS & COMMENT Ancora Group supplies new plant to Samarskoe Keramiki

A new art mosaic has been installed at Dunkin Donuts, 1380 East Penn Street, Muncy Township, USA. Local artists, Nella Godbey Storm and Selinda Kennedy designed and created the 10ft by 3ft terracotta mosaic that depicts a period dating back to the Old Muncy Canal in the 1840s. It features two mules pulling a Pennsylvania Canal Boat 502 into Muncy's Sprout Waldron. "Each hand made tile has five or more layers of coloured slip, then coated with a clear glaze," explained Storm. "Tiles range in size comparable to a silver dollar to about the size of your hand." The Muncy Historical Society provided photos of early canal days in Port Penn for the artists to work with. "We added a squirrel and a bird to give it more charm," added Storm who also acknowledged that the animals give it a story book quality appealing to younger audiences. Storm also said that she and Kennedy were notified in mid December by James Bower, Jr., owner of Dunkin Donuts, to do the mosaic project. Both artists were featured in Muncy's juried art show last fall through the Muncy Historical Society. Storm also furnished a 9 by 3 foot mosaic for Susquehanna Health's new Tower building in Williamsport, and Kennedy did one for Muncy Valley Hospital. "Mosaics are good to use for restaurants," said Storm, “because, unlike paintings, they are easy to clean and maintain.”

Construction output grow slows, reports Markit January data from Markit signalled a thirteenth successive monthly rise in UK construction sector output. However, the rate of expansion eased and was modest. The weaker increase in activity was led by a slowdown in new order growth, with some Markit panellists also noting the completion of existing contracts. Furthermore, employment stagnated. Despite this, confidence regarding future business activity strengthened to the second-greatest degree in the survey history to reach an eight-month high. The seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index posted 51.4 in January, down from 53.2 in December. The latest reading pointed to growth of UK construction sector output. However, the rate of expansion slowed to the weakest in four months and was below the long-run trend. Two of the three broad construction categories monitored – housing and civil engineering – registered decreases in output in January. The rates of decline were marginal and broadly similar in both sectors. Commercial activity rose for a twenty-third consecutive month. The expansion was solid and slightly faster than in December. UK New business received by UK construction companies continued to rise at the start of 2012. However, the rate of growth eased to the weakest in the current four-month period of increase. January data signalled an unchanged level of employment in the UK construction sector. Job cuts at some companies caused by lower output and new orders offset increased staffing levels at others that were driven by higher workloads. Similarly, usage of sub-contractors was little changed on the month. Reflective of sustained growth of output, purchasing activity increased again in January. Subsequently, suppliers’ delivery times lengthened. Anecdotal evidence attributed the deterioration in vendor performance to shortages of stocks at suppliers. Input costs faced by UK construction companies rose markedly during January, driven by higher raw material and energy prices. However, the rate of cost inflation eased and was the third-slowest in the current two-year period of monthly increases. Sarah Bingham, Economist at Markit and author of the UK Construction PMI says: “2012 started positively for the UK construction sector, with further output growth recorded. However, at a four-month low, the expansion was modest, reflecting a weaker rise in the volume of new business received compared with December. Furthermore, growth was focused on commercial construction, with house building and civil engineering activity levels both falling slightly. The resulting overall increase in output was insufficient to sustain job creation, with employment stagnating. On a more positive note, construction firms grew more upbeat about their prospects for 2012, with business confidence showing the second-greatest monthly jump in the survey’s history. This suggests that growth may pick up again in the sector in coming moths, raising hopes that a slide back into recession may yet be avoided.” 6


Ancora Group has supplied Russian porcelain tile manufacturer Samarskoe Keramiki with a squaring line as part of a programme to expand and modernise the company's current machinery. This major order further strengthens Ancora's longstanding business ties with the ceramic manufacturer, a member of the Estima Group located in Russia's central-eastern region of Samara. When Samarskoe Keramiki joined Estima (Noginsk, Moscow) in 2010, the group became the largest ceramic granite manufacturer in Russia with a total production capacity of 14 million square metres of tiles a year. Estima was recently chosen as a supplier to the Moscow federal home refurbishment programme, in view of which the group implemented a programme of modernising its manufacturing facilities at Noginsk and in the Samara region. "On the whole, the Russian market has shown good tenacity in recent years, even during the most difficult times for the international economy," commented Ancora Group's Vice Chairman Fabio Corradini. "Our Group has continued to achieve good results in this region, as this order goes to show." To meet the need for higher porcelain tile output, Samarskoe Keramiki commissioned Ancora Group to supply a latest-generation squaring line which would be capable of producing sizes up to 600 by 600 mm, thereby modernising and expanding the lines already present in the factory.

UK suffers nearly 10,000 construction and manufacturing insolvencies in two years Nearly 10,000 construction and manufacturing businesses went into administration since the start of 2010, reports PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). A breakdown of corporate insolvencies for these two sectors also show London alone suffered 927 insolvencies since the start of 2010. Under the ongoing cloud of economic and unemployment uncertainty, PwC experts say that 2012 could see the sectors faced with the same woes. Jonathan Hook, head of engineering & construction at PwC (left) says: “2011 was another tough year for the construction sector and there were 6% more insolvencies in the sector in 2011 than 2010. Over the last two years we have lost more than 5,000 companies and the trend shows no sign of abating.” There were 656 construction insolvencies in Q4 of 2011 and 424 for manufacturing. Across the year however from Q1 2010 to Q4 2011 manufacturing fared slightly better than construction which saw a rise of 6.4% in 2011. Q4 2011 was, however, slightly more positive for both sectors in comparison to Q3 of the same year where construction had 0.2% fewer insolvencies. The UK regions that were most affected included London, West Midlands, Yorkshire region and the North West for both sectors. According to Hook: “The cuts to the Government's capital programme and uncertainty around the economy and financing generally means there is little chance that 2012 will see this trend reverse. London reported a 5% decline in the number of insolvencies in the sector last year, highlighting that it is increasingly tough elsewhere in the regions, where we saw a 9% increase.”

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NEWS & COMMENT The Stone Gallery announces expansion plans In contrast to gloomy retail news elsewhere, the Art of Living group which incorporates the Ceramic Tile Warehouse, Park Street Interiors and The Stone Gallery in Camberley, has announced plans to expand its dedicated natural stone section, The Stone Gallery. For the last five years, The Stone Gallery’s tiny showroom has been squeezed between the kitchen and bathroom showrooms of Park Street Interiors despite having been responsible for a disproportionally large percentage of the ‘Art of Living’ group’s turnover. But thanks to a strong year of trading in 2011, The Stone Gallery is to finally get the setting it deserves, as work is well under way to transform an adjoining unit at the end of Bridge Road, into a specialist showroom to showcase the timeless elegance of natural stone in all its glory. Specialist features of the expanded showroom are set to include much larger formats of lesser know natural stone and slate. With work well under way, it is anticipated the new showroom will be up and running by the end of April. Clive Blythe, Managing Director of the Ceramic Tile Warehouse, said: “People often underestimate the beauty of natural stone so we hope to showcase its elegance and versatility with our new showroom. The new showroom will be the ideal environment for customers to see how natural stone can be used to enhance existing rooms or become the perfect addition to a new project or venture.”

RAK and Domus create UK’s largest tiled façade RAK Ceramics’ porcelain slabs have been specified for the UK’s biggest large-format ceramic cladding installation. Designed by Domus Facades, and installed by Cladding UK for main contractor Higgins Construction PLC, the 7,654 sq metre installation forms the exterior of Streamlight Tower in London’s docklands. A residential scheme, for Swan New Homes, the development was designed by Barrett Lloyd Davis Associates Ltd & Hunters Architects. Acclaimed by the Mayor’s office for its significant contribution to the provision of affordable housing, Streamlight comprises 137 homes and features a three-block design. The tallest of the three towers has a distinct lipstick-shaped crown. It reaches 82 metres in height, affording stunning views over to the Olympic Stadium, the Thames and Canary Wharf. The sustainable design includes exterior monochromatic cladding, using RAK’s large format Lounge porcelain slabs, on all aspects. Chosen to provide a highly durable and distinctive background, alongside accents of smoked glass throughout balconies, the cladding includes a mix of black, beige and grey slabs. All tiles have a mottled, unpolished surface and each measures 1,795mm by 1,195mm. Brian Mace, Managing Director of Domus Facades, commented: “This is a prime example of where cutting edge building materials are able to fuse with the design intent of the practice. The large format tiles allow a far greater reach and work to fill in between the floors without the odd off cut tile. The self-cleaning product is a great plus on a building of this size and accessibility. The entire process was immaculately managed by the team at CUK which made the project a joy to work on.” RAK Ceramics UK 01730 237850 8


MADELEINE HARRINGTON “The relationship between sales and marketing has always been fraught, at least since marketing split from sales in the middle of the last century. Before that marketing was part of the sales discipline – sales promotion as it was known. The two disciplines evolved separately over the final decades of the twentieth century with marketing focused on getting the brand known, creating demand and identifying leads (especially in the B2B world), and sales on getting to those leads and closing the sale. To summarise conventional wisdom marketers tend to see the “big picture”, salesmen concentrate on individual customers, and to caricature marketers sit in their ivory towers thinking about pretty fluffy stuff, and analysing product sales, and sales guys rarely see beyond the customer that they have just been talking to, especially if they represent a major source of commission. I am one of those rare creatures that have spent time in both camps – I was an international salesman for Denby for a few years, and I have witnessed the divide first hand from both sides of the fence. However increasingly the experts are arguing that we should learn to make peace and work together in harmony. With the advent of the internet as the first port of call for most of us when we are thinking about making a purchase whether business or personal on line or not, the whole picture is changing and the difficult to measure touchy feely world of marketing is becoming easier to quantify and evaluate especially for e-commerce. Marketing is now more about “pulling” potential customers to your site, allowing them to gather information and to make contact when they are ready to engage in the sales process. This means that the lines between sales and marketing are once again coming closer and the two disciplines need to bury the hatchet and find ways to work together as they really are two facets of the same process and can benefit immensely from being part of the same team rather than on opposing sides. As a marketing director the relationship worked best when the sales force and my team were working together to prepare for customer meetings, tailoring products, marketing materials and presentations. Frequent exposure to customers is also a must for any marketer to properly understand the market in which they are working. Sales teams also benefit from the opportunity to look at the bigger picture. So I would join my voice to the many much more eminent ones already stating that the war between the two needs to end and the sooner the better.” Madeleine Harrington is a director of McMullin Harrington Limited, a marketing consultancy specialising in the tile and stone industry. She can be contacted on

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NEWS & COMMENT Forest Pennant creates bespoke compass as part of Ebbw Vale’s regeneration

Pennant sandstone specialist, Forest Pennant has designed and supplied Blaenau Gwent Council with a bespoke six-metre diameter compass, as part of the continued regeneration of Ebbw Vale. In addition, the company has also supplied 3,600sq. metres of assorted pennant stone paving and various masonry details, including 100 linear metres of coping, six circular portholes and a dimensioned band course for the wall feature on Church Street. Designed by Graham Jones, from Blaenau Gwent Council, the compass was created using a combination of materials. Forest Pennant’s mixed colour and blue pennant sandstone formed the radial bands and central seating feature, whilst contrasting black and white granite created the North and South points. Chris Griffin, projects manager at Forest Pennant, finalised the initial design, creating a working scheme. The individual elements were then cut using a water-jet cutting machine, with the finishing and final assembly of the composite pieces carried out by the Forest Pennant works and masonry teams. Blaenau Gwent Council, working in partnership with contractors Jim Davies Civil Engineering Ltd, specified Pennant sandstone for the Church Street pedestrianised zones and features. Commenting on the scheme, Blaenau Gwent Council said: “Having worked with Forest Pennant on the Ebbw Vale linkages scheme we had no doubt that they would deliver a high quality, complementary paving product, but the compass has exceeded our expectation, creating a real feature for the town.” Nick Horton, Forest Pennant managing director, said: “Church Street has given us the opportunity to not only once again prove our ability as a reliable and efficient natural stone supplier but also showcase our skill and expertise as a masonry specialist. We are very pleased to continue our support of the regeneration of Ebbw Vale, while also promoting green, British products.”

Plumb Center rolls out CornerTape’s SiliconePro CornerTape has expanded its product range in Plumb Center branches with the introduction of SiliconePro kitchen and bathroom silicone sealant. CornerTape SiliconePro, with its clever Anti-Drip Valve and Pre-Cut Nozzle System, is now available to customers of over 490 branches of the UK’s leading supplier of heating and plumbing products. Plumb Center first stocked the CornerTape ‘professional’ range of products, including its heavy duty Silicone & Grout Remover Tool, packs of Preparation Wipes, Silicone Forming Kit and 15m rolls of CornerTape, just over a year ago. Andy Toyne, Sales Director for CornerTape in the UK, said: “We’re extremely excited about SiliconePro being introduced into Plumb Center branches, as Plumb Center is the biggest name in the plumbing and heating trade. The branches have had the silicone for a very short time and are already re-stocking the shelves as its going down very well with the trade. Of course, SiliconePro has great shelf appeal with the valve and nozzle but the quality of the contents are equally important - we have got that just right and the trade love it. All these things add together, making SiliconePro an excellent value product - for making silicone jobs easier and quicker, and the pricing is very competitive too.” 10


JOSS THOMAS “I put great value on trustworthiness but recently found myself in a difficult situation. A customer who’s involved in a large residential project placed an order with me. It included stone flooring and all associated fixing products - adhesives, grouts and sealants. Some weeks after the goods had been delivered, I received an email stating that the fixings had been left on a pallet outside and were ruined. The email went on to say that it was my responsibility. As is generally the case, a third party delivered the goods and they were signed for as having been received in good condition. As I’m sure is the case with most of us, our terms and conditions explain that ‘we cannot accept responsibility for damages not acknowledged on the paperwork.’ In an effort to resolve the situation, I tried to establish how the damage had occurred. Apparently, the customer’s wife had asked the driver if the goods could be left on the pallet outside and she was told that this would be fine. Had we been consulted, we would always inform the customer that perishable products should be taken indoors, as clearly highlighted on the product packaging. I have no idea if the lady did, in fact, ask if the goods should be stored inside or out. Nor do I know how the driver responded. So much of what we do is based on trust – but trust is a two-way thing made more difficult when a third party is involved – and when the delivery address is hundreds of miles away, as was the case in this instance. Common sense would suggest to me that a third party is not the best source for technical information. I always try to be as helpful as possible. In fact, I offered to supply new adhesives and grouts at cost, but the tiler had already purchased products from elsewhere. The situation is yet to be resolved - hopefully we can do so without involving another third party. Having vented my frustration, I hope that this might prove useful to you. It clearly highlights the importance of covering yourself as best as possible, especially in the current climate where there’s not so much ‘cash for error’ available. Situations like this remind me to reassess my terms and conditions; like all things in business, they too need to move with the times. ” For more information, call 01993 824200 or email

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NEWS & COMMENT Venue sounds good with Cembrit acoustic panels CH Building Board from Cembrit has been used extensively throughout a state-of-the-art wedding venue in North London. Manufactured by Sound Reduction Systems Ltd of Bolton, Lancashire, the CH Board has been used as part of a bespoke acoustic composite panel at the wedding and function venue. Owned by Metro Wedding and Function Halls, the Little Princes and Little Princesses Wedding Venue is capable of accommodating over 800 people. Located close to a residential area planning could only be agreed with the right acoustic specification. Richard Groborz of SRS Ltd’s stockist and approved agent for the area, Trim Acoustics, visited site to advise on the acoustic insulation. “In order eliminate the risk of disruption to the neighbours, and to offer a practical and cost effective solution to the client,” explains Groborz, “we specified an acoustic panel featuring CH Building Board for the walls and ceilings. The results have been fantastic leaving the venue owners, local council and neighbours delighted.” In total, over 2,000sq. metres of CH Building Board was installed by Gama Construction to meet the stringent requirements of the council.

Somany signs agreement with Iris and FMG Somany Ceramics, a leading Indian ceramic tile mnufacturer, has entered into a manufacturing and distribution arrangement with Iris Ceramiche and FMG of GranitiFiandre Group. Following this deal, Somany will market products manufactured under the Active technology across India. According to this venture, Fiandre will look at a distribution arrangement with Somany Ceramics to sell Active Clean Air and Antibacterial Ceramic products in India, riding on Somany Ceramics`1400 strong distribution network and established brand equity. International tests have confirmed that Active tiles are self cleaning as they are able to degrade nitrogen oxides, thus allowing the improvement of air quality. On the reduction of Nitrogen Oxides, it is estimated that 1,000sq. metre surface area of Active, radiated by sunlight or any other electric source of light, has an effect equal to that of 20 mature trees. Active tiles are also capable of reacting with the most common air pollutant molecules and hence provide antibacterial properties to the material. Speaking on the occasion, Abhishek Somany, JMD Somany Ceramics (left) said, “This association with Iris Ceramiche and GranitiFiandre Group further strengthens our motto of innovation and leadership which Somany Ceramics stands for. After VC 50, we bring to you Active as a result of our commitment to bringing world class products to the Indian customer. We look forward to working with these Italian brands and strengthening this alliance.” He added: “Through this partnership, Somany looks at enhancing its commitment to building green technology in the ceramic space. Active is not simply a product, but a real green innovation. If you install 1,000 sq. metres of these tiles, it is equivalent to planting 20 trees.” Valentino Capucci, R & D Head, Fiandre Group, said: “I am delighted to enter into a co- operation with Somany Ceramics in India. As a company, we share the vision to cater the Indian market with the best. We are bringing our international brands, expertise in ceramics, and innovation on products, while Somany Ceramics is bringing their strengths of strong brand presence & robust distribution network in India. It is one of the very few companies who has a perfect structure and balance of capabilities to introduce the Active range in the Indian market.” The creations are born by combining the latest technological innovation and knowledge of the craft tradition, always in full compliance with the most stringent standards of sustainability, both for the process and for the products. All products will be made available in Somany stores in cities like Delhi, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Cochin, Coimbatore, Chandigarh, Indore and Surat. 12


ALAN REYNOLDS “All in all 2011 was a tough year and I can’t say I’m unhappy to see the back of it. I have always tried to mark the passage of time, to find value even in the grey days rather than wishing them over as quickly as possible: a doctrine I struggled to maintain recently; moreover when I spent most of the holidays laid up in bed with ‘man flu’. One needs a temperature of 40°C or more to qualify for sympathy ‘chez nous’. It’s been a while since I’ve been really poorly so I was somewhat rusty as to the do’s and don’ts of sickbed protocol when running a fever. The do’s are pretty obvious but the don’ts rarely get a mention especially the one concerning ‘thinking about work’ in my case that would be setting out a tiling job. Take my word once you get caught up in that loop it’s a bugger to break free. I must have set out that virtual bathroom every which way possible and each time I finished I would be forced like ‘Sisyphus’ to start all over again. I can see it in my mind’s eye even now: a composite of every bathroom I have ever tiled; the room freshly plastered, devoid of sanitary-ware save a bath and a low-line shower-base. The walls are bang on the bubble; you get a sense of it as soon as you walk in but I offer up my spirit level nonetheless. The horizontal is equally impressive being absent of voids and rocking. As plastering jobs go this is one of the best I have ever come across and I catch myself thinking: if this is a portent of things to come maybe I will invest in that new diamond drill set after all. The tiles are large format and this time around are to be fitted brick-bond. I’ve already placed two back to back and there is very little distortion, reducing the chance of belly shadow. I start as always lifting a full tile off the bath, extending the line around the room to highlight any variances in ceiling and floor height. Then checking off the number of tiles to the ceiling I establish the top-cut not forgetting the cuts to the window. Finally I move to the floor and shower base. Result: no silly pieces, next: check out the horizontal run. I’m feeling better now and grateful that the virus was nothing like the bout of influenza I caught one summer whilst working in France: a strain so virulent that it laid me low for almost three weeks with raging fevers that gave me hallucinations. I remember one seemingly lucid moment watching a number of pool balls dancing around the room. The doctor said that such visions were not unusual as the brain produces a powerful cocktail of hallucinogenic chemicals when the body is under attack and that I shouldn’t worry. Had I known beforehand I think I might have booked the chorus line from ‘Les Follies Bergères’.” Alan Reynolds is the proprietor of Wilmslow Ceramic Tiling. 01625 434093

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NEWS & COMMENT Makita marks 40 years in UK with new tools 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the UK sales office of power tool manufacturer Makita. In three years time Makita Worldwide will celebrate a century of growth since the company was formed in Japan. Since 1972 Makita has produced power tools for the professional tradesman, where innovative designs to enable construction tasks to be carried out with greater ease and accuracy are coupled with rugged reliability. More than 450 different tools are now available from Makita UK including mains powered machines, cordless battery powered tools including the advanced Lithiumion technology, air powered nailers and staplers, petrol engine machines for construction and the outdoor equipment horticultural machines for domestic gardeners and professional landscapers and horticulturists. An equally broad inventory of high quality accessories, such as drill bits, blades, abrasives and diamond cutting wheels, further enhances the ultimate performance of Makita tools. Makita’s history is marked by exceptional product innovations, none more valuable than Advanced Vibration Technology AVT, built into the highest powered hammer drills over the past decade to dramatically reduce the hand arm vibration risks to operators. Two further factors are the cornerstones of Makita’s market success. The establishment and continuous development of the strongest national network of professional distributors, backed by a skilled sales and demonstration force, and the total belief in training in all aspects of the selection of tools for a particular job, and the correct and safe use of the tools in active conditions. Makita’s substantial investment in the purpose-built training centre at Milton Keynes reflects this philosophy. Makita is the biggest power tool manufacturer in the UK where at Telford in Shropshire more than 1.25 million tools are made annually with 80% being exported around the world. Telford is one of 10 global manufacturing plants all working to the same exacting ISO standard. To mark the 40th anniversary of sales in the UK Makita has launched a special edition selection of power tools and accessories especially marked with the anniversary logo. The celebratory version of the BHP456 18v Lithium-ion drill comes in a black and white body colourway as does the 115mm mains angle grinder, complete with three flap discs, whilst the DK1854 anniversary kit includes the BHR202 3.5kg 3-mode hammer drill and the BDF456 2-speed LXT combi drill. Four new anniversary-badged accessory sets feature a 40-piece masonry drill set, a 40-piece HSS drill set, a 40-piece flat bit set and a 40-piece ¼” drive socket set with ratchets and extension drives.

Villeroy & Boch announces 2012 roadshow dates Villeroy & Boch has announced the initial dates and locations for its UK Tile Tour roadshow. For 2012, Villeroy & Boch presents a new tile collection for private, semi-public or public areas. In terms of its aesthetics, the new collection draws on familiar and conventional themes and transforms them into discerning, contemporary designs. Modern technologies, functionality and quality are paired with traditional craftsmanship in a collection of products that open up a broad array of interior possibilities. 13th to 24th February. London, 360° Projects Showroom 27-33 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA 28th February to 1st March Bristol, Woodlands Golf & Country Club Trench Lane, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4JZ 6th March to 8th March. Birmingham, Sapphire 1 The Gardens, Coleshill Manor, Birmingham, West Midlands, B46 1DL 13th March to 15th March. Manchester, Didsbury Golf Club Ford Lane, Northenden, Manchester, M22 4NQ 20th March to 22nd March. Doncaster, Owston Hall Owston, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN6 9JF 14


Johnson Tiles shines in EEF Future Manufacturing Awards Stoke-on-Trent's Johnson Tiles' has won a prestigious national business award for its excellence in sustainable manufacturing. The ceramic wall and floor tile manufacturer beat regional finalists from across the UK to win the national EEF Environmental Efficiency Award, presented by sponsor ENER-G at a gala dinner in London. Johnson Tiles’ rigorous environmental efficiency programme has paired massive savings in energy and water usage with a recycling scheme that prevents more than 20,000 tonnes of waste being sent to landfill each year. The company introduced continuous improvement teams to assess and resolve environmental issues, helping to shrink the manufacturing and operational carbon footprint of the company’s Stoke premises from 37,824 tonnes in 2009 to 34,888 tonnes in 2010, a reduction of 8% against a target reduction of 3%. As a result of changes in operational procedures implemented by the continuous improvement teams to reduce water usage, 43,000 cubic metres of water a year are re-used in other processes. Electricity consumption has also been reduced by the increased use of proximity switches and low energy and LED lighting. The overall flue gas emissions to the atmosphere have been reduced by over 90% since the installation of new kilns, resulting in improved air quality. The annual awards are hosted by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and recognise excellence in enterprise, innovation, environmental performance and skills development among UK manufacturers. Richard Halstead, EEF Midlands Regional Director, said: “Manufacturing is crucial to our region’s economic recovery. Companies like Johnson Tiles are leading the way by deploying their people to identify and resolve environmental issues in the production process, to the benefit of business performance, community wellbeing and the UK’s effort to build a low carbon economy. Congratulations to them on this well deserved success.” Cedric Rodrigues, Divisional Director for ENER-G, environmental partner to the EEF, said: “We salute the achievements of Johnson Tiles and the example they have set in demonstrating that excellence in energy and environmental performance leads to commercial success. Their success demonstrates the wisdom of involving employees in finding new ways of improving sustainable manufacturing performance.” Tony Cotton, Operations Director, Johnson Tiles, said: “With ever changing commercial conditions the company continues to monitor all energy usage and seek new ways of making environmental improvements. This prestigious award is a huge boost to our continuous improvement teams which have been relentless in their quest to make Johnson Tiles a greener and more efficient manufacturing business."

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NEWS & COMMENT LISA BREAKSPEAR “Limestone is an acidsensitive, porous sedimentary rock composed mainly of the mineral calcite. Over recent years, it has become an increasingly popular material for domestic floor application. Tiles vary greatly in appearance, colour and texture – from the most uniform surface, to a weather-beaten tile studded with fossils. German native Stephan Wanger has completed the world’s largest mosaic ever made out of beads. The 8 feet tall by 30 feet wide creation - called Sanctuary of Alegria; Home of Happiness - showcases the skyline of New Orleans and used over a million recycled Mardi Gras beads. Sanctuary of Alegria will be on display at Wagner’s Galeria Alegria on 1924 Magazine St, in New Orleans until 9th March 2012. It will then be auctioned off by the Make It Right Foundation to raise funds for the lower ninth ward, a neighborhood in New Orleans that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Sanctuary of Alegria showcases a view across the Mississippi River towards downtown New Orleans, complete with the Natchez steamboat, the Carnival Triumph, the Italian tall ship Amerigo Vespucci and the German tall ship Gorch Fock. Wanger is a self-taught artist who channels his creative energy into assembling dazzling mosaics using recycled Mardi Gras beads. In preparation for the formal construction of each piece, beads are meticulously sorted by size down to the exact millimeter and perfect shade, creating a detailed and varied palette much like a painter would for painting. The resulting play of light and colour recalls several Post-Impressionistic artists' works while adding a new dimension of glitter and shine through the use of metallic, plastic and luminescent beads.

CITB predicts seismic changes in the UK construction sector The face of the construction industry is set to change, according to the latest CITB-ConstructionSkills 5 year forecast. The report reveals that output in construction is expected to fall by 3% during 2012, with a further 45,000 skilled workers and tradesmen being lost as economic uncertainty continues. The annual Construction Skills Network report outlines that growth is expected to be slow and uneven over the next five years; with a 4% increase in output expected in 2013, followed by dips to 2% in 2014, 3% in 2015 and 2% in 2016, which is lower than previous long term trends. Judy Lowe, Deputy Chairman CITB-ConstructionSkills, said: “The Construction Skills Network clearly shows that our industry is in for a tough time. Infrastructure investment, the first nuclear power plants and the revival of private housing will help, but the hard fact remains that despite an increase in growth from 2013 onwards, output and employment levels in construction will not have reached their 2007-8 levels by the end of the forecast in 2016.” Whilst increasing economic uncertainty has plagued the construction sector, changes to working practices have also contributed to the gloomy forecasts, with the biggest falls in employment in the period arising from the loss of manual trades. By 2016, demand for painters and decorators is expected to be 6,300 below 2010 levels, manual labourers 3,000 below and bricklayers 2,500.   The greatest growth in demand is predicted to be for Construction Managers, up 30,000 by 2016 on 2010 figures, marking a real change in the operation and make-up of the industry. “The sluggish return to growth means that we could be talking about a lost decade in construction and a loss of key trade skills. But, the real shock is the impact that cuts to public sector spending has had,” adds Lowe. “The report shows that public housing is set to fall by 25% this year, public sector non-housing by 24% and a further 10% fall is expected next year in both sectors.  That’s a big deficit for other sectors of the construction economy to make up. Construction is an economically important industry; contributing 8% to GDP and employing 3 million workers in its supply chain.”. In the regions and nations, there are mixed forecasts. The picture is positive for London and the South East, which accounts for 60% of employment growth.  After a dramatic period of decline, Northern Ireland is set to grow 2.1% over the 5 year period, well above the UK 1.4%.  In Scotland, growth remains second only to London, whilst Wales continues to deliver higher than average growth results. In other English regions however, particularly in the North West (-0.9%) and West Midlands (-1.1%) forecasts show a period of declining output, as major Building Schools for the Future projects come to a close. The encouraging news is that beyond this year and the early part of 2013, overall construction starts to improve and grow steadily.  Despite this, perhaps the most striking figure of the report is that by 2016 output and employment will still be 5% below their respective 2007/8 peaks.



To protect the whole surface and promote easy maintenance, a series of simple steps should be taken – and manufacturer’s recommendations always carefully followed. Before fixing, limestone must be pre-sealed with either a water or solventbased product. This protects the surface from being marked and also eliminates ‘picture-framing’ caused by grout bleeding into the stone. A specialist water-based product, like Fila LEEDapproved PRW200, is ideal; it provides a cost effective alternative to an impregnator and allows the edges of the tile to be sealed. To remove grout residues, an initial wash should be carried out with a neutral or alkaline product. Acidic preparations should never be used as these can etch the surface. Fila PS87 is very effective, as it is able to remove the cementitious residue of the grout, along with the polymers present in flexible grout. Once the surface is clean, either a water-based or solvent impregnator can be applied to polished or unpolished limestone. There are a variety of options available, in both natural and colour enhancing finishes. Finishing waxes can also be applied to unpolished limestone; these can provide different aesthetic finishes, including matt, satin and gloss effects. After installation, always ensure that correct PHneutral cleaning products are used, like Fila Cleaner. This will lengthen the life of the treatments and clean without leaving a residue. Normal household cleaners, which are often acid-based, will break down the surface protection provided, cause surface staining and can potentially damage the finish of the surface. Likewise, scouring powders and abrasives should never be used, as these too can damage both the finish and scratch the stone.” Lisa Breakspear is Sales & Technical Director of Fila UK. For more information on Fila’s range of surface care products, please contact Fila UK on 01584 877286 or visit

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NEWS & COMMENT NEWS IN BRIEF NEWS IN BRIEF NEWS Al-Murad, one of Britain’s largest independent ceramic tiles and natural stone importer and retailers, opened its new store in Milton Keynes on 1st February, its 42nd UK branch. Al-Murad, who joined The Tile Association in 2011, specialise in ceramic tiles and natural stone and have been in business for over 25 years. The Minton-tiled floor at St George's Hall, Liverpool, has been unveiled for the public for the first time since 2009 when 25,000 people visited to see the grand design. The tiled floor, which has been kept covered to ensure its preservation since 1860, is made up of 30,000 hand-crafted tiles. Visitors will be given the chance to walk across the floor which features the city's coat of arms, sea nymphs and boys on dolphins. Liverpool's Lord Mayor, Councillor Frank Prendergast, said: "The Minton tiles are particularly special as they aren't on permanent display, so it's a real treat to see the beautiful detail of the floor up close. The hall is one of Liverpool's greatest cultural assets and we want to do as much as we can to encourage people to come and visit this Grade I-listed building. Many people don't realise what a gem they have on their doorstep, so we hope by unveiling the floor once again we'll attract thousands of new visitors who will come and experience the fantastic culture and history the hall has to offer." On the 15th February 2012 Mapei will celebrate their 75th anniversary. From humble beginnings Mapei has grown from a small family business into a multinational operation: one of the worlds’ leading manufacturers of adhesives and construction chemicals. Established in 1937 just outside of Milan, it was here that Mapei’s foundations and values were created. These values encompass creativity, competence, passion and flexibility and are still promoted within the company today. It is these basic principles that continue to influence the company’s success and accounts for their annual 1.9 billion euro turnover from across its 68 subsidiaries -with 58 plants, in 27 countries, across five continents. The UK is home to Mapei's 47th manufacturing plant worldwide, based in Halesowen. Mapei first entered the UK market in 1989 with the aim to maximise their proximity, fulfil the UK’s local market needs and to reduce logistic costs. In this time Mapei has advanced in the UK to have a major prominence in the ceramic and soft flooring markets. Mapei’s UK manufacturing facilities in Halesowen are now capable of producing up to 103,000 tonnes of product annually. And following in the Mapei Group’s standards of quality management have achieved ISO9001 and ISO14001 for the UK facility. Mark Louch, Mapei’s UK Managing Director commented “Mapei have reached yet another incredible milestone, and our intention is to expand our product lines in the UK and indeed throughout the world.” Rock icon David Bowie has been immortalised in tile to celebrate turning 65. Artist Ed Chapman, one of Britain's top mosaic artists, took several weeks to create the mosaic using hundreds of hand-cut pieces of stone tile at his Castlefield studio. "It took me a few weeks over Christmas to get it finished,” says Chapman. “ It really surprised me he was 65. Music is a passion of mine and I love Bowie's early work in particular and I'm a fan of his abstract art, too." The artwork, called Pin Up, measures 920 by 620mm. Wickes has opened a store in the centre of Tunbridge Wells as part of a radical new multi-channel programme. The store will enable the retailer to test the high street market. It has 5,000 products in store, which are all small enough to be carried out after purchase, with a further 4,000 products available to order. Multichannel development director Simon Holder commented: "We are really excited to be trialling this new format high street store. With catalogue and online sales up 20% year-on-year, we are leveraging this with an extended multichannel offering. This high street store will allow us to target both the DIY market and our core trade customer, providing them with a conveniently located store. “



SEAN MCPHEAT “As you probably know by now, I’m all for making your role a lot easier in terms of saving you time so it frees you up to sell more! Well, I don’t know whether you are aware of this but there is a neat little tool called AutoText in Outlook that could save you a shed load of time and at the same time provide you with some consistency in the way that you write and respond to emails. It’s called AutoText on older versions of Office. For those of you who are bang up to date with their Office versions it’s called Quick Parts. Now if you find yourself typing the same old email messages when responding to prospect and client enquiries then the AutoText function could be your saviour. AutoText/Quick Parts is to your opening or closing paragraph (or any piece of text come to that) as your email signature file is to your company address, telephone number. With the click of the mouse you can instantly insert some pre-written text into your emails without opening any other emails or copying and pasting from a word document or template. Here’s how to use the tool. Now you might have different versions of Outlook and the screens may look different but you’ll get the gist of what I am about to cover. So you’ve got some text that you would like to use at the beginning of each email when you respond to an enquiry. Here’s what you do to set it up and then I’ll tell you how to use it in your emails. Firstly, highlight the text you would like to use. Now if you are using an older version of Outlook you need to click on AutoText and then select New. Then, enter a name that you would like to call this piece of text so you know what it relates to. If you’re using Quick Parts, open up a new email, click on Insert and then Quick Parts and then it’s basically the same from hereon in. When you go to write a reply in the future you can call up your AutoText in two ways. Firstly, if you just start to type the name you have just called it and a box will appear above the text. Just click enter and whammo! all of the text will appear! An alternative way is to select AutoText from the menu bar and then click on AutoText and then select the name of the text you want to insert. Job done! Now if you’ve got a newer version of Outlook the function you need is called Quick Parts and you get to that from the Insert tab on the menu bar after having opened a new email to write. It’s a really useful tool to use. Personally I’ve got about 20 different messages set up and it saves me a ton of time and makes sure I send an optimised email reply that will give me the best chance of success. Happy AutoTexting!” Sean McPheat is Managing Director of MTD Training. For further information please contact: 0800 849 6732

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NEWS & COMMENT FPB slams HMRC’s ‘harassment’ of small businesses

Many top house builders are in poor financial health

The Forum of Private Business is warning firms to pay their tax bills on time or face large fines, amid criticisms that HMRC’s paperwork spot checks regime is targeting them at the expense of large companies. The Forum has written to David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, to complain about HMRC’s ‘harassment and mistreatment’ of small businesses, including imposing steep fines for even slight delays in tax bill payments as well as records errors or omissions, while at the same time agreeing ‘sweetheart deals’ with some of the UK’s largest companies. Recently the Public Accounts Committee estimated that unpaid taxes from big businesses could amount to more than £25 billion, prompting the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to pledge action on tax avoidance. However, in September 2011, f ollowing a pilot exercise in which just 12% of firms displayed ‘seriously inadequate’ paperwork, HMRC extended its small business records checks project, meaning 20,000 firms are in line for visits in 2012-13. The FPB’s latest ‘cost of compliance’ Referendum survey, carried out in July 2011, showed tax administration is now the main regulatory burden for small business owners, leaving them with a bill of £5.1 billion per year. While HMRC’s SME strategy covering 2012-13 and 2014-15 warns of an increase in ‘potential rule breakers’ – estimating 28% of SMEs could be found to have poor records – it recognises that 88% of business tax red tape falls on SMEs. The FPB argues HMRC’s clampdown flies in the face of the Government’s plans to reform small business regulation in order to free firms to act as a catalyst for economic growth. The pilot record checks scheme showed 44% of small firms experience problems with record keeping. The FPB believes these struggling businesses, which are facing up to extremely difficult trading conditions yet are expected to create jobs and drive growth, should be offered better advice, guidance and support rather than threatened with steep fines, which are also being imposed on small firms forced to pay their tax bills late as a result of cash flow difficulties. The FPB's Chief Executive, Phil Orford, (top left) said: “Small businesses want to keep proper records but struggle with the significant administrative barriers that exist in the UK. They also want to pay their tax bills on time but the reality is that many firms are struggling with cash flow in extremely tough economic conditions - yet HMRC is being completely inflexible. Entrepreneurs are crying out for a better tax regime that supports their ambitions and is conducive to growth, not one that provides constant hurdles to overcome and punishes them disproportionately. Operating such a strict, punitive small business records checks regime while effectively allowing large companies to do as they please is completely unfair.”

Research from Company Watch, the corporate health monitoring specialists, shows that almost half of the UK’s largest house building groups are in poor financial health. Some house builders are performing strongly, however. There has been a raft of positive announcements in the past few days from Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Barratt Developments, Bovis Homes and Galliford Try, who are benefiing from tough cost cutting, margin improvement and debt reduction strategies implemented in response to the slowdown in the housing market. But although some leading house builders doing well, the outlook for other major players in the sector is less rosy. An analysis of the leading house builders’ previous five sets of published accounts and other information shows seven out of the 15 (47%) of the largest house builders scoring fewer than 25 points out of a maximum H-Score of 100.  This puts them firmly in Company Watch’s Warning Zone. With many households struggling to make ends meet and rising unemployment sapping consumer confidence, it’s unsurprising that property experts expect a challenging year ahead for the house builders.

Surprising fall in the number of construction administrations

Construction decline adds to country’s economic woes

“Today’s numbers show that administrations have fallen form 94 in Q3 to 71 Q4 2011 a reduction of nearly 25%,” says Mark Wilson, Head of Construction at Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery LLP, following publication of the insolvency statistics for the construction sector for Q4 2011 by the Insolvency Service.. “Across all insolvencies, the sector saw a reduction of 30% in failure over the previous quarter. The overall failure figure of 650 is the lowest experienced in the last four years which peaked at almost double (1209) in Q1 2009. But is this a false dawn?” asks Wilson. There are concerns that Government cuts in new build projects have yet to fully bite whilst the industry continues to complete projects already committed to. However, there may be opportunities for those who refurbish properties as clients make do with their existing stock of buildings Wilson also believes that there is likely to be a shift in the favour of civil engineering as Government spending increases in road and rail building, although many recently announced projects will take some while before works commence However, Wilson believes that the overall economic uncertainty and prospects for growth and new jobs will continue to have a dampening effect on the sector. “Overall, a cautious welcome for this good news. However, there is always a time lag in getting new projects off the ground and therefore the full impact of the delayed economic recovery may yet still to be seen.”

GDP figures, published by ONS on 25th January, show that the UK economy has fallen by 0.2 per cent in the final quarter of 2011 following growth of just 0.6 per cent in the previous two quarters. The main contributors to this fall were the manufacturing and construction sectors, which fell 0.9% and 0.5% respectively. Commenting on these figures, Noble Francis, Economics Director at the Construction Products Association, (left) said: “The GDP figures released today show that the final quarter of last year was extremely difficult for the economy, in which both construction and manufacturing had a significant effect. Unfortunately the prospects looking forward are even worse, as construction is expected to fall a further 5.2 per cent during 2012, exacerbating the problems in an industry that has already lost 300,000 jobs, and severely hindering growth for the economy as a whole.” “Undoubtedly the problems in the euro zone have increased uncertainty in the private sector making investors highly risk averse to investment. However, this does not tell the whole story as Capital Investment from the public sector, which accounts for more than one-third of total construction activity, will have fallen 30% by the end of 2013. As construction has been highlighted by government as essential for recovery, the decline is severely harming prospects for the sector as well as constraining overall economic growth.”



Company Watch analysis of 15 largest house builders. Company Bellway Bovis Homes Taylor Wimpey Persimmon Bloor Redrow Stewart Milne Cala Countryside McCarthy & Stone Galliford Try Barratt Developments Berkeley Group Crest Nicholson Miller

Latest H-Score Previous H-Score Annual (max 100) (max 100) turnover £m 85 88 886 76 86 299 54 12 2,603 51 67 1,570 51 57 655 45 16 453 30 10 229 26 5 205 25 3 222 19 50 203 14 13 1,284 12 23 2,035 9 10 743 7 4 284 5 4 761

Nick Hood, Head of External Affairs at Company Watch, commented: “With so many negative pressures affecting confidence and no end in sight to gloomy economic news, 2012 is going to be another tough year for house builders. While the recent good news from the sector is very welcome, our analysis shows that some leading house builders have much to do to improve their financial health. Their management will need to focus hard on basic business disciplines such as margin improvement and cash conservation, rather than chasing volume, if they are to survive and prosper.Most house builder insolvencies in 2012 will be SMEs, but it is clear that there’s no room for complacency for the larger players.”

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NEWS & COMMENT Natural Stone Awards 2012 invites entries Entries are now being invited for the Natural Stone Awards 2012, the pinnacle of recognition for those working in the industry and the sixteenth time the awards have been held. Organised by Stone Federation Great Britain the awards are described as “a celebration of the use of this attractive, traditional, yet vitally modern building material.” The presentations to winners will take place in London on 30th November 2012 at Lord’s Cricket Ground. There are five different categories as follows: New Build (modern style stone cladding and traditional style stone masonry); repair and restoration; interiors; landscaping and also craftsmanship. The sustainability aspects of all projects will also be considered. The competition is open to both members and non-members and entry must be made by 27th April 2012. Entry forms can be downloaded from the Federation’s web site at The Federation’s Chief Executive Jane Buxey explained “Judges will consider a number of factors, including sympathy of scale to the project’s surroundings, an understanding of stone weathering, innovative use of stone and the quality of the work. The entry form gives fuller details of the criteria.” “Although the winning companies will receive a trophy and certificates the prestige of gaining one of these top awards is probably the most important aspect of the competition and a major mark of credibility when seeking new business in these difficult times.”

Saint-Gobain Weber to introduce new At Ecobuild, Saint-Gobain Weber will introduce the new, designed for iPhone and iPad users to download free, and in seconds, from the iTunes app store. A link to the store can also be found at Targeting specifiers, main contractors, applicators and fixers, the provides instant access to comprehensive product information from BBA accredited external wall insulation to BRE Green Guide approved renders, commercial floor screeds, concrete repair systems and tile prep and fix technologies. With an easy-to-use intuitive interface the offers time saving functionality that includes technical data, product features and benefits across the entire Saint-Gobain Weber product range as well as a useful Consumption Calculator facility and Finding a Stockist (by map and postcode) using Google maps. A helpful Problem Solving chapter provides practical and helpful solutions for busy professionals and tradesmen while YouTube hosted How To videos illustrate the most practical application and best use of SaintGobain Weber products and materials, technologies and systems. A calendar facility can also be used to remind users of the latest trade shows, exhibitions and events throughout the year and a news feed of case studies and projects. Requesting a call-back on the Contacts Page for advice on any aspect of product selection or application, can be made before placing an order direct with the distributor or stockist, helping customers to make purchasing decisions quickly, efficiently and accurately. “As iPhones are widely used the is one of the most practical and trouble free ways of making product selections and placing an order,” says Mark Weaver, Marketing Manager, Saint-Gobain Weber. “You can even visit the Colour Consultant function where you can choose a project image from our library and apply an accurate and true-to-life colour representation across selected product ranges to help create a truly inspirational finish.”



24% of British tradesmen have missed an income tax deadline, reports Wickes. Almost a quarter (24%) of British tradesmen have missed an income tax deadline, according to research findings revealed today by Wickes. To coincide with the recent online income tax return deadline, Wickes updated its online trade business advise site - – with new information to help tradesmen complete their forms correctly and return them to HMRC in time. The high number of tradesmen who admit to having missed an income tax return deadline brings to light the worrying proportion who don’t know how to correctly fill in their self-assessment forms - or do not realise the importance of doing so. Wickes Board Director, Rob Murray (above), says: “The repercussions of missing the income tax deadline can have a significant financial impact for tradesmen who work for themselves or own their own companies, as they run the risk of being fined.  In this tough economic climate, it’s more important than ever that those who work in this vital industry are given the help and guidance they need to ensure this doesn’t happen to them. Wickes Trade Builder has been created to provide self-employed tradesmen with essential information on business topics such as tax and VAT in order to help them avoid making mistakes of this kind.” The highest proportion of tradesmen who admitted to missing an income tax deadline are based in London, with nearly a third (32%) having been penalised for getting their self-assessment forms in late. The North East of England saw the second highest number (27%) of tradesmen failing to meet the deadline whilst the lowest figures came from the Midlands and Wales, with just 18% and 20% respectively claiming to have made this mistake.  21% of tradesmen in both North and South West England have also been late in returning their forms, and almost a quarter (24%) of Scots have returned their forms after the deadline. Of those respondents who said they’d missed a deadline for their income tax forms, 32% said it was because they had forgotten the date, more than one in 10 (11%) said they didn’t know how to complete one and 36% said they had been simply ‘too busy’. In addition, 35% of tradesmen who have never submitted an income tax return online didn’t know that you could do so. Wickes Trade Builder is an online resource designed in conjunction with Business Link specifically to help tradesmen maintain and protect their businesses. The site is easy to access and simple to use, meaning that tradesmen can access the business information they need quickly and efficiently. The site delivers advice and guidance on a wide range of business topics relevant to tradesmen including information on completing income tax forms. The homepage currently features a ‘live-time’ countdown clock to the final date for online tax submissions in order to flag the impending deadline. The website also contains information on getting and keeping customers, managing finances, tracking and chasing debt, and negotiating self-employment legalities. The refreshed site now includes more detailed information on VAT and taxes, business licensing, the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) and disposing of building site waste management.  Rob Murray summarises: “For those in the construction industry in particular, relevant business information is not readily available. As the trade experts, we are fully aware that tradesmen have little time to search for business advice, which is why Wickes Trade Builder provides the invaluable information and advice needed to run a profitable business in one, easily-accessible place.” Visit for further information.



Square but at the cutting edge of fashion Dent Tile by Inax. Designers can create their own patterns by placing the flat and dented tiles in specific places or use the coloured glass inserts to customise the surface.

esigned by Teruo Yasuda for Japanese manufacturer, Inax, Dent Cube is a three-dimensional “mosaic” wall tiles that combine glass and porcelain at different depths to create a truly unique effect. These tiles create captivating reflections and shadows which, when used indoors, offer very unusual interior atmosphere. The coloured glass inserts are available in many different hues allowing for almost infinite design possibilities. Dent Cube can also be used outdoors as a three-dimensional porcelain stoneware cladding. The collection includes tiles with special voids into which you can insert glass tiles of various colours can be inserted. Designers can also create their own patterns by placing the flat and dented tiles in specific places and use the coloured glass inserts to customise the surface. Dent Cube is part of Inax’s Nagomi concept. Nagomi means tranquility, peace, a sense of inner calm and serenity. It is a mental state that, once reached, means that one spontaneously seeks the same well-being at the level of the senses. The yellow, pink, red, blue and green tiles convey this sense of well-being. Supplied on a mesh backing in modules of 300 by 30 0mm, the 47 by 47mm small tiles come in two forms. One is just 10mm thick and smooth. The other is deeper, at 18mm, and features a border that can be left empty or enhanced by a glass tile insert. Dent cube is manufactured using 50% recycled product.




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TTA Awards Dinner, new contractor benefit, Don’t Dot & Dab campaign “Welcome to the latest edition of The Tile Association (TTA) Newsletter. This month we focus on the eagerly anticipated TTA Awards taking place in April at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole, with nominations now closed it’s time to get those tickets booked and ensure you don’t miss out on the most prestigious event in the tile industry calendar.” “Also in this month’s newsletter we focus on the benefits TTA brings to its members, including a newly announced benefit for TTA contractors, and the wealth of information available at your fingertips on our website. With monthly visits peaking at just under a million in 2011, continues to prove an essential resource for both consumers and industry practitioners alike.” Les Rolt, PR & Marketing Co-ordinator The Tile Association

The 2012 TTA Awards will honour the very best of the UK’s wall and floor tile industry on 21st April.

Viva Las Vegas Nominations are now closed for the 2012 TTA Awards, however tickets for the Gala Dinner are still available and selling fast. The Annual TTA Awards Gala Dinner, considered to be the premier event in the tile industry calendar, will take place on 21st April 2012 at The Birmingham Hilton Metropole. The prestigious event will honour the best of the wall and floor tile industry, and celebrate excellence throughout the past year. 26


The dinner will feature the presentation of the 2012 Tile Association Awards, and is a chance to rub shoulders with the best in the industry. As always the event promises to be an exhilarating night of excitement you won’t forget. Whether you win big or not, you’ll experience the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas and leave feeling like a millionaire! Tickets to the 2012 TTA Awards Gala Dinner are selling fast, but remain available priced at £125 each or just £995 for a table of ten. Hotel rooms are available at a reduced rate for people attending the Awards Dinner, but please note that the hotel gets very busy with this event. Don’t delay; book today! Full details can be found in the 'Awards 2012' section of The Tile Association website:

by 15% for TTA specialist contractors. We are also in the process of developing our TTA 2012 Retention Initiative so please look out for this new and innovative development in the near future To take advantage of this new benefit, please call Darren Brook at Stellar Retention Recovery Ltd on 0844 335 8352 or email

Important new benefit for TTA contractors A recent survey concluded that 1 in 8 specialist contractors are owed over 5% of their turnover at any one time because main contractors hold back retention moneys. All too often tiling contractors are far too busy ensuring that you get paid on an interim basis for working properly done, as a result of which chasing retentions is at the back of your mind. Main contractors know and exploit this. There is information available which suggests that over 50% of retentions are paid over six months late, if at all. The Tile Association recognises that in the current financial climate it is important for us to do everything we can to help our specialist contractors. As a result, TTA is delighted to announce a new member benefit to help our contractors improve retention collection. From now on, TTA specialist contractors will be able to instruct Stellar Retention Recovery Limited to: • Advise you about your rights with respect to retention funds and payment timing • Collect overdue retention • Monitor ongoing retention funds • Negotiate the use of retention bonds instead of retention • Negotiate, where possible, a maximum limit to the retention fund held. This will help TTA contractors improve cashflow, reduce overdrafts and improve credit control. Stellar Retention Recovery Ltd offer different levels of service and these are discounted

Aparici’s Sincro Summer range is available from TTA member Parkside Tiles A wealth of information at your fingertips When it comes to bathroom and kitchen design, there are a large variety of tiling options to consider. Whether you’re making the most of the benefits of flooring with under-tile heating or simply looking for a vibrant wall tile to give you a bathroom or kitchen to be proud of – tiles will always be a major component of any bathroom or kitchen project. So it is always best to take advice from the experts – and where better to start than the tile industry’s trade association? For over a decade The Tile Association has represented the whole of the UK wall and floor tile industry, promoting professionalism and technical standards as well as providing technical support to both members and their customers. So when considering any tiling project, large or small, your first point of call should be our website:

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TTA NEWSLETTER TTA members are benefiting from website exposure

With over 50 years' experience in supplying finishing materials to the UK Architectural market TTA member Bernard J Arnull & Co has developed an impressive portfolio of ceramic tiles and associated products.

The ‘Help’ section of The Tile Association website provides answers to a variety of questions on tiles, tiling products and fixing. It also offers information on technical publications and the opportunity to download Tile it Right (an easy step-by-step guide to tiling) and Your Complete Guide to Tiles (an illustrated guide to choosing tiles) instantly and completely free of charge. The ‘Inspirations’ sections provides a wide range of ideas, with images displaying the latest trends in everything from commercial and hotel & leisure to home kitchens and bathrooms. What’s more if you find something that catches your eye finding the exact tile range and contact details for a supplier is just a click away in the ‘Directory’ section, which offers an easy way to find a fixer, showroom, product, service or even specific tile range. You can find contact details for your nearest TTA member either by searching directly, or by putting your postcode into our search engine to bring up a list of fixers and showrooms in your area. Not only does this service make it easy to find a fixer or showroom, using a TTA member also gives you the peace of mind of knowing that the company, contractor or tiling fixer you are contacting has been carefully checked for financial, technical and service standards – so you can rest assured in the confidence that the people taking on the job are skilled professionals. And with our dedicated ‘News’ section and twitter feed (@tileassociation) keeping you up-to-date on the latest industry developments, is an essential site to bookmark for all those with an interest in tiling. So before you begin your next tiling project, visit The Tile Association website and make the most of a wealth of information at your fingertips. 28


The ‘Directory’ and ‘Find a Member’ sections of the TTA website continue to provide benefits for both consumers and TTA members. In 2011 hits to The Tile Association website peaked at a staggering 831,905 per month, with over 304,374 visits to member’s pages. Average usage of the ‘Find a member’ section of the website increased year-on-year by an incredible 541%. Consumers continue to benefit from the exceptional service provided by TTA members, and view The Tile Association website as the first point of call when embarking on any tiling project. In a recent TTA survey Steve Hughes of TTA member Toms Tile and Stone commented: “The prime benefit I get from the TTA is work referrals. In this day and age many are suspicious of traders they do not know and TTA listing gives a high degree of confidence that they will get a quality job done. More and more people are using the internet and the TTA web site for this purpose.”

A typical failure of a floor tile installation caused by use of the incorrect ‘dot and dab” fixing method.

using a tile adhesive trowel onto the wall. Work in small areas a metre at a time, so that tiles are fixed before the surface of the adhesive forms a skin. Press and twist the wall tiles into the adhesive starting at the bottom and working upwards, one row of whole tiles at a time, using spacers (if required) to ensure a uniform joint. Check the horizontal and vertical lines with the spirit level every few rows. Tiling to Floors: Mix floor adhesive as per manufacturers’ instructions and spread with the recommended notched trowel to give a ribbed adhesive bed on the surface to be tiled. Butter the back of each tile with a thin layer of adhesive immediately before bedding it firmly into the fresh ribbed adhesive bed with a slight twisting motion to ensure a solid bed and prevent voids under the tile. Some “solid bedding” trowels and pourable adhesives are available that allow the floor tile to be solidly bedded without the need to butter the back of the tiles. If you want to be sure of a good quality tiling job, use the services of a Tile Association fixer member. To find a TTA fixer member or to download your free copy of Tile it Right visit The Tile Association website

TTA Welcomes New Members Don’t Dot & Dab! The Tile Association represents the whole of the UK wall and floor tile industry under one organisation. Its mission is to promote professionalism and technical standards in the tiling industry, as such The Tile Association finds cowboy practices like ‘dot & dab’ fixing to be completely unacceptable. The British Standard for tiling, BS5385, the code of practice for fixing wall and floor tiles offers guidance on how tiles should be fixed. The guidance below is taken from The Tile Association guide to DIY fixing, Tile it Right, and encompasses the guidance in the British Standard. Tiling to Walls: Spread the wall tile adhesive

The Tile Association offers a warm welcome to our newest members: Jupiter Heating Systems Ltd and Natural Stone Revival.

TTA Tweets With a twitter following that has increased by almost 50% in the last four months @tileassociation is the best place to keep up-to-date on the latest developments in the tile industry. Visit to follow. The Tile Association T: 020 8663 0946 F: 020 8663 0949 E: W:



British Ceramic Tile sees a bright future ahead Above: Four views of British Ceramic Tile’s state-of-the-art production facility near Newton Abbot, Devon.


fter a busy few months following the purchase of coupled with CP’s extensive outsourced range and creCeramic Prints, British Ceramic Tile has ative design ethos, and the first rate warehousing and announced plans for its future direction in this exclu- logistics set up at both sites, provides the company sive interview for Tile & Stone Journal. with a fantastic foundation on which to build. The acquisition and integration of CP is now in full “The past weeks have been difficult for our employees force and while there is much to do, the future looks across both sites, as well as our customers, but, we have bright for one of the largest tile suppliers in the UK. learned from these experiences and we’re moving forBritish Ceramic Tile’s long-term vision is ambitious, ward. Our vision is for the long-term success of the offering a nationwide unique one-stop shop for all tile, business so there will be no quick fixes. The full integrastone and glass products. While traditionally British tion of the two companies will take time and is compliCeramic Tile has been known for its ceramic wall tiles cated by the 400-mile distance between us, but we now and licensed products, the newly enlarged company have the right team in place to make it all happen. IT will now be able to offer high quality ceramic wall and systems, production, warehousing and product portfofloor tiles, alongside natural stone, porcelain, glass and lio all need to be integrated, without impacting on daydecorative products across all market sectors from the to-day business.” One of the most familiar faces within the tile industry, UK independent and national retailers, to the specification and export markets. Tony Taylor was appointed as Chief Executive of British British Ceramic Tile’s new Chief Executive, Tony Ceramic Tile in December 2011 to drive forward the Taylor, said: “The collective strengths of both compa- business. Joining him on the board is James Clarkson as nies makes for a formidable combination and sets us Finance Director and Dave Banton as Manufacturing apart from other tile “Market demand and innovation will drive the core portfolio Director, together with manufacturers and disa new senior manageof in-house branded products, enhanced by the introduction ment team from both tributors. Our everof design-led decorative ranges and collaborations more flexible manufacBritish Ceramic Tile and with well-known brands. turing facility in Devon CP Group.



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British Ceramic Tile has recently announced that it will be selling selected wall and floor tile ranges through Next. The company’s products will feature on the Next website and in Next’s new Spring/Summer Home Directory.

Nero Black floor tile can be used with Dorchester Carrara in a classical chequered combination,

Brighton White complements the corresponding wall tiles and features an attractive gloss finish.

Elgin Cappuccino cream matches the current wall products and will also complement the beige mosaic as shown above.

Co-ordinating with the Dorchester range are Travertine, Onyx white, Calacatta and Carrara.

Salisbury co-ordinates with all five colourways of the existing Salisbury wall tile collection.

With the demand for fully co-ordinated wall and floor combinations increasing and following the successful launches of a number of wall tile ranges during 2010, British Ceramic Tile has announced that a selection of in-house manufactured floor tiles are also now in production The new floor tiles offer a collection of versatile, hard-wearing, designled options and are available in 333 by 333mm. They can be used in a range of both contract and retail environments from kitchens, reception areas, bathrooms and conservatories. Sheila Elliott, Creative Director, comments: “The new floor tiles provide total coordination with some of our most popular wall tile ranges and also work well as standalone solutions. Floor tiles are being widely used throughout the home and this latest collection has been designed with that in mind. They provide a selection of practical and stylish design options for use in a variety of environments.” The latest additions have a stronger body, improved glazes and increased PEI ratings compared to the previous in-house manufactured products. To co-ordinate with the recently launched Dorchester collection there will be a new Travertine, Onyx white, Calacatta and Carrara in a gloss finish. The new Nero Black floor tile can be combined with Dorchester Carrara in a classical chequered combination, showing there is clearly no need to limit their use into simply kitchen and bathroom areas. The Elgin Cappuccino cream matches the current wall products and also complements the beige mosaic. The Brighton White and Willow Light floors both have linear effects complementing their corresponding wall tiles, and offering two new popular white options, one on gloss and one with a matt finish. The light colour palette and commercial designs provide a versatile collection which will work across a wide range of products. The Terracotta floor has the finished look of authentic aged terracotta. The natural tones will provide a warm ambience to any kitchen or conservatory. The Salisbury floor has been designed as part of a range which is now available to all markets, and co-ordinates with all five colourways of the Salisbury wall tile collection. The new floor tiles have been produced under the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 management systems, reaching international quality and environmental standards respectively. Durable, stain and chemical resistant, the tiles have been rated between 3 and 4 by the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI), measuring the wear and resistance of glazed tile surfaces.



For now, it’s very much business as usual. Both the British Ceramic Tile and CP product ranges are now available to all customers, and improvements will be made to enhance the offer even further. Market demand and innovation will drive the core portfolio of in-house branded products, enhanced by the introduction of design-led decorative ranges and collaborations with well-known brands. The name may well change at some point to reflect the company’s vision but the ethos of quality and innovation will very much remain, as will the environmental commitment, which has become synonymous with the British Ceramic Tile brand. The consultation process at both sites is still underway, with less than 100 job losses expected. Manufacturing capacity will all move to Devon, with the George Street site in West Yorkshire expected to close in the next few months. Warehousing will be across both locations, driven by the capacity in Yorkshire. Most other business functions will operate from Devon, with satellite facilities being created in Yorkshire. Tony Taylor concludes: “We appreciate that our customers and staff have gone through a great period of uncertainty and times have been difficult. We are grateful for all those who have stood by us through the thick and thin of it, and can assure them that things are on the way up.” 01626 834774



When is a tile not a tile? Martin Cummins on troublesome tile backing materials. Martin Cummins: ”Tile backings may include polyester (often incorporating a rigid mesh), polyurethane or epoxy resins. The common factor between all three is that they are extremely difficult to bond to.”

art of the process of design and manufacturer of adhesives and grouts involves testing them to ensure suitability for the job, a relatively obvious statement to make. Historically it has always been the manufacturer who has assessed the products, determined where they may, or may not, be used and how to ensure their performance. All this comes together on the products’ technical datasheets. A further advance on this is testing to European standards (EN12004 and EN13888), which provides the methods of test, substrates to be used and, where appropriate, minimum performance achievements. This then enables the products to be classified as, for example a C2F adhesive or a CG1 grout. A level of comparison between products themselves can then be made, which is all well and good. With this information and the details on the technical datasheet, as manufacturers we can offer confidence in guiding to the correct selection of adhesives and grouts for the end use. Why is it then that I have recently received calls from contractors detailing that the adhesives have failed to hold the specific tiles in place? The correct adhesives were chosen for the tiles each time (in one case a marble, in another a natural stone) and had supposedly been applied in the correct way, but the tile adhesives’ bond was very poor. Immediately the blame was pointed directly at the adhesives but further investigation showed this to categorically not be the case. What did the investigations prove? A visit to the site for the first of the projects confirmed that the tile being fixed had a mesh-type backing on it. Ignoring the fact that the tile weight far exceeded the maximum allowed for plastered walls, as this was not what was failing. The adhesive was remaining bonded to the walls and the tiles where coming away cleanly from the adhesive. A sample tile was sent back from the second project and testing in the laboratory confirmed that the marble tile had in fact a clear/white coating on the back. This was not immediately apparent visually but the ease from which it released from the adhesive was evident to see. An adhesive’s performance is always tested against fully vitrified tiles, which have little absorbency. Currently this is




considered the most difficult tile type for adhesives, as they need to have an extremely good bond (hence the polymer levels) to hold the tiles in place. When bonding biscuit backed ceramics, the background absorbency allows for an easier bond to be made (hence lower polymer content adhesives are used). The tiles that caused the issues mentioned above are generally considered ‘normal’ marble or stone which should not pose any major bonding difficulties. In reality the backing is something completely different. The backings may include polyester (often incorporating a rigid mesh), polyurethane or epoxy resins. The common factor between all three is that they are extremely difficult to bond to. The backing materials are not tested under normal procedures, simply for the reason that the backings can vary so much. Why are they present, I hear you ask? The backings are used to add stability and rigidity to the tiles either during manufacture or when being transported. The use of a backing can enable thinner stone to be cut without the concern of the tiles breaking. Therefore, backings are very important to tile manufacturers. To test every backing would be impractical. As far as I am aware there are no apparent standards as to what backings are allowed to be used; what level of adhesion the backing to the tile itself must achieve, and how the backing should be ‘keyed’ or finished to enable for easier bonding. Therefore, we can expect a variety of backings to be present in the market. Some of these are easily identified due to meshes incorporated, or obvious shine or colour, but in some instances it will be very difficult for the fixer to identify a tile as having a problematic backing. I believe responsibility should be with the tile manufacturers to declare and state that the tiles have a backing and what its nature is. This information would then help adhesive manufacturers to offer the best advice on how to fix the tiles complete with a backing. There’s no doubt that this will always result in extra work for the fixer - an epoxy adhesive may have to be used, or abrading the backing off may be required, or by lightly ‘roughing up’ and priming the reverse of the tile with a bonding primer prior to fixing. To avoid repercussions it will, for now, be the responsibility of the fixer to carry out sample areas to assure confidence in the level of adhesion. This will be the case until some uniformity or standardisation of backing types is agreed upon. A better option however, may be to encourage clients to utilise tiles that you are familiar with and pose no adhesion difficulties – allowing you to use the recommended adhesive with confidence. In answer to the question posed in the title of this article, please always remember that the tile’s back is what is being bonded. Therefore, you cannot guarantee that a marble tile is always a marble tile - it could in fact be an epoxy resin! Martin Cummins Ultra Tile Technical Sales Manager T: 01827 871871 W:

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DESIGN TRENDS Right: One of the new generation of digital printing stations that have revolutionised ceramic tile design in recent years.

A higher level of excellence through digital printing technology In the second in a series of exclusive articles for TSJ, Abdulla Mahmood, Head of Marketing & Communications at the world’s largest tile manufacturer, RAK Ceramics, looks at the design impact of the latest digital printing techniques. nk jet printing has revolutionised ceramic tile decoration, taking our industry to a whole new level of competitiveness and excellence. By enabling unlimited flexibility and intricacy of design, it has allowed the development of cutting edge trends. These designs, in turn, have become an integral element in contemporary interior design. As well as creating a surge of new contemporary styles, technology has helped create demand for natural effects, like marble, stone and wood. Authentic replicas can now be printed on any surface and highdefinition print quality, combined with print consistency and a combination of glazes, is creating results that can sometimes appear more authentic than the real thing. Creating individual designs is an intricate process. Fine droplets of different coloured inks are released onto the tile surface, with some machines transmitting up to 4,000 drops per second and 1,000 drops per inch (dpi). To create more complex patterns, different coloured inks are applied in multiple layers and




throughout the process the individual droplet size and transmission rate is controlled by computer. As well as producing honed tiles, textured and embossed surfaces can also be created by layering ink. Unlike traditional methods which leave a narrow frame around the edge of the tile, designs can also be printed right to the border, providing uniformity. There is also no limit on the number of pattern repeats. At the very forefront of this technology, new highdefinition Nanopix Digital print technology is giving designs even greater distinction. The advanced technique uses ‘tri-dimensional’ nanometer photographic technology to create multi-layer, high definition decorative tiles. Printing in three dimensions, in fine nanometer-grade, sharpens quality and gives greater depth; the resulting fresh colour and vivid effect is incomparable. This new technology is becoming a key industry tool that allows companies to assert leadership in design and quality. It has the unique ability to cater to the distinct aesthetic demands of customers

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DESIGN TRENDS RLeft: Nano Pix Onyx. This range features ceramic wall and porcelain floor tiles. Wall tiles are available in 300 by 600 by 10.8mm and 300 by 1,000 by 12mm formats. Floor tiles come in 447 by 447 by 9.5mm. Dado rails and skirtings are also available. Below left: Nano Pix Slim Only 4.5mm thick! RAK’s Slim is a porcelain wall and floor tile range for internal and external use in a 300 by 600 by 4.5mm format; unpolished and rectified. The colour range is Ivory, Beige, Light Grey and Black

worldwide, as it makes it a lot easier to conceptualize, develop and implement creative ideas and schemes. There are now a stunning array of digitally printing tiles being introducing, drawing inspiration from architectural structure, natural materials, fashion and art. At the forefront of the digital printing revolution, RAK Ceramics has introduced a number of natural Nanopix effects. They include Stone Art, a stone-effect series; the marble-effect Orion Collection and wood finishes, including the 450 by 450mm Wood Series. “Adopting these technologies has opened up limitless opportunities for our sector and, at RAK, has allowed us to accelerate our global growth plans. Nanopix digital printing, in particular, has been crucial in strengthening our competitive edge in both high-growth and emerging markets. We’re fully committed to continue to strongly invest in modern printing technologies to help us unlock more exciting growth opportunities - and reaffirm our reputation as a world-class technology innovator in the tile industry,” says Abdallah Massaad, Deputy CEO RAK Ceramics. Established in 1991, RAK Ceramics is the world's largest manufacturer of ceramic and porcelain tiles. Its product portfolio also includes ceramic sinks, sanitary ware, brassware and acrylic baths, with products currently exported to more than 150 countries. For more information, contact Kevin Jackson, UK National Tile Sales Manager, on 07891 475364 or email Or RAK Ceramics UK: 01730 237850 FEBRUARY 2012 TSJ


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Above: Research conducted by Graniti Fiandre has transformed ceramic tiles for floors and walls into an innovative ecological and eco-active photocatalytic material: Active Clean Air & Antibacterial Ceramic. According to the results of recent tests carried out at the University of Milan, Active can bring pollution levels down below the threshold of 40 micron per cubic metre in three hours. The photocatalytic action carried out by Active is completely natural. In fact, due to the titanium dioxide (TiO2) contained in the slabs in micrometric particles, in the presence of light (natural or artificial) and the humidity contained in the air, a strong oxidation process is spontaneously activated. As well as excluding all risks for the health of humans and the environment, it leads to the decomposition and transformation of many toxic and polluting substances, like nitrogen oxides, particulates and VOCs into harmless compounds like nitrates, sulphates and carbonates. The final result is a substantial reduction in toxic pollutants produced by cars, factories, domestic heating and many other sources. The titanium dioxide contained in Active slabs acts along with light as a trigger to activate the photocatalytic action but without losing any of its properties in the process, hence maintaining its action and effectiveness over time. Due to the strong oxidising power of the photocatalytic action, Active allows 100% elimination of different strains of bacteria, including some which are particularly dangerous for human health (the main ones being: Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae). Active materials are suitable for paving and tiling small and large surfaces subject to light and intense foot traffic, in public and private areas. They are also particularly suitable for environments where hygiene is a primary requirement, such as schools, nursery schools, houses, clinics, hospitals, laboratories and hotels.

How green are your tiles? here is no doubt that sustainability is now centre stage in both infrastructure planning and building design. However, while many generic materials have been able to project a clear set of eco-credentials to policy makers, architects and designers, ceramic tile has struggled to establish similar green credentials. This is, in part, due to the strong commercial rivalry that exists between producer nations, notably Italy and Spain, which has limited co-operation on global sustainability studies. Tile has also suffered from a scattergun approach, with a large number of companies forging ahead with individual sustainability initiatives that have little impact because there is no common framework against which decision makers can judge and compare results.. Perhaps the best attempt to present a consistent argument is the study by the Tile Council of North America titled Tile Is The Natural Choice. While this may be a little short of hard data, it does at least lay out most of the arguments for ceramic tile as an environmentally-sustainable material. This article summarises these arguments. Life cycle: Ceramic and porcelain tile are some of the longest lasting flooring products on the market today. Unlike carpet, vinyl or laminate flooring which have to be replaced periodically, properly installed tile will last a lifetime. Indoor air quality: Indoor air quality is a hot topic and for good reason. Volatile




Eco-friendly tiling products from Kerakoll The progressive replacement of the chemical products used in building with next-generation products that have low environmental impact is destined to transform the construction market, including the tiling industry and have a profound effect on the design of new buildings and renovations of existing real estate, making room for new partners and superior standards in terms of environmental impact and new benefits for users. Kerakoll UK’s ranges of tile adhesives, grout and surface preparation products have benefited from the company’s commitment to continual research and development into eco-friendly products, which are formulated to use fewer natural resources and reduce the impact of building on the environment, whilst maintaining performance. The mineral products in the range significantly reduce CO2 emissions (to less than 250g/kg) because they feature the latest generation solutions containing less cementitious binders, and are made with singlecomponent technology that excludes the use of plastic containers. They contain at least 30% recycled materials and can themselves be recycled at the end of their life as inert materials. At least 60% of their contents are minerals which are harmless to health and the environment and do not emit VOCs, thus lessening the likelihood of Sick Building Syndrome occurring. Caption: H40 Eco Rapid fix adhesive being used to lay large size porcelain floor tiles.

T: 01527 578000 E: W: www. organic compounds (VOCs) contribute to a wide variety of health problems and are a significant cause of “sick building syndrome.” Since tile is fired in kilns to extremely high temperatures, there are no VOCs in the finished product that can be released into the air we breathe. In addition, there are adhesives and grouts available that contain zero, or very low, VOCs. Recycling: Tile factories today are “closed loop,” reusing water and materials. They send only negligible amounts of scrap to landfills and waste water to treatment facilities. Regional availability: With tile manufacturers located in most regions of the world, tile and installation products made with local raw materials are widely available, unlike some other flooring choices. This regional availability reduces the amount of energy consumption and air emissions associated with shipping products from the factory to site. Hypoallergenic: Tile is inhospitable to dust mites, mould, germs, and bacteria and often used to replace carpet for people with allergies or asthma.

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SUSTAINABILITY Mapei: committed to a more sustainable future for construction in the UK We all recognise the importance of living in harmony with our surroundings and that we need to prevent unnecessary wastage of natural resources. It is quite logical to conclude that one way we can prevent natural resources from being wasted is to consume much lower quantities or to not actually use them at all. These goals can be achieved by re-using materials - whether they are byproducts of other processes or through recycling of items that have reached the end of their life. We can all play our part in the chain of events by the choices we make when discarding or purchasing materials. Mapei is an environmentally conscious and caring manufacturer and was granted ISO 14001 status last year. Having set and demolished many “green” targets relating to waste disposal, focussing in particular on the amount it sends to landfill, Mapei now recycles an incredible 96% of its waste and of even greater significance; this material is recycled locally. Given the company’s philosophy, it should come as no surprise to learn that the major drive in the Research & Development laboratory is the development of products with lower environmental impact. Naturally, recycled content within these products is of paramount importance as well as the use of raw materials which result in high yields. High yield may not initially be perceived as helping with environmental issues but when consideration is given to the fact that less material is required to cover the same surface area then there are definite “green” and efficiency benefits. Mapei has recently launched Ultralite Rapid Flex S1, a truly remarkable adhesive for the installation of ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles and mosaics. See page 56 for details. 0121 508 6970

Low maintenance: Ceramic tile is easily cleaned, often only with warm water, eliminating the need for chemicals and cleanerss. The Tile Council of North America commissioned an independent construction cost consulting firm, Scharf-Godfrey (a Division of Phoenix Engineering, Inc.), to conduct a Life Cycle Cost study comparing various types of ceramic tile, including porcelain, mosaic, and quarry tile, to 12 other floor finishes such as hardwood, laminate, concrete, stone, carpet, terrazzo, vinyl, and poured epoxy (for specifics see chart). Life Cycle Cost Analysis is a method of project evaluation in which all costs arising from owning, operating, maintaining, and disposing of a project are considered important to the decision. The definition of Life Cycle Cost used in the 2005 study was the initial cost to install, which includes labour, materials, normal contractor’s overhead and profit, plus periodic maintenance costs to preserve and maintain the appearance of the product, and the final costs to remove the floor covering at the end of its useful life. Future expected costs were discounted to today’s dollars using the Present Value (PV) of a future payment calculated as a function of interest rate and an assumed inflation rate. It was assumed that there is no salvage value to any of the products at the end of their useful life, but there are disposal fees associated with removal of the floor covering. The report found that ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes over the life of a building. In fact, all tile is less than $0.40 per square foot per year. Carpet and vinyl are significantly more expensive due to their shorter expected life.

Why specify ceramic tile? Ceramic tile creates dramatic first impressions. Even a modest area, indoors or out, can come to life with the colours and textures of tile – making ceramic tile one of the savviest design investments. Ceramic tile is not just for kitchens or bathrooms. It is a luxurious option for creating a beautiful living or work environment. : Best Value: Ceramic tile adds value to any building, needs almost no maintenance, and costs less per square foot than other permanent and long-use flooring options. Design capability: Today’s selection of tile offers a limitless palette of textures, colours, shapes, and styles to create custom expressions. Rich artistic heritage: Conveying elegance, tranquility, and spirituality, tile has adorned our great buildings through the ages. You can connect to that cultural heritage through the richness of tile. Durability: Ceramic tile, properly selected and installed, maintains its original qualities and lasts longer than other flooring options. Water resistance: Not only can installations of ceramic tile be waterproof, some tiles are designed to provide better traction, making ceramic tile a perfect choice for swimming pools, showers, patios, and other wet areas. 42


Fila Green Action brand underlines eco-credentials At this year’s Surface Design Show, Fila showcased its extensive range of surface care products. Designed to provide high performance, whilst protecting the natural surface, Fila’s range spans pre-grouting protectors and surface cleaners, to protection and stain removal solutions. New products on show for 2012 included Fila CR10, a high performance epoxy remover, and FilaRefresh, a ready-touse, water-based cleaning and protection product, for internal stone surfaces. Designed for use after tile installation, Fila CR10 is a concentrated ready-to-use cleaner that removes epoxy grout residues, stains and streaks. It’s suitable for nonabsorbent surfaces, including glazed ceramic tiles, porcelain stoneware and glass mosaics, and can be applied to both walls and floors, inside and out. Fila CR10 is also effective in the removal of old, stubborn epoxy residues. The second new product, FilaRefresh is a ready-to-use, water-based spray cleaner developed for treated, natural stone surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms. Citrus-scented and certified for contact with food stuffs, the double-action formulation both cleans and protects, giving a streak-free finish. It is suitable for marble, granite, treated stone, resin and quartz resin. In addition to new products, Fila will also be launching its new green brand – Fila Green Action – to the UK market. The new brand will encompass all environmental developments, including processes, industry initiatives and the company’s Green Line range, which currently includes 17 products. T: 01584 877286 W:

Clean and healthy: Ceramic tile is easy to clean and inhospitable to dust mites, mould, and bacteria. Sustainable: Tile is inherently green and an important part of sustainable construction. It’s use can contribute to LEED points and credits in other green building certification programs. Low maintenance: Ceramic tile is practically maintenance-free, as it resists dirt and stains and requires little effort to maintain. Fade resistant: The colour of ceramic tile does not fade in sunlight like the dyes used in other floor finishes. Fire resistant: Ceramic tile is non-combustible and does not give off toxic fumes when exposed to fire. Outdoor use: Fade resistance, frost resistance, durability, enhanced traction and cleanability are all attributes that make ceramic tile the perfect choice for exterior applications. Copies of the report can be found at



Tools of the trade In this extensive feature, TSJ surveys a wide selection of the latest products from the extensive band of specialist tiling tool suppliers. plus a flexible non-slip guide plate critical for accurate drilling. Known as the BFKMX or Bathroom Fitters Kit, it consists of two 6mm, two 8mm, a 16mm, a 30mm and a 40mm drill. The 365 Drills website offers an accessible and userfriendly the company’s range and drilling techniques in general.

Marcrist International has launched the TDM1, billed as the ultimate tile drilling system. The customised 1100W variable speed impact drill with a metal bodied Jacobs keyless chuck has been specially developed for tile drilling applications. These machines are supplied in system kits which offer a complete tile drilling solution including the specially developed drilling machine, guide mechanism, wet or dry tile drills and masonry drills to match the tile drills, all in a tough Marcrist carrying case. Being available as either 220V with RCD or 110V versions means the machines are suitable for safe use in wet environments. The TDM1 kits are offered in either Marcrist PG850 (wet) or PG750X (dry) tile drill derivatives. Including masonry drills in the dry kit avoids having to use a tile drill for the wall behind, which significantly affects its life. All TDM1 kits include a compact precision tile drilling guidance mechanism that results in accurate placement of the tile drill every time. This innovative new design overcomes the limitations associated with conventional suction cup guides such as adhesion to mosaic and textured tiles, and the suction cups slipping during drilling. The guidance mechanism has a central gas strut that sits on the tile and allows drilling with a high degree of accuracy. The rubber foot on the strut ensures that no tile damage or chipping can be caused by slipping. All components of the guidance mechanism are fixed to the front of the machine, which creates a much smaller footprint than a traditional tile drilling guide, enabling the machine to be used in various drilling positions, including awkward spaces and access restricted locations. Traditionally most tile drilling, especially wet tile drilling has been undertaken with cordless drills due to the safety risks associated with water on the machine, most cordless machines only operate at 50% of the speed required for maximum life and speed with Marcrist tile drills. By developing a corded drill with an RCD, Marcrist has ensured that the required speed to bring out the best in its tile drills can be achieved safely. Each TDM1 has a drilling speed chart attached to the machine that indicates the correct speed settings for each tile drill type and diameter. This ensures the machine runs at the right speed - at the flick of a switch. Selecting the correct speed setting from the eight available ensures prolonged tile drill life and the fastest possible drilling speed. The TDM1 PG850 wet drilling kit includes the TDM1 machine, Tile Drilling Guide, PG850 6mm, 8mm tile drills, water swivel and connector and I litre water bottle. The TDM1 PG750X kit includes the TDM1 machine, Tile Drilling Attachment, PG750X 6mm, 8mm, 10mm and 14mm tile drills. The PG850 drills even the hardest types of tile, and can achieve up to 700 holes in Grade 5 porcelain, customers have the option to add additional diameters for their kit up to 112mm. The PG750X with a self contained lubrication mechanism is designed specifically for the dry drilling of tiles and is available in diameters up to 72mm. 01302 890888

365 Drills produce diamond drilling kits for the construction industry, supplying tilers, plumbers, builders, electricians and commercial shop fitters. The developmental breakthrough came when 365 Drills replaced the pilot drill with an inexpensive guide plate which holds a diamond crown steady and prevents it from slipping on any type of tile. Removing the pilot eliminates cost and also the need for a water feed. The company now offers a range of well over 30 kits to drill every size hole from standard to bespoke. The best seller is the all-in-one solution containing seven tile drills in five popular sizes



AEG Powertools has launched the new compact BE 705 R Rotary drill. The AEG BE 705 R rotary drill is equipped with a powerful 705 W motor for the highest drilling performance. The BE 705 R's most striking feature is its size and compact design whilst maintaining the performance levels of drills far larger in size. The drill itself comes with a belt clip located on the top of the unit for easy storage. For ultimate control during application drilling the AEG BE 750 R rotary drill comes with an ergonomic two finger switch with variable speed control. The trigger also has a lock on function for continuous drilling and specially designed soft-grip over moulds on the tool increase user comfort during prolonged use. The AEG BE 705 R Rotary Drill is available as standard with a durable 10mm keyless chuck which will take a wide range of drilling bits and accessories. Weighing only 1.6kg the unit is ideal for a multitude of confined repetitive drilling applications including over head installations.. As well as its well established PTC Porcelain Tile Drill Range, Armeg offers Soft Tile Drill Bits as a solution to softer tile drilling. Designed for less dense tile materials than porcelain, Armeg's softer tile range is the solution for small diameter fixing holes. The tile bits are 'point ground' for added grip on start up to reduce slippage and wander. PTC Soft Tile bits are available in 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, 8mm, 10mm and 13mm, as well as a fivepiece Soft Tile Drill & Masonry Drill Set. Astra is one of the foremost distributors of professional power tool accessories, professional hand tools and workwear to the UK, Republic of Ireland and Europe. Since 1993, Astra have been based in the South East of England and have been selected to be the exclusive UK distributors for Ironclad Performance Wear, McGuire Nicholas Workgear and Cutting Edge power tool accessories. Founded in 1998 and now the USA’s clear No. 1 brand of work gloves, Ironclad Performance Wear offers a range of workwear that uniquely combines protection and performance. Ironclad now offer the consumer a proven range of over forty task-specific gloves, all of which combine materials and techniques of the highest technology to give unsurpassed strength, comfort and durability. Alongside this, Ironclad presents industry-leading clothing which incorporates the best in performance fabrics. McGuire-Nicholas is probably the worlds leading brand of quality leather and synthetic tool belts, pouches, holders, bags and kneepads. With a long heritage of classic styles that are still hugely popular today, McGuire Nicholas’ current products use the most advanced materials to give optimal performance. They have become essential to many carpenters, framers, electricians, dryliners and maintenance workers with their versatile, functional features designed to suit every trade.

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Bright Ideas’ Diamond Hole Saw

Bosch’s GSR 14-4 Professional drill.

Astra’s own brand of professional quality power tool accessories and workgear, Cutting Edge offers products of stunning quality at affordable prices. Astra’s power tool accessories include diamond cutting blades and dry-core drills, saw blades, worktop jigs, auger drilling bits, and a comprehensive range of bit holders and chucks. The workwear range comprises tool aprons, pouches and belts. Established in Italy in 1970, GT Line has become the leading European producer of technical tool cases, tool bags and waterproof cases. GT Line’s tool cases are suitable for travelling engineers, electricians, technicians and maintenance professionals, with selected models built to withstand the pressure in aircraft holds and the rigors of airport conveyor belts. Made from materials including aluminium, ABS, HIT, HDPE, PP and carbon fibre, their technologically innovative designs are robust, lightweight and practical. All Astra’s products are available online from Black & Decker’s 18V High Performance Hammer Drill features a faster motor for more efficient drilling. A new ratchet mechanism (from 11 to 15 teeth) allows more beats per minute (0-6750/0-21750) for faster hammer drilling. The drill offers hammer action and second mechanical speed for drilling into masonry. It uses metal components for more durability and higher torque for tougher applications, and benefits from an extra-powerful motor and heavyduty planetary gearbox for durability and high torque delivery to the job. The high output fan cooled motor increases performance and extends the life, while the drill has variable speed for gentle start, full control and reverse switch for added versatility. The mid handle design optimizes balance and reduces hand fatigue, while an electronic brake ensures safety and prevents overtightening of screws. The infinite clutch allows 32 micro torque settings for driving various size of screws or materials. A keyless metal single sleeve chuck makes bit changing quick and simple. Bosch‘s GSR 14,4 VE-2-LI Professional drill is a robust, compact unit offering extremely powerful: 75 Nm for the toughest screwdriving and drilling applications in wood and metal. It has a very short head length (only 213 mm) for perfect handling. It remains fully functional even after being dropped 2,000mm onto concrete, due to its flexible Dura Shield housing. Electronic Motor Protection protects the motor against overload and ensures a long lifetime. Other features include a 13-mm metal Auto-Lock drill chuck. The battery offers Bosch Premium lithium-ion technology for a claimed 400% longer lifetime and unbeatable battery runtime, while Electronic Cell Protection protects the battery against overload, overheating and deep discharge. A battery charge level indicator constantly shows how much energy is left in the battery. The drill has an integrated LED light for illuminating the work area, even in dark places; while a motor brake makes for precise working when driving rows of screws.



The Bright Ideas Company has been trading since 1993, and has evolved from manufacturing a range of tile spacers and PVC tile trims into a company dedicated to professional tiling tools and accessories. The company’s easy-tonavigate website features a wide range of new products and showcases the complete range of tools and accessories. Bright Idea’s corporate focus is to continually develop new products and constantly seek out new ideas that make tiling practical and easy for both the professional tile fixer and DIYers. Delivery is provided generally on a one/two day service, with a fast delivery service to Ireland as well. Typical of the range is the 18mm Diamond Hole Saw: an electroplated diamond hole saw with gritted edges that is designer for cutting holes into hard materials such as stone, marble and granite. It also be used for cutting through porcelain, ceramic, quarry tiles, glass, etc. The hole saw should be used in conjunction with the Bright Ideas Universal Drill Guide for precise drilling and the Water Cooling System to keep the drill bit cool.. Intended for use at a low drilling speed, the hole saw is best when partnered with a. hand drill or variable speed power drill. DeWalt‘s DW518K two-speed Percussion Drill/ Dry Diamond Drill features a heavy-duty metal gear box for added durability and a mechanical clutch for added user protection. The high quality 16mm keyed chuck is designed to ensure accuracy and reliability. The drill has a soft grip surface on switch to reduce vibration and enhance user comfort, plus a multi-position side handle, depth stop and heavy duty carrying case The Dremel 4000 is the most powerful and precise multitool from Dremel. Thanks to it's electronic feedback, the tool always delivers maximum force. A soft grip and precise speed setting allows users to be in perfect control of every situation. The collet lock out function prevents users from accidentally blocking the output shaft of the tool. It has a high power 175W motor for high performance and full variable speed control (5.000-35.000 RPM) for maximum precision. The high performance 4000 multitool comes in a practical carrying case which contains the Flex Shaft attachment, the Line & Circle Cutter attachment and 65 original Dremel accessories including SpeedClic starter set. The kit also includes two new attachments: the Detailer's Grip for optimal tool control and the Shaping Platform allowing you to sand or grind perfectly at 90° and 45°. With this supreme kit even the most demanding craftsman will be satisfied. Dremel tools are available from B&Q stores nationwide and online at Everbuild Building Products‘ Seal Rite Wizard is a new invention that is billed as the “Swiss Army Knife” of sealant tools. This handy sealant tool has two points/edges to cut away old sealant, and a blade to cut the sealant cartridge thread and nozzle, and a flexible rubber head to smooth down new sealant. Supplied with three different rubber heads to cover different joint sizes, the Seal Rite Wizard is part of a range that also features the Seal Rite Dispenser; winner of the Gold Award for Best New DIY Product. Everbuild’s Marketing Manager Helen Kirby says: “The Seal Rite Wizard is a great little tool that I am sure will become a staple for anyone wanting to apply sealant as professionally as possible.” Genesis has expanded its range of tools and accessories to cater for contractors, merchants and builders who require reliable and high-performance solutions. It has a complete range of tools designed to make grouting as simple as possible. This includes a 850W Mixer, 120 by 240mm cleaning pads in white, brown and green, 1 150mm squeegees, sponges and jumbo sponges, grout

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TILING TOOLS Makita’s 10.8V 85mm glass/ceramic tile cutter features a Li-ion battery and has a blade diameter of 85mm and a bore diameter of 15mm. It has a capacity at 0º of 25.5 mm, or 16.5mm at 45º. Operating at a maximum of 1,, the cutter has a net weight of 1.7 kg. The cutter has a compact design with an overall length of 300mm, and features a water supply tank with large cap for easy opening and refilling of water. Other features include a rubberised soft grip with non-slip elastomer grip for more control and comfort. The Lithium-ion battery, is lighter in weight, yet offers quicker charging and more run time than an equal voltage Ni-Cad or Ni-MH battery.

The light but robust Husqvarna’s TS 230 F tile saw is designed for professional use.

rakes and blades, epoxy grout floats, Marshalltown grout floats and wash boy sets; among other grout-related items. Best known for its tiling trims. Homelux also offers a range of tiling tools. This includes a 350mm Flat Bed Tile Cutter and a 450W Diamond Wheel Cutter. and a 900W Diamond Wheel Cutter. A light but robust tile saw for professional use, Husqvarna’s TS 230 F has a powerful electric motor and patented water recovery system for long shifts. It is supplied with wrench and guide, and a removable water tank. The cutting edge is provided by a continuous rim diamond blade with a 25.4mm spindle and a 230mm blade. It offers high precision as the material stays flat even when a 45° cut is made. The saw is claimed to be easy to clean, with a very large cutting table. The large removable table is made of polyoxymethylene. Karl Dahm’s dry-drilling core bit-set offers professional a range of dry-drilling diamond core bits designed for use with angle grinders. Quick and easy to use, they allow contractors to drill holes into ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles, marble, granite, etc. No water cooling is required, even for drilling material up to 35mm thick. 35mm, 45mm and 65mm dry-drilling diamond core bits are all available. Dural’s Tileminator is designed for economic and time-saving laying of adhesive and ensures an even spread with grooves for adhesion produced in the same procedure. It is ideal for applications where tiles need to be laid safely on a bed covering the full surface, such as when fixing large-format floor tiles or floor tiles in commercial spaces, such as garages, workshops and exhibition halls. The Tileminator is made of stainless steel and offers interchangeable combs for grooves in widths from 400mm up to 720mm. Kwik Split is the official UK authorised distributor of Brevetti Montolit and Raimondi Products. A superb range of electric diamond blade wet saws is available from Montolit. All saws are available in either 230 or 110V and come complete with a high quality long life Montolit diamond blade. The Mini Electric Wet Saw is suited for working in tight environments and will cope with the toughest of tiles. The Brooklyn Rail Saw range is a tiler’s dream offering ease of use and up to 1.2 metre cutting length. The Master range of Sliding Table Saws are free-standing and come in a variety of sliding bed sizes complemented by self-levelling water tank cooling system for the blade. Leica‘s Disto DXT is said to be the only laser distance meter that is totally protected against jet water and dust, according to IP 65. This ensures, that it operates accurately, even in harsh conditions.



Marcrist International‘s CC750 Tile Blade is a high performance diamond blade designed for cutting curves in ceramic and porcelain tiles. The 115mm dish-shaped blade, which is both easy to use and very quick to master, is capable of rapidly cutting complex curves in ceramic and porcelain tiles with a radius as small as 100mm, with no limit to the maximum radius. It can be used on all grades of tiles including the hardest porcelain. The 115mm blade fits all 4 ½’’ and 5’’ angle grinders, and provides customers with a rapid method of cutting accurate clean curves in tiles, previously very difficult to achieve without the purchase of expensive custom-designed equipment. The diamond blade is self cooling and self sharpening, and has been manufactured utilising Marcrist’s V-UHP Fusion technology, which involves forming the segments under a vacuum at high pressure to eliminate impurities. This results in extremely strong bond homogeneity and segment adhesion that provides outstanding performance and safety. The blade is also available in a kit that includes a diamond edge grinding tool which allows the tile edge to be softened after the blade has been used to cut the curve. The edge grinder comprises an electroplated diamond band and a mandrel that fits into any three-jaw chuck Lumber shirts have found their way onto store shelves amongst workwear. A shirt with a long history and attitude. The shirt forms part of Mascot’s new series, Mascot Rocks, which has a rough and ready, casual style with a twist of current fashion. The characteristic square pattern of the shirts are several hundred years old, and are particularly identified with the lumberjack industry in America. The shirt, a symbol of hard work, nature and masculinity, has become a recurring fad and has been part of various movements within society and culture. The shirts  are made of pure cotton and, therefore, are both comfortable to wear and suitable for many situations. Users cab use Mascot Kingsman as an alternative to long-sleeved T-shirts, polo shirts or sweatshirts. During the winter months contractors can use it indoors or as a middle layer for outdoor clothing. In spring and summer it is ideal as outer wear on cool days. My Toolbox UK ( is a trade counter based in Oldbury in the West Midlands stocking a wide range of branded tools and accessories for all types of trades. Available brands include Bright Ideas, Mapei, Dewalt, Bosch, Makita, Hitachi, Milwaukee, Ryobi, Stanley, Paslode, Everbuild, Marshalltown, JD Speedfit, ULTRA, Knipex and Black & Decker. Said to be the largest internet suppliers of Bright Ideas Professional Tiling Tools, My Toolbox UK offers a high quality delivery service straight to the customer’s door or on-site. Delivery is usually next working day on small items if ordered before 4pm but customers should allow up to three days on larger products. My Toolbox UK has over 60,000 different products available, all at what are said to be very competitive prices. Norton Clipper, part of the St Gobain Group, recently introduced the TR201E

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TILING TOOLS range spans tile cutters, diamond blades, trowels, grouting tools, lasers, hammers, chisels and files. The Raimondi 40 litre Rambo Wash Bucket, designed for cleaning sponge floats, comes with twin rollers. Said to be of the finest Italian quality, this new Wash Bucket is a very sturdy product. The 40 litre water capacity reduces the need for frequent water changing and the high absorption Sweepex sponge floats supplied contain nylon that promote long life. The Rambo has 4in wheels and the separation grate is made of powder coated steel. Included with the Rambo wash bucket is a pole Sweepex sponge float with a two piece aluminium handle that allows the user to work in an upright position during use both on both floors and walls, plus a Sweepex sponge float with handle suitable for smaller floor and wall areas. The Rexon TC1150Al-Ac7 tile cutter features multi-preset table angles for bevel cutting and a laser guide for prealigning cutting. A dual rail guided sliding extension table doubles the table size. Another useful feature is a mitre gauge with accurate preset mitre angles for 15°, 30°, 45° and 70°. The cutter is supplied with diamond blade and powered by 720W motor, running at 6,500rpm. The unit measures 500 by 500 by 120mm. The Mascot Rocks range has a rough and ready, casual style with a twist of fashion.

240 volt rail tile saw. This features a high precision rail that aids the cutting heads to provide a smooth, straight and accurate cut. The rail tile saw has an extra large cutting bed of 650mm allowing cuts to be made on tiles up to 600mm long. The cutting head can be adjusted and locked to cut tiles at a 45° angle and provides a maximum cutting depth of 35mm at 90° and 25mm at 45°. The TR201E can take a diamond blade up to 200 by 25.4mm. A detachable water tray allows for easy cleaning and emptying, whilst the water pump is protected from the sludge and slurry generated when cutting by its unique positioning within the water tray. The TR201E comes complete with a powerful 900 watt electric motor and is equipped with folding legs with wheels for easy transportation. To get the best results when cutting tiles, the company recommends the use of Norton Super Gres diamond blades. The continuous rim of these blades has been designed to provide fast cutting and a high quality finish to the edge of the tile, while the 10mm rim height provides longer product life. The diamond blade which has been specifically designed to cut porcelain also cuts a variety of harder tiles including general ceramic, hard quarry, natural stone and reconstituted tiles. The additional flanges on both sides of the bore reduce overheating of the blade when in use, hence retaining the shape of the blade. This blade is manufactured to, and complies with, EN 13236. Plasplugs flatbed tile cutters feature single action score and snap for speed and performance. Features include a self-locking handle for easy storage, precision ground tungsten carbide cutting wheel and a strong steel bar for precise cutting. Capable of straight and angled cuts, the Pro-Series Heavy Duty Tile Cutter has a 13mm precision ground titanium coated tungsten carbide scoring wheel and can cut tiles up to 300mm diagonal, up to 14mm thick and up to 400mm square. Pro Tiler Tools is a family-run business that aims to provide an excellent essential service to all tilers. The website offers a simple way to buy essential tiling tools, linked to a next day delivery service. Pro Tiler offers a wide selection of ceramic tiling tools, tiling consumables, tiling clothing and safety gear, plus expert advice on all tools and equipment listed on the website. The



The Rodia MS60 Lite is a new patented mosaic tile cutting system. The MS60 Lite cuts both ceramic and glass mosaics. This portable stainless steel cutter is equipped with a special tile clamping system with an integrated cutting guide for fast, accurate and chip-free cutting. The Rodia MS60 Lite is supplied with an angle grinder and a special dry cutting blade for ceramic mosaic tiles. By connecting a vacuum cleaner to the MS60 Lite, the entire cutting process is virtually dust free. To ensure precise and chip free cutting of glass mosaic tiles, a special wet glass blade, a water supply tank and a PRCD switch for safe operation are included with the MS60 Lite. 2011 proved to be another good year for Rubi UK with our sales figures coming out on target and an overall growth on the previous year of 5%. To make sure that the trend continues for 2012 Rubi has looked at ways of keeping its price increases to a minimum and, through streamlining and rationalisation, have been able to achieve a reduction in the price of Rubi’s Electric machines, Diamond blades and Drilling tools without cutting down on the quality and reliability expected by Rubi customers. Rubi has also extended its Warranty on a variety of products from six months to two years which, alongside Rubi’s five-year warranty on its Professional Manual cutters is further proof, the company believes, that its products are second to none in the tiling industry. In 2011 Rubi UK made the decision to invest in the tilers of tomorrow by getting involved with colleges offering tiling courses. “We spoke to the lecturers and they all said that they have a shortage of tools for the students to use so with this in mind we decided that we would donate a range of Rubi tools, manual cutters, and electric machines . In phase one we have we have supplied South Birmingham College, East Durham College, Highbury College Portsmouth, and New College Nottingham. Our sales reps for the areas are also keeping involved with the colleges by giving training sessions on products and advice on new products coming onto the market,” stated the company “As we embark on another new year our R&D dept have been very busy and have developed many new products for 2012,” the statement continues. “The first of which is our 9BL Mixer, our Rubi Club members feedback on the mixer was very positive and sales went way beyond our expectations when we launched it in 2011 the only adverse comment was the lack of a carry case for the mixer. We have responded and the mixer now comes with it’s own impact resistant case. ref 24964.”

TSJFeb12p44-54_feature 06/02/2012 12:36 Page 8

TILING TOOLS “Customers are also impressed with the DU-200-L-BL Electric machine which we launched in 2011. The machine will cut up to 60cm of tile weighs just 20.5kg and has proven to be a hit with both Professional and occasional users . ref 25973 230v ref 25989 110V.” “Other new products to look forward to are a new range of Electric Machines, Drilling Tools, and Blades. Rubi Club Members will as always be notified as soon as the new products are available so if you want to be the first to know sign up now by calling 01708 559 609 and ask for a Club Membership form.” Sigma of Italy has been specialising, since 1969, in the production of professional equipment for tilers, specifically designed to satisfy the changing needs of professionals. Over the years the company has built a solid reputation for the creation of quality products which has given it constant growth in all domestic and international markets. Sigma can be found the world over with many of the leading tile suppliers promoting the Sigma brand. All design work is carried out internally by the company’s skilled technicians using sophisticated CAD programmes. Production is implemented with codified manufacturing processes, with checks at all stages of the process. The checks and tests performed first on prototypes and then on standard production articles give a guarantee of finished products that satisfy the highest standards of safety and strength, in compliance with current European legislation. Sigma has always had a loyal following of professional tillers across the world and is recognised as best in its class. The company is represented in the UK by Derek Griffin, UK Sales Manager. He can be contacted on 07828 969935 or at Workplace equipment supplier Slingsby has launched a new edition of its catalogue to showcase the company’s 35,000 products. The catalogue covers 1,374 pages and includes 2,000 brand new products across a wide range of categories including handling and lifting, premises, health & safety, signage, environmental and waste, janitorial and safety and security. Lee Wright, Marketing Director of Slingsby, says: “Slingsby has produced its famous catalogue for more than 100 years and even though a lot of customers now prefer to view and buy our product range online, a large proportion still like to flick through a hard copy of the catalogue and then consult our sales advisors before placing an order.” “For this reason we continue to place as much emphasis as ever on our catalogue and this year is no different. It contains quality photography and detailed descriptions of our entire product range and appeals to all industries including retail, manufacturing, education, healthcare and the public sector.

Refina supplies what is claims to be the largest range of professional quality, power tools and equipment for mixing and spraying, diamond drilling, surface preparation and flooring. The best quality hand tools are stocked in depth for the refurbishment, trowel and wet trades. Refina markets Megamixers, Rotamixers and Powerprep Eibencor equipment. Additionally, the full range of Eibenstock Power Tools which are made in Germany, are stocked and distributed in the UK. Hand tool brands include Plastercraft and Marshalltown. Refina carries some of the largest stocks of specialist application power tools and accessories, plaster and floor trade tools and trowels in the UK: with many difficult to find tools are available off the shelf.

“We’ve also increased the number of products that are available with free next day delivery and have held or even reduced thousands of prices which makes this catalogue an invaluable tool for all businesses and organisations.” Cutting porcelain and very hard materials is now a breeze thanks to Tileasy, a leading supplier of tiling tools and accessories to the trade. Tileasy is now the sole UK agent for the world-renowned Ishii brand of Japanese tile cutters designed specifically for the professional market. Tileasy is initially bringing two innovative, high quality and precision-made Ishii tile cutters to market which are part of a larger range that will also be available later this year. The Ishii IPC620 is ideal for popular-sized tiles such as 600 by 300mm and 600 by 600mm. The top section of the base is sprung loaded to ensure quality and precision and every IPC620 is supplied with a solid case on wheels which acts as a table. The Ishii IPC1040 is a premium product which is 1,040mm long and the base is split into six, individual spring-loaded sections. The single bar provides



TSJFeb12p44-54_feature 06/02/2012 12:37 Page 9

TILING TOOLS stock levels and the status of orders; ensuring speed, efficiency and accuracy. “We place the utmost importance on customer care which is why we have a team of experienced sales managers operating throughout the UK in addition to sales support staff available to answer questions, take orders and assist with general enquiries,” says Murphy.

The Fein Multimaster saves time with the user-friendly lever for fast, tool-free accessory changes. The SoftGrip insert is designed for safe, fatigue-free working. The machine and the accessories are stored securely in a robust plastic case for optimum protection. A host of innovative accessories create a wider application spectrum for the Fein Multimaster.

exceptional precision and its sturdy wheeled case is also designed to be used as a table. Ishii products feature a universal titanium cutting wheel. Replacement wheels are also available from Tileasy. Tileasy has radically improved the process of drilling into hard tiles thanks to the launch of an innovative Water Cooling Drill Guide. Designed in-house, this new product prevents the drill bit from overheating whilst allowing accurate drilling into floor and wall tiles of hard construction. Ideal for both the DIY market and professionals, Tileasy’s Water Cooling Drill Guide features a precision drill guide for four sizes, fixing pads and water reservoir and is available individually for drill bit sizes 6, 8, 10 and 12mm in addition to a kit featuring all four sizes. This unique product ensures the water feed hole delivers the right flow and speed of water to keep the drill bit at a cool and safe temperature. The Drill Guide can also be purchased individually along with additional fixing pads.. Tim Murphy, Managing Director, said: “Feedback from our clients highlighted how difficult it can be to get an accurate positioning when drilling into hard surfaces and also how much the drill bit heats up when working with surfaces like glass, granite and porcelain. This Water Cooling Drill Guide ensures accuracy, precision and positioning and works on both floors and walls.” To use the Water Cooling Drill Guide simply mark the position where the hole is to be drilled, attach the pad to guide, attach the guide to the wall or floor, load and fill reservoir with water and then drill with confidence Tileasy also has a new Website. It contains a better-than-ever range of products which are either new, improved, exclusive to Tileasy, or have been expertly designed and developed with our customers needs in mind. Tileasy has also introduced a paperless stock control and order system, driven by barcode. The company’s team has up-to-the-minute information on



TileRite’s Established in 1989 by Managing Director, Rob Harbidge, Tile Rite is a family run business based on a philosophy of supplying high quality products at competitive prices, coupled with reliable service and full availability, Tile Rite offers a range of over 350 products and a portfolio of over 1,500 customers.. “We have a totally committed workforce who pride themselves and the jobs they undertake, from the warehouse and office staff to the sales personnel, who strive to meet both customer demand and company targets. As Managing Director I am very proud to head a devoted and professional team and a company that is continually developing to stay at the forefront of this specialist market,” says Harbidge. Typical of the range is the Compact Tile Cutter, which is ideal for cutting and mitring tiles. It features a 110mm Diamond Wheel powered by a 450W geared motor. It provides an extension table for larger tile support from 360 to 440mm, as well as an integral measuring guide and quick release lateral rule for perfect straight cuts. The angle guide adjustable from 0 to 900. Other features include a carry handle for easy transportation; a self-contained water reservoir for cooling the blade and a Perspex splash guard with variable height adjustment for safety. is a specialist tile shop for tile supplies, tiling tools, tiling equipment and tiling supplies. provides a range of tile supplies tiling tools, tiling equipment and tiling supplies; everything from wall and floor adhesives, tile cutters, underfloor heating to bathroom accessories. The range is made by a wide range of manufacturers including BAL, Nuova Battipav, Rubi and Sigma. The company also supplies everything tilers need to be safe on site from safety helmets, DeWalt protective boots, Fristads tradesman trousers and vests to fluorescent light stands and generators. The company also sells specialist tiling supplies such as tiling tools and tiling equipment including Schluter Ditra Matting. HG and Lithofin tiling supplies are also available including protectors, polishers and stain removers for marble, granite and other stones. Trade Tiler offers the DeWalt D24000 Wet Saw. Its stainless steel rail system is integrated into the tile saw frame, ensuring super accurate cuts, yet its relatively low weight allows one person to transport and set up the saw. Other features include an integrated 45/22.5° feature for quick angle cuts and a plunge feature that allows the user to make quick plunge cuts. The dual water nozzles can be adjusted on the blade in order to minimise over-spray and mist; while rear and water trays can be placed on the tile saw to catch overspray - keeping the water in the pan. A removeable cutting cart makes for easy cleaning of tile saw. An integrated portable residual current device (PRCD) circuit breaker is fitted for increased user protection. The1600 W (240V) or 1500 W (110V) motors power the 250mm cutting wheel at 4,200 rpm. The maximum cut length is 760mm (plunge and cut), but this can be increased to over 1,000mm by plunging and turning the tile. Trimline offers an extensive range of tile cutters from Sigma and Rubi. The Nuova Battipav SuperPro Tile Cutters are high quality with 2,000kg breaking pressure. Excellent for cutting very hard, large format porcelain and ceramic tiles, they feature a nine-bearing carriage for very smooth action. Both the 22mm carbide tipped wheel and guide are replaceable.

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Tileasy is now the sole UK agent for the world-renowned Ishii brand of Japanese tile cutters designed specifically for the professional market. The Ishii IPC620 is ideal for popular-sized tiles such as 600 by 300mm and 600 by 600mm. The top section of the base is sprung loaded to ensure quality and precision. The Ishii IPC1040 is a premium product providing exceptional precision.

Tylows is a new product for the tiling industry that was invented and designed by trade tiler’s to meet the demands of modern day tiling. It is claimed to offer numerous advantages over any other tile spacer on the market, as it can be used in various applications. The product itself is a clear strip of acrylic measuring 900mm long by 20mm wide by 2mm thick that can be broken down into 50mm sections. “Although we are only producing the 2mm version at present, we have the patent to produce it in various thicknesses,” explains Craig Goodwin, Sales & Marketing Manager. “Our product is ideal for the heavier tiles that are now very popular in the tiling market as it does not compress. So tiling jobs that include tiles such as travertine, granite, quartz, large ceramic or porcelain tiles, no longer have to be a problem to accurately space for the tiler. It can be used when creating the brick setting effect, where until now only a peg could have been used but even then it would not produce the high level accuracy as Tylows would. It can be used to space larger tiles to a dado and then back to the larger tile. It is ideal for keeping an accurate grouting line around corners, which no other spacer can do at present. Tylows can be used in their entirety or as individual spacers, so again maximising on where they can be used. A length of Tylows can also be used to check lippage, again increasing the overall result of a job. Also if needs be the individual pieces can be used to scrape the grout lines, making it a very versatile product.” Each pack has six lengths of Tylows which can be broken down into 108 individual pieces. The trade cost of each pack is £2.00 + VAT but is usually retailed at £4.99, thus offering an excellent profit margin. The product is sold in boxes, which holds 25 packs. “As we all know tradesmen like to use what they are used to, but once they have used this product they will use it again” continues Goodwin. “Of all of the independent outlets that are currently stocking this product, the ones that have been pro-active in selling the product have increased their sales to ten boxes per month from nothing, proving that it can be successful and profitable.” “We have already run an incentive with the stockists that we currently have, where the shop with the most sales over a four month period won an Apple I-Pad, which we hope to do more of in the future for new stockists that come on board. On our website you will find more pictures demonstrating Tylows in use. We also have a demonstration video of Tylows being used in different ways,” concludes Goodwin.



365 Drills

01992 410636

AEG Power Tools

01442 222378


01246 411081


01707 255100

Black & Decker

01753 574277

Boa UK

01959 540404

Bosch 01895 838743

Bright Ideas

0121 520 9200


(dealers on website)


0844 736 0107


0112 240 2424


01327 308730

Forge Fix

01663 719460


01642 713000

Hitachi 01908 354700


01335 347300


01453 820300

Karl Dahm

+49 8667 878120

Kwik Split

01509 843235


01908 256500


01908 211678


01302 890888


+45 87244798


01509 843235

My ToolboxUK

0121 520 9333


+1 859 525 8891

Norton Clipper 01785 279553


0800 840 6820

ProTiler Tools

01604 859800


01202 632270


Rollins Group

01279 401570


0844 736 0107

Rubi UK

01708 559609


0500 414141


02393 113978


01274 535030


+43 5523 533800


01484 608272

Tile Depot

08000 740720


02392 455050

Tile Rite

01543 500893

Tiler Shop

01993 358044

Trade Tiler

0870 745 6361

Trimline 020 8778 9000


07814 898009

 

PORTFOLIO BAL Grip acrylic-based adhesive is ready for walls

Discreet new drainage adaptor from Wedi With the Fundo Riolito Discreto, Wedi has moved water drainage from the floor to the wall: purely in visual terms, of course. On the basis of the tried and tested Riolito channel drainage system, Wedi has developed a special drainage adaptor that makes the channel simply disappear. The new product presents itself as a perfected new visual interpretation in a timeless design. Furthermore, the application possibilities of the drainage adaptor can extend to include use for a seating area, a storage area or a complete front wall. Matching the Riolito floor element, Wedi has developed the Fundo Riolito Discreto drainage adaptor as a visually attractive wall drainage system. The drainage adaptor can be prepared by the installer in advance at a convenient height, for example on a workbench, and then mounted onto the Riolito. The design can be further enhanced with Wedi building boards, enabling the drainage adaptor to be made into a storage area for shower accessories, a seating area or a complete front wall, depending on the individual requirements. The design of the wall drainage system with the Wedi Riolito system saves the installer a number of processing steps and the waterproof system also gives peace of mind. The predefined slope of the Fundo Riolito is already built in to all elements before they are delivered. This means that time-consuming work setting up the fall doesn't have to be carried out. Furthermore, the system, consisting of a Fundo Riolito floor element, Fundo Discreto drainage adaptor and Wedi 610 adhesive sealant, is completely waterproof. The result is a timesaving assembly and effective surface drainage. The high-quality stainless steel cover is a further bonus. Whether brushed stainless steel or the possibility of matching tiling, the external design of the wall drainage system can be adjusted to suit. 01706 647333

BAL Grip is the perfect answer for tiling most interior walls.c It can be used with most types of tile, including ceramics up to 300 by 300mm, mosaics and some natural stone. It suits both commercial and domestic applications, in dry and wet areas. This includes heavy-duty wet areas such as shower rooms, including communal showers, and commercial kitchens, as it is highly water resistant. Tilers appreciate BAL Grip for its ease of application and its excellent non-slip properties, which facilitate ease of fixing and the extended open time. It is ready for grouting after a minimum of 24 hours for most applications and, once dry gives a strong, durable bond. BAL Grip is an acrylic-basic organic dispersion adhesive, classified D2TE in accordance with BS EN12004. It is available ready-mixed in three sizes of tub to suit any application: 3.75 kg, 7.5 kg and 15 kg. BAL Grip is available from authorised stockists nationwide and, as with all products bearing the BAL name, carries what is said to be the industry’s only full 25-year guarantee. 01782 591100

Mapei Ultralite Rapid Flex S1: lean, clean, flexible and green

New brochure from wetroom specialists Impey Showers intends to capitalise on its reputation as a high quality, technically advanced manufacturer by maximising its opportunities in the showers sector, providing high quality and superbly designed ranges of exciting showering products for the UK market. Known as the wetroom specialists for their below the floor solutions, Impey Showers is taking things a step further by including innovative new ranges of showering products above the floor. Impey Showers now offers solutions for every luxury wetroom together with a whole host of other showering products. To support the extended ranges, a new brochure is available for retailers and consumers which includes stunning photography of the new products in inspirational room settings. The photography creates a light and airy feel for the bathroom and a steamy tropical theme was adopted as the creative theme, with the feeling of bringing the outside indoors. The literature is seductive and stylish, showing all the options from the underfloor wetroom products through to the beautiful screens above the floor. 56


Mapei has introduced Ultralite Rapid Flex S1; a lightweight, flexible (S1), low dust and high yield adhesive that is ideal for the installation of ‘thin’ porcelain tiles. Ultralite Rapid Flex S1 is suitable to fix ceramic, vitrified and porcelain tiles and mosaics in addition to natural stone tiles. The versatile adhesive offers significant installation advantages being easy to mix and apply, allowing a bed depth up to 15 mm as well as high grab and non slip properties. It offers a powerful adhesive bond and excellent ‘wetting out’ capabilities. Ultralite Rapid Flex S1 is also rapid setting, being ready for grout after

only 3 hours. Ultralite Rapid Flex S1 offers significant environmental credentials; containing 30% of recycled materials as well as possessing Low Dust technology – ideal where dust levels must be kept to a minimum. It is also lightweight, reducing transport costs and the strain of manual lifting and is classified BS EN 12004 by Ceram as C2FT S1. The adhesive offers great value, its high yield allows up to 60% greater coverage than conventional Mapei powder adhesives. The adhesive can be utilised for dry or wet duty installations including showers and swimming pools and is suitable in interior and exterior areas including balconies and terraces. It is ideal in both domestic and commercial settings and can be used in conjunction with underfloor heating. Ultralite Rapid Flex S1 can be used on a variety of substrates including concrete, sand:cement and calcium sulphate based screeds, plywood, existing tile or stone finishes, sand:cement render, gypsum plaster, plasterboard and tilebacker boards. It is also suitable for application over Mapei’s self-levelling compounds or waterproof membranes, for example Mapegum WPS, Mapelastic AquaDefense, Mapelastic Smart and Mapelastic. 0121 508 6970

TSJFeb12p56-59_News and comment 06/02/2012 12:41 Page 2

PORTFOLIO Mosaic melange in matt and gloss metallics from Refin Bespoke pre-formed shower trays from Tile Redi

Italian ceramic tile manufacturer, Refin, is launching its latest range in the UK. Metal is a 30cm x 30cm (12in by 12in") tile made up of a mosaic of shapes with a combination of matt and gloss metal coloured finishes. Metal plays with geometry to mix square and rectangles randomly, thereby, creating a tapestry of different tile patterns. According to Metal's designer Massimiliano Adami "Inspiration usually comes from the material; I like challenging materials and trying to tap into what emerges from them to fine tune new projects." Metal uses platinum, gold and copper in this latest tile range to create a look like no other. Refin also use a metallic finish in another new collection Beside - a reverse mosaic in dark pewter.

Tile Redi, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of pre-formed, one-piece shower pans and related accessories, offers end-users the autonomy to have the design of their choice on the floor of their showers. “By now, most of the key buyers and decisionmakers within hospitality and healthcare realize the benefits our shower pans offer,” states Farrell Gerber, Tile Redi’s Executive Vice President of Sales. “They’re leak-proof, reduce labor costs because their ease of installation saves so much time… and, are pre-pitched to optimize drainage. “Whereas some interior plans indicate continuing the tile design motif found on the walls and floor adjacent to the base of the shower, others may call for a totally different look. With Tile Redi Shower Pans, which can be tiled right over using typical installation methods, it is totally up to the customer,” Gerber explains. “For example, some people may want a contrasting, lighter-coloured shower floor than what is installed elsewhere. With Tile-Redi shower pans, limitless design possibilities are now possible.” Tile Redi patented and UL-listed shower pans are manufactured as pre-formed, one-piece shower modules. Complete with fully integrated drains, curbs and splash walls, each leak-proof unit is prepitched for easy drainage.

Botament unveils new packaging designs

Tile panel features a selection of British birds A hand-painted tile panel featuring a selection of British birds is the latest design from bespoke hand-painted tile company Art on Tiles. The tile panel was inspired by leading UK mural painter Graham Rust. Tile artist Jonathan Waights comments: “There are huge archives of tile designs which tile painters use but I frequently turn to other sources and find many designs originally intended for murals work well on tiles and are a practical solution where a wipe-clean and moisture resistant solution is needed.” The design is available as 30 tile panel measuring 25ft by 30ft. It is painted, with a cream glaze (white also available) on the Art on Tiles standard 5 inch tile. Matching hand-glazed plain tiles are available to order. All hand painted work is bespoke so different dimensions and design alterations can be accommodated, if required. 01243 552346

As part of its continuous investment programme, Botament - the construction chemical company that operates from six different production locations and sells its products all over Europe - has unveiled its revamp;ed packaging. The company’s aim was to achieve a contemporary brand presentation, combined with clear product information and clearly structured application instructions to ensure durable and reliable application. The company is pleased with the result which shall be launched with the first conversion of Botament M 21. Naturally, the tried-and-tested quality of Botament products stays the same, while the Multifamily products keep their existing look. As from now the newly designed packaging will be introduced into successive productions, with a large proportion of the packaging conversion is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

The new packaging offers a clear and modern look. It conveys that this is a high-end superior product; grabbing customer attention when on display in retail outlets. The new packaging design has a much clearer appearance in terms of structure, readability, symbolism, and language variety. One major aims was for customers to be able to recognise what kind of product they are looking at, even when they are placed on the third or fourth tier of a shelf, The striking new logo makes the name Botament clearly stand out on the packaging. At the same time, product names have been simplified and harmonised. The product category names - Botact, Botazit, Botacem or Boton - will become obsolete and will be replaced by the brand name Botament. The individual product code,s such as M 21, remain as they are. The new packaging design helps users to determine, via a clear colour coding system, what product category they are looking at. Botament says that the new packaging concept will be implemented across all European production sites as soon as possible. +353 42 / 9 75 15 20



TSJFeb12p56-59_News and comment 06/02/2012 12:42 Page 3

PORTFOLIO CP Group launches extensive coloured glass tile range

BASF promotes the lifecycle cost benefits of virtually self-cleaning grout joints Operators of busy buildings always need to keep an eye on cost. When it comes to well-used tiled rooms such as washrooms and bathrooms, a hygienic, attractive appearance is essential. Until now, grout joints have been the potential aesthetic weak spot in tiling installations, often becoming stained in appearance and requiring refurbishment long before the tiles themselves show the effects of age. This process can often be costly. To avoid this scenario, PCI Geofug is the ideal solution for making gains on whole-life costs. This new, high-convenience geopolymer joint has been developed to deliver the Peciclean effect, which makes it almost self-cleaning, giving an attractive appearance combined with a high level of hygiene. According to Michelle Costigan of PCI Technical Services: “Using PCI Geofug to joint grouts prolongs the intervals between refurbishment work as the low-pore, sealed surface is especially hard and durable. Its formulation means that it resists strong acidic household cleaning products, extreme temperatures and high mechanical loads. From the perspective of the building owner, the benefits are reduced maintenance, restoration and cleaning expenses.”

Zen by Rako (above) offers a very soft combination of beige and white shades complemented by the accentuated curves of the bamboo decor, which can be laid vertically as well as horizontally. Created using digital printing, the range offers a very authentic look that emphasises the Asian character of the series. Zen offers decor tiles in 300 by 600mm with large leaf motifs and subtle metallic effects. Borders (600 by 55mm) with floral ornaments and a matt surface complete the range. The large beige and white field tiles (300 by 60 0mm) have a gloss surface to form an elegant contrast to the matt decor tiles. Zen complements the white, embossed floor tile of Wax range, which comes in 450 by 450mm. 58


With consumers wanting a wide choice of colours when it comes to updating their wall coverings, and glass continuing to be a perennial favourite especially in the kitchen as its so easy to clean, the CP Group has taken inspiration from the latest colour trends in interior design to launch Cookhouse Impact. Impact offers consumers the ultimate in flexibility when it comes to making a style statement in the home. With a choice of 18 different colours, this is the CP Group’s most extensive range of glass tiles to date. “Well suited to a contemporary setting, Impact offers a kaleidoscope of colours that are very much of the moment,” says Katy Black, CP’s Product Manager. “From bold brights and statement stripes, to on trend shades of teal and cobalt and shimmering, luxe metallics, along with a number of coordinating décors, customers can create a truly personalised wall covering.” “Highlights of the range include the striking Hot Pink Stripe tiles, Pacific’s eye catching teal tiles, Aubergine’s gorgeous berry tiles, and Word décors in four punchy shades of red, orange, lime and black. With five different sizes that can be used horizontally or vertically, from classic 100 by 100mm and 75 by 150mm tiles to the larger 100 by 300mm and 150 by 450mm formats, not forgetting the 100 by 200mm metro tile, the creative possibilities are endless,” concludes Black. Colours in the Impact range include: Whisper, Pacific, Cobalt, Cappuccino, Aubergine, Hot Pink, Lime, Tangerine, Lemon, Lipstick, Storm, Crystal, Liquorice, Galaxy (Glitter), Snowflake (Glitter), Sensual (Metallic), Mink (Metallic) and Gold (Metallic). The new Cookhouse Impact collection is supported by a lifestyle brochure, dedicated media relations campaign and point of sale material. A striking new clapper stand which features inspirational photography has been developed to showcase the entire Cookhouse collection. Designed specifically to ensure consumers can get a feel for the collection and identify the tiles that are perfect for their home, the stand illustrates the wide colour palette, different tile formats and décors on offer. 0845 519 7039

TSJFeb12p56-59_News and comment 06/02/2012 12:42 Page 4

PORTFOLIO BAL Single Part Flexible is perfect for walls and floors

Tanking systems for wet rooms from Kerakoll

BAL Single Part Flexible is a flexible, non-slip adhesive, ideal for a wide range for tile types to both walls and floors. It is suitable for use with ceramics, mosaics and some natural stone including terrazzo. A highly polymer-modified cementitious adhesive, it incorporates BAL PorcelBond technology, making it perfect for use with porcelain and fully vitrified tiles. BAL Single Part Flexible can be used indoors and outside, but is particularly recommended for use with large format wall tiles. Its strong water resistance allows it to be used in such wet areas as showers and in total immersion applications, including swimming pools. It is suitable for installations which may be subject to limited vibration, shrinkage or deflection, which includes use with underfloor heating for many applications. The product is available in grey, in 20 kg bags, and white, in 10 kg and 20 kg bags, from hundreds of authorised BAL stockists nationwide. As with all products carrying the BAL name, it has a full 25-year guarantee. 01782 591100

Classic white statuario marble effect from RAK RAK Ceramics is launching four new tile designs at KBB 2012. The new collections include elegant White Smoke, the Classic Series, an on-trend concrete-look tile range, Earthstone, and Lounge Listellos - a series of new glass and porcelain decorative borders. Combining exquisite design with durability, RAK’s new White Smoke tile features a classic white statuario marble effect achieved using the latest ink-jet technology. The large format 600 by 600mm design shows the fine grey marble veining to full effect, creating an authentic surface that can be used across floors and walls. Also featuring a traditional tile format, but available in a spectrum of contemporary shades, RAK’s new Classic Series plain colour range is available with a matt and gloss finish. Classic is offered in a 100 by 300mm format and is suitable for both domestic and commercial applications. The new Earthstone porcelain tile range includes four colour options, each offered with matching mosaics. The refined concrete-effect porcelain tile is available in both 600 by 600mm and 600 by 300mm formats and has a matt finish. The final new collection, Lounge Listellos, includes a series of glass and porcelain decorative borders. Designed to co-ordinate with RAK’s popular Lounge tile and slab collection, the borders can be used to create stylish, decorative features for walls and floors. 01730 237850

The main concern for anybody installing a wet room is to ensure complete water tightness, the tiled surface should not be considered as water tight especially when the room is on an upper floor. Kerakoll’s Idrobuild Eco creates a water resistant layer and is used on the floors before tiling. It has a high degree of adhesion even on non absorbent substrates and is compatible with cement based tile adhesives. The FX version for walls can be used on any absorbent substrate and is coloured so that you can see where it has been applied. It has very low VOC emissions, is solvent free and develops total water resistance so that it guarantees water tightness even in a wet room environment. Once the waterproofing layer has been applied, Idrobuild Giuntoflex should be applied to all joints including perimeter and fracture joints. Giuntoflex seals even expansion joints. It bonds directly on application and is available in various sizes for different types of joints, such as a tape for wall and floor joins, internal and external corners and flanges for larger areas. It is designed for use under ceramic and porcelain tiles and natural stone. After the room has been waterproofed the room can be tiled. In most wet room situations H40 Tenaflex which is a flexible adhesive will work well in case there is any movement in the floor. It can be used for all types of tiles including most natural stones but for delicate natural stone tiles and terrazzo H40 Marmorex is ideal as it helps to stop staining and curling; both phenomena that can occur with these sorts of tiles. The final stages of the process are the application of grout and then sealing with an appropriate silicone sealant. A fungicidal grout is the best choice and Kerakoll’s Fugabella Eco range is an eco friendly alternative that uses natural hydraulic lime to give it its antibacterial and fungicidal properties rather than relying on the biocides such as pesticides which are a more normal ingredient of this sort of product. Finally seal the joins between the wall and floor with a suitable silicone sealant such as Fugabella Eco Silicone and you will have a wet room that should delight your customers and provide safe leak free use for as long as it is in service. 01527 578000



TSJ February 2012  

TSJ February 2012

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