Thursday, 6 October 2016

What is the difference between Cross Cut and Vein Cut Travertine?


Travertine is a natural stone like Marble, Granite or Slate. The key difference between Travertine and other natural stones is in the formation of the rock, the hardness of the stone and the appearance. Travertine is formed in hot springs and/or limestone caves. Travertine is not the same as Marble or Limestone which are metamorphic rocks. Once characteristics of Travertine is the small holes within the stone which are caused by carbon dioxide bubbling through during its formation.

The vast majority of travertine which you see online or displayed in retail locations such as flooring companies, pool builders and home improvement companies is by default cross cut. This refers to the default way of cutting the travertine blocks which are harvested from the quarry. Pretty much the same applies with tiles emulating the stone! In order to produce vein cut travertine, the travertine blocks are rotated and the cuts take place across the vein. Think of it as cutting a tree. You can cut a tree vertically or horizontally. If you cut it vertically, the veins come out, same with Travertine.

We have a number of Travertine tiles available in both cross cut and Vein cut. Jupiter Vein Cut is a long running success and we have a new beige vein cut we are about to launch called Traverse.  Contact us for more details.

If you have not as yet had a look at Link International's KREM range, check out what we have to offer.


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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Perfect Porcelain Planks!

Legno Romagna is a top end tile range from Brazil. Manufactured by the famous Lanzi factory, the series has a very detailed look with a smooth satin finish. Each design includes twelve different faces which means that the floor appearance is natural with no evident repetition. Planks are all rectified to a very accurate 25cm x 103cm. These tiles are incredibly realistic with deep colour detail. Legno Romagna is real porcelain and imminently suitable for walls or floors in even high traffic applications in bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, halls or commercial spaces. 

The range includes six colours, Tobacco, Noce, Amendoa, Prata, Castanho and Patina.

Enquiries for Legno Romagna are welcome. Contact us here.

Made in Brazil by

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

International Collaboration in Tile-Buying is Coming to the USA 

And we want you on board!
If you are interested in importing well priced, well branded, top porcelain and gres porcelain tiles that are in stock and available as you require them (without the hassles of waiting months for the next production) then this could be the best blog you read all year.

Link International is based in Malaysia and South Africa but manufacturing and warehousing ceramic and tiles in China. With deep pockets and an international network, Link has established a supply-chain that offers you:-

1. Great prices - Given their extensive network, Link International are able to flex considerable muscle when buying, and passes these savings on to you.
2. Quality - controlled by trained inspectors from the raw material stage to manufacturing, packaging, and dispatch.
3. Range - Link provides a breadth of range and the ability to combine certain lines with others in containers, filling full containers becomes quick, cost effective, and easy.
4. Availability - Link International keeps most of their key lines in stock nearly all the time, meaning quick lead times from order to dispatch.
5. Ease - Given that you are doing business with English-speaking suppliers who think the way you do, Link International removes a lot of the traditional hassles in dealing with Chinese suppliers. And we will have our Area Manager living in California as your first port of call.
6. Exclusivity - Link International wants to develop long term profitable relationships by providing service, well priced product and offering you protection in your market so you can make profits on our product.

We are coming to California at the end of August. 

Have a look at just some of our range at then contact us here to arrange a visit from our team at the end of August.

You’ll be kicking yourself if you miss out.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Really hi-tech ceramic tile!

Just for a change a ceramic story a little off the mainstream of construction and renovation. Ceramic tiles are common enough in commercial and domestic environments but they are also used on spacecraft including NASA's new Orion spacecraft which is designed to carry a crew of up to seven astronauts on missions to orbit and eventually Mars. Ceramic tiles are used precisely because of their outstanding physical properties. While similar to those used on the space shuttle, Orion only requires about 1,300 tiles compared to more than 24,000 on the shuttle. The tiles are made of ceramic and silica glass fibre. The tiles, along with the spacecraft’s heat shield, will protect Orion from the 3300 degree Celsius heat of re-entry. The tiles are individually shaped and specially formulated to rapidly release heat. It is not fast work. In fact, workers spent 11 months shaping the insulating blocks and laying on a heat-resistant, ceramic coating. They use a 5-axis mill loaded with precise dimensions to cut blank tiles to their shapes. Many of the tiles will have special cutouts for instruments to collect data. 
The Orion spacecraft, launched aboard NASA’s Space Launch System rocket on its first test flight and re entry in December 2014 was a great success. It is only scheduled to fly humans in 2023.

At Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians bond thermal protection system tiles to Orion's backshell panels. Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston

Enquiries for high performance porcelain tiles are welcome. Contact us here.


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Vision Large Format Porcelain

This is Vision, another absolutely stunning new tile range designed and produced in Brazil. Vision is a premium inkjet porcelain. Tiles are large format rectangles measuring 51 x 103cm. All tiles are rectified and have a smooth satin finish. Vision has four different plain and four different deco faces. The deco can be used as room edging, in feature areas or as mix & match accents scattered among the plain tiles. The design is sophisticated and resembles an age-faded fresco painting of flowers and vegetation that might have graced an old conservatory. The plain tiles are colour matched and two have a very subtle irregular pattern that mirrors the deco design. Vision also lends itself to wall applications. Enquiries for Vision are welcome. Contact us here.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Hyperealistic Porcelain Planks

This is part of our Legno series. Legno is Italian for wood. Giordano and Native are two top end tile ranges from Brazil. The series has a rough hewn look with evident saw marks producing a very rustic effect. Each design includes ten different faces which means that the floor appearance is natural with no evident repetition. Planks are rectified 25cm x 103cm. The surface finish is a smooth satin with gentle, wood-like texturing. These tiles are incredibly realistic with deep colour detail. Legno are all real porcelain and imminently suitable for high traffic commercial spaces.

Legno Native Noce

Legno Giordano Noce

Legno Native Patina

Legno Giordano Patina

Enquiries for Legno Giordano and Legno Native are welcome. Contact us here.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

What to do about "Tiles that just won't stay clean."

How often have you heard a customer complain that their tiles "just don't stay clean." They will claim they clean them but then the next day they look dirty again. "even though no-one has even walked in that area!"

Now tiles as you know are very easy to clean and maintain. Normally tiles require very little time and effort to keep clean: you should only need a bit of water and vinegar once a week.

On the other hand, some tiles will seem like they're impossible to keep clean: they're always either dirty, or they become dirty really quickly after cleaning. This is one of the more common complaints we hear, but despite customers complaining that there must be something wrong with the tile surface in reality it's not a problem with the actual tiles, and is very easily fixed.

What's the real cause?

1.  Grout haze. When tiles are laid and grouted, there will be some grout left on the surface of the tiles which should be removed. If not, a thin film of almost invisible grout remains hardened onto the tiles and traps dirt. The dirt can be washed away, but the grout film is very hard and remains. As soon as the tile is dry it will start picking up even airborne dust all over again.
2.  Soap scum. The other cause, ironically, is detergent. If detergent (or anything containing soap) is used to wash a floor, it needs to be rinsed thoroughly. A film of detergent "soap scum" can dry on the tiles and trap dirt. Continuing to wash with detergent can even make the problem worse. The layer of soap scum can build up to the point where the tiles actually appear to be going white. To test for detergent build-up like this is to pour a couple of tablespoons of water on a small area of the floor and scrub with a green scouring pad. If you can get suds to appear, the floor is soapy.

What's the solution?

Both problems have the same simple solution: Clean the floor properly! A 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water and some elbow grease with a scouring sponge should do the trick. Alternatively a heavy duty tile & grout cleaner or a speciality grout haze remover, which is normally a mild acid formulation, may be necessary. These will remove both the grout residue an any detergent build-up. It is vital to follow the directions and most importantly to rinse thoroughly afterwards or you will have the same problem over again.

Our brochures are available here.
Product enquiries are welcome. Contact us here.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

New Brazilian Porcelain

This is Vanguard, an absolutely stunning new tile range from Brazil. Vanguard is premium inkjet porcelain. It comes in three colours, ivory, grey and grafiti each with a stunning deco version shown below. The deco is intended for feature areas like the counter wall in the photo above or as mix & match accents scattered among the plainer tiles.

Deco tiles. These and the plain tiles measure 51 x 103cm. All tiles are rectified and have a smooth satin finish.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Tile hardness; understanding the Mohs scale.

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a qualitative scale that characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material.

It was created in 1812 by the German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs.

A common requirement in our industry is to find out whether a tile is real porcelain or ceramic. You can use commercially available professional testing kits like the set depicted above or do a Mohs test yourself using commonly available materials you can find around the house or office.

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
10        Diamond

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.

Below is a quick reference chart of the Mohs scale with common item equivalents.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

What flooring lasts the longest?

When a customer comes into your store and expresses a need for a long-lasting floor, what do you answer? 

The short answer is ceramic tiles. They'll outlast any synthetic floor, natural wood, reinforced concrete or even steel by thousands of years!

Synthetics eventually degrade due to UV radiation, natural wood dries out or rots, concrete crumbles in time due to chemical action and all steel eventually rusts. These products will easily outlast their guarantee period but only ceramics are forever. The reason being that ceramics are vitified, meaning turned to glass. Technically in our industry this means having a water absorption of less that 0,5%, effectively the definition of porcelain.

To illustrate this answer I'd like you to take a look at some mosaics recently discovered in the ancient city of Zeugma in Turkey. Mosaics are essentially small glazed tiles (tesscera). The mosaics date back to 2nd century BCE, in other words they are over 2200 years old and in almost perfect condition.

One of the most amazing artifacts in the area is a collection of mosaics. Mosaics adorned the houses of wealthy residents that lived here thousands of years ago. Excavations at Zeugma started in 2007 and continue to this day.

The rising waters of the massive Birecik Dam on the Euphrates River brought about an emergency effort to salvage the artifacts left behind by the Roman civilization that once prospered here.

As the flood waters rose higher and higher, there was a lot of pressure to excavate the city. The image above shows the floodwaters rising over a mosaic floor. Today, 25% of the ancient town’s western bank is submerged 200-feet underwater and the eastern bank of the city is completely underwater. Still, there remains so much to be uncovered and learned in Zeugma.

It just goes to show, if you want a floor that will last more than a lifetime there's really only one choice... ceramic tile.

All the best from KREM tiles and the Link International team.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

How to advise customers to find a tiler.

How often has a customer been in your store and having selected tiles for a project then asked you, "Can you recommend a good tiler?" Now it may be that you work for a large retailer and you have a ready-list of "recommended tilers" that you can hand the customer but even if you do, you should do more than hand over the list, you should advise your customer. Because the recommended tilers are separate, independent  companies, you can never be absolutely assured that they will do a perfect job this time around. It's important that the customer take responsibility for appointing a tiler and not you. If anything goes wrong you don't want to be held accountable for something completely beyond your control. Remember the vast majority of tiling failures are due to improper installation not product defects.

So what do you say? Here are five points to mention to your customer.

1. Get other referrals. Not all projects are the same, ideally get referrals from friends, family or colleagues who have had similar projects successfully completed. Ask referees whether the tiler was professional, how was their communication? If there were delays were these adequately explained? Finally ask the all important, 'Would you hire that tiler again?' Now check other references from the tiler who should be happy to provide these.

2. When you meet with a prospective tiler consider whether they look and act professionally. What is your first impression? Now ask them to quote. It's almost impossible to quote accurately without a site visit so plan for this.

3. Get quotes from at least three tilers. Make sure the quotes include labour, equipment hire if any, materials and an estimate of how long the project will take. The purpose of this is not to find the cheapest quote but to evaluate whether the quotes are 'in the ballpark'. If one quote is vastly more or less than the others, be suspicious.

4. This point stands alone because it is so important: Get it in writing! This contract is really your only come-back if something does go wrong.

5. Lastly find out about maintenance and care from the tiler. Get this in writing too. Some installations will require special treatment for days or weeks after installation.

Good luck with advising your customers and naturally improving your own professional standing.

All the best from KREM tiles and the Link International team.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Photos from Coverings.

Below are just four of our new product panels on display at Coverings 2016
Click on the product name below the photo to download the brochure.





For prices and order enquiries contact Brin at Coverings today.

Looking forward to seeing you at the show,
The Link International team, KREM tiles. Booth 4036.

 Booth 4036

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Coverings Begins!

Our team have had a very busy weekend, setting up the stand.
Coverings 2016 opened yesterday.

The team, all dressed up and ready for day one!

Earlier...building the stand.
The link below is to a video pan of the expo hall prior to the stands being set up.

taking in the sights.

Looking forward to seeing you at the show,
The Link International team, KREM tiles. Booth 4036.

 Booth 4036

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Coverings in Chicago Next Week!

Our team are all driving or flying in today to commence assembling our stand and getting ready for the official opening next Monday.

If you want to meet with a company that has a range second to none, and can offer you a packaged service of Itallian designed products made on the latest equipment out of China, then you MUST visit our stand at Coverings 2016.

No one else at Coverings will offer you the complete suite of Quality, Range, Price, and Service in the manner that we will with our KREM brand.

If you are serious about wanting an edge that will provide you profitable growth in your sales, we will set aside some time to get to know what you are after, and match your needs to what we offer, we are sure you will be delighted and pleased you popped by.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon, The Link International team, KREM tiles.

 Booth 4036