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Diamonds are a Grouts Best Friend

What would you expect to find on the world’s most expensive roulette table? Millions of dollars worth of diamonds, maybe? But Spectralock Pro Premium grout? 

In fact, the maintenance-free, easy-to-use, hard-wearing epoxy grout, along with some $4.5 million worth of diamonds, were the main focus in creating the amazing-looking roulette table that formed the centrepiece of a multi-million-dollar birthday cake made by one of the world’s most expensive designers. Mosaic artist David Arnott was approached by Debbie Wingham, who has previously created the world’s most expensive black diamond dress worth £3.5 million, the world’s most expensive abaya (a cloak worn in the Muslim world), costing £11.7 million, and the world’s most expensive cake, worth £48.5 million: a diamond-encrusted cake for an Arabian client.

This time, Debbie enlisted the skills of Manchester-based Arnott to come up with a piece that combined edible art, mosaics, and diamonds for a client’s son’s 35th birthday. The cake featured a look-alike of the son, edible roulette chips, a roulette wheel and a Gucci man bag stuffed with gold money. Arnott also created the table itself; a roulette wheel and a million dollar chip. The flawless gems included pink and black diamonds; while 35,000 24-carat gold tiles were used and bonded together using diamond dust mixed in with Spectralock Pro Premium. The piece was unveiled at an intimate family party at the client’s home. Using Laticrete products throughout the project, Arnott said: “Spectralock Pro Premium is definitely the only grout on the market capable of adding diamond dust, giving a rich shine to the piece.”

“After seeing my collaboration with Debbie Wingham on the world’s most expensive roulette table, I have had many people asking me where I get my materials from. I use Laticrete and Palace Chemicals for my adhesives and grouts. There’s a reason behind this: I only use the best of the best materials on any mosaic I create for stability. If anyone has any projects for mosaic or tiling coming up I would definitely recommend you use their materials. It’s top quality.” “I was honoured to be part of this project and to work with such expensive materials,” added Arnott. “It is very unique adding diamonds in to mosaics and being able to work on projects without many restrictions, although there is no room for error. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Available in 52 colours, Spectralock Pro Premium is a three-component system made up of a resin, hardener, and coloured sand. The three-component system means that the installer is always in control of the mixing and can decide how thick the grout is applied. It is also very easy to clean off of the face of the tiles, unlike other epoxy grouts on the market. Spectralock Pro Premium is designed for use on ceramic tile, glass tile, and stone applications, both residential and commercial. It can be used both interior and exterior on floors and walls. Spectralock Pro Premium is perfect for swimming pools, fountains and other wet area applications and provides a maintenance free solution to a grouting requirement. 

Steve Ball, Commercial Director at Laticrete UK, said: “What a coup for David Arnott and what an honour for the Laticrete brand. To be used in this expensive creation is a multi million-dollar endorsement for us and we thank David for being as supportive of the brand as we are of him. A fantastic piece of work to be proud of and we very much look forward to the next big project with David.”

Click here to learn more about Spectralock Pro

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Laticrete Keeps the Community Beating

An Industry-renowned mosaic artist has chosen Laticrete UK’s ‘solid-as-they-come’ products to make stunning new artwork commemorating the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

UK’s ‘solid-as-they-come’ products to make stunning new artwork commemorating the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Carrie Reichardt’s unique mosaic-based design was unveiled at its new home at the Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospitals in London on 19th November 2018 as part of the NHS70: Thanks for Everything exhibition. Reichardt, a self-titled ‘craftivist’ of international acclaim, who makes ceramic tapestry, has incorporated hearts made by patients, families, and staff into one of the pieces. Queen of Hearts Princess Diana, a frequent visitor to the Royal Brompton, also features in the work. The hearts used, were all made from clay with help from community arts teacher and Carrie’s friend Linda Griffiths during workshops in the hospitals. Reichardt, who gets her tiles sent from Portugal, refired them and included them in the central piece. She used Laticrete’s Spectralock Pro Premium Grout and Latapoxy 300 Adhesive on the artwork. Latapoxy 300 Adhesive is a chemical-resistant epoxy adhesive that will bond to most sound and clean surfaces. It spreads easily, and cleans with water while fresh. 

Spectralock Pro 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. Praising Laticrete, Reichardt, who lives in a mosaic-covered house in Chiswick, London, said: “I used them because I had to guarantee it would last and that stuff is solid-as-it-comes resin. As it will be going outdoors in a hospital courtyard, I used what I knew to be the best quality product.” It took Reichardt around a month to complete the three panels, which incorporated vast amounts of research from the hospital archives.

She added: “I was extremely proud and honoured to be able to make a piece. I think it’s really important – now more than ever that we are appreciative of the NHS because we could well lose it,” says Reichardt. “A lot of the imagery I have used shows people protesting over the years. I wanted to show we are thankful: the NHS is not a given, we’ve had to fight for it.” Paying tribute to Laticrete for its support and sponsorship, Reichardt said: “They have been fantastic. They are huge supporters of everything I have done. I met Steve Ball, Laticrete UK’s Commercial Director, at The British Association of Modern Mosaic conference in September. Laticrete has always been hugely supportive of creative mosaic artists. Thanks again to Laticrete for always helping and sponsoring me, and making sure that my work lasts.” 

Karen Janody, Curator at RB&H Arts, the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust’s dedicated arts team, said: “Carrie’s unique aesthetics and her passion for social heritage will make ‘NHS70: Thanks for Everything’ a perpetual emblem to the care provided by our staff – past, present and future – who are dedicated to caring for their patients. It will be a thought-provoking artwork that patients, visitors and staff can appreciate time and again, still discovering new layers of history.” Steve Ball said: “Just like our NHS, Laticrete’s adhesive and grouts are strong, resilient, and tough, so it is quite fitting that Carrie chose Laticrete to complete such a stunning piece for this prestigious exhibition.”

Click here to learn more about Spectralock Pro.

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THIRD PARTY ACCREDITATIONS – What they really mean:

Palace Chemicals Ltd have always been fully committed in securing the benefits of engaging with highly qualified, industry specialised auditors from the BSI routinely to carry out rigorous independent audits & assessments on all our processes, functions & activities. This disciplined approach applies expert scrutiny to validate that we are providing the required outcomes & improvements from all our management systems: Palace’s commitment is further demonstrated by the fact we remain one of the few companies within our sector holding compliance to all three Internationally recognised, Management Systems covering Quality (ISO 9001), Environment (ISO 14001) and Health & Safety (ISO 18001).

This holistic approach requires the dedication of all staff & management in working towards achieving annual objectives for continual improvement, not only in terms of product quality & service delivery, but also ensuring the environmental impact of our processes & activities are monitored and progressively minimised, both in terms of waste minimisation & the development of more sustainable products & process systems.

Finally, the safety & welfare of our staff, operators, customers & end users is of paramount importance, as our health & safety management system continually seeks to reduce & minimise the risks that may arise from process, storage & application of our products.

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Trust Laticrete – Major improvements to Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens.

LATICRETE Spectralock Pro Premium Grout has been used successfully in the joints of a new granite water fountain at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. The work was carried out by The Fountain Company Ltd, Derbyshire. For many years Piccadilly Gardens has been the heart of the city centre, it is a heavily used key public space with a footfall of around 310,000 people a week – around 16 million people a year. Under the new proposals there is 2 million GBP worth of investment in improvements to Piccadilly Gardens to make them more attractive and welcoming to families while deterring anti-social behaviour – back to ‘The Good Old Days’ The plans also include a new Pavilion building, introducing family restaurants and cafe bars, creating an opportunity to regenerate a prominent and well used space in central Manchester that is also a thoroughfare to other parts of the city. Having lived in Manchester all my life, I am proud to say Laticrete UK have been involved in creating what is fast becoming one of the most vibrant, exciting places to live, voted a ‘top 10 city in the world to visit’ (Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2016).
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#Laticrete in Manchester @ Stockport Museum.

Manchester mosaic artist Mark Kennedy was approached by Stockport Council to produce a mosaic art piece depicting local artists who recorded at Strawberry recording studios, Manchester. It is to be part of a year-long exhibition at the museum celebrating the success of the studios for over 25 years. Mark completed the mosaic using LATICRETE 254 Platinum Adhesive and Permacolour Grout. Many famous artists and groups have recorded at Strawberry Studios including, Sir Paul McCartney, 10cc, Inspiral Carpets, Simply Red, Neil Sedaka… The studio was used by Factory Records producer Martin Hannett who worked on music by Joy Division, The Stone Roses, The Smiths and Happy Mondays there. Other legendary groups who recorded at the studios were Godley & Creme, The Ramones, Buzzcocks, Bay City Rollers, New Order, and James. Strawberry Studios was one of the most important recording facilities in Manchester and one of the few in the UK outside London. The studios opened initially in a 20-foot square room in 1967 over a record shop in Stockport and was called Inner-City Studios. It was later taken over by Mindbenders guitarist and songwriter Eric Stewart and his former roadie Peter Tattersall. Under their management, it was reborn as Strawberry Recording Studios – a tribute to The Beatles’ hit Strawberry Fields Forever, the name incorporated into law and sealed in history in October 1967. A new site on nearby Waterloo Road, and additional backing from 10cc’s Graham Gouldman and music agent/promoter Kennedy Street Enterprises, turned it into the studio of the north for many artists and the home of 10cc until its closure in 1993. Fifty years on, the work of the studios is being celebrated with a year long exhibition at the Market Place Museum, Stockport, Manchester with mementos, memorabilia, and historic items that tell the tale of Strawberry Studios legacy and runs until January 28, 2018. Written by: Michelle Costigan, Laticrete UK Technical Product Manager.
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Crewe Lifestyle Centre

Crewe’s new Lifestyle Centre is a modern leisure facility and community hub. Opened in 2016, it will bring together in one place, modern adult social and leisure facilities.

The Centre will enhance the health and well-being of the people in the local area and help create a healthy future for Crewe.

The site chosen for the Lifestyle Centre was within the new, exciting Civic and Cultural Quarter of Crewe and is a key part of the wider regeneration of the town centre of Crewe.

Facilities include:
  • A 25-metre, 8 lane, local competition standard swimming pool with (disabled) accessible entry and exit lift and spectator seating
  • 17m small pool with (disabled) accessible entry and exit lift
  • Separate changing facilities for wet and dry leisure use with dedicated changing places facilities in the wet changing area for customers with disabilities
  • Café and pool viewing area
  • 2 floor library with community space
  • A multi-function sports hall with adjacent studio space which can be used as breakout rooms
  • Fitness suite and fitness studios
  • Specialist day service facilities – catering for adults with a wide range of needs including autism, sensory impairment and complex medical needs
  • Enhanced sporting opportunities for individuals; mainly young people, with physical, sensory or learning disabilities
  • Shared reception with communal facilities for use by other community groups for functions, parties and exhibitions.
LATICRETE’s expertise was focused in the wet areas where, where to the consternation of the applicator, a requirement for EPOXY GROUT was reluctantly deemed necessary by the architect; after technical demonstrations with both the contractor and tiler on site, LATICRETE SpectraLOCK Pro Premium was chosen as the grout of choice for its HIGH Performance and ease of application. This coupled with the LATICRETE ‘flagship’ adhesive, Platinum 254 provided the perfect solution.

“……..it’s less about the cost of the product, much more about the opportunity for speed of application and the peace of mind that LATICRETE products give you; I am very impressed!”

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Tiling – Preparing Surfaces Prior to Tile Fixing.

Overcoming adverse surface conditions such as high porosity, dust, friability, exposure to moisture and inconsistent levels all require consideration prior to fixing & Palace have the products which help ensure the bond formed by any tile adhesive remains secure & long lasting.

Palace Tiler’s Primer is a multi-purpose concentrated copolymer emulsion which can be used over a range of dilutions for use to suit the level of surface porosity being fixed over, whilst Anhydrite sealer provides an effective barrier over gypsum based anhydrite floors before being tiled over with a cement based adhesive.

Tile fixing in wet-room areas should consider the long terms exposure of the receiving substrates to moisture migration and the Palace Wet-Room system gives the ideal solution to providing the perfect surface to fix over with excellent water resistance for the life-time of the installation.

Finally, uneven or inconsistently level floor surfaces must be restored to a flat even finish before tile fixing can be considered and the Palace range of floor levelling underlayments covers all foreseeable needs with respect to achieving the depth, strength & temperature tolerance needed to ensure the perfect finish & longevity of the tiling bonded to it.

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BBC CHILDREN IN NEED APPEAL 2016

Laticrete UK are proud and honoured to have sponsored one of the events held around the United Kingdom to raise money for the BBC Children in Need Appeal 2016.  
  • 1955: It all began with the gloved puppet ‘Sooty’
  • 1980: First ‘Telethon’ BBC Children in Need.
  • 1985: ‘Pudsey’ makes his first appearance.
  • 2016: Laticrete sponsor
The first televised appeal took place in 1955 and was called the ‘Children’s Hour Christmas Appeal’ with the yellow glove puppet ‘Sooty Bear’ and Harry Corbett fronting it. The Christmas Day appeals continued on TV and radio until 1979. It was in 1980 that the first Children in Need telethon was broadcast and it was devoted to raising money exclusively destined for charities working with children in the United Kingdom. At this point the BBC saw a dramatic rise in the donations due to the new format of the show and popular presenters, most famous being the much loved Sir Terry Wogan who made the BBC live appeal show his own with his unique charm and professionalism. In 1985 Pudsey Bear made his first appearance, created by BBC designer Joanna Ball, the name ‘Pudsey’ was taken from her home town name in Yorkshire. For the BBC Children in Need Appeal 2016 ‘Pudsey’ was transformed into a stunning mosaic piece of art by one of the many mosaic artists LATICRETE sponsor. David Arnott from Salford attended an apprentice tile fixing course at Salford College of Technology, his skill and excellent workmanship was soon recognised and he was presented with a ‘craft award’ by Ian Kershaw from Tiles UK, Salford and was the first tiler to win a craft award from City & Guilds. David now concentrates on his mosaic art pieces for commercial and private clients. David created the 6 foot ‘Pudsey’ mosaic in his work shop with the help of his apprentice, Lee Ratcliffe out of 2484 pieces of tile, each tile piece representing a project funded by Children in Need. At this point however the pieces were not fixed but were numbered on the back and the corresponding number wrote onto the mosaic substrate to be fixed on site. The event took place at the BBC MediaCityUK, Salford where the public were invited to own a piece of the mosaic and fix it into place for a £2.00 donation. The event raised £4,968 which went towards the record amount raised this year of £46.6m. The tile pieces were fixed with Laticrete 254 Platinum Adhesive and after the event the mosaic was grouted with Laticrete Spectralock Pro Premium Grout. The ‘Pudsey’ mosaic will become a permanent fixture outside the BBC Television Centre at MediaCityUK, Salford.   pudsey-makingpudseychldren-in-need
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We’ve got some great sales vacancies

We currently have sales vacancies for the following areas…
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle
  • Middlesbrough
  • Bradford
  • Wigan
  • Wakefield
  • Leeds
  • Hull
  • North East London
  • Essex
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Norfolk
  • Suffolk
We are well know in these areas and are looking to expand on our already established business. The successful candidates will have called on either DIY/Builders Merchants or Ceramic Tile Industry recently. Industry product knowledge is preferred but not essential – we are prepared to train the right candidate up to our high standards for a career in sales. The salary will reflect the candidates experience, a fully expensed company car and expenses are included in the package. Please send your CV to marketing@palacechemicals.co.uk. No agencies please.
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Calcium Sulphate Screeds

Calcium Sulphate screeds, or as they are more commonly known as Anhydrite screeds are becoming increasingly popular within the Tiling Industry. They are usually pump applied in domestic and commercial projects and are chosen because of their speed of application, minimal shrinkage cracking, high strength…to name but a few of the advantageous characteristics. They are designed for use in dry environments only. However tilers… BEWARE you cannot treat them in the same way you would a traditional sand: cement screed. Calcium Sulphate based screeds are a mix of screeding sand and binder and therefore can look very similar to a sand: cement screed, usually they are lighter in colour, almost white, which is a good indication, although this is not always the case. If you are unsure and cannot obtain confirmation from the company responsible for laying the screed, the only guaranteed way of knowing is to carry out a chemical analysis of a sample of the screed. A Calcium Sulphate screed is characterised by high CaO and SO₃ content. Once you have determined that you have a Calcium Sulphate screed and this can be in the form of natural anhydrite, thermal anhydrite, alpha hemi-hydrate or a combination of these, there are steps you must follow; Drying Times: These screeds, given ideal drying conditions, dry at a rate of 1mm/day up to a maximum thickness of 40mm and then at a rate of  ½ mm per day for thicknesses above this. Force drying the screed with the use of under-floor heating systems, will also enhance the drying process. This may be permitted 7 days after the initial laying. The screed must be adequately dry before any application of impermeable floor coverings (e.g. ceramics) typical requirements will be 0.5% water by weight, which equates to approximately 75% relative humidity. Laitance removal: During curing a weak, friable film usually forms on the surface – laitance. This will also reduce the rate at which the moisture can escape, therefore prolonging the drying time. Removal of this film is essential, and can be done by abrading, milling, or shot-blasting. Once the surface has been removed, thoroughly vacuum to remove loose parts and dust. This process can be completed after 3 -10 days of application using the recommended equipment. Opening the surface, will also assist the screed to dry. If there is any doubt whether the screed is dry, contact the manufacturer. Floor Preparation: The screed must be primed, which will act as a barrier to avoid any adverse chemical reaction e.g. ettringite formation between the Sulphate in the screed and cement in the cementitious adhesive or levelling compound. This can be done with two neat coats of PALACE Anhydrite Sealer. Do not allow any puddles to form and when the primer is dry your tiles or stone can be confidently fixed using a PALACE adhesive suited to your size and type of tile. We have recently experienced first-hand a failure where the correct identification of a screed was not made. One of our Sales Team was asked to visit a site where a PALACE adhesive had been used to fix tiles which were consequently de-bonding. The contractor stated that “the screed looked milky compared to other screeds” and instead of further investigation into the type of screed, decided to seal the floor with 1 coat of PVA and commenced fixing. The screed was identified as being Anhydrite and because it had not been prepared or sealed correctly, evidently the tiles de-bonded. This was an expensive error for the contractor, however with our expert guidance and products to “do the job right” one he will not make again. For full information on the PALACE Anhydrite Sealer, please consult the relevant Technical Datasheet, which can be viewed or downloaded from our ‘New Palace Website’ at  www.palacechemicals.co.uk/shop/anhydrite-sealer where you can see details of the products and our technical data sheets.