Friday, 23 August 2013

What is LVT?

Luxury Vinyl Tiles. Although we should point out LVT is often in the form of planks rather than tiles. LVT is part of what is known in the floor covering industry as "resilient flooring" which also includes sheet vinyl flooring and rubber flooring. In many ways LVT is similar to laminated wood flooring, the major difference being that it is made of vinyl rather than High Density Fibreboard (HDF) which is processed and compressed wood particles. Like laminate flooring LVT's strength lies not in the base material per se but in the layers that make it up. Both have wear layers.

LVT is made of layers too; its primary component is PVC vinyl which makes LVT dimensionally stable and flexible. Because of its composition LVT is waterproof as against laminate which can swell and rupture if waterlogged.

The ability to replicate real hardwoods and stones using advanced photographic technologies is the foundation of luxury vinyl flooring systems. There are four distinct layers fused together to produce the final product: a resilient vinyl backing, a vinyl color layer, a photographic film layer, and a urethane or aluminum oxide top layer. The protective top layer (also called the wearlayer or mil layer) is very important to the durability of the product. Quality products will have as high as a 40 mil layer. Commercial applications can successfully utilize 20 mil or above. Lower mil layers are available, but should be specified only for light traffic applications. Good LVT has an extremely hard aluminum oxide wear layer that resists scratches and provides UV protection to prevent fading from prolonged exposure to sunlight. LVT may also have a clear vinyl coating and a urethane coating to protect it.

LVT also has the advantage of being warmer to the touch and because of the manufacturing process it is easier to create surface texture so LVT most often has a realistic wood grain or a texture like natural stone.

Our factory is ISO 9001:2008 certified and produces LVT planks measuring 128mm x 1,25m long to real AC3 standard. In other words the flooring is 8,3mm thick overall. The coreboard is between 850-880g/m2 and the wear layer is 38g/m2 right in the top range of the AC3 classification.

Monday, 12 August 2013

What is the most common tile problem?

Customers can be quick to blame the tile when it comes loose or cracks or when the shower leaks, but rarely is the tile itself the real problem. While many issues facing the unsuspecting homeowner can be obvious, flooring is not one of them. Showers are especially difficult to evaluate, and often cost unsuspecting buyers thousands of dollars in repairs and days of inconvenience.

The tile industry, unlike many other floor covering products, has well established Standards for Installation published by national bodies such as the South African Bureau of Standards and the American National Standards Institute. Tile installations have specific tried and tested guidelines to follow to assure successful installations.

The most common complaint by far is loosened tile. Technically this is called delaminating or debonding. This is when tile has come loose from the substrate (mounting surface). The tile may sound hollow, have a grinding sound, or actually ‘tent’ up from the floor. This especially occurs on concrete slabs. The cause of the failure is almost invariably poor installation and may be primarily due to a lack of control joints or soft joints in the tilework and around the perimeter of the area and/or insufficient coverage of adhesive. It is important to the long-term success of a tile installation to provide for movement, which is certain to occur.

The technical reason this failure occurs is that ceramic tile expands and contracts with moisture and temperature at different rates than a concrete slab. Generally speaking, concrete slabs tend to shrink as they cure. This shrinkage can take place for many years. If there is no space to allow a release of the tension created by differential expansion,  the tile will come loose. Only the grout will be holding it in place and only for so long. Ceramic tile must be installed with the proper setting materials and provisions made for this expected movement. Also buildings move with seismic shifts, settling, heavy winds, material changes over time, and other factors. It cannot be stressed enough that movement accommodation and/or control joints are required in a tile job of any size, even the smallest bathroom.

Monday, 5 August 2013

What is a PEI Rating?

A PEI rating measured the durability of the enamel glaze on a tile. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) came up with the testing system to rate the strength of the glaze that is applied to the tile against scratching and wearing. The PEI Rating system uses numbers, 1 being the least scratch and wear resistant, 5 being the most scratch and wear resistant, to rate the strength of the glaze on the tile. Once the Tile is produced, most tile manufacturers will send the finished tile to the Porcelain Enamel Institute to test the strength of the glaze, or they will test the glaze strength themselves if they have the proper equipment in the factory. The test is performed on a special machine by placing a carbide wheel to the surface of the tile with weights on the top of the wheel to keep even pressure. The carbide wheel is then turned in a circular motion over the tile, and depending on how many revolutions it takes to penetrate the glaze of the tile is the number rating it receives. For example, for a tile to receive the highest rating, which is a PEI RATING of 5, the glaze will have to withstand over 10,000 revolutions on the machine.

PEI 1       Very Light Traffic
These Tiles can be used on all Indoor Wall applications, Interior Light use Countertops such as Bathroom, etc., and Very Light Traffic Residential Bathroom Floors. These Tiles are not recommended for any area that will have any constant or heavy foot traffic.

PEI 2       Light Traffic
These Tiles can be used on all Interior Wall Applications, All Interior Countertop applications, and Light Traffic Residential Interior Floors. This Tile should not be used in areas such as kitchens, entry ways, stairs, or areas with heavy traffic.

PEI 3       Moderate Traffic
These Tiles can be used on all Interior Wall Applications, All Interior Countertop applications, and all Residential Interior Floors. This Tile should not be used for Commercial Use.

PEI 4       Moderate to Heavy Traffic
These Tiles can be used on all Interior Wall Applications, All Interior Countertop applications, all Residential Interior Floors, and all Light Commercial applications, such as Restaurants, Lobbies, etc. This Tile should not be used for Heavy Commercial Use.

PEI 5       Heavy Traffic
These Tiles can be used on all Interior Wall Applications, All Interior Countertop applications, all Residential Interior Floors, and all Heavy Commercial applications, such as Airports, Shopping Malls and Supermarkets. This Tile is an excellent choice for Industrial applications where extreme durability is required.


Suitable for carrying out P.E.I. (wet) method tests to the ISO 10545-7 norm.

The test involves exposing the glazed material to the abrasive action of a charge comprising balls of different diameters with the addition of corundum and distilled water. The different abrasion stages are achieved by programming the machine at an increasingly higher number of revs, with fixed instrument speed as required by the standard