Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Where can laminated floors be laid?

Laminate wood floors are extremely versatile flooring products that can be installed in almost every room of a home over wood, concrete or tile. Many laminate floor manufacturers market their laminate wood floors as an ‘install anywhere’ product but... this isn’t really true. Although laminate floors are water resistant they are NOT waterproof so are not recommended for wet areas like kitchens or bathrooms. A consumer would probably get away with using laminate in a kitchen but bathrooms in particular are going to get wet on a regular basis. Over time water seepage will cause swelling of the planks which will lead to delamination and tenting. Rather recommend Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) for these areas. 

Laminate should also not be installed over carpet, parquet flooring or uneven tiles. Carpet is too flexible to provide a stable base for laminate flooring, parquet flooring is notoriously irregular and uneven tiles must be 
rescreeded and grout lines must be filled in. When laying over concrete that is either prone to damp or has not properly cured it is essential to lay laminate over a damp-proofing membrane.

Laminate can also be installed on stairs but this is a tricky business and a professional installer is recommended.

In general laminate installations should be in climatically stable environments, avoiding extreme temperature variations or excessive humidity. Manufacturer’s installation recommendations should always be followed to ensure a successful installation.

Contact us with any enquiries about laminate or LVT flooring.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Six tricks to increase tile sales.

Here are six simple ways to maximise the profit of every tile sale.

1. First, u
p-sell to porcelain when appropriate. Your first question to the customer should be where the tiles are going to be installed. If they are for outdoor use or a high traffic area, including almost all commercial applications then porcelain tiles (water absorption < 0,5%) really should be specified. 

2. Recommend matching riven or mosaic trims. These are high value, low volume items that really make an aesthetic difference to an installation.

3. make sure that an additional 10% of tiles are added to the order to allow for cutting, breakages and replacements.

4. Constantly learn. Educate yourself and other sales staff. Being able to answer customer questions knowledgeably immediately creates customer confidence which leads directly to larger, faster sales.  Ask your colleagues to subscribe to this newsletter by emailing me here.

5. Sell your best adhesives including grout. Point out that buying great tiles is a waste if they are not fixed and installed beautifully and permanently

6. Lastly, cross-sell accessories and tools. Ask your customer what else they will need... At this point don't say "...anything else?" Give them a list of options like, tile spacers, a level, rubber mallet, tile cutter, gloves, floor matting, waterproofing membrane and so on. 

Contact us to receive a copy of our new ink-jet tile brochure.
All the best, the Link International team.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

What is engobe really?

You have probably seen wall tiles in particular marked "With Engobe". But what does this actually mean?

Wall tiles don't need to be particularly hard wearing as they are not really exposed to wear at all, other than normal cleaning. But a side effect of using softer ceramics is of course that the tiles tend to be more porous and thus more water absorbent. Of course this is not desirable for splashbacks say, in a kitchen or bathroom. What manufacturers do then is coat the bisque or body of the tile with a separate liquid coating called an engobe. 

An engobe is a non-glaze slip. 
The word "slip" is used to describe any clay in liquid form. All slips and engobes can also be coloured with oxides, carbonates and stains.

Typically, the slip is applied to the raw tile body, prior to applying the glaze. For example a white engobe is frequently applied to red porcelain tile bodies before the glaze is applied. Critically the slip (engobe) must be compatible in terms of drying and firing times and thermal expansion with the underlying tile body and the glaze. Failure to achieve this can result in "cracking", when the engobe shrinks more than the clay underneath, or "shivering" when the clay underneath shrinks more than the engobe on top. Glazes and engobes both shrink because they contain clay. Engobes are more ‘clay-like’ so they readily adhere to the tile body. This process is widely used in porcelain tile production.

Engobes have an intermediate composition between bodies and glazes. Their purpose is to hide the color of the ceramic body and eliminate reactions and associated defects caused by the direct contact between glaze and body.
All engobes have 2 primary characteristics (compared to glazes):
  • High content of plastic materials like clays and kaolins.
  • High opacity and high content of crystalline materials.
The purpose of the engobe can be as different as the varied forms it comes in: to improve waterproofing; to give color to a tile; to improve the surface texture; to provide a ground to do further decoration or to add textures.

Engobe in wall tiles is primarily applied as a water-proofing and colouring layer which makes it ideal for installation in kitchens and bathrooms. So in short the term engobe tells you that the tile has an additional layer making it more waterproof and stain resistant.

Contact us with any enquiry about waterproof wall tiles with engobe.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

New tile designs you really should know about. 4 shades of grey.

Neutral greys have become increasingly popular primarily because they allow mixing with a vast range of colours without clashing. Grey is the ultimate background colour. 

Tiburtine grey. This is from the range we launched last year but has proved to be a big seller. As its name suggests it is a subtle travertine design. It reflects the modern minimalist look that has become popular in the last few years and works particularly well with rough textures like exposed brick and distressed wood.

Papyrus grey is one of our very latest and is only now being produced in quantity. This is a more sophisticated design with a woven handmade paper appearance that would not be out of place in museum or a corporate office.

Euro grey. This tile is undergoing production tests as I write this. It's a subtle rather random speckled pattern specifically aimed at commercial interiors and like all our ink-jet designs comes in a number of faces so there's never any obvious repetition in the design.

Rock light grey is a rougher design also available under the KREM brand. We have also produced this as a textured tile.

Contact us to receive a copy of our new brochure.
All the best, the Link International team.