Monday, 14 December 2015

How to remove REALLY difficult stains from porcelain tiles.

Recently we received a tricky complaint from a customer. The plain grey colour porcelain tiles we supplied had been installed in a commercial store where mobile display racks on soft black rubber castors were used. Small greasy looking stain marks had developed under the castor wheels and cleaning staff had been unable to remove them. Stains appeared two days after the castor was put in place on a test tile with a load.

Below you can see two stains that we reproduced using the same castors and the same tiles. 

We did some research and contacted a local company TFC. Tile and Floor Care is a retail supply company that focuses on providing the retail market with high quality floor & tile cleaning products.

At first they recommended TFC Purge which is a specially formulated liquid paste designed to purge dirt and spots from polished porcelain floors. Purge has the ability to release stubborn dirt such as rubber mallet marks, pencil marks and scuff marks from the minute capillaries in polished porcelain. Purge must be used to spot clean before the general clean that is necessary as preparation for sealing. Purge may also be used to remove tough wax coatings that are applied to some polished porcelain during manufacture. Purge is safe and easy to use. Purge is used as is without dilution.

We thought this would do the trick, especially given the reference to rubber mallet marks but... nope. The stains remained even after a post purge cleaning with...

TFC Easy Clean is a powerful alkaline degreaser and neutraliser. Easy Clean must be diluted as instructed for general cleaning purposes. Easy Clean is specially formulated to cost effectively clean floor and tile surfaces that have been soiled with oils, greases and general grime. Easy Clean is free from ammonia and phosphates and is non-abrasive. Easy Clean is also used to neutralise tile and floor surfaces after they have been washed with acids. Easy clean is diluted according to how heavy the dirt is from 1:20 for general cleaning to 1:5 for very heavy grease.

We asked TFC for further recommendations and they suggested...

Sealer Stripper. This product is a very powerful solvent based stripper designed to remove most types of sealers and paints from the floor, including linseed oil and urethanes. Sealer stripper is used undiluted and left on the floor for five minutes before being wiped off and rinsed with water. It is toxic so should be used with care. We poured a teaspoon of the liquid onto each of the stains and left it for 5-10 minutes.

Success! When the tile was cleaned off and dried there was no evidence of the marks. We then cleaned the tiles again with EasyClean.

The U.S. Government Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for inter alia, the maintenance of government buildings. They recommend as policyusing Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3) an acid or Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) an alkali (caustic soda) for cleaning stubborn stains on tiles.

As always with difficult stains test a small unobtrusive area with a new product before applying to the entire floor.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Rustic Look and Quarry Tile

Quarry tile is unglazed ceramic tile. It is an inexpensive, durable and natural option for residential, commercial and even industrial tile applications. Quarry tile is used in industrial settings because it is so durable and can also be used outdoors. It has some other great qualities as well, such as being less prone to showing chips and scratches because the colour goes throughout the tile. In colder climates, freeze-resistant grades of quarry tile are used to prevent weather-related problems. but, like almost all tile types, quarry is porous, which means that it can become stained. If you install quarry tile in a kitchen it is really important to apply a glaze-like seal or wax finish to help prevent stains especially from oil. The color selection is not as vast as with other tile types, but there are several shades of red, orange, brown and gray., all of which exhibit a degree of colour variation creating a very natural rustic appearance. In residential applications, quarry is used for kitchens and pathways because it has a naturally coarse surface, making it less slippery when wet. Strong mortar and grout is used during installation to ensure a strong hold between the tile and the floor. Use limited amounts of water when cleaning unglazed or unsealed quarry. Too much water exposure can lead to mold growth especially in the grout.
The other option is to select an inkjet range of ceramic tile designed to look like quarry tile. These will be more water and stain resistant yet will still exhibit the rustic variation of natural tiles since multiple faces will be printed.

Contact us about rustic-look tiles, especially from our new Brasil Ceramica brochure, available on request only.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

How to tell Ceramic from Porcelain.

 Both porcelain and ceramic tiles are made from a mixture of clay and other materials which are pressed into a dense mass then kiln-fired at over 1000 degrees C. Although both porcelain and ceramic tiles are called “ceramic tile”, porcelain is by definition harder, denser and absorbs less water which is why it is less prone to cracking when exposed to cold. Specifically porcelain should absorb less than 0,5% of its volume in water. But how do you tell whether a tile is porcelain or ordinary ceramic?

1. Check the packaging. Look for the word “Porcelain”, a water absorption of <0,5% or a Mohs hardness rating of 7 or above. Ceramic tiles generally only have a water absorption of <3% at best. If the tile is marked ‘Polished’ it is likely to be porcelain.

2. Check the price. Porcelain tiles usually cost around 40% more than ordinary ceramic tiles and could be even higher depending on other technical factors.

3. Try the spit test for water absorption. Turn the tile on it’s side. Apply a little spittle to the edge. If it is absorbed into the tile within a minute or less it’s ceramic. On a porcelain tile the liquid will remain on the surface in a shiny meniscus for many minutes or even until it evaporates

Porcelain tiles are generally made by the dust pressed method from porcelain clay like kaolin, which result in a tile that is denser and more durable than ceramic tile. The finish is a finer grained and smoother with sharply formed faces. Glazed porcelain tiles are much harder and are more wear and damage resistant than non-porcelain ceramic tiles.

4. Take a close look. Full body porcelain tiles carry the color and pattern through the entire thickness of the tile making them virtually impervious to wear and are suitable for any application. If the colour on the surface is the same through the cross section it is a good but not infallible indication that you are looking at a porcelain tile.

5. Compare the hardness. Ceramic tiles are softer and easier to cut than porcelain so if you are comparing two tiles the one that is easier to cut is probably ceramic.

6. Test the hardness. A more accurate way would be to actually test the hardness using a reference material. Hardness is measured using the Mohs scale which rates hardness from 1 (talc) to 10 (diamond). Ordinary ceramic tiles will have a hardness of 5-6 whereas porcelain will have a hardness of 7 or better. You can use the following commonly available materials to firmly scratch the tile. If the material leaves a distinct mark the tile has a hardness less than the test material
· Penny (a bronze coin) - 3.0
· Knife blade (a good straight edged kitchen knife or penknife) - 5.0
· Glass (a broken piece of window glass) - 5.5
· Quartz (a sharp piece, available at new age lifestyle shops or a mineral scratch patch) - 7.0

...and lastly
7. Contact the manufacturer and request a laboratory test report. Porcelain is classed B1a with a water absorption of <0,5%
For any other inquiries about Porcelain or Ceramic tiles please drop us an email.
The Link International team.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Husbands choosing tiles must have note from wife!

What happens if a customer comes into your store with the complaint that the tiles they selected in-store aren't the ones delivered to site? 

Firstly, do check the tiles against your stock first, but chances are the customer is perceiving the tiles differently at home vs. in store. Lighting is the key factor. Time of day, time of year, atmospheric conditions, angle to the light, adjacent surface colours like painted walls or even a painting or a couch can all affect the colour a tile is perceived to be by human eyes.

If a tile is being installed in a new construction or addition to a house this is even more of a risk as the customer will inevitably be choosing the tile before the room is completed. The ceiling and floors may be raw concrete and windows may not have been installed yet. These factors will have a huge effect on what the tile sample looks like.

The images below give a graphic illustration of what the difference can be!

The photo on the left shows the tile at home under natural sunlight coming in through curtains. The photo on the right was taken in-store under fairly harsh fluorescent lighting.

Secondly, each batch of tiles that are produced tend to be a different shade to the ones that were last made. The final kiln temperature, slight changes in glaze mix, and dozens of other variables can affect the final appearance.This is referred to as 'tonality'. 
This variation is an inherent characteristic of ceramic tiles which is why it is important to select all the tiles for a particular job with the same batch number.

So, it is quite possible that the tile that was selected in the showroom could really be a different shade to the tile supplied when ordered or delivered. This is more likely as the time between selection and delivery to site increases. It is important for the customer to check the tiles on site before they are laid in case the shade is not acceptable.

All the above is why a tile company in Canada felt the need to place the following sign outside.

Naturally, once the tiles have been installed, the supplier cannot be responsible for any variation in shade to the original selection.

All the best,
The Link International team, KREM tiles.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

What to say when your customer asks, “Can I use these tiles outdoors?”

More often than not outdoor areas are paved in bricks, concrete and slate but these all have a distinctly 'rustic' look. Homeowners are often looking for an outdoor surface that is more sophisticated. Ceramic tiles can fulfill this purpose even though they are not often seen outdoors, and designers prefer to limit their use to kitchens or bathrooms. This is partly due to their size, but also to their durability, which can be compromised by outdoor weather. But if the tiles are real porcelain, the very short answer is “Yes”. Nonetheless there are other factors the customer should be aware of.


Frost is the most common cause of ceramic tile damage outside. Water is absorbed into the tile. In winter it can freeze, expand and crack the tile. Normal ceramic tile with less than 3 percent absorption is more resistant to cold conditions, but tile rated with less than 0.5 percent absorption is most often used to resist frost. This is the rating for real porcelain. 

Ceramic tiles are much more resistant to heat than cold. The temperatures that the clay was fired at are far above any natural climate conditions, so they will handle even the hottest desert conditions. The tile will breathe slightly in the heat, so tiles set in the wrong mortar or too close together may warp or crack.

Tiles Under Foot

If ceramic tiles are installed outdoors as patios or walkways, they should be unglazed. Glazed ceramic tile is slippery and especially dangerous when wet. In addition it can easily be chipped and scratched in outdoor conditions. Unglazed full-body tile is more slip resistant and is the same color and texture throughout the tile so it will not show any chipping that does occur. An even safer alternative is to use a textured tile or one designed with an anti-slip surface especially for areas like pool surrounds.


For sun rooms and other areas that are between indoors and outdoors, ceramic tiles are strong enough. A firm subfloor and adequate grout and expansion joints are the most important factors. A solid cement foundation is the best option for a sunroom-style floor, since it will channel heat more easily.

All the best,
The Link International team, KREM tiles.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

4 Ways to Sell Wood-look Tiles.

There's no question that hardwood floors are beautiful, but that shiny new look only lasts so long. Soon enough scratches and water have taken their toll and the floors need an expensive re-sanding, varnishing and polishing.

The perfection of ink-jet printing in the tile industry, has led to wood-look tiles that beat hardwood hands-down. Wood-look tiles have all the beauty of wooden floors with the low maintenance and hard wearing qualities of tile.

Here are four convincing angles to pitch at customers.

Wood-look tiles can be fitted anywhere.
Wood can fade when exposed to too much sunlight and warp when exposed to too much moisture. Wood floors in kitchens and bathrooms are especially risky. Wood is notoriously expensive and time consuming to maintain outdoors.
Wood-look tile can go just about anywhere, including in showers and outdoors Because they are vitreous they don’t absorb liquids, eliminating problems with staining, mold, and warping.

This is our Shipwood red 15x90cm inkjet tile plank.

Wood-look tiles are far more durable.
Wood flooring is difficult to maintain. It scratches, dents, warps, cracks, and chips under stress from traffic, pets, and accidental spills. It needs to be cleaned regularly and refinished every couple of years.
Wood-look tiles on the other hand are very easy to clean and maintain. If damage does occur, a single tile can be easily replaced without having to rip up a whole section of the floor.

This is our Rainbow Pearl 15x90cm inkjet tile plank.

Wood-look tiles are cheaper than hardwood.
Hardwood floors can be very expensive depending on the type of wood. Even if using local wood you need to add the cost of installation and regular maintenance.
Tile costs about the same as local wood but is not as labor intensive as hardwood. The cost of tile maintenance is practically nil.
Inkjet and profiling technology produces tile that looks so much like wood you'd have to get down on your hands and knees to feel the difference and a magnifying glass to see it. Little details like grain, knots, and differences in shade are easily replicated on tile. That means that you can get the look of a costly, exotic wood at a much more reasonable tile price.

This is our Oakwood grey 15x90cm inkjet tile plank.

Wood-look tiles are a sustainable, eco-friendly choice.
3-6 billion trees are cut down each year! Wood-look tiles can help cut down that staggering number. Tile gives the warmth and welcoming look of wood without destroying a single tree.

Also point out to your customer that underfloor heating can be fitted under tile.

Encourage your customers to create a beautiful floor today with tiles that look like wood. It’s the durable alternative they have been looking for.

Contact us about ordering our wood-look tiles.
Visit our updated website.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

What are Soluble Salt Tiles?

A full body tile has a design that runs throughout the entire tile. A glazed tile's design is only in the glaze on the top surface of the tile. A Soluble-Salt tile is somewhere between. Water soluble metallic salts are applied to the tile body before firing. The salts are applied in liquid form with screen-printing to create the design on the tile. The salts then actually penetrate the body to a depth of a few milimetres.

Water-soluble metal salts are often compared to watercolors in application and decoration. They produce a variety of interesting effects on ceramics, such as halos of color, fumed or smoky halos, solid shapes with soft, diffused edges or solid shapes with crisp sharp edges.
Water-soluble metal salts are simple solutions that are composed of nitrate, chloride and sulfate forms of metals, which dissolve in water. They are simpler solutions in comparison to glazes 
but most Metal Salts are toxic and must be handled very carefully during production although they are harmless when they have been fired.

Above is a Soluble Salt tile showing diffusion effects of what is probably cobalt chloride and silver nitrate.

The following table shows some common Water-Soluble Metal Salts and the colours they produce. 
ColorWater-Soluble Metal Salt(s)
Greycopper chloride (heavy application and heavy reduction can give pinks and reds)
palladium chloride
ruthenium chloride
selenium (selenous acid, selenium toner)
silver nitrate
tellurium chloride
vanadium (vanadyl sulfate, vanadium pentoxide)
Bluecobalt chloride
molybdenum (molybdic acid)
Greenammonium chromate
nickel chloride
potassium dichromate
sodium chromate
Browniron chloride (iron chloride emits heat when mixed with water so the water should be added gradually in small amounts)
Pink/Purple/Maroongold chloride (1-5% solution, adding either cobalt, manganese or tellurium will give different shades)
Yellowpraseodymium chloride (very pale color)
Blackcobalt chloride (50% solution) and iron chloride (100% solution)
cobalt chloride (50% solution) and nickel chloride (50% solution)
NOTE: neither of these combinations will yield a true black, just a close approximation.

We are currently planning a KREM Technical catalogue specifically aimed at architects. The ranges will include Soluble Salts. Any suggestions for designs, product or technical content to be included are welcome

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

What are Rectified Tiles & Why is it Important?

Rectified tile are tiles that have been mechanically processed to ensure that all the tiles are uniform in size and are perfectly square.  If you've ever baked bread, you know that it's impossible to predict the exact eventual size of the product: it expands. While ceramic and porcelain clays do have more predictability than dough, they still are subject to size variability based on tiny differences in firing temperatures and composition of materials: tile shrinks upon firing. So, ordinary tiles that are molded and then fired, but not rectified, will have slight dimensional differences that may affect how neatly and precisely the tiles are laid out.
Note that rectifying affects only the tile's edge dimensions not the thickness of the tile.

If you want thin grout lines of 3mm or less
The main reason for rectified tiles is to allow for minimal grout joints. look at the picture above, a floor like this would be impossible with unrectified tiles.
The thicker the grout line, the more tolerance you have available to accommodate oddly sized tiles. You'll notice that quarry tiles, those thick, often red, and often unrectified tiles you see outdoors, may have lines as thick as a centimetre or more to cover for imperfect dimensions.

If you are laying 45cm or larger tiles
It's rare to find small rectified tile. Mostly 30x30cm tiles would be the smallest rectified tile. Mosaics are also often cut and rectified.
If you're laying polished porcelain tile, you'll almost certainly be setting thin grout widths.

Though this is not a grout-line issue, you need to make certain that your substrate is absolutely flat when laying large tile. Lippage will be immediately apparent when laying tile with thin grout lines.

Rectified applies only to fired tile. You won't find rectified marble, granite, or travertine. Since these are natural stones, they are by definition rectified since they need to be cut from larger blocks of stone.
Since rectification is an additional process, rectified tiles are often slightly more expensive.
Below a rotary blade slivers off a few millimetres from each edge, a noisy process. To prevent dust, water is used.

We are currently planning a KREM Technical catalogue specifically aimed at architects. All tiles in these ranges will be rectified. Any suggestions for product or technical content to be included are welcome. 
Contact us here.

All the best,
The Link International team, KREM tiles.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

What are Technical Tiles?

Although Technical or Engineering Ceramics are properly the hi-tech ceramic composite materials used in aerospace, military and medical applications, the term is used more broadly in the tile business to refer to any high-end tile with tested characteristics that can be specified with confidence by an architect or product specifier even where the application is expected to survive extreme wear or climatic conditions. Technical tiles in this context are invariably true porcelain with a water absorption of less than 0,5% whereas Engineering Ceramics may not even contain clay but alumina, silicide or carbide instead.

What we would call Technical tiles include in particular such products as large format thin tiles used for cladding or thick format tiles used for access floors. These products are specified in even greater detail than normal wall or floor tiles owing to the unique mounting mechanisms used to install them.

International ISO and European EN standards are used to define the most important features of Technical tiles. The most common technical characteristics are as follows:

Dimensions/thickness/straightness of corners/ right angles/ flatness
Extremely important for cladding and applications where a smooth bump free surface is required.

Structural features
Water absorption
Water absorbency is dependent on the porosity of the material’s surface. The least porous ceramic material is porcelain, at levels of below 0.5%.

Massive mechanical properties
Resistance to bending
An important distinguishing element of floors is a material’s ability to resist given breakage loads.

Surface mechanical properties
Resistance to scratching
Ceramic materials must be resistant to scratching and wear from foot traffic and the movement of furniture, chairs, wheeled trolleys, etc.

Thermal and hygrometric properties
Resistance to temperature variations; resistance to frost; coefficient of linear thermal dilation
The thermo-hygrometric properties of porcelain stoneware are dependent on its extraordinary density. As porcelain has the lowest porosity among ceramic materials, it absorbs less water and therefore is at less risk of cracking or crackling under pressure caused by the increase in volume of water as it freezes.

Chemical properties
Resistance to chemical products
In order to resist the attack of chemical substances such as those contained in cleaning products or resulting from use of acids in particular working environments, the compactness of the surface of the material (which, in the case of porcelain extends throughout its entire thickness) constitutes a very important quality once again linked with the material’s low porosity. Good porcelain does not contain microscopic cracks that can permit penetration and stagnation of aggressive substances. This is aided by the high firing temperatures reached in ceramic kilns (1200°C), permitting achievement of greater chemical inertia.

The chemical and physical properties of Technical tiles require lightfastness of colour. The need to test this property is demonstrated by the fact that Technical tiles are used in outdoor flooring or on the façades of buildings, where the material is exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. 

Safety features
Coefficient of friction 
A floor’s slipperiness determines the safety of people walking over it and is therefore an essential requirement in commercial and industrial floors.
The slipperiness coefficient, represented by the value “R”, refers to a method which classifies products on the basis of their friction coefficient in response to the specific requirements of a given environment. The higher the friction coefficient, the less slippery the floor.
The standards distinguish between the slipperiness of floor surfaces in areas where people walk with their shoes on (R9-R13) and with bare feet (A,B,C).

R9 - entrances and stairways accessed from outside; restaurants and canteens; shops; clinics; hospitals; schools.
R10 - shared toilets and showers; small kitchens in restaurants and cafés; garages and basements.
R11 - food production facilities; mid-sized kitchens in restaurants and cafés; working environments where there is a lot of water and sludge; laboratories; laundries; hangars.
R12 - production facilities for foods rich in fats such as dairy products, food oils, cured meats; large kitchens in restaurants and cafés; industrial areas where slippery substances are used; carparks.
R13 - places where large quantities of fats and oils are used; food processing areas.

In the presence of water, where people walk barefoot, the flooring is subject to even more restrictive requirements.

A - dressing rooms; areas accessed barefoot.
B - showers; swimming pool sides.
C - sloped swimming pool sides; steps for climbing into pools.

Beyond Technical
There are of course many further technical features that may be specified and required by an architect or specifier developing a project. These could include such diverse features as the material's ability to absorb pollutants, photovoltaic efficiency, thermal or sound insulation effectiveness, light emitting characteristics. We'll discuss some of the more esoteric qualities of ceramic tile in future posts.

We are currently planning a KREM Technical catalogue specifically aimed at architects. Any suggestions for product or technical content to be included are welcome. 
Contact us here.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

How to easily test tile hardness yourself.

The basic principle of the Mohs scale is the scratch resistance of a softer mineral being scratched a harder mineral. A common requirement in our industry is to find out whether a tile is real porcelain or ceramic. You can do a Mohs test in seconds using commonly available materials.


Hardness of some common items on the Mohs scale.

2-2,5    Fingernail
2,5-3    Gold or silver jewelry
3-3,5    Copper coin
4-5       Iron

5-6       B2b ceramic tile
5,5       Steel knife blade
6-7       Glass

6,5       Steel nail

7          B1a porcelain tile
7+        Hardened steel file
8,5       Masonry drill bit 

9          Quartz crystal


How to test tile hardness in 5 steps.

1.    Find a clean surface on the tile to be tested. This is the 'unknown'.

2.  Try to scratch this surface with the point of an object of known hardness, by pressing it firmly into and across your test specimen. For example, you could try to scratch the surface with the point on a crystal of quartz (hardness of 9), the tip of a steel file (hardness about 7), the point of a piece of glass (about 6), the edge of a copper coin (3), or a fingernail (2.5). If your 'point' is harder than the test specimen, you should feel it bite into the sample.

3.    Blow or wipe off any dust. Examine the sample. Is there an etched line? Use your fingernail to feel for a scratch, since sometimes a soft material will leave a mark that looks like a scratch. If the sample is scratched, then it is softer than or equal in hardness to your test material. If the unknown was not scratched, it is harder than your tester.

4.    Now repeat the test, using a sharp surface of the known material and a fresh surface of the unknown.

5.     Most people don't carry around examples of all ten levels of the Mohs hardness scale, but you probably have a couple of 'points' in your possession. If you can, test your specimen against other points to get a good idea of its hardness. For example, if you can't scratch it with a copper coin, you know its hardness is between 3 and 6. If you scratch your specimen with a piece of glass, you know its hardness is equal to or less than 6 or 7.


Quick answers.
Tiles are 'vitrified' i.e. 'turned to glass'. Ceramic tile will be scratched by glass but not by a copper coin. Real porcelain can be scratched by quartz but not glass.  You can buy quartz online, from new age shops, gemstone centers and some garden nurseries. A piece like this is perfect.

Visit our updated website or Contact us for enquiries.

All the best,
The Link International team, KREM tiles.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

PEI and Mohs. What's the difference?

PEI ratings and Mohs both measure hardness, so what's the difference?

PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) ratings have been used since the 1930s to help determine the hardness and durability of tile. This is crucial because not all tile can be used in all areas. PEI ratings act as a kind of shortcut to decide where the tile can be installed. Tile that experiences much foot traffic should be harder and denser than tile that receives no foot traffic such as wall tile. From a technical perspective PEI ratings are actually determined by a measurement of Abrasion Resistance on a machine which counts the number of revolutions under a standard abrasive load. When the tile shows damage the revolutions are counted which gives the PEI rating.

Mohs ratings (named after geologist Friedrich Mohs in 1812) specifically measure the hardness of the tile glaze on a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being soft as talc and 10 being as hard as diamond. Mohs is tested using scratching picks with alloy tips that match the traditional minerals of the Mohs Hardness Scale. 

The table below gives common objects that can be used to provide similar results in your own shop.
The PEI method was developed on the basis that the degree of deterioration of a floor should be determined by the visible difference in appearance between the worn surface and the unworn surface, assessed at a defined distance under standard conditions of lighting. It is important to stress that, for the same degree of abrasion, wear is more noticable on dark surfaces. 

PEI 0 - Tiles technically unsuitable for floors.
PEI 1 - Residential and commercial wall and barefoot traffic. < 154 revolutions.
PEI 2 - Wall and residential bath floor, and soft soled traffic. 300, 450, 600 revs.
PEI 3 - All residential floors and light commercial floors. 750, 900, 1200, 1500  revs.
PEI 4 - Medium commercial, light industrial and institutional, moderate soiling. 1500+ revs.
PEI 5 - Extra heavy traffic, abrasive dirt, chemically more resistant. Up to 12000 revs.

The particular number or PEI rating is a measure of the durability of the tile surface only. It does not determine the slip resistance, overall strength, moisture absorption, or quality of the tile itself, only the quality and durability of the surface or glaze. For most residential flooring applications it is always best to go with a PEI rating of three or higher, although two is suitable for some applications.

So, PEI and Mohs both measure hardness but in different ways. PEI measures resistance to visible wear, Mohs measures actual mineral hardness. A PEI number can be a bit vague so look at the actual abrasion resistance in revolutions to see whether the rated tile is at the high or low end of the PEI number.

Visit our updated website or Contact us for enquiries.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

See the Kosmos close-up!

This is our gorgeous new Kosmos hi-res inkjet range. It's available in either Porcelain (<0,5% water absporption) or Gres Porcelain (<3% water absorption) in four colours; beige, grey, dark grey or ivory in 60x60cm size or cut-downs. Images and technical specifications are below. For prices and delivery please contact Brin.

Kosmos beige.

Kosmos grey.

Kosmos dark grey.

Kosmos ivory.

For prices and delivery please contact Brin.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

New KREM Bathroomware Brochure!

Our new KREM bathroomware brochure is also available here orhereThe brochure includes exclusive ranges of...
Freestanding baths,

Shower doors and Art & pedestal basins,

Toilets, including Cupc approved U.S. toilets,

Cross-handle & single lever taps,

Plus steam shower cabins.

Contact Simone with any enquiries about KREM bathroomware or tiles. Other product brochures are available on our website and by request.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

How to compare non-slip tile ratings.

Last week I discussed the four commonly used anti-slip tests in the industry: the Coefficient of Friction (CoF), Floor Surface Roughness (Rz), the R rating and the ABC rating. In this mail I'll show how the different measurements can be compared so that you, as a tile sales person can advise your customers to select tiles that are suitable for their application.

'R' Rating Ramp test & ABC ratings - Wet areas.
The resistance level, or ‘R’ rating, is the classification used by professionals to advise on whether a tile should be applied in a typically wet environment (like a pool surround) or is best in other low risk areas (like a kitchen) and takes into consideration the highest angle in which it remains safe, by measuring on a ramp.
Also taken into consideration is the tiles safety when walked on barefoot. Rather than an ‘R’ rating this is measured alphabetically, with ‘A’ being the least resistant and ‘C’ the most. Again these are tested to the limits through a ramp measuring system.
The two testing methods overlap and can be better explained in the table below. 
R ratings and angles are in red, ABC ratings and angles are in blue.

Angle ⁰

Angle ⁰
R96⁰ < 8⁰Domestic hallway/living room
R1010⁰ < 19⁰A12⁰ < 17⁰Domestic bathroom/kitchen
R1119⁰ < 27⁰B18⁰ < 23⁰Public toilet/dressing room
R1227⁰ < 35⁰C     > 24⁰Public showers
R13    > 35⁰Swimming pools/saunas

Pendulum Test
The pendulum test determines the tile from safe to dangerous and tests through a weighted swinging arm and its resistance once in contact with the tile. It is measured in a ‘SRV’ rating, which stands for Slip Resistance Value.  This rating is used by Health and safety professionals.
SRV Pendulum Test Result
Slip Potential
 0 – 24Dangerous or high potential for slippingDangerousMost domestic settings
 25 – 35Marginal or moderate potential for slippingModeratePublic toilets/foyers
 36 – 65Safe or low potential for slippingSafeSwimming pools
 66 +Very safe or extremely low potentialVery Safe

Next is a very simple R rating diagram. The shoes indicate what types are relatively safe at each rating.

Enquire about our anti-slip tiles with R11+ ratings.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

How do you measure non-slip tiles?

There are four commonly used tests in the industry: the Coefficient of Friction (CoF), Floor Surface Roughness (Rz), the R rating and the ABC rating.

1. The Coefficient of Friction (CoF)

The Floor Slip Test Coefficient of Friction is determined using a Pendulum Test on horizontal floor surfaces A minimum CoF of 0.36 (36) is required.

2. Floor Surface Roughness (Rz) indicates the apparent slip resistance. The Surface Roughness Testing is conducted using a portable floor tester giving an average floor test surface roughness reading. Surface Roughness Testing is NOT a true floor slip reading, it is only an indication of floor friction. Two different floor surfaces having the same Floor Roughness Testing readings can have different a different Coefficient of Resistance and floor slipperiness. This is particularly noticeable where wet floors are involved as 90% of floor slips occur on smooth wet flooring such as marble floors.

3. The R Rating (Ramp Test Rating)
This is the most commonly used measure with tiled floors.  The test is conducted on a ramp set at varying inclined angles. (Performed to DIN* 51130) The steeper the ramp can be raised without heel slip the higher the R Rating. Ramp Test results range from R9, least floor slip resistance, to R13, most slip resistance. Ramp tests are used to test dry, wet and contaminated flooring surfaces by a person wearing deeply treaded safety footwear. R11 is considered the minimum in commercial high-risk areas such as shopping center entrances. R11 equates to a CoF of between 34 and 51, R12 between 51 and 70.

4. The ABC Rating (Ramp Test ‘Bare Feet’ Rating)
Another Ramp Test (Performed to DIN* 51097) but using a persons bare feet to represent, for example, a pedestrian walking on a slippery swimming pool floor. The ratings are A, B and C where C is the steepest.              

*DIN is 'Deutsches Institut für Normung', the German Institute of Standardisation. It is a standard by which floor designers and architects specify in many EU countries to conform with building regulations and to apply early prevention of floor slip accident injury claims.

Next week I'll go into a little more detail on how to evaluate and compare these ratings.

Enquire about our tiles with R11+ ratings.