Tiling trends present new opportunities in construction
The construction sector continues to look at the opportunities presented by the latest new products from tile manufacturers. Ian Kershaw, chairman of The Tile Association, considers some of these.
With a variety of new products being offered by tiling manufacturers and distributors, there are new opportunities available in the construction sector. Modern tiling certainly has a lot to offer.
The market is being driven by trends such as the popularity of larger format tiles, and specifiers are now more willing to look at new product types. An example of this is the growth in underfloor heating (UFH). Current growth rates of UFH, according to one manufacturer, are around 90 per cent per annum. UFH systems can either be electric, which are typically used to heat small areas, such as bathrooms, or wet systems which link with the general heating system of a building. The technology for underfloor heating is not new – in fact in origin it goes back to Roman times, and the benefits are many – freeing up space, cleanliness, economy and consistency of heat output, to name just a few.
UFH is easier to install nowadays, with the use of new screed panel systems which eliminate some of the problems which can be associated with traditional ‘built-up’ heated floors, such as the height and weight of the floor installation, the tendency for cracking and intolerance to movement within the floor substrate. The new generation of screed panels eliminates most of these problems and simplifies installation at a stroke.
With regard to the aesthetic of tile one has to look to the big European exhibitions to spot what might be heading our way. Geometrics, multi-layered tiles, relief and textured tiles are all to be found on the international scene just now. Wood-effect porcelain tiles for floors and walls have been around for a few years and have very much been to the fore in the annual Tile Association Awards during the last couple of years. Undoubtedly there is more growth to come in that particular aesthetic. The popularity of timber flooring is well-established – the tiled version is longer-lasting, as well as easier to clean and maintain. Many of the products now available come in a choice of wood hues, such as teak brown, dark oak, green oak, mid oak, washed oak and silver grey and with a natural sheen. Unlike wood, which requires nurturing over time and will soon reveal scuffs and scratches, porcelain tiles simply need a wipe clean.
Now one of the latest trends is metallic-effect tiles, made possible by new inkjet technologies for ceramics. Glazes are also popular, offering a high lustrous finish, which can be highly effective in certain applications.
Another trend is towards large format porcelain tiles, where 315 x 1,000mm is not uncommon. One of the entries in a recent TTA Awards featured a tile used externally in a domestic project, which was 3m x 1m in size. While not all tiling involves these extremes, it does show what is possible, particularly since the tile in question was just 3mm thick, and is unique in that regard. Large format tiles need not necessarily be incredibly heavy.
Natural stone is an area which is growing in popularity, although there remains a perception that natural stone tiles are difficult to fit, due to varying thicknesses. If this variation is not accommodated within the screed depth, then the floor will not be level.
The tiling market continues to show great diversity and innovation, reflecting the fact that, while providing a highly practical floorcovering, it is at the same time a fashion-driven sector.
Armatile is the leading surface design manufacturer in the UK
Armatile specialises in the design and creation of truly innovative tile and mosaic surfaces for interior, commercial and residential projects.
Established in 1975 Armatile is a dynamic, innovative tile company with high specification technology and skilled, informed personnel. In 2000, the company invested in a manufacturing facility, and is now renowned for designing and creating bespoke and award-winning surface solutions that simply cannot be created anywhere else.
Utilising waterjet cutting and laser etching technologies it creates intricate designs to any scale that delivers high quality decorative tile surfaces for a broad range of sectors including hospitality, retail, commercial and historic restoration.
Armatile’s surfaces have been used extensively by Architects and Designers on international projects ranging from the authentically traditional to the truly outrageous in countries including Dubai, France, USA, Canada, Russia, as well as throughout the UK and Ireland.
LEVATO MONO PORCELAIN PAVER SYSTEM – Ideal for Roof terrace/decking/balcony/walkway makeovers
High load and impact resistance; extreme wear and scratch resistance; frost and fireproof; colour fast and extremely resistant to staining; resistance to mould and algae growth – these qualities ensure an extremely low maintenance and trouble free flooring solution. And now with co-ordinating internal tiling available allowing for seamless visual transition between internal and external spaces.
Used in conjunction with height adjustable fixed – head/self- levelling pedestals or fixed height paver support pads, the Levato Mono system makes it possible to create perfectly level surfaces over uneven sub-surfaces. Ideal for installation over all waterproof membranes our support systems cover height ranges from 7mm to 550mm and incorporate a patented self-levelling slope correction facility with the convenience of height adjustment after the pavers are installed.
Available in 40+ colours and finishes in both ultra-realistic timber and stone effect, by combining 3D printing and mould making technology to reproduce identical copies of natural materials and with up to 30 prints available for each paver range. Once laid, the eye is unable to discern any replicated pattern allowing for a completely natural looking surface. Specified for external areas at London Zoo, LIDL HQ Northfleet, Jamies Italian Brighton, Batsford Arboretum, Bristol Airport East Terminal Extension and the new Portico Terrace at Theatre Royal Drury Lane – where Levato Mono sandstone effect paver ranges were considered so similar to natural sandstone material that is was sanctioned for use on a Grade I listed building by English Heritage.
Levato Mono porcelain paver system benefits at a glance…
- ‘Floating floor’ – installation over single ply membranes.
- Eternal product – zero maintenance required, offering massive over-life savings.
- Highly abrasion and stain resistant.
- Highly slip resistant; R11 and achieved up to +65 wet in the BS pendulum test.
- Lightweight – 45kgs per m2.
- High load bearing and impact resistance.
- Timber & stone effects; 40+ finishes available.
- Ideal for balconies, roof terraces and piazzas, for both commercial and residential use.
- Completely non porous.
- Fire & frost proof.
- Height adjustable supports to raise surface from 9mm up to 550mm.
For more information, please visit: www.thedecktileco.co.uk.
- 0845 2700 696