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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.”

Click here to learn more about Grab & Fix.

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Palace Aid National Development Centre

Top-flight Welsh footballers are now honing their skills at the Football Association of Wales’ National Development Centre in Wrexham, North Wales following its recent completion.

Work started on the scheme last August and the complex was expected to be open by the start of the summer. Palace Chemicals products were used throughout the centre after Palace’s client and contractor, West Bank Tiles and Bathrooms, based in Wrexham, was chosen to provide the flooring at the venture. Dominic White, West Bank Tiles and Bathrooms’ Director and Contracts Manager, said 300 metres of natural slate and porcelain slate tiles were used on the job, which covers areas including a reception, hall, and changing rooms. The centre will benefit Welsh football nationally and locally by delivering accessible and high-class training facilities for talented young players and the wider football workforce in North Wales. The development includes two grass pitches, a FIFA quality 3G pitch and off-pitch support facilities, including activation areas, learning suites and changing facilities. 

Eight tilers from West Bank Tiles and Bathrooms worked on the scheme, starting in March and finishing mid-May. West Bank Tiles and Bathrooms used 50 tubs of Palace’s 1-Coat DPM to stop any moisture coming through from the concrete base and wetting the adhesive. Palace 1-Coat DPM is a single coat application, two-component surface damp proof membrane and vapour suppressant supplied in an easy-to-mix dual chamber pack based upon a solvent-free epoxy resin formulation, suitable for interior and exterior applications. West Bank Tiles and Bathrooms also used 50 bags and bottles of Palace Flow-Level, to smooth out the floor. This two-part floor levelling compound is ideal for use when preparing sub-floors to receive decorative floor coverings where it is essential that the smoothest possible level surface finish is achieved prior to laying finishes such as ceramic tiles.

Palace’s Easi-Flex wall and floor adhesive, and Multi-flex adhesive were used to fix the tiles. Easi-Flex is an easy-to-use standard setting adhesive for fixing ceramic tiles, mosaics, marble and natural stone to solid impermeable floors and 15mm plywood overlay. 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 locations 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. Multi-Flex is a fast-setting cement-based, highly polymer modified, thin-bed ceramic tile adhesive, recommended for fixing all types of ceramic and porcelain floor and wall tiles, including natural stone, mosaics, porcelain and vitrified tiles in interior and exterior locations.

It is ideally suited for application onto timber panels, plywood, waterproof composite boards (18mm exterior grade chipboard) and impermeable surfaces. Multi-Flex gives improved flexural strength, water-resistance and is advised for applications over sub-floor heating. The white version is especially suited to fixing light coloured natural stone or marble. White, whose business was founded in 1970, said the job had been “smooth-sailing”, particularly from using Palace Chemicals products. “We have used Palace’s products for the past two to three years.” He added that the Flow-Level, in particular, was “brilliant” as it was “really easy to use, mixes really well and gives a nice, smooth finish.” “We do quite a lot of commercial projects, but to be associated with something like this, and to be trusted with such a large part of a project like this, is really nice,” concluded White. 

Click here to learn more about Easi-flex and here for Multi-Flex.

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The Theatre of Diamond Dreams

A mosaic artist had a glimmer of genius when he mixed a Laticrete UK product with diamond dust to create an image of Old Trafford. Renowned designer, and life- long Red Devils fan, David Arnott mixed the expensive particles with the brand’s Spectralock Pro Premium Grout to enhance the metal features on the picture of Manchester United’s famous ground.

Arnott, who grew up a stone’s throw from the stadium – and even had an impromptu street kickabout with former United stars David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, and Lee Sharpe as a youngster – was commissioned to create the piece by a private client. Arnott recalls a childhood memory of playing “lampy”, a game where a football was targeted at a lamp post, and three capped figures joining in. He said one of the guys “whacked the ball straight off the post” twice, from a distance. It wasn’t until David’s sister appeared from their house and shouted ‘That’s Beckham!’ that Arnott and his friends realised they had been having a kickabout with none other than Beckham, Sharpe, and Giggs. Arnott has used diamond dust with Spectralock on previous projects, including the world’s most expensive roulette table, which he made on behalf of designer Debbie Wingham; a chameleon design, a David Bowie piece, and for the pieces of jewellery on a portrait of a client’s wife. 

But these had only used a hint of diamond dust, whereas his football ground creation was “absolutely lathered in it,” says Arnott. A mosaic artist for 17 years, Arnott spent several weeks creating the Theatre of Dreams piece, says: “I hadn’t put massive amounts of diamond dust in some of my previous mosaics. But with this one, now it’s on the wall, it really catches your eye in the light.” “My client loved it. She had seen what I’d done previously with Debbie Wingham and asked: ‘Could you use quite a bit of diamond dust?’ “I told her it was quite expensive, but she said that was fine. It’s for her husband; they are both United fans.” 

Arnott used one tub of Spectralock and experimented by mixing different amounts of diamond dust with the grout until he got the desired consistency and shine. Championing the grout, Arnott says: “I would say Spectralock is the best grout that’s on the market. I’ve used many different grouts and nothing compares. The finish is great, especially working with mosaics, and I know it’s an epoxy but it just cleans up better.” The life-long United fan – who has also created a mosaic of rival Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium – says he received a fantastic response to the Old Trafford piece when he posted a picture of it on Instagram, and many other artists were asking about the products used, including Spectralock Pro Premium Grout. A patented, high performance epoxy grout, Spectralock Pro Premium Grout 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 Pro Premium Grout is perfect for swimming pools, fountains and other wet area applications. Charles Clapham, Managing Director of Liverpool-based Palace Chemicals, which manufactures Laticrete UK products, comments: “The finished piece is just stunning, and the diamond dust certainly adds ‘bling’. David is a fantastic ambassador for all of our products and we are proud to work with him.”

Click here to learn more about Spectralock Pro.

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Laticrete’s Ryder Cup Victory

Brogan Wall & Floor Tiling and S & C Brogan Marble, chose Laticrete UK when it came to installing five new bathrooms and new kitchen floors in a three- storey, five-bedroom house that will be used as a weekend retreat on the Surrey estate that was home to the first Ryder Cup.

The coup for Liverpool-based Laticrete UK came as Graham Brogan of Brogan Wall & Floor Tiling, based in Aldershot, Hampshire, decided to switch from a competitor’s product. Brogan had struck up a great business relationship with Gary Knowles over the previous eight years he was with a competitor of Laticrete UK and decided to ‘follow’ Gary and use the new products he was now championing at Laticrete UK. Laticrete’s products came to the fore for Brogan and his brother Sean, of Guildford-based S & C Brogan Marble. They chose Laticrete 335 Superflex, a high performance polymer-fortified cementitious powder to be mixed with water when fixing all types of wall and floor tile and stone, including low-absorption porcelain and vitrified tiles and natural stone. 

Also available in white for light stone and marble, Laticrete Superflex 335 is ideal when fixing over sub-floor heating and tiles fully immersed in pools or in external locations. Laticrete Superflex 335 mixes to a smooth and creamy paste, has an extended open time of up to 30 minutes and is water and heat resistant. They also used Laticrete Strata Mat, a next-generation, high-performance uncoupling membrane for use under ceramic tile and stone installations, for both residential and commercial applications. Designed to protect the tiling layer from lateral movement & sub floor stress, the unique patent pending design of Strata Mat with its mortar Hydration Vents, creates a strong mechanical bond between the mat and adhesive mortar and allows the mortar to cure faster, allowing for a shorter time to grout.  

Also used on the project was Laticrete Hydro Ban, 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.  Hydro Ban bonds directly to a wide variety of substrates. It 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– 0.8 mm thick when cured, when it changes in colour from a light sage to an olive green. Describing the scheme, Brogan said: “We took all the old bathrooms out and put new stone bathrooms in, making them bespoke. We are also putting new stone kitchen floors in too. Trading as S & C Brogan Marble, my brother Sean does all the manufacturing and polishing of the stone and I do all the design of the bathrooms. We work together on projects. We have been working side-by-side since we were kids over 30 years ago.”  

Brogan added that the bathrooms will eventually feature glass showers and vanity units, whereas previously they had been shower trays and ceramic tiling. “We are new to Palace and Laticrete UK,” says Brogan. “They are very good – we are very impressed with the products. Gary is great – he has the expertise and is always helpful. If there is anything we need to know, he is brilliant. He has an absolute passion for what he does and is always there at the other end of the phone.” “Graham used to be a big user of my previous employer’s products – I have known him for many years and used to provide technical support and back-up,” says Knowles. “Since coming on board with Palace & Laticrete UK, he has tried a few of our products and he loves them.”

Charles Clapham, Palace’s Managing Director, said: “It’s a testament to Gary’s professionalism and knowledge that he has been able to bring Brogan Wall & Floor Tiling on board with us. We are delighted that not only have the Brogan brothers’ confidence in Gary that has been built up over the years, but also that they are equally impressed with our products and the fact they are being used on such a prestigious property is an added bonus.”

Click here to learn more about Superflex 335.

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The Golden Egg

Showcased next to an egg-shaped handbag worth $6.7 million made by Debbie Wingham – who is famed for creating a series of ‘world’s most expensive’ items for billionaires in Dubai and beyond – at a catwalk event in Los Angeles, the latest creation by mosaic artist David Arnott fashioned a mosaic egg handbag out of more than 2,000 pieces of ceramic tile, £30,000 worth of 24-carat gold tile, Swarovski crystals, diamond dust, and a real black diamond. 

But Arnott says the job may never have been a success without advice from Palace Chemicals and the brand’s MS Polymer High Strength Grab & Fix. As one can imagine, sticking tile to an egg is no easy task. Indeed, Arnott fell at the first hurdle, as the morning after sticking ceramics to a 12in plastic egg, using a strong PVA glue, he found the tiles had fallen off. So Arnott rang Steve Ball, Commercial Director at Palace Chemicals, who advised him to scratch up the surface to make for a better bond, and to then use Palace Grab & Fix

The handbags were showcased at a catwalk by Chile brand Oui Oui bags, which was organised by Wingham and featured designers from all over the world, including Gary James McQueen, nephew of Alexander McQueen. The black diamond was won by a 12-year-old guest in a competition. “Debbie said she was doing something a little bit crazy,” said Arnott. Wingham asked him if he could mosaic over an emu egg, but Arnott said he thought it would crack under the pressure, and came up with the plastic egg substitute. Arnott, who has been a mosaic designer for 13 years, said: “I had a bit of a nightmare at the very beginning. I was using a strong PVA glue and trying to bond it directly to the egg. I left it overnight but in the morning knocked it over by accident and it came apart.”

Arnott said he “panicked” and rang Steve Ball, explaining that he only had three to four weeks to complete the piece and transport it to the States. “Steve said to ‘rough’ up the surface and use Grab & Fix as it will grip to anything. I stuck it on and left it ’til the morning after. I grabbed a piece of tile and could lift the egg straight in the air.” “Steve definitely came to the rescue. I think it would have been ‘game over’. Maybe I would have had to have made the egg out of wood otherwise. I don’t think there’s anything on the market that would have been able to grip to it as well as Grab & Fix. I’ve got a pot of it right next to my bench: any problems and now I just reach for that pot.” Arnott also used Laticrete Spectralock Pro Premium Grout on the piece. He had also used Grab & Fix when he collaborated with Wingham on the world’s most expensive roulette table, which featured $4.5 million worth of diamonds. 

Wingham praised Arnott on instagram, saying: “the beautiful mosaic egg is the largest out of the collection,” adding: “I love how it turned out. David always manages to deliver my redick ideas!” Arnott, who hails from Manchester, is proud of his latest piece, saying: “I think it’s in a different arena, because it’s fashion. You don’t see mosaic cross over to fashion.” 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.

Laticrete Spectralock Premium Grout 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 with 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, Laticrete Spectralock Pro Premium Grout is perfect for swimming pools, fountains and other wet area applications. Palace Chemicals has a fantastic relationship with numerous mosaic artists, offering support and sponsorship, in some cases. Steve Ball said: “When David rang me up explaining his quandary, it seemed a simple solution to suggest. I’m so glad that we were able to ensure another of David’s fantastic creations was able to come to fruition.”

Click here to learn more about Grab & Fix.

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Hart & Hall Interactive Worm

During the upgrading of St Oswald’s Hospice, Newcastle, Hart and Hall tiling contractors, based in North Shields, were among a number of kind-hearted local businesses that volunteered their services to spruce up the outdoor space. This important resource is used by children up to the age of 18, and young adults aged 18 to 25, from across the North-East, who are battling life-limiting conditions.

Hart and Hall stripped the stone worm – based on the North-East legend of the Lambton Worm, which terrorised local villages of its previous, weather-worn green tiles before priming it with Palace Tilers Primer. The contractors then re-tiled it with stylish black, white and grey 300mm mosaic sheets using Palace Chemicals’ Trade-Flex Wall and Floor Tile Adhesive to stick the sheets to the two-metre wide structure. Palace Trade-Flex is ideal for fixing porcelain, vitrified and ceramic tile and stone to solid surfaces, where exposure to frequent rainfall and a wide range of temperatures is to be expected.

It is a fast-setting grey or white adhesive that allows joints to be grouted as soon as three hours after it sets to give a fully water-resistant, high early strength, bond suitable for locations that are subject to challenging weather conditions. Hart and Hall, which was founded in 1979 and has 14 members of staff and four subcontractors, has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Palace Chemicals, going back at least 20 years. The tilers were approached by a friend of a friend who was working on groundwork at the hospice and had recommended the firm. Hart and Hall’s Company Secretary, Donna Bradley, explains. “The worm had been there for quite some time. It was getting a little bit old and was in the garden that the kids go out into. We stripped the lead and retiled the worm’s head, did all the edging, and repaved around it. We gave it a fresh new look.” “We’re really glad to have been able to help,” continues Bradley.

The worm helps to cheer the children up. There is now a button that can be pressed to make its eyes flash.” It took a day for the contractors to complete. Alan Thompson, who is a Director and one of the tilers at Hart and Hall, along with Michael Oliver worked on the project. “We jumped at the chance to get involved in helping a local charity,” says Thompson. “It gives us great pleasure to be able to give something back to the community. “The children who use the hospice are really sick – most of them are not going to be going home. It’s great to be able to do something to help cheer up their day.” 

“We used Trade-Flex because it’s hard-wearing and a bit stronger than other adhesives,” notes Bradley. “It is flexible and helps us get around the corners. It helps us work a bit better and it’s frost-resistant.” She said the children at the hospice showed their appreciation by sending Hart and Hall an A4 card they had made, saying thank you for their new play area and revitalised worm, featuring their fingerprints, which they were ‘over the moon’ to receive. The mosaic sheets were donated to the project by Ceramic Tile Distributors for free. Jocelyn Thompson, Children and Young Adults Service Manager at St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “The gardens at St Oswald’s play such an important part of stays for children and young adults who come to us for short breaks and we pride ourselves on our beautiful gardens. 

Unfortunately our ‘Lambton Worm’ sculpture within one of our gardens was out of action for some time, but thanks to local businesses – including Hart and Hall – it has now been restored to its former glory!” “The children we care for particularly enjoy the interactive element of the worm, as it has flashing lights for eyes. This means that the worm is illuminated for the children and young adults to see at all times of day.” Charlie Clapham, Managing Director at Palace Chemicals, said: “We’re glad that our products have been used to help brighten up the lives of poorly youngsters, and proud to have such a long-established relationship with Hart & Hall, a community-minded company.”

Click here to learn more about Trade-Flex.

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Seagulls Reuse Community Project

It was all hands on deck when Seagulls Reuse (which amongst other things, delivers community arts projects) got more than 300 residents involved to work on a massive mosaic in west Leeds that represents the local area. The 12ft mural, which features the words ‘Armley’, along with colourful hearts and local organisations’ emblems, was unveiled at a special event. It was attended by Laticrete’s James Broadhead and other invited guests, including local councillors and the MP for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves, who scrambled up scaffolding for the occasion.

The artwork has been placed on the gable end of the St George’s Crypt charity shop, which helps the homeless, the vulnerable, and people suffering from addiction, in Town Street, Armley. The mosaic took months to complete, after going out to community consultation and Seagulls then drawing up the vibrant design. Cat Hyde, Project Manager at Seagulls Reuse, said: “The area suffers from a lot of anti-social behaviour and negative press and this was about creating something colourful and creative that people can be involved with to bring a sense of pride to the area. It was about community cohesion and bringing the people together.” Laticrete 254 Platinum was used in the creation of the mosaic. This is a patented, versatile, polymer-fortified adhesive designed specifically for the installation of adhered masonry veneer, stone, and thin brick.

Laticrete 254 Platinum, formulated to be mixed just with water, has a long open time with unsurpassed adhesion and workability. It is excellent for interior, exterior, and submerged applications, as well as providing superior bond to exterior glue plywood (interior only) and concrete. It is billed as the ultimate thin-set for masonry veneer. “In the past we had discussions about the best adhesive to use,” said Hyde. “Laticrete 254 Platinum seemed to be the best choice, especially for durability. This mural won’t be going anywhere.” 

The design was created during community workshops involving residents of all ages, from elderly people to pupils from four local schools. According to figures from the End Child Poverty coalition, 38.4% of children in Armley are in low-income families and 2,400 youngsters are in child poverty. Giving her verdict on the mosaic, Hyde said: “I think it’s brilliant. We’ve had so much positive feedback – it’s been brilliant!” “We couldn’t have done it without Laticrete’s support,” she added.

Hyde says that there are plans in the pipeline for more mosaic schemes, including completing the second half of a rainbow mural at Leeds Market, as well as extending the project in Armley, as “it’s been so well-received.” There is no doubt that Laticrete will be involved in these ventures. Steve Ball, Commercial Director at Palace Chemicals / Laticrete UK, said: “We are delighted to have been involved with Seagulls in such a community-focused project that has helped all walks of life to come together to brighten up the local area and what’s even better, is that it will hopefully be there for generations to come.”

Click here to find out more about Laticrete 254 Platinum.