Local tile and building solutions manufacturer TAL attended Cersaie 2014 and the fair highlighted that wood-look tiles are still very much in fashion and that tiles are still increasing in size. Both these trends present challenges for manufactures of adhesives and grout as they need to adapt their products to ensure that the installation of these tiles are correct as well as safe and that the end result is attractive.
“Hexagon-shaped tiles are definitely taking the European market by storm and we’ll watch this trend closely to see if it picks up locally as these tiles will be challenging to install. We hope that our customers will make use of our expertise as well as our technical and on-site support service when fitting these tiles,” says Gela Ohl, Marketing Manager at TAL.
With wood-look inkjet tiles continuing their popularity and evolving to feature textured grains and knots as well as multiple finishes on one tile, grout suppliers will have to develop their colour offering to cater for the latest tile designs.
These tiles are used extensively locally in both commercial and domestic applications. “We’re currently supplying adhesives, grout and ancillary products to numerous prestigious projects featuring wood-look tiles and the challenge for grout manufacturers is to get the grout colours right as the tiles vary from warm greys to different tones of brown and they also mimic the wood grain so you’re dealing with several colour tones in one tile,” she says.
The fair further confirmed that glitter grout is used as accents only, that grout is very fine and that joints are not wider than 3mm. “We didn’t observe the use of course grout, but then natural stone wasn’t prominent at all this year,” says Ohl.
Tiles in larger formats require bigger cutters as well as multiple skilled tradesmen to install the tiles when used as cladding. “Although impressive and beautiful to look at, these large-format tiles demand accurate installation where up to three installers are needed to fit one tile and this adds to the labour cost on site. Our industry will have to evolve to make the installation of these tiles possible. Investment in skills development and the right cutting tools will enable tiling contractors to respond to the demand,” says Ohl.
Intricate tile layouts, whether on floors or walls, involve precision installation, the right tools and expert craftsmanship. “We were fascinated by the exactness of the installations carried out by the tile layers at the show and how they work off plan to create the most enchanting murals. One set of installers fitted mosaics to pool loungers and the level of craftsmanship required to lay the tiles around the curves was incredible,” she says.
The use of lights on almost any surface and in every application is also filtering through to tile installations with LED strips used on stairs and specifically stair treads. “The lights are applied for aesthetic reasons, but can also contribute to the safety aspect of stairs,” says Ohl.
Locally, the affinity for wood-look tiles as well as other inkjet designs will grow. “We’re constantly reviewing and developing our products to suit current requirements and to respond to future trends and we’ll look at ways to improve our offering based on our observations at this year’s show,” she says.
For more information visit www.tal.co.za or contact the TAL Technical Advisory Service on 0860 000 (TAL) 825.