Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Our New Inkjet Tiles are in Production!

Our Managing Director flew out to China on Friday to oversee the first production run of our new inkjet tiles.

While the technology has been around for over ten years it is only within the last two years or so that the matured technology has become sufficiently reliable and ubiquitous that we can confidently produce inkjet tiles in China. Nonetheless we were very careful in selecting our preferred factory. We have worked with them before so we know their quality is up to standard plus they have a state-of-the-art modern inkjet facility.

The designs for our new tile ranged come from a design house in Italy. We sent a team including some of our most experienced customers over to Europe a month ago to finalise the design selection. This process included selecting textures, specific face variants and colours for each design. We finally settled on four inkjet designs each in three to four colours and each with five face variants. This means that for a particular design-colour there are twenty ways to lay the tiles for a non-uniform arrangement that looks just like natural cut stone.

When the designs were completed we downloaded them via the very useful WeTransfer.com but it took almost two days! Each face file was 333 Megabytes! Of course when I got them unzipped and opened in Photoshop I could zoom into detail that left me feeling I was aboard the ISS looking down on an infinitely detailed landscape from orbit. Amazing! Below is a zoomed in section of the complete tile which is shown below.

Impressed? We are. Our brochures for the new ranges will be available shortly. Watch this space or drop us an email to subscribe to our blog emailing list.

Monday, 15 July 2013

How to up-sell bathroom tiles for immediate results.

How can you increase your tile sales by up-selling? Mostly this is simply a matter of giving good professional advice to your customers.
Today I want to give you some pointers on how to up-sell bathroom tiles on the basis of SAFETY. In a bathroom this means: as few sharp corners or edges as possible and most importantly non-slip tiles.
Slip resistance is the Coefficient Of Friction, abbreviated as C.O.F. Simply put it is a tile’s natural resistance to slip. Technically it is the force required to slide an object across a surface divided by the weight of the object. A lower C.O.F. number indicates less friction so the floor will provide less traction. Higher C.O.F. numbers mean a floor will be less slippery. For example a good slip resistant tile may be rated with a C.O.F. of 10 and a slip degree angle of between 6 & 9 degrees. (based on DIN51130 testing criteriaSo… how do you use this to increase profit?
1. Up-sell for safety - Talk about chilldren and elderly people using the bathroom. People fall and hurt themselves all the time.
2. Up-sell to more expensive tiles with
a high slip resistance rating - They should have a rating of more than 8.
3. Up-sell to smaller tiles and mosaics. Smaller tiles don't slip as easily. More grout lines means less chance of slipping.
Up-sell to your best grout.
4. Up-sell specialist pieces - such as rounded corners, radius or bullnose edges. And while you’re at it up-sell specialist tiles as accents e.g. a dado-rail strip.
Lastly, remember to insist that your customer buy 10% more for cutting, breakages and spares.
2. Email us for a quote.

Monday, 8 July 2013

What is nano treatment on tiles?

Porcelain tiles with a nano treatment are more dirt and stain resistant, glossier and have more intense colour. Nano treatment is more complex than you might have thought. It consists of applying two different compounds up to ten layers deep to the surface of the tile, polishing between each application and then firing at 1250ºC.

A non-hazardous water soluble nano polymer compound is pressed into the micro porosities of the polished porcelain tile surface. This consists of very light and hard organic nano particles ranging in size from 5nm to1µm. The surface is then polished and a second layer is applied, polished again and a third layer applied. The particles are smaller than the tiny pinholes and cracks in the tiles so they fill these gaps and these pores become permanently sealed.

The second compound applied is a solvent flourine polymer then the tile is polished again. Flouropolymers are characterized by a high resistance to solvents, acids, and bases. With repetitive plating, applied through high pressure sanding and polishing, the nano particles combine with the tile substance to form an organic nano film with a high density and stability, which achieves the distinguishing characteristics of nano treated tiles. Generally at least six layers of polymer application and polishing cycles are completed then a final water wash before high temperature firing.

The technique of application, polishing and firing ensures that the nano particles polymerise evenly on the surface of the tiles. The high surface sheen of nano tiles creates a protective layer so dirt cannot penetrate the tiles and they are easier to keep clean. The granular material of the protective layer enhances the tiles’ durability and slip resistance making them suitable for both domestic and commercial applications and, fired at 1250ºC, nano treated tiles have a hardness equivalent to that of granite.

But it’s not just a long process, it’s tricky too. The specially designed polishing heads must operate at an ideal temperature of between 35ºC and 70ºC, they must also be carefully aligned to move consistently over the surface of the tile polishing each part with the same even pressure. The amount of compound applied to the tile must also be very finely controlled to 35-50ml/mto ensure even distribution of the particles.

Nano treated tiles are harder, glossier and more resistant to staining and wearing. See the technical details in the sidebar.

Our Classic Super White, Ivory and Monza tiles are all rectified, nano treated polished porcelain. Enquiries here.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

What flooring is the most cost-effective?

When buying flooring most people, even professionals in the building industry would consider three main factors; style, suitability and cost.

Style would include the texture, appearance and in general whether the product will fit in with the interior (or exterior) design.

Suitability is a more complex issue and professional advice is necessary. For example outdoor tiles in a cold climate need to be specified as frost resistant, flooring used in commercial spaces needs to be suitably wear resistant AC4 for laminated flooring, porcelains for tiles and so forth.

Cost may seem a simple issue but it gets complicated. The cost of a flooring system per square meter (or square foot) is just the first factor to consider. What about installation costs? What about the cost and effort of cleaning materials for the floor every year. And how long is this floor going to last until it needs replacement? Taking all these factors and more into consideration the Tile Council of North America commissioned Scharf-Godfrey to undertake what is called a  Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) for 17 different floor coverings. LCCA is defined as an economic method of project evaluation in which all costs arising from owning, operating, maintaining and disposing of a project are considered important to the decision.

Costs were amortized over the 40 year average lifetime of a building. The ratings in the table below take into account a multitude of factors and reduce them to a cost per area per year.

What you may find surprising is that ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most cost effective of all. This is not to say other flooring doesn’t have a place, just that for most applications ceramic tiles give the most bang for the buck! You may want to point this out to the next customer you serve.

More next time!

P.S. By the way VCT at the bottom of the table stands for Vinyl Composition Tile. It is a finished flooring material used primarily in commercial and institutional applications. VCT is composed of colored vinyl chips formed into solid sheets of varying thicknesses (4mm is common) by heat and pressure and cut into 30cm squares. Tiles are applied to a smooth, leveled sub-floor using a specially formulated vinyl adhesive that remains tacky but does not completely dry. Tiles are typically waxed and buffed using special materials and equipment.
VCT tiles have high resilience to abrasion and impact damage and can be repeatedly refinished with chemical strippers and mechanical buffing equipment. If properly installed, tiles can be easily removed and replaced when damaged. Tiles are available in a variety of colors from several major flooring manufacturers. Some manufacturers have created vinyl tiles that very closely resemble wood, stone terrazzo and concrete. Tiles can easily be cut and assembled into colorful and decorative patterns.
Vinyl composition tiles took the place of asbestos tiles, which were widely used in schools, hospitals, offices, and public buildings up until the 1980s. Use of tiles and adhesives containing asbestos were discontinued when asbestos materials were determined to be hazardous.