Consumables – Latest developments for working with stone

Masks are not just for protection against Covid-19, they also protect stone workers from respirable crystalline silica dust from high quartz content materials. This mask is supplied by D Zambelis.

There’s always something new to help give stone companies of all kinds a competitive advantage. Here’s an NSS selection of latest offers to make life easier and more productive.

Machinery, tools and consumables company D Zambelis is in the process of releasing new products to augment its already extensive range.

It plans to launch a particularly strong, two-part, high adhesive cartridge glue that can be used for interiors and exteriors with ceramics, porcelains, natural stones, quartz, Dekton, Lapitec and Neolith. It will complement the company’s existing Iridium glue line.

It comes in a wide range of colours with excellent stability. It will not yellow in sunlight, can cope with most temperatures and is easy to polish.

D Zambelis has also introduced a new range of own-branded core drills for use on Dekton and other ultracompact sintered  surfaces.

With their ‘T’ shaped segments, these promise to overcome some of the difficulties of fabricating these materials. They have a slot in the side for fast dust release and promise a longer working life.

It should not have escaped any stone processor’s notice that the products used for making worktops in natural and engineered stone, including sintered surfaces and porcelains, generally contain high levels of silica. Machinery helps to keep the levels of respirable crystalline silica down in workshops and remove people from excessive exposure, but using an angle grinder, even with water suppression, is likely to exceed the exposure limits and operatives should use properly fitting masks, which makes the new Moldex CompactMasks P2 & P3 from D Zambelis an important addition to its product range.

They are re-usable, lasting for two-to-four weeks, depending on the levels of dust exposure.

These compact, EN 405:2001-certified half masks offer complete fume and dust protection thanks to the FlexFit automatic adjustment to different face shapes, while the pleated filter is durable but has low breathing resistance.

They are light and comfortable to wear while allowing a wide field of vision and not restricting movement. They come ready for use and are maintenance free.

When you are suitably masked, you can use the Sait Velcro abrasives sold by Zambelis. These are 125mm dia Velcro-backed silicon carbide polishing discs in grits of 60, 120, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1200 sold in boxes of 50.

Then there are the Zambelis bridge saw blades that are colour-coded for the materials they will cut (granite, marble, sintered products, quartz) for perfect sawing and long life of the blades themselves and the machines using them.

The range includes Stellar, for cutting natural quartzites such as Taj Mahal and Azul Macumba, and all engineered stone, such as Silestone and DuPont.

From Palace Chemicals comes flexible, cement-based, Anti-Mould Grout in a range of colours for joints of up to 15mm wide. It can be used in interiors and exteriors with porcelain or natural stone tiles.

Conforming to BS EN 13888 CG2 WA, Anti-Mould Grout contains a fungicide that prevents the growth of black spot mould. It has a high flexural strength and abrasion resistance, is durable and resistant to shrinking, has a four hour working time and can be used over underfloor heating.

Also from Palace is Satin Seal & Polish for porous unglazed tiles and stone. It is an emulsion that cures to form a protective coat with a consistent, smooth finish and works by forming a protective semi-sheen film.

By adding multiple layers, a different level of sheen can be achieved all the way up to a gloss finish.

When it comes to the diamond tools you use on your CNC machines you might wish they were a bit less consumable. And they can be given extra life by re-dressing them, a service offered by Stonegate.

Stonegate sells a complete range of tools, consumables and handling equipment  used by stone companies but says: “Let’s be honest, with the situation we all find ourselves in, money is tight and reviewing your purchases and prolonging the life of machinery you have invested in, especially while business is so quiet, has probably never been so important.”

If you know your CNC tools are no longer running as quickly nor producing as good a finish as they used to but you are reluctant to replace them while they still have life left in them, get them re-dressed instead. Stonegate promises to do it quickly and cost-effectively so they achieve the same accuracy and finish as new tools and return to their original production rates.

And don’t forget Stonegate’s extra-strong Dekton-accredited glue, Styrex. It is a two-parter ideal for using to create desirable drop fronts on worktops.

Also for Dekton, Stonegate has a Super Aggressive Polishing Pad, which is both its name and a description. It is available with M14 and snail lock backing and gives low vibration polishing as much as three times quicker than was possible with  the previous ‘Ultimum’ pads.

Stonegate had these Super Aggressive Pads on trial in fabricators’ workshops around the country last year, testing them on a variety of materials. It says they received a huge seal of approval.

Laticrete's adhesives and mortars range from high-strength construction epoxy adhesive to thinset or thick bed mortar.

Laticrete 335 Super Flex comes in grey and white and is a polymer fortified cementitious powder mixed with water to fix wall and floor tiles, including low absorption porcelain, vitrified tiles and natural stone (where the white version is recommended for light coloured stone and marble). It can be used on fully braced 18mm WBP plywood and over underfloor heating. It can be used outside as well as for interiors and can be used where tiles will be fully immersed in pools.

It complies with EN 12004 C2TE-S1, mixes to a smooth and creamy paste, has instant grab (ideal for large format tiles), has an open time up to 30 minutes, is water and heat resistant and can be used in high traffic areas.

Antolini, best known for the attractive stone slabs it sells, introduced Azerocare some years ago so the stones it sells can be sealed with a product that is safe and does not alter the look of the stone.

Now it is also offering Azerobact as a treatment for natural stone that prevents the growth of bacteria and mould. Again, it can be used without altering the look of the stone. It is suitable for use indoors and out.

Azerobact is a nanoproduct that penetrates the stone rather than sealing the surface of it. By preventing the growth of bacteria and mould without having  to use harsh chemicals, any risk of damaging or altering the surface of the stone is avoided. Once it has been treated with Azerobact it can be cleaned simply and easily with neutral soap and water.

Dry-Treat was a pioneer in the use of nanoparticles to penetrate deep into even dense stone such as granite to seal it without altering the look of it, making the most of Van der Waals forces to repel water and oil.

These days the products are sold under the name of Stain-Proof for applications inside and out, protecting stone in a variety of uses, from worktops to patios and paving, façades, cladding, pool surrounds and walls.

Around the world Stain-Proof impregnating sealers have been used in and on hundreds of thousands of domestic, commercial and public domain projects, from the humble to the highest profile.

The products are supplied in the UK by Advanced Stone & Masonry Supplies Ltd and are sold by a range of stone suppliers.

Fila Solutions' stone sealing, cleaning and enhancing products have had the company name dropped from the product name, with the products being categorised as ‘Pro’ or ‘DIY’ products.

Filacleaner, for example, becomes Cleaner Pro. There are more Pro products than there are DIY products, although many do not get Pro or DIY included in their names. Take Filamarble Restorer. It becomes simply Marble Cleaner and is in the Pro range. Fugaprooof grout cleaner, now labelled ‘Specific Cleaner for Grout’ is in the DIY collection.

Cleaner Pro is a gentle cleaner for all types of stone floors and surfaces, including  washing natural stone floors after they have been laid, particularly those with a polished finish that are sensitive to strong detergents.

It is biodegradable and supplied highly concentrated so can be used at whatever concentration is necessary, from 1:30 to 1:200. At a dilution of 1:200 it can be used with scrubber-dryer machines and does not even need to be rinsed off as it does not leave any residues. And it smells good.

Marble Restorer is a restoration kit for removing minor acid stains (6-7cm dia) from domestic products or weathering on polished marble, travertine and limestone and restoring a polished finish. It can be used to restore the polish on stone floors dulled by wear, as well as on bathroom or kitchen worktops, table tops, floors and stairs.

With everyone making increased use of the internet, Ardex has held its first ‘virtual’ RIBA-approved CPD seminar. It used Microsoft Teams as its platform, which allowed those taking part to interact and put questions to the presenters.

The event was hosted by Ardex Business Development Manager Shaun Howarth. The title of the CPD was ‘Specify Screeds, Levelling and Subfloor Preparation with Confidence’.

There are more CPDs to come and architects interested in adding to their hours can book a virtual CPD at bit.ly/2RJGh9D.

The latest additions to LTP’s Ecoprotec surface care range are Ecoprotec Porcelain Tile Protector, a water-based pre-and-post-grout barrier treatment, and Ecoprotec Blackstone, a water-based restorative sealer for faded natural and engineered stone used outside.

LTP claims four key benefits to Porcelain Tile Protector. Applied before grouting it helps increase the open working time. It also reduces the risk of cement and resin staining without forming a film or altering the appearance, and facilitates easy removal of grouts, jointing compounds and organic matter from the surface of the tile.

Once residues have been removed and the surface is dry, a further coat applied to the tile and joints makes cleaning and aftercare less work.

These features are particularly beneficial for non-slip external pavers, where residues can quickly become lodged in surfaces textured for slip resistance.

Ecoprotec Blackstone is an outdoor sealer and restorer for dark natural stone and artificial stone surfaces.

It is applied until the desired colour effect is achieved – from grey to ebony. It is then cut-back to remove residue. It is a permanent finish giving protection against the elements. 

As well as the new treatments, LTP’s Ecoprotec range includes sealers, cleaners and maintenance products for all tile and stone types, as well as tools and kits. 

The company offers full clean-seal-care regimes along with trouble-shooting products that solve specific issues such as removing efflorescence, graffiti and mould.

Ultra TileFix, an Instarmac company, has introduced UltraTileFix ProLevel Two, a two part, mid-strength smoothing underlayment with a set time of 21/2 hours that can be tiled within 10 hours.

ProLevel Two consists of a powdered blend of cements, graded fillers and additives, and a pre-gauged polymer liquid. It conforms to CT C25 F5 EN 13813 and comes with the UltraTileFix Lifetime Guarantee for peace of mind.

Suitable for internal use, it is particularly flexible and moisture tolerant, making it good for projects with underfloor heating or on timber floors.

Designed for 2-15mm depths, it is packaged so it can be carried easily, while its one bag to one bottle mixing ratio makes it quick and easy to prepare.

It is a high performance product capable of withstanding daily trafficking in commercial environments as well as domestic installations. It is strong enough for heavy, large format tiles but has the flexibility to accommodate movement in the subfloor.

Norcros Adhesives has a new three-part system specifically for those who want to extend their interior flooring to the great outdoors, especially if they are using natural stone or the latest generation of 20mm stone effect porcelains.

The new product is called the Norcros Rock-Tite Exterior Porcelain & Stone System. It is specifically to meet the current trend for extending living areas outdoors, which is part of a long-term lifestyle trend of making greater leisure use of gardens.

There is a Primer, a Mortar and a Brush-In Grout included.

Traditionally, outdoor areas might be covered with concrete pavers, which can be ugly, or timber decking, which is going out of fashion because it can relatively quickly look tired.

Using 20mm porcelain or stone tiles, on the other hand, brings all sorts of advantages, not least of which is allowing flooring and paving to make that transition from the interior of a building to the exterior, which people love.

The Norcros Adhesives system is intended to be simple to use by anyone who wants to create that transition.

The system includes Norcros Rock-Tite Porcelain Primer, supplied in three 5kg bags that come complete with a 15kg mixing bucket. It is a fibre-reinforced, polymer-modified, cement-based primer that improves adhesion when used with porcelain and stone pavers.

Secondly there is high strength fibre-reinforced Norcros Rock-Tite Mortar, which is supplied in a 25kg bag and simply requires the addition of water.

And to finish off is ready-to-use Brush-In Grout, again supplied in three 5kg bags with a 15kg mixing bucket. It comes in colours of Blanched Almond, Steel Grey and Tropical Ebony to match other grouts from Norcros Adhesives.

“We are first to market with a system of this type,” said Richard Wallis, Managing Director of Norcros Adhesives. “So we expect Norcros Rock-Tite to be very popular with tile fixers who are doing this sort of work and also builders and landscapers, who may not be as familiar with the detailed requirements of laying tiles.”

Like all products from Norcros Adhesives, the new system has a lifetime guarantee.

A Lithofin product developed specifically for professional use is Lithofin NanoTOP, a colourless and ready-to-use liquid sealer. Although it is not suitable for DIY use, it is straightforward for a trade professional to apply. It protects natural stone against staining without changing the appearance of the surface.

It is a high performance protector, excellent for repelling both water and oil on all absorbent natural and artificial stones – because although many man-made surfaces are sold as being less absorbent than granite worktops, they are not all totally impervious to liquid penetration.

The active components of NanoTOP build a thin, invisible film inside the capillary system of the stone which repels oil, water and grease. The product is UV resistant and does not yellow. Because it does not form surface layers it cannot be damaged by being scratched.

For regular cleaning of natural and engineered stone kitchen worktops, table tops, vanity units and sink areas, there is Lithofin Easy-Clean. It removes dirt, oil and grease residues and provides streak-free cleaning while additives support the effectiveness of protective sealing treatments. There are economical one litre re-fill packs available.

These are just two of an extensive range of natural and engineered stone care products from Lithofin that are sold in the UK by Casdron, which has a lot of help and advice about which products to use and how  to use them online.

Akepur 240 from Akemi is a creamy, two-component polyurethane reactive (PUR) adhesive with fast functional hardness, even in cooler weather, and high bonding strength on any natural and artificial stone as well as metal and plastic, glass and wood. It has low shrinkage, good resistance to solvents and does not foam.

Work can be accelerated with this adhesive, especially when the weather is cooler. Because it sticks to a wide range of materials it is ideal for flat bonding substructures of fibreglass composite or aluminium rods on to the backs of worktops made of natural stone or ceramics.

And although Akepur 240 bonds quickly (at 20°C it has a processing time of 3-5 minutes, sufficient to adjust parts to be bonded to exactly the right position), there is also 20 to 30 minutes of transportability time to bring the surfaces into contact. Full load-bearing capacity of the bonding is achieved in 2-3 hours.

Akepur 240 is available in white and black in 920g (600ml) cartridges.

If you want an adhesive to match the colour of your work surface, Akemi has colour-matching charts on its website to help you chose the right product. It also takes into account the adhesive to use based on whether it is being used for interiors or exteriors.

The international Italian-based Kerakoll Group, which has a presence in 13 countries including the UK, has merged its two British subsidiaries, Kerakoll UK Ltd and Tilemaster Adhesives Ltd, under a single management structure.

Kerakoll acquired Tilemaster Adhesives in 2017. It said then it planned a £30million investment in a new production plant and the merger of the two companies is part of that move. Combining the two companies is intended to give retailers, contractors, fixers and specifiers more products and enhanced service.

When Kerakoll bought Tilemaster Adhesives, with its ceramic and natural stone laying systems, in 2017 it said the acquisition represented a starting point for a plan to expand its operations in England.

Kerakoll is proud of taking a leading position in GreenBuilding materials developed in its GreenLab, where it dedicates 5.4% of its annual turnover to green research. In December Kerakoll launched its Plastic Free project with the aim of progressively eliminating disposable plastic from all its offices and production plants.

This initiative involves around 1,200 employees and will reduce plastic consumption by 10,000kg or so a year.

The project includes replacing vending machines that contain plastic bottles of water with water dispensers. Each Kerakoll employee is offered a customised, easy-to-identify, personal, numbered steel water bottle.

“The Plastic Free project,” says Andrea Remotti, Kerakoll Group’s CEO, “is in line with the company’s broader vision to embrace GreenBuilding as a constructive philosophy and to promote a better quality of living on a global level, through eco-friendly building materials and innovative solutions aimed at improving health and respecting the environment in which we live.”

The Kerakoll product range for use with stone includes gel adhesives, organic mineral adhesives, Resina-Cemento resin-cement grout and decorative sealants,  organic sealants, and accessories to lay and grout ceramic tiles and natural stone.

Its latest launch, developed by the GreenLab, has been its Fugabella Color grouts and sealants in 50 colours chosen by Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni to be the most relevant for modern interiors. They range from neutrals and pastels to vibrant solids. They will, says Kerakoll, tone harmoniously with the wide range of natural and engineered stones popularly in use today.

Fugabella is a resin-cement hybrid grout and sealant range formulated with a mix of natural binders that have been hybridised with various additives to give lower volatile organic compound (VOC) content for reduced environmental impact than cement or epoxy-resin.

Also helping the environment is hard landscaping product supplier CED Stone Group. It specialises in natural stone and has introduced a range of permeable bedding and jointing products for garden paving and driveways to help avoid flooding.

Sold under the name of StoneBed, these are easy-to-use, cost-effective and durable. And they make an ideal complement to environmentally friendly natural stone paving and setts.

StoneBed permeable bedding mortar was developed by CED Stone Group to offer as a  high grade, pre-mixed, mortar for laying paving and setts for domestic or light pedestrian projects.

StoneBed will help to protect paving from staining, frost heave and cracking, and will maintain its natural shade and finish. All that’s required is a cement mixer and clean water. StoneBed improves the adhesion bond between the paving and the supporting structure.

With it comes StoneBed Joint-Flo paving mortar, a slurry jointing mortar ideal for use with natural stone, although, like the permeable bedding mortar, it can also be used with concrete and porcelain products.

Joint-Flo comes in individual sachets in a reusable, recyclable, hard wearing mixing tub. You just add clean water.

To wrap up this run-through of developments in consumables comes the announcement that foam sealants specialist ISO Chemie’s ISO-Bloco One self-adhesive weathertight tape for window frames has gained a British Board of Agrement (BBA) certificate.

The tape allows the rapid sealing of windows from inside the building during the construction phase. It resists wind-driven rain, snow, run-off water and dust. And the BBA certificate confirms the product’s
10-year service life.

ISO Bloco One is a ‘fit and forget’ solution for fast and effective sealing based around the European RAL principles of three-level sealing. The external layer provides weather resistance and breathability, allowing any moisture inside the joint or the wall to escape outwards rather than into the building. The intermediate layer adds extra thermal and acoustic insulation and the internal seal is air tight with humidity regulation. The tape has a U-Value of 0.55 and reduces sound by 63dB straight from the box.