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Gemini Guidelines

Glazed Ceramic Tiles

Currently this is the most common type of tile, they possess specific technical properties and a glaze coating that physically and hygienically protects the tiles. The base is clay based and porous; bucket cement is normally used to fix these tiles. They are used internally on walls and floors. In general the floor tiles are thicker hence stronger, as they carry weight and more traffic. Cutting is via scoring the ceramic surface and then by snapping using pressure. Tile cutters are readily available.  

Tiles are available in many different sizes and thicknesses.  Designs and colours can be applied during the firing of the tile, making these a very common and adaptable internal tile.

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are very durable, low porosity tiles suitable for domestic and most commercial applications. They can be fitted to walls and floors however always check to ensure that the wall can bear the weight of these tiles. 

Always fix porcelain tiles using cement based adhesive; an example is BAL Single Part Flexible. Plaster board and plaster walls must be primed before fixing for example using BAL Primer APD. As an extremely hard material cutting can be a problem, for best results cut these tiles with a diamond bladed wet saw. Due to their very low absorbency (Vitrified or Fully Vitrified) porcelain tiles do not normally require sealing. Polished tiles however have a slight degree of microporosity as a result of the polishing process. If used in areas subject to a high level of spillage, polished tiles can be sealed to further protect. Matt tiles can also be sealed in high-risk areas, e.g. light coloured tiles on commercial kitchen floors.

Glazed Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles with an opaque to transparent coating that have been fired to the tile biscuit. This type of tile has a vitreous covering on the face of the tile, which is impermeable.

Polished Porcelain Tiles

Shiny surface of un-glazed tiles, achieved by mechanical polishing at the final stage of production.  
We recommend sealing Polished Porcelain tiles for extra protection.

Rectified Tiles

A rectified tile has been mechanically cut to size after the firing process. This process creates a precise edge and, as a result, can be laid with a tighter grout joint than an unrectified tile. Great care must be taken when fixing to ensure tiles are fixed flat and not lipped.

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaics are suitable for walls in all internal installations and for domestic bathroom floors, where they will only be subject to light foot traffic. In some ranges a slip resistant ‘Grip’ finish is available for wet floors such as walk in showers. Glass mosaics should always be fixed with white cement based adhesive, eg: BAL Mosaic-Fix. 

For fixing to plaster and plaster board, the surface should be first primed with BAL Primer APD or similar. Glass mosaics are supplied on sheets and when fixing the fabric mesh goes towards the wall, setting them in line to obtain a correct vertical and horizontal meeting of joints. Tap the surface of the mosaics with a rubber float to ensure adequate adhesion and flatness.  

Some glass mosaics may be supplied with brown paper sheets with or without a fabric mesh these are fixed in the same way, but with the brown paper facing out. When the adhesive has set, wet the paper thoroughly with a sponge and peel the paper off holding one corner.  Please be aware that due to the translucent nature of glass mosaic, final colour and shade of the fixed material can vary especially depending on lighting and location.

PEI Ratings

The construction and qualities of tiles differ greatly. One classification that influences / affects where to use specific tiles is Abrasion Resistance PEI ratings. 

Abrasion Resistance – Below are four different classifications.

       2 Light traffic.  Residential wall use and bathroom floor applications
       3 Light to moderate traffic.  Residential wall and floor use
       4 Moderate to heavy traffic.  Residential wall and floor use with external access
       5 Heavy traffic.  All residential wall and floor use with external access

Please note: We would recommend the use of a door mat within a mat well to all external doors.

Frost Resistant Tiles

Tiles specifically designed by the manufacturer to withstand freezing/thaw conditions. Hence suitable for exterior applications exposed to the elements, high humidity and very low temperatures.

Natural Products 

General Fixing Guidance.  Before purchasing your stone, please check that it is suitable for the application you wish to use it for.

Surfaces must be clean, dry, sound and free of contamination. Wet areas such as showers should be tanked with BAL WP1 Shower Kit or Tanking System prior to tiling. All stone is porous to some degree and must be sealed with the appropriate LITHOFIN product PRIOR TO GROUTING. This will protect the stone from being stained by any pigment in the grout and from grout being sucked into the stone by capillary action.

Use the solid bed fixing method incorporating an appropriate notched trowel and fill any voids in the back of the tile. When fixing to skimmed plaster or gypsum plasterboard, prime prior to tiling with BAL PRIMER APD.

Ideally fix natural stone with a rapid setting cement based adhesive. Due to the porosity of certain stones, staining can occur if a normal setting adhesive is used. White adhesive should always be used with pale stones and when using a light coloured grout. Either BAL RAPID SET WHITE OR BAL RAPID SET FLEXIBLE (if background is prone to movement) are suitable adhesives for most backgrounds on floors and walls. It is recommended that BAL FAST FLEX is used for overlaid timber floors to minimise any chance of movement damage.

Grouting of stone can be done in the same way as any other tile. In the case of Travertine an  extra quantity should be allowed for to fill the voids in the stone. Standard cement based or polymer modified grouts, BAL WIDE JOINT GROUT, BAL SUPERFLEX, BAL MICROFLEX, or BAL MICROCOLOUR can all be used. Check to see which would be the most appropriate for your application. Ensure that any grout is removed from the surface before sealing by washing the floor / wall with a dilute solution of LITHOFIN POWER CLEAN.

Further sealing will be required after grouting as stone can stain. On most occasions this is due to an inadequate amount of sealer being applied during the fixing process and the tiles not being fully sealed. Properly sealed stone is easier to maintain.

Please note that it is not recommended that you clean most stone with ordinary household detergents as they are acidic and can damage most stone.

Crazing

A fine hairline cracking which sometimes appears on the glaze of the tile. This is usually caused by tensile stress between the tile biscuit and glaze. This may have been intentionally produced for artistic effect.

Shade Variation

It is common practise to check batch numbers on wallpaper.  Please apply the same care before fixing tiles.  Shade variation is an inherent feature of some ceramics and it is therefore imperative that you visually check blends prior to fixing.  Care should always be taken to ensure that sufficient tiles are purchased within the same batch to complete the job, as no claims for 
variations or quality can be entertained after fixing.
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