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