Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Our New Tile Cutting Operation in Pictures.

Recently we assembled four sets of tile sample folders for some of our overseas sales people... by hand. Of course 'by hand' is really the only way it can be done. The folders were printed (and then hand assembled). The tile pieces were carefully cut on rotary tile saws to 90x45mm and 45x45mm, glued onto the boards with flexible tile adhesive and then labelled with self-adhesive labels. Precision tile cutting was contracted out. It was an expensive, painstaking and time-consuming job but the results were certainly worthwhile.

Each folder weighs 5kg so they make an impact on your flight luggage allowance!

Above are a set of two folders opened, 4 pages each.

Now we've decided to industrialize the process so we can produce more, faster cheaper. Most won't be as complex as the one's we've just done but will be portable displays of a particular range.

First we needed tile storage in the warehouse space we've rented adjoining our offices and display room.

Then, and most critically we acquired a water cooled rotary tile cutter. Here's our Tomecanic Supra 300 being tested. It cuts beautifully; precisely and accurately.

Next: Layout tables and designing and printing new folders.
We'll keep you updated.

Visit our KREM website.

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

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

How to Answer Tile Complaints about Cracks & Lippage.

Firing cracks

Complaint: There are small cracks on the edges of the tiles.

Sometimes a fault occurs in manufacturing that causes what appears to be a crack in the glaze, normallty at the edge of the tile. This is a firing crack. It is caused by uneven expansion and contraction.  Generally, these tiles are removed during sorting and grading and sometimes when tiles are cut to exact size (rectification). Sometimes a faulted tile does slip through. These should not be installed. The unmarked area of the tile is fine and should be using as a cut tile, but the damaged glaze makes it unsuitable for a whole tile to be laid. A tiler should put any tile with a visible fault like this to one side and use it for a cut tile when needed.
What do I say to the customer?
These tiles will be exchanged or credited by the Retailer where they were purchased from. If a few imperfect tiles have been laid, especially with firing cracks, they should be replaced by the tiler before the job is finished. Faulted tiles must not be laid. Every single tile should be inspected for faults by the tiler.

lipping and irregular grout

Complaint: The edges and joints of the tiles are uneven.

An uneven surface, different thicknesses of grouting, irregularities. A good, professional tile laying project will ensure that all the joints are even and the edges of each tile are level. When two tiles are not level and the edge of one is higher than the next, it is referred to as lippage. You can see a good example in the photograph above. This is inevitably the fault of the tiler not the tile. Although tiles may vary fractionally in thickness it is very rare for the thickness to exceed the international standards. If a tiler leaves the project with tile lippage, he should be prepared to come back and fix them fix them.
Lippage can occur if the tiler sets large or heavy tiles into a thick bed of adhesive and the tile settles or slumps unevenly into the adhesive. There are special adhesives available for these large format tiles that will minimize this issue. If a tile is not quite flat, extra care must be taken when laying to avoid lipping. There are standards within ceramic manufacturing that allow for a certain amount of curvature across a tile, variation in tile thickness, straightness and size. Only tiles that satisfy the standard will be sold as first grade and these can be laid without any lipping or noticeable faults.
What do I say to the customer?
If the finished tiled floor has uneven grout joints, or lippage on the edges of tiles, you should point out that the cause is the skill or lack thereof of the tiler and recommend that the customer should talk to the tiler or builder about rectification. Lippage is a safety risk as people can trip. Also, where the surface of a floor between tiles is uneven, it is likely that the tiles will chip. This is especially the case if heavy furniture is dragged across the uneven edge. Tiles will last a long time if they are laid flat and even with even grout joints.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

How to identify tile surface finishes.

Surface finishing is the processing of a tile in order to achieve certain surface roughness or smoothness. Some processes are part of the pre-firing stage, such as pressing a surface texture into the tile. Other processes are post firing, such as polishing. There are five basic finishes.

Matt finish: a smooth natural looking tile with a non-reflective surface. Tends to have slightly better non-slip properties too.

Polished finish: Highly reflective and very smooth. Achieved by polishing with multiple heads post firing.

Lapatto finish: Semi polished. Achieved by polishing with an abrasive wheel but non long enough to attain the luster of a typical polished tile.

Bush Hammered finish: With natural stone tiles this finish is achieved 
with tools such as a chisel in order to obtain a rustic, rough surface;. With ceramic and porcelain tiles the texture is pressed into the tile body before firing. A bush hammer finish tends to be a consistent bumpy surface across the tile which improves anti-slip properties. Our Boston range uses this finish.

Textured finish. Similar to bush hammered this surface tends to emulate the material it resembles so wood-look tiles are pressed with a wood grain, rock-look tiles, like slate will be pressed with natural variations resembling the stone. Textures can be generic, the same texture patter on all tiles or in-register meaning that the texture exactly matches the design of each tile.

Some of our technical tile ranges like Titan and Seul are available in multiple finishes.