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28 Jun 2016

Hyperealistic Porcelain Planks This is part of our Legno series….

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.

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.
21 Jun 2016

What to do about “Tiles that just won’t stay clean.”…

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.

What to do about
15 Jun 2016

New Brazilian Porcelain This is Vanguard, an absolutely stunning new…

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. The deco and plain tiles measure 51 x 103cm. All tiles are rectified and have a smooth satin finish.

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. The deco and plain tiles measure 51 x 103cm. All tiles are rectified and have a smooth satin finish.
31 May 2016

Tile hardness; understanding the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale of…

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 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 the one depicted is perfect.

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

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 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 the one depicted is perfect.

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