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DIY SOS: The Big Build for Children in Need

DIY SOS: The Big Build for Children in Need

Palace Chemicals ‘mixing’ with the stars to help deliver a future for bereaved children

A couple of months ago, our team at Palace Chemicals donated time and products to the DIY SOS: The Big Build for Children in Need, at the Treetops Hospice in Risley, Derbyshire. Here, James Broadhead, our National Sales Manager, talks about the 10 days that made a lifelong impact on him.

“From the moment we stepped out on site on a very rainy September morning, our team had an absolute blast helping BBC Children in Need and the DIY SOS: The Big Build team to create this amazing facility.

As soon as our PR team discussed the project with us, and we heard that Ian Hodgkinson would be making an appearance as the project manager, we knew we wanted to get involved.  

Robbie and the team at the BBC were amazing from start to finish, and he was in regular contact with us all to establish which products would be specified for the build. We also attended a trades day a few weeks beforehand to meet the team in person.  

It is truly staggering that the full project took less than two weeks given that it started with an open field! But with the help of fellow volunteers and the generosity of local and nationally based firms (as a collective), we managed to build and fit out a bespoke and totally dedicated counselling and bereavement therapy centre for young people at The Treetops Hospice in Risley.

I really can’t believe what was achieved in such a short period of time, and all to such a high standard.

Palace Chemicals is based in Liverpool as many of you will know, but many members of our team have connections to Derbyshire (including myself and Sales Director, Simon Clough). As one of the leading independent manufacturers of tiling, building, construction and DIY products in the UK, it was our pleasure to donate a range of supplies to this worthwhile project.

We donated products that we produce for the trade and retail alike – including ready mixer filler, white silicone, PVA adhesive, decorators caulk, wallpaper paste and skeleton guns – and we made sure work got underway without delay.

Of course, our time, enthusiasm and my tiling expertise came free too!

I found myself tiling a few of the kitchens – you might spot me in the background when BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball took time out to have selfies and chat to some of the volunteers – which was a surreal experience!

It was just tremendous. We all took a barren field and grew a place of hope, comfort and tranquillity that will serve those in our local community who are going through the worst of times. We put our love and skill into this place of healing and came out with our own sense of pride, accomplishment and satisfaction.  

Joining a sea of volunteers and suppliers, we helped create sound-proofed counselling rooms, a multifunctional space for the charity’s group therapy projects, a complementary therapy room… There’s even a breathtaking, hand-crafted centrepiece tree in the welcome area, created with the help of singer Sam Ryder and Zoe Ball – and a restful outdoor seating area.

Oh, and did we mention that we met some other celebrity favourites along the way too?!

Scott Mills, Jeremy Vine, Richie Anderson, Owain Wyn Evans, and, of course, the brilliant BBC DIY SOS team… oh yes, we are not just mixing products, we are now mixing with the stars here at Palace Chemicals!

It was simply brilliant to be involved in such an amazing project and I’d say to anyone who has the opportunity to get involved with any good cause, just do it”.

Catch up with the project on BBC iPlayer and see if you can spot some local heroes.

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The Heat is On!!

The Heat is On!

Underfloor Heating or Under Tile Heating as it is also known, has become more popular and trendy in recent years through the two commonly used floor heating systems in the UK, ‘Water’ (pipe fed) and ‘Electric’ wire. This is down to the fact that not only is it a lot more affordable, it is also very easy to install.

There is nothing better on those cold early mornings than being able to walk into your bathroom (or any other room of the house) after getting out of that cozy bed and the tiles under foot being nice and warm rather than your feet feeling like you are trying to cross the North Pole!

Palace Chemicals stock a wide range of products that are ideal for the installation of either of the two Under Floor Heating systems under tiled floors.

One of the most common questions – ‘Is this product (Floor Leveller or Tile Adhesive) suitable for Under Floor Heating’? The answer is generally a resounding yes, or if not, we certainly will have a product that is suitable for the use with Under Floor Heating and the substrate to be tiled.

Another question – ‘How do I know which product is best for me’? The Adhesive needs to be flexible – For example Palace Multi-Flex Tile Adhesive can cope with the movement in the subfloor that the heating and cooling of the Under Floor Heating creates.

In the adhesive industry, there are Standard classifications that all manufacturers have to display on their packaging that show that the adhesives meet the requirements suited for that application.

The classifications you need to look for is either S1 or S2 depending on the subfloor where the tiles are being fitted. 

S1 = a Deformable adhesive with a transverse deformation >2.5mm – <5mm

S2 = a Highly Deformable Tile Adhesive with a transverse deformation >5mm

It is the same with Floor Levelling compounds. They have to be flexible enough to accommodate the heat and substrate alike such as Palace Chemicals Fast-Flex for electric wire; This product can be laid from 2mm – 30mm and is perfect for underfloor heating. Whereas a fibre reinforced screed is a good option for water fed pipes. Palace Thick-Bed levelling compound is ideal for this as it is fibre reinforced, polymer enhanced and can be laid up 80mm in one application.

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Don’t Get Wet!

Picture of 2 bathrooms

Don’t Get Wet!

Changes to the British Standards back in 2018 regarding the requirement to use a proprietary tanking system in wet areas has certainly lowered the volume of issues with leaking floors & ceilings. But does everyone know the standard guideline for waterproofing…….?

Any area that is subjected to getting wet (shower, steam room, wet rooms etc) should be tanked – whether it be a new build or refurbishment of an existing area.
A big focus in this application is to ensure the tanking system used is strong enough to hold the weight of the tiles & adhesive.

Palace Chemicals have two tanking systems available on their range (Palace Shower-Tight & Palace Wet-Room) to suit a wide field of applications. If you are looking to tank an over bath showers for instance, the Palace Shower-Tight is perfect. Whereas, if you are doing a full wetroom installation, then the Palace Wet-Room is the required product. Both kits have the benefit of corner / jointing tape, with the Wet-Room kit having the additional pipe seals and a larger tub of liquid membrane for the bigger projects.

At the very least, a good tanking system provides a visible insurance policy; One that you won’t get with a premium that goes up every year. Certainly not one that you would need to claim against – Because it won’t go wrong (when installed correctly of course)!

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Meet The Technical Team At Palace Chemicals Ltd.

Picture of beakers and test tubes

Meet The Technical Team At Palace Chemicals Ltd. 

Palace Chemicals Ltd is a manufacturer of a wide range of Building Products & Adhesive, operating from a single site at Speke, Liverpool.

As a manufacturer of over 250 distinct product formulations, we have a long-established Technical Operation over-seeing the procurement, manufacture & development of all our products & the raw material supply streams they are based on.

The Technical Team operates from two well-equipped laboratories, the first being primarily concerned with the Quality Control of all batch manufactured products and the three technicians working in this area (Denise, Laura & Lisa), ensure that all batches produced meet the required physical testing specifications that are essential before each can be released for onward despatch.

On a typical day, the QC team will conduct testing on well over 100 separate batch samples. All of which are recorded, retained and are then readily available to support any future enquiries made as to the quality of the product and its’ performance when applied at point of end use.

In addition to the Quality Control function, we have our Research & Development laboratory where a team of Chemists are constantly working on a wide range of new & innovative projects which will provide enhancements to the product range by introducing new technology and performance standards, whilst also developing more creative uses of raw materials which can help improve the sustainability of our product offering.

The R&D laboratory team has two senior chemists (Jim Percival & Paul Kershaw) with over 80 years shared experience within the building products sector, who are then ably supported by two Graduate Chemists (Vivek Harkin & Laura Whitfield). All of whom are working on projects which will keep the Palace Chemicals product range at the leading edge of Building Chemicals technology.

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External Tile Fixing

External Tile Fixing

Where does the 20mm porcelain sit? Tiling or Landscaping? The difficulty is the two methods being undertaken by two very different professions.

Porcelain is a fully vitrified product and extremely dense, thus giving it little to no water porosity at all.

Landscaping is (in the main) a bed of semi dry mortar (sand & cement mix) sitting on a whacked layer of hardcore or type 1 that is tempered by a shovel before the slab gets laid into position and tapped with a rubber mallet and gauging their levels from a pinged line and a spirit level.

The issue with the mortar fixing to porcelain is that it has no real grab as it’s not very sticky and the porcelain needs to stick to an ‘adhesive’.

Whereas a tiler starts from a flat substrate (as flat as they can get) and trowels out the required adhesive with the right trowel type / size and beds the tile into the adhesive (which on its own merit had additives – Polymers to assist it to ‘stick’ to the adhesive.

Due to the landscaper not really wanting to create this ‘flat’ base (ie a concrete base that needs to dry – and be level), the best way to assist the mortar mix to stick to the porcelain would be to add the Palace Tilers Primer to the water before mixing it with the sand/cement blend.

To give it an extra ‘key’, a slurry mix of Palace Tilers Primer can be mixed with cement to form the ‘slurry’, which can be painted on the back of the porcelain before fixing to the Palace Tilers Primer Mortar mix. The porcelain can be fixed before the slurry coat is fully dried, which may also assist the bond. Once dryer, a suitable brush in joint filler or Palace Colour-Lock Grout can be used to finish the job!

Working from the ‘flat’ base, the Tiler would use one of the Palace Adhesives (Palace Flexi-Set or Palace Easi-Flex) with a 20mm round notched trowel (Large Format) to fix the 20mm porcelain to the substrate, allowing to dry before grouting using the Palace Colour-Lock Grout with the colour of the customers choosing.

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Patina – The best known secret

Patina – The Best Known Secret

‘What’s that’…….? Derived from an old Italian word – Patinare, meaning to apply a finish. Patina has been around for over 30 years and is possibly the best product on the market for rejuvenating older wooden surfaces to make them look BETTER than new!

Its formula consists of resins and natural oils that have been combined into an easy to apply gel.

With clean and dry wood surfaces (preferably after a light sanding), just a dab of the Patina on a soft lint free cloth, working well into grain of the wood and allowed to dry. It really is as easy as that!

Patina easily shines above the conventional methods like wax, varnish and lacquers. Not only does wax costs you a lot of time and effort and prone to smearing. They also attract dust and are affected by greasy finger marks. It’s also common for these types of restorers to breakdown when repelling common stains like wine and tea.

Patina does not smear (so no greasy fingers), doesn’t attract dust and is excellent at repelling wine and tea stains along with other liquids!

Varnishes and lacquers have the problem of taking years of experience to get the required finish. Varnishes also have the added issue of sealing the wood surface, which can trap moisture inside. This causes the vapour to be drawn to the surface in the form of a white ring when a hot object is placed on it.

As well as being susceptible to sunlight, varnishes and lacquers need to be fully removed prior to reapplication.

You don’t require any such skill to use Patina. This product really is an open the tin and start using it time after time as required.

Patina can be used externally, so whether it’s a priceless antique, an old wooden box or a solid oak front door Patina will protect and beautify them year after year. So, if you want to maintain those good looks, just wipe over with a damp cloth or a duster to get rid of any dust or surface marks. There is no need to for further polishing.

That’s Patina…. the best-known secret that everyone should be shouting about!!

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The Summertime Fence Paint Blitz

The Summertime Fence Paint Blitz

What a different World we live in within the space of 12 months. We have all encountered many challenges in the last year, none more so than getting hold of Fenceguard in the summer months.

We have experienced an unprecedented volume of sales during this time and the pressures that were put on the supply chain not only in manufacturing of the finished item, but also sourcing the raw materials and packaging.

Whilst we are starting to prepare ourselves for the coming season ahead it would help if you could look at your stocks and place any forward orders to enable the smooth running of supply this coming year.

To find out more about our Fenceguard range click here. 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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Does a Couple ‘Un’ or ‘De’?

Does A Couple ‘Un’ Or ‘De’?

Good question! But the simple answer is…..Both!

To Decouple is to disengage or to make a change to one system without changing another, whereas to Uncouple is to unlink or to detach one thing from another. Basically, decoupling is a synonym of uncoupling. The term within construction / engineering has been around since the early AD Greek & Roman times.

So where is the term used in tiling? If you have a problematic floor such as timber or heated screeds, this can cause unwanted movement or lateral stresses, which could result in failures such as tiles cracking or worse, debonding. So, the use of a ‘decoupling’ (or uncoupling) mat isolates the two surfaces, allowing them to move independently of each other (just as the definition suggests). This prevents such stresses to transfer through to the tile, which in turn leaves a faultless finish to your floor.

There are many decoupling systems on the market, but few like the Palace Easi-Mat, which has quite a few benefits over the conventional ‘cavity’ mat.

It’s not restricted with its weight loadings, it weighs less than 8kg, it won’t roll back on you once you’ve rolled it out, it’s easy to carry, it won’t raise the floor height AND it’s not orange!

Furthermore, the Palace Easi-Mat can be used with mosaics and can be used in medium or heavy loading capacity, which means it’s an ideal solution for both domestic and commercial applications.

Although it’s not magic, nor is it a carpet, it might as well be because it is the gift that keeps giving! With gridlines and 1m markers, it makes for easy installation that can be cut with scissors or a knife and even uses less adhesive than other mats. Up to 30% less adhesive in fact.

With the Palace Easi-Mat, you will get the job done quicker (less mixes and immediate tiling) and it will also be cheaper as you are using much less adhesive.

All in all, Decoupling or Uncoupling, you have the perfect solution with the Palace Easi-Mat!

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Palace Strikes Industry Pose with Innovative Video Content

Palace Strikes Industry Pose with Innovative Video Content

Everyday life has changed for everyone – From having to wear a mask and forming orderly queues for the shops to getting handy DIY hints and tips from the internet. 

A recent survey stated that 63% of adults in the UK would seek help and advice from a how-to video before tackling a building or renovation task. Something which would previously have been a last resort. 

Times have changed from the days of watching and helping parents & grandparents’ complete projects and gaining a knowledge of how to do the task in hand. The emergence of video and online tutorials has taken the DIY industry by storm and this has led to us here at Palace Chemicals to adapt to the new way of life and keep up with the fast pace of change. We have now started to create a video library and a YouTube channel to showcase our products being used and provide really helpful hints and tips to our valued customer base. The information and gems of knowledge that can be taken from these videos are there to assist and guide the user and ensure that the products are used correctly and safely.

Giving us a competitive edge, these videos are assisting our sales team when talking to trade and DIY users. Especially when we get asked about the best use of the products. 

Knowing how helpful these are going to be, we are looking forward to showcasing our videos on YouTube and our social media channels.

One of the most powerful of these videos is the Waterseal range, which highlights how easy it is to protect your exterior brickwork from the elements of the great British weather. 

At Palace Chemicals we still believe that our range of products is the best and most comprehensive on the market. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about your projects, as we are more than happy to pass on our knowledge. Or even better connect with us on our YouTube channel for the latest visual aids when working with our products.

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We Ain’t Heavy!

We Ain’t Heavy!

As the UK continues to be more aware for the need of environmentally ‘clean’ products, industry has also stood up to be counted! Not least Palace Chemicals!

Looking at various technological advances in polymers and binders to keep up to date with the ever-increasing size of tiles and varying substrates, mixed with the pursuit for environmental sustainability, Palace Chemicals have launched their range of ‘Lite’ products.

Not only do these products make for lighter lifting (easier on the limbs) the tile fixer, who can carry half the weight in their van or up / down-stairs, they are also lighter on their pallets, which has a knock-on effect for the haulier services too in both fuel economy and safer handling.

These products are predominantly made with the tiler in mind. Available in Fast or Standard setting, this range offers a high yield, easy to apply adhesive mortar that fashion C2 flexibility, an S1 classification for deformability and additional working time & pot life. Suitable for heated subfloors, these lightweight, polymer fortified flexible adhesives are ideal for fixing all types of tiling, including large format tile & stone and also offers a 50% reduced weight loading once fixed. All wrapped up in a 10kg sack, with approximately 37% of recycled material, the Extra-Lite range from Palace Chemicals offers a fantastic versatile group of products that also tick all the green credential boxes.

For product details on the Extra-Lite range click for Fast Set or Standard Set. For enquiries or orders email us here. Or give us a call on 01513369111 for more information on our product ranges.