The Spanish tile revolution
A revolution within the tiling industry has seen a surge in the development of new products and high-tech processes without compromising durability and quality
The history of Spanish tiles, which combines remarkable artistic endeavour with intensive technical innovation, is a great legacy to world architecture. The latest chapter in this history features the evolution of a range of
systems that will accelerate installation and enhance precision, while remaining committed to quality and high specification design.
These developments, which have been prompted by intense competition in the tiling industry, are crucial to the demands of today’s fast-track programmes. They also facilitate the process of quality control and help to eliminate risk from the construction process. Roca Cermámica, Tau Cerámica, Alcagarés and Inalco Cerámica, who are all featured here, are key players in these innovations, which have revolutionised the tiling industry.
The Slimmker range by Tile of Spain member Inalco unites simplicity and design appeal. The tiles in this range have a thickness of only 4mm, which doesn’t just make them lightweight, easy to handle and easy to lay, but also eases the process of perforating or cutting them to a required size. As Slimmker tiles can be installed on any flat surface including existing tiles, ceramic, leather or glass, new trends in interiors can be reacted to with minimum disruption.
The installation of the tiles is facilitated by a pioneering anchorage system, meaning that tiles can be swiftly replaced with others. This prevents the need to throw away old materials and reduces the inconvenience and rubble generated during construction. The manufacturing process also optimises energy savings and minimises resources, thus reducing emissions and pollution.
Slimmker features all the resistance of porcelain tiles and Inalco’s IPLUS digital printing technology enables the company to offer a great variety of designs and fantastically realistic imitations of natural materials, such as stone or wood. The tiles are also suitable for use in ventilated facade systems where Inalco recommends the CAT 7 dual anchorage system, comprising elastic adhesives to vertical profiles and mechanical fixings.
Tau Cerámica : Dry System
Based in Castellón, the centre of Spain’s tile industry, Tau Cerámica is not only known for its versatile and broad range of innovative products, but has also largely invested in advanced systems to cover surfaces in the architecture and urban development sector. Marketed under the S3 Smart System Surface brand, this range of products is put together in association with industry bodies and experts from the Biomechanics Institute
of Valencia and the Institute of Ceramic Technology.
As part of the S3 range, DrySystem® has been launched to provide a dry laying system which facilitates the process of installing ceramic tiles onto any surface, without the need for traditional mortar or cement-based adhesive. A polymeric base, which prevents the tiles from being dislodged and provides self-levelling, is bonded to the ceramic tiles.
Tongue and groove joints ensure that components slot together seamlessly and can be sealed with specifically designed elastic, watertight putty or a dry elastomeric seal for more temporary facilities that require ready access. As the pieces fit together perfectly without adhesives, the system can be laid easily and precisely and the flooring can be walked on while it is being laid. The individual components are very easily replaced, are reusable, can be recycled and therefore have a reduced impact on the environment. DrySystem was also specially designed to provide soundproofing and heat insulation properties.
Founded in 1990, Alcalagrés is a company that specialises in through-body porcelain tiles made from the finest selection of raw materials, using the most cutting-edge manufacturing techniques.
The company’s IntegraMuro system comprises panels of high density extruded polystyrene and through-bodied porcelain tiles which are adhered by an industrial process. In order to facilitate construction this system consists of lightweight tiles; which are resistant to freeze-cracking, sudden temperature changes and abrasion; as well as mechanical fixings and custom connectors. The porcelain tiles are laminated to a flexible material in order to achieve high impact resistance and practically have zero water absorption. The horizontal and vertical joints are sealed with PVC gaskets.
The IntegraMuro system is suitable for both new buildings and renovation projects. In order to reduce assembly costs and time, the company’s IntegraPLUS division provides efficient, well coordinated advice by using specialist consultants at every stage of the architectural project. Their expertise is aptly illustrated through this office building in Gibraltar which incorporates the Lifestone Gris range, in 900 x 450cm size tiles.
Roca Cerámica: PRÉT-A-PORTER
As one of the market leaders Roca Cerámica operates in over 50 countries, guaranteeing the best possible development of products meet the needs of diverse markets. The quality of their offer is set by high-precision industrial processes to achieve optimum wear resistance, retention of decorative effects, colour fastness, precision in formats and perfect flatness in every item produced.
The company’s PRÉT-A-PORTER range is a unique and innovative system for dry-laying floor tiles, which can be installed instantly and cleanly, without any grouting and waste. For ease of assembly, the components can be fitted together without building work or adhesives, meaning the tiles can be used immediately after laying. The system avoidscracking caused by structural movement and is ideal for radiant floors and facilities which require frequent access because each tile can be removed while adjacent tiles remain in place.
The Prét-a-Porter system is ideal for projects where the appearance of the floor needs to be changed on a regular basis. However, a thorough planning stage is essential before the installation process begins to ensure that the largest possible number of uncut tiles can be placed, thus minimising cutting throughout the fixing stage.
Roca Cerámica is renowned for its environmental awareness and has received a number of quality certifications, including the EU’s Ecolabel. The Prét-a-Porter tiles are one hundred per cent reusable in accordance with ISO 14021 and their installation avoids waste residue. The system also provides high noise and impact insulation levels.
ASCER, the Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers of Spain, represents over 150 member companies under the collective brand, Tile of Spain.
This is a joint initiative with the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX). For further information on Tile of Spain members, products and services email email@example.com or call 020 7467 2385.