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ISO 45001 & Risk Management during Covid-19

ISO 45001 our new H&S accreditation & how it helped with risk management during COVID-19

As is the case for any responsible Manufacturing business, it is a fundamental requirement to have in place a structured and fully engaged Health & Safety Management System, whereby the first priority is always the Health, Safety & Welfare of all those the business employs or comes into contact with.

Palace Chemicals has long since maintained an effective Health & Safety Management structure, which for the past 6 years has been accredited by the BSI to BS OHSAS 18001:2007 – The UK standard for Occupational Health & Safety Management. This British Standard has recently been superseded by the new International Standard – ISO 45001:2018 which applies a broader risk-based approach to ensuring all health & safety management controls within any business are constantly assessed & reviewed to ensure the system remains effective & fully compliant.

Palace Chemicals Ltd have recently completed the migration process towards accreditation from BS OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001, a program of work which has been in progress for almost 2 years and which by early May 2020 had attained 100% accreditation to the new International standard.

The benefit of having this modern approach for our health & safety management system could not have been more relevant & valuable than during the recent Covid-19 outbreak. This developing crisis required all aspects of the business operation (Manufacturing, Transport, Distribution & Administration) to assess & identify how, when & where action needed to be taken to reduce the risk of infection. The process of risk assessment included identifying the most effective means of protection for all those who engage with the business, both internally as employees and externally with contractors, customers, drivers and any other persons or organisations we may interact with.

The principles which underpin our Health & Safety Management system required the identification of all activities where a risk may arise combined followed by the application of effective control measures; changes to operating procedures and where appropriate the elimination of activities. All options were considered and applied as necessary to ensure the most effective means of social distancing controls and hygiene controls could be introduced so long as Covid-19 remains a threat to society.

Throughout this time, it has been important to maintain a constant and highly visible level of daily communication with all persons who engage with the business both internally & externally to increase awareness as much as possible for all those at risk and clearly advise what was expected from them for their own protection. The distribution of internal memos, posters, markings on Hi-Viz tabards, floor markings and reduced access features to visitors are all examples of what has now become custom & practice throughout the working day.

As is the case for the wider society, the level of engagement with the control measures in place depends greatly upon the behaviour of those we seek to protect. Hence it remains a fundamental requirement for all our management team to constantly observe & review those controls and identify where they can be improved, either by increasing the level of process intervention, or having to remind, emphasise and ultimately enforce the control measures established for all individuals to follow & take personal responsibility in maintaining the necessary standards of social distancing & hygiene.

Our new accreditation to ISO 45001 demonstrates its versatility in applying the principles of control needed when managing any type of hazard or harm that can present a risk to all involved with the scope of the business. Covid-19 has presented unique challenges and was certainly not a foreseen hazard to our staff & visitors, but nonetheless the structure of our modern ISO 45001 accredited Health & Safety Management System has proven its role in identifying, applying, monitoring & assessing the effectiveness of the measures we have taken to reduce or eliminate all types of risk within a busy manufacturing environment.

For enquiries or orders email us here. Or give us a call on 01513369111 for more information on our product ranges.

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Home & Hardware During Lockdown

How the lockdown switched demand to “Home & Hardware” and how we reacted as a business

In late March earlier this year as the full impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic was beginning to dawn on many businesses, that not only would serious decisions need taking to protect both our employees welfare and the financial well-being of the business, we would also still need to maintain a basic level of operational activity should there be anyone out there still wanting to place orders.

With over 70% of our staff furloughed and major areas of our production plant at a virtual shut down, the only glimmer of hope for any degree of continuity lay in the governments’ exemption for “Home & Hardware” stores. For many years, our well-established DIY product range had long been a favourite option for the independent local DIY & Hardware outlets in a way that the now “on-line only” major multiple DIY store chains had never been drawn to.

After a short period where it felt that even the retained remnants of our workforce may be searching for anything to manufacture, it soon became apparent within just a few days, that the fine weather many of their furloughed colleagues were enjoying was about to activate a Spring Rush for the DIY leisure products. These included seasonal favourites such as Fenceguard & Creo-Coat Shed & Fence stains; Exterior Decorative Masonry Paints; Patio Cleaners; Exterior Waterseal, Light-weight Fillers & all types of Decorating Sundries.

All are easy to use familiar products that a population with time on its hands and nowhere to go, was now searching for in large numbers and their nearest outlets were the exempted local independent shops & merchants.

It wasn’t just a case of supplying the established product range, as demand for new colour variants (notably Lunar Grey shed & Fence Stain & Masonry Paint) necessitated a rapid turnaround of product development work & supply chain support. Despite very limited availability of many essential materials & components throughout this period, Palace Chemicals was still able to ensure that their customers’ product demands soon became readily available stock items, including new fashionable additions to our now expanding DIY range.

The demand from the independent home & hardware outlets rose exponentially to volume levels we would normally associate with the major DIY chains spring promotions and it became necessary for the company to begin steadily recalling our furloughed staff so that we were in a position to re-start & ramp up production levels to progressively meet the unexpectedly high level of demand for all the above product categories.

Indeed many of our retained & returning employees quickly applied themselves to unfamiliar tasks & production roles which hadn’t been as busy for several years, but nevertheless everyone rose to meet the challenge of keeping up with the Lockdown DIY boom, by ensuring all our Home & Hardware customers received their unusually inflated orders on time in full and wherever in the country they were calling from.

The experience of the lock-down months of April-May 2020 demonstrated the versatility & “can do attitude” of the company, its staff and their ability to turnaround process infrastructure & working patterns to react positively & competently to the unfamiliar market & customer demands of the time. It remains one of the unique qualities of a wholly independent business, unencumbered by corporate controls that we can always remain close & responsive to customer needs, especially those of a similarly independent background.

For enquiries or orders email us here. Or give us a call on 01513369111 for more information on our popular product ranges.

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New Products

Listening to the customer and anticipating market demands

Palace Chemicals, like most other manufacturing businesses, sends out a lot of marketing information and details of our products. The message that generally comes across is about the growth of the existing range. There’s nothing wrong with that, it helps us to grow as a business and helps our customers to grow their business as well. We all need to keep doing what we can to ensure our business and our people are economically and physically safe through these uncertain times, particularly as lockdown is gradually eased.

As one of the UK’s largest independent manufacturers of Tiling, Building & DIY products, Palace Chemicals has the capability, technology and capacity to launch any product type into our industry – but that isn’t what makes us different. It’s the way we go about it that makes Palace Chemicals unique.

The age old adage of using the two things we were given is really our point of difference. Our ears and our eyes. We’ve used our ears and listened to our customers – both current and potential. We’ve used our eyes to look at what is right for our customers, not in terms of what fits to complement our existing range, but what is needed. “What we know” and “What is wanted” are two very different things.

Having had a chance to assess the market, the requirements of the here and now as well as the future, we’ve developed new products that meet the market need. We’re now producing a range of products for our customers that are seeing us fighting to keep up with demand. We’re listening to our customers and anticipating the need, and adjusting to suit.

Want to know more about our new products? Why not visit our website and see what we’ve been up to with our new ranges that the market have asked for.

For enquiries or orders email us here. Or give us a call on 01513369111 for more information on our vast product range.

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Covid-19 Risks & Opportunities

How the Risks became an Opportunity for Palace Chemicals introducing Hand & Surface Sanitiser

Understanding the risks & opportunities which confront our business is at the cornerstone of the Quality, Environmental & Health & Safety Management systems Palace Chemicals Ltd has been accredited with and the challenges presented by Covid-19 were managed in a methodical, documented & controlled approach to ensure that whatever the positive & negative effects of the crisis may be, our response to dealing with them is planned, communicated, understood & acted upon by all management & staff involved.

In terms of risks presented by Covid-19, our first priority was to the health, safety & well-being of all our staff & site visitors, who were advised by all means of the necessary social distancing measures, such as pathway spacing, staggered breaks, increased hand sanitisation & the avoidance by 2 metres of any close contact with fellow employees. As the wider crisis deepened, it soon became necessary to furlough up to 70% of staff, which no doubt assisted with social distancing and eased the obvious financial risk to the business as the impact of the lock-down on our customers became all too apparent.

At that point in time, evidence of opportunities seemed thin on the ground, however one of the unique strengths of Palace Chemicals has always been its’ diverse capability as a manufacturer. As a business with a wide-ranging portfolio of manufactured products, we found ourselves still under increasingly high demand from key sectors throughout the lockdown, most notably for Surgical Spirit, a solvent-based product where we have supplied millions of units for over 25 years to some of the UK’s leading high street pharmacies.

Surgical Spirit is classed as highly flammable and manufacturing alcohol-based compositions of this type require a high degree of built-in plant health & safety control systems, essential for managing the hazards & risks associated with solvents of this type. These established assets have always been maintained and monitored within our Solvent packing plant & ensured the company had the standard of facilities needed to store, process & pack all products based on this category of solvent, which could now include Alcohol based sanitisers, in the form of Hand Gels & Hard Surface spray applied cleaners, both part of the key defence advised by the government enabling all the population to meet the necessary increased degree of hygiene controls now a part of everyday life.

Adhering strictly to guidance from the World Health Organisation, formulation were developed & tested by both our R&D function and an accredited microbiological testing laboratory to ensure the products we now offer have the appropriate degree of efficacy and skin compatibility, both essential requirements for this now daily hygienic practice to be conducted safely and with confidence by all end users.

Whilst there have been many examples of independent beverage producers and similar small-scale operators stepping up to meet this need, very few had an existing high-volume automated mixing & packing line readily available for supplying Alcohol based sanitisers in the industrial quantities now being called for, both for hand hygiene and hard surface cleaning as a Surface Sanitiser Spray.

This facility enabled Palace Chemicals Ltd to quickly supply in repeated full vehicle loads, the large distribution companies with the existing national networks needed to meet this demand & get this product to the market in volume with the speed of delivery needed.

As sanitising & hygiene control will now become a more prominent necessity for all our lifestyles in the defence against Covis-19, the manufacturing operation at Palace Chemicals Ltd will continue to play a significant role in meeting the needs of all major outlets for Alcohol Hand Gels and Spray applied Hard surface Sanitisers.

For enquiries or orders email us here. Or give us a call on 01513369111 for more information.

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Laticrete Dazzle’s with Spectralock Pro

From grand building projects to quirky artworks: Laticrete UK products are proving time and time again that no job is too big or small; the latest being a piece of art featuring 1,500 pennies.

Carrie Reichardt’s resin dog was covered in hundreds of 1p coins using Laticrete UK’s Spectralock® Pro Premium Grout and Spectralock® Dazzle on the artwork in copper to complement the pennies with a bit of sparkly bling!

The piece was created as part of a ‘Pooch Program’ scheme by the Contemporary Art Foundation and it is one of a number of creations aimed at inspiring hard-to-reach young people to access street art. Carrie, whose house in London is covered in mosaics, has forged a partnership with industry leading Laticrete UK and its umbrella brand Palace Chemicals, which have been supporting her work since 2017. She asked Steve Ball, Commercial Director at Liverpool-based Laticrete UK and Palace Chemicals, if he could help supply the best possible grout for the job. So he sprang into action and arranged for some Spectralock® Pro Premium Grout and Spectralock® Dazzle to be sent Carrie’s way.

Carrie said: “I stuck the pennies on with glue and Laticrete UK kindly provided me with grout to use. I’d never used it before. It’s also the first time I’d used pennies and I wanted to use Laticrete Spectralock® Pro Premium Grout in particular to make it harmonious with the sparkly copper finish. I wanted the grout to blend as much as possible to make it shiny, because people like shiny stuff and a bit of bling. It was really easy to use, and it came out really well.” Carrie’s piece will be one of a number of ‘pooches’, which will be sent around school- based workshops to inspire students to design and make their own plastic dog sculpture and the dogs will go on display at a London Gallery alongside the featured artists’ pooch pieces, culminating in a “Crufts for contemporary art” awards evening. 

Speaking of being involved in such a rewarding scheme, Carrie said: “I’m pleased to think it’s encouraging young people to get involved in art, to make it very accessible and kids love it.” It took around three weeks to complete the 50cm-high piece, with help from Carrie’s assistant Jessie McCallum and fellow artist Eoghan Ebrill and Carrie says she has only ever used Laticrete products since being introduced to the supreme products three years ago. 

Laticrete Spectralock® Pro Premium Grout is a patented, high-performance cement free grout that offers colour uniformity, durability and stain resistance with extraordinary ease of application unlike any other epoxy-based grouting system, making it the ideal choice for this project. It can be used on ceramic tile, glass tile and stone applications, in both residential and commercial settings and in interiors and exteriors.

For those wanting to add a little sparkle and that WOW factor just like Carrie has, Spectralock® Dazzle offers incredible design possibilities to enhance tile and stone applications by accentuating the grout appearance through various metallic and glow- in-the-dark components. It can be mixed with any of our 40 vibrant colours to produce hundreds of stunning design combinations when used with metallic, glass, porcelain or any other type of tile. 

Laticrete Spectralock® Pro Premium Grout and Spectralock® Dazzle is ideal for pools, spas, backsplashes and bathroom installations and the exclusive glow-in-the-dark component enhances the installation even when the lights are turned off. Charles Clapham MBE, managing director of Palace Chemicals and Laticrete UK, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see our relationship with Carrie Reichardt continuing, with her latest quirky piece of art. We are glad we were able to provide her with quality, enhancing grout for her work and hope it inspires as many young people to get into art as possible.”

Read more about the products featured here: Laticrete Spectralock Pro and Spectralock Dazzle.

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Lion Tiles Roars into action with Student Development

Leeds-based Lion Tiles has taken great ‘pride’ in its involvement in bringing a new luxury student development to fruition and used the multi-million-pound opportunity to cement a long-standing partnership with Liverpool based Palace Chemicals and LATICRETE UK.

Lion Tiles won the contract for all of the bathrooms for the student living scheme in Leeds on behalf of Roza Construction, which consisted of two large scale developments. The completion of the first development of 54 apartments at the £9.5million Kimberley House, left developers ‘delighted’ with the finished result. Kam Tadbir is Managing Director of Lion Tiles, which specialises in large-format polished porcelain tiles and is a sole distributor of tiles by Spanish brand Cero Cuarenta. He said: “The team at Roza Construction had spotted some large-format tiles they liked and came to Lion Tiles to see if we could assist them. Such a high-end development required only the very best tiles and adhesives and we were keen to meet these high standards.

Company Director Mo Rastegar and I made it our personal mission to find what they were looking for and took a sample of their preferred tile. We sent it to the Cero Cuarenta headquarters in Spain to see what they could do. The two tiles selected were white with a light grey vein and white with a gold vein.” The team at Lion Tiles had the tiles specifically made for Roza Construction, which meant that the quality of the installation, which also houses a cinema, gym and a Co-op, could be completed to a high specification. Such a high-quality build meant that only the very best adhesives would pass the test, so Roza Construction opted to use Laticrete 335R Superflex Rapid, which is a grey adhesive and ideal for the job due to its fast-setting, high-performance properties.

Laticrete 335R Superflex Rapid adhesive is also the perfect solution when time is limited, and fast access is needed to complete the grouting. It is also handy for use when fixing over heated sub-floor, fully immersed tile installations or in external locations. The team behind Roza Construction also opted for Palace Anti-Mould Grout, which is a flexible, cement-based, tile grouting compound. Available in a broad range of colour shades for joints from up to 15mm wide around all types of tiles. The Kimberley House scheme began in April 2019 and is now completed, but this wasn’t the end of this fantastic partnership. Lion Tiles also teamed up with Roza Construction to tile the bathrooms in a second successful luxury student development consisting of 44 apartments.

This project based in Hyde Park Leeds, resulted in Victorian houses and newer offices being converted into one building. Completion of this build is expected shortly. Tiling an impressive 3,200 sq. metres of tiles in total, the developers again opted for Laticrete 335R Superflex Rapid and Palace Anti-Mould Grout in grey. Charles Clapham MBE, Managing Director of Liverpool-based Palace Chemicals and LATICRETE UK, said: “We are delighted that Lion Tiles are able to take on such prestigious schemes and that our products have enabled such high-quality finishes.”

Read more about the products featured here: Laticrete 335r Superflex Rapid and Palace Anti-Mould Grout.

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Lion Tiles’ Leeds Renovation

Lion Tiles (a trading name of National Tiles) in Leeds took on a house renovation project to extend an open plan living and kitchen area, which included some indoor – outdoor living on a large scale.

The project included 600 by 1,200 by 11mm tiles on the kitchen floor and 450 by 900 by 20mm tiles on a 50 sq. meter exterior balcony. Lion Tiles used Palace Chemicals Fast-Flex Floor leveller to level the floor on an area which measured around 100 sq. metres. Kam Tadbir, Managing Director of National Tiles said: “In the past, I have used a lot of Indian sandstone outside, but these were porcelain, which are pretty new products for us to use outside. The customer wanted to go for a different look; so they decided to go for polished tile inside, and a matt finish for the outside.” Lion Tiles also used Laticrete 335R Superflex White Rapid Adhesive and Palace Anti-Mould Grout on the scheme, which were laid over electric under-floor heating. 

Tadbir, who has been in the tile and stone business for 20 years, said Lion Tiles had been using Palace and Laticrete products since the contract business was established just over a year ago. “I have been in this business for a long time and we had a choice of a few different companies’ products,” explains Tadbir. “James Broadhead (Palace and Laticrete Area Sales Manager) came to see us. We like him. He is a very friendly guy, and his product knowledge is really good. We tried some samples of adhesive and grout, and gave it to the tilers. They like the product, so we decided to go with Palace.”

“Although mainly used for commercial projects up to now we have seen a huge increase in demand for larger format tiles. Our client saw these larger tiles and loved them and was looking at using a separate tiler, who said they were too big for the area. However, we recommended using our own tilers – they are well prepared and have the right equipment and cutting was not a problem. We have used larger tiles a lot in bathrooms and wet rooms – the advantage is you have less grout joints so it’s a lot better finish, and it’s a lot quicker to lay”, adds Tadbir.

Broadhead, echoes Tadbir’s views on the popularity of larger format tiles. “That’s the way the industry is going at the moment. The tiles are getting bigger and bigger. I’m coming across tiles that are 1,200 by 1,200 mm, or even 1,600 by 1,600m. Although it’s not always achievable, you need to get as close to 100 percent coverage on the back of the tiles. We have Palace Flexi-Set Pourable Thick Bed Adhesive, which assists in achieving this due to its thixotropic properties.”

Palace Fast-Flex Floor leveller is recommended for application over a comprehensive range of floor surfaces such as tamped or worn concrete and sand/cement floor screeds. It is particularly suited for installation in conjunction with heated sub-floors and can readily accommodate most types of wire-based and pipe fed sub-tile heating systems. It provides excellent levelling and floor to give a super-smooth finish; high early strength takes foot traffic after three hours; it can be laid from 2mm up to a 30mm bed depth. The single-part, protein-free formula for pump application can fix tiles after four hours and floor coverings after 24 hours. 

Laticrete 335R Superflex conforms to BS EN 12004 C2FTE-S1 and is a fast-setting high-performance polymer fortified cement-based adhesive to be mixed with water when fixing wall and floor tile and stone, including low absorption porcelain; vitrified tiles and natural stone were the white version is particularly recommended for light stone and marble. Palace Anti-Mould Grout is a flexible, cement-based, tile grouting compound available in a broad range of colour shades, for joints from up to 15mm wide around all types of tiles. 

It contains a fungicide which prevents the growth of black spot mould and can be applied using a sponge or rubber squeegee in areas where tiles are fixed to timber or where sub-floor heating is installed. It conforms to BS EN 13888 CG2 WA and has a four-hour working time. 

Read more about the products featured here: Fast-Flex, Laticrete 335R Superflex, Anti-Mould, Pour-Able Thick Bed

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Mark Kennedy’s Leeds Legends Inspired by Laticrete

Manchester-based artist Mark Kennedy crafted the intricate place out of broken glass, Johnson Tiles and Spectralock Pro Premium Grout from Laticrete UK, a brand of Palace Chemicals. 

It will be a feature of the new El Gato Negro tapas restaurant, which has opened in Leeds following the success of its critically-acclaimed sister venues in Manchester and Liverpool. Kennedy, who has been supported by Laticrete UK for over 10 years, said the brand’s products are “world leaders” and are the best for helping him to create amazing designs. The 6ft by 4ft montage features the city’s homegrown talent including the Back to Based club nights, Leeds United midfielder Billy Bremner, the Yorkshire Rose emblem, the motif of the indie band The Wedding Present, City Varieties Music Hall, The Yorkshire Ride bus, the Yorkshire TV logo, Rowntrees sweets symbol, Lee Francis’ Spice Girls Mel B Bo’ Selecta character, the Leeds own motif, Tetley’s beer and kids’ favourite Sooty.

Kennedy who teamed up with his partner and collaborator Mary Goodwin (a Yorkshire las) on the piece who has been working with the El Gato Negro brand for 15 years. Chef patron and creative director Simon Shaw brought his acclaimed tapas restaurant to Manchester in February 2016. Relocating from a former pub in Ripponden near Halifax, to an elegant converted townhouse on Kind Street in the heart of the city centre was a bold move, but one which helped cement his reputation and establish El Gato Negro as one of the North West’s most successful restaurants. 

A sister restaurant, Canto in Ancoats – an area just north east of Manchester city centre and home to Kennedy – was rated 13th coolest place in the world by Time Out magazine last year. It was followed by a second El Gato Negro in Liverpool in August, with the Leeds eatery, launching on 1st November. Kennedy’s work, using vintage glass and Spectralock Pro Premium, can be seen in all of the branches. “I’m part of the El Gato Negro identity” he says.

On the Leeds piece; Kennedy used 100-year-old glass, which was sent from Oxford University after being dug from the ground of the foundries in Ancoats: known as Little Italy, due to the Italian migrants who settles there and made the area famous for mosaics and ice cream. Kennedy used Spectralock Pro Premium in antique white. “The reason I chose it,” explains Kennedy, is because it’s a resin-based material, which means it’s got a very solid grip. Also with it being glass, it has to be held very tightly, whereas cement or grout don’t tend to have the same grip as resin. Glass is difficult to hold, in the sense that it’s smooth.”

Kennedy added that Spectralock, which he also used on his mosaics at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, is a “material that has a rich tighter grip than a powder-based adhesive. The scope of Laticrete products is massive,” he continues. “That gives me a choice that I can’t find with any other brand. They are over and above any other company. There’s no doubt about it – they are world leaders. El Gato Negro are very happy with the Leeds piece.”

Spectralock Pro Premium Grout is a patented, high performance maintenance free epoxy grout which offers excellent colour uniformity, durability, stain protection, and beautiful, full grout joints in an easy-to-use, non-sag formula. It is designed for use on ceramic tile, glass tile and stone applications, both residential and commercial. It can be used on both interior and exterior floors and walls. Ideal for re-grouting applications. Spectralock Pro Premium is perfect for swimming pools, fountains and other wet area applications. 

It is stain proof and east to maintain, clean to the original colour, meets performance requirements of EN 13888 RG and has 80 minutes working time at 21°c. Spectralock Pro Premium also inhibits the growth of stain-causing mould and mildew in the grout joints with antimicrobial product penetration. It is ideal for installations at wide temperature ranges, tough, durable and crack-resistant, out performs cement based grout and its sticking appearance can be further enhanced by the incorporation of its high fashion ‘dazzle’ feature. 

Charles Clapham, Managing Director of Palace Chemicals, said “We are very impressed with Mark Kennedy’s latest mosaic work for El Gato, and are proud that our Laticrete Spectralock Pro Premium Grout helped him to achieve such a stunning end-result.”

Click here to learn more about Spectralock Pro Premium Grout. 

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Apex Tiling’s Prestigious London Gig

Apex Tilers has just completed a contract tiling the swimming pool area of a prestigious London development.

The firm, which was founded 11 years ago, was awarded the job at The Lancasters, The W2 postcode’s most desirable address, which faces Hyde Park and offers 24 hours concierge and leisure facilities. With luxury two-bed apartments retailing at around £2.25m, only the best quality amenities will do for the site. Apex Tilers based in Central London, carries out work nationwide. A team of five men spent three weeks on the tiling work, tiling the 20m by 5m pool as well as the walls and floors. It covered an area of 120 sq. meters and was ‘smooth sailing’, largely down to Palace Chemicals products.

The used Laticrete Hydro Ban, Palace Easi-Flex Wall & Floor Adhesive and SBR Bond on the project. Matthew Farrugia, Contracts Manager at Apex Tiling said “Laticrete Hydro Ban was used to line the walls to give an extra layer of protection and a seamless seal. You don’t need any meshing or joining tape, it’s magical stuff.” SBR Bond was used a primer. Farrugia added that the contract was awarded following recommendations after previous prestigious work.

“The work ran through smoothly”, reports Farrugia. “The client is over the moon with the tiling work.” Apex Tiling, which employs 11 tilers, has used Palace Chemicals and Laticrete UK on a post of high-end projects, including all of the tiled areas of the Sytner Leicester BMW head office. “The secret to our success is hard work,” comments Farrugia, “but we have always used Palace Chemicals since we started out 11 years ago, and have a friend who is using them at the time. He has been going for 25 years and directed me to it.”

Farrugia added that his team will be using Laticrete UK products – a brand of Palace Chemicals – on a forthcoming scheme at the prestigious Imperial College London. Apex has also used Laticrete UK products on three levels of an office block in the Tower Bridge area. Laticrete Hydro Ban is a thin, load-bearing waterproofing/crack isolation membrane that does not require the use of fabric in the field, coves or corners. Hydro Ban is a single component self-curing liquid rubber polymer that forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane, and bonds directly to a wide variety of substrates. 

Hydro Ban allows for flood testing in two hours at 21°c or higher, bonds directly to metal, PVC and ABS plumbing fixtures and is only 0.5 to 0.8mm thick when cured. Easi-Flex is an easy-to-use standard setting adhesive for fixing ceramic tiles, mosaics, marble and natural stone to solid impermeable floors, including those where sub-tile heating is installed. Available in white or grey, it gives a four-hour working time before curing at 24 hours to a fully water resistant bond suitable for interior/exterior use and location which are frequently wet. Its long open time and excellent non-slip properties make it the perfect choice for fixing large format wall tiles in circumstances where a ready-mixed adhesive would not be suitable.

SBR Bond can be used as a primer, bonding agent and sealer to improve adhesion strength between tile adhesives and floor screeds on a range of surfaces. It can be applied to a wide range of building materials including those where contract with water is likely. SBR Bond reduces surface porosity, dusting and improves initial tack so that subsequently applied adhesives, renders or screeds can achieve a secure and lasting key. It can act as a primer for porous worn surfaces, seals and protects porous timbers, mixes with cement to form a bonding slurry, forms a water-resistant protective seal and is an adhesion-promoting admixture in cement and mortar.

Charles Clapham, Managing Director of Palace Chemicals, said “we congratulate Apex Tilers on their achievements and prestigious schemes. It is especially pleasing to know that our products have helped on their road to success over the past 11 years. Long may our winning partnership continue.” 

Click here to learn more about Hydro Ban, for Easi-Flex and SBR Bond.

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The Golden Carp

David Arnott insists that he “wouldn’t go using anything else” following a successful four-year partnership with the Laticrete UK brand, which is part of Liverpool-based Palace Chemicals.

The Manchester-based artist has previously worked on luxury projects, including the world’s most expensive roulette table, which he made in collaboration with the designer Debbie Wingham, featuring no less than £30,000 worth of 24-carat gold tile, Swarovski crystals and a real black diamond, alongside Laticrete UK and Palace Chemicals products. David recently mixed diamond dust with Spectralock Pro Premium Grout from Laticrete on a mosaic of Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground. Now he has used his winning Spectralock and a diamond dust mix on his latest creations: a 6ft by 5ft picture of koi carp using 24-carat gold tiles, Swarovski crystals, natural stone, and porcelain tile; and a luxury bath tub which he covered with mosaic tiles in a cobalt blue butterfly design. 

Arnott is branching out from his mosaics to set up a sister company, called Mosaic7, specialising in interior design products, including mosaic-covered luxury baths. Mosaic7 has been established with Arnott’s business partner, Steven Singh, and is named after the Manchester M7 postcode they grew up in. Arnott, who was a working on a mosaic piece as a guest of Laticrete UK at the Cersaie International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings in Bologna, Italy, on 23rd September, said: “I’ve launched a sister company, in addition to my stand-alone mosaics. It’s going to specialise in luxury baths. Being able to use the best products that are on the market, and the exposure that Laticrete UK has given me, has certainly helped push me and given me the confidence to branch out.” Arnott also used the 254 Platinum adhesive from Laticrete on the koi carp mosaic and bath tub, as well as the Laticrete Hydro Ban waterproofing membrane on the carp piece, and Palace Chemicals Grab & Fix MS polymer adhesive on the tub respectively. “They are the best products on the market,” says Arnott. “I wouldn’t go using anything else, especially on high-value work.”

A private London-based client supplied him with the koi carp image and the piece, which took two months to create, will go over their stairs. It also features Smalti and Saloni tiles. The butterfly tub will be part of a collection of eight bath tubs and is currently in the Hyperion Tiles showroom in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. It took around three months to create and featured “a lot more work than I thought it would be,” admitted Arnott, “due to having to follow the tricky contours of the bath.’ Palace Grab & Fix was ideal to stick on the mosaic pieces onto the vertical surface. Spectralock is a patented, high performance epoxy grout that offers excellent colour uniformity, durability, stain protection, and beautiful, full grout joints in an easy-to-use, non-sag formula.

It is designed for use on ceramic tile, glass tile and stone applications, both residential and commercial. It can be used on both interior and exterior on floors and walls. Ideal for re-grouting applications, Spectralock is perfect for swimming pools, fountains and other wet area applications. Laticrete 254 Platinum is a superior polymer-fortified adhesive for interior and exterior installation of ceramic tile, stone, quarry tile, pavers, porcelain, stonework and brick slips. It is mixed with water to give an easy to apply paste which has a long open time with unsurpassed adhesion and workability. It cures to give the highest level of adhesion strength, far exceeding the standard requirements, making it ideal for interior, exterior and submerged applications in some of the most challenging environments imaginable.

Hydro Ban is a thin, load-bearing waterproofing/crack isolation membrane that does not require the use of fabric in the field, coves or corners. A single-component self-curing liquid rubber polymer that forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane, Hydro Ban bonds directly to a wide variety of substrates. It allows for flood testing in two hours at 21°C or higher, bonding directly to metal, PVC and ABS plumbing fixtures and is only 0.5–0.8 mm thick when cured. Palace Grab & Fix MS Polymer Adhesive provides fixing performance of the highest possible standard by combining unique instant grab consistency, with the latest MS polymer technology, to ensure instant high strength bonding across the most difficult and diverse range of surfaces.  

It has initial bond strength double that of most other grab adhesives and does not require secondary support for most typically encountered high load bearing applications. It can be used internally or externally or even during damp conditions onto wet surfaces, is solvent-free and is available in white or clear. Charles Clapham, Managing Director of Palace Chemicals, said: “Being associated with Laticrete UK products has given David the confidence to set up a second business and we wish him luck in his new venture. For a renowned artist such as David to give our high spec products his backing is a real boost. Long may our partnership continue.”

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