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What is going on with Freight and Shipment?

Currently, globally, we are dealing with massive disruptions to freight, shipment and transportation. There are a wide variety of reasons why we are experiencing these delays. From the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to the shortage of drivers.

COVID_19 Pandemic

In March 2021, the Megaship called the Ever Given, blocked the Suez Canal for about a week. This resulted in a massive misalignment of cargo, as they were blocked and delayed. Similar to being stuck on the motorway. This caused a surge in container rates which had a knock on effect on trade costs. This poses a continued challenge for businesses that need to get stock in from across the world. Most businesses are unable to bear the brunt of higher rates. 

 

Demand for containers has grown during the pandemic. This has been caused by a change in consumer habits, increasing the demand for manufactured consumer goods. This leads to a shortage of containers as businesses scramble for stock in anticipation for new waves of the pandemic.

Disrupted Supply Chains

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic demand for goods was high, but economies worldwide shut down in various lockdowns. Manufacturing and sailing was shut down and workers displaced. As we came out of the lockdowns, manufacturing changed to online retailers and workers and trade could continue. But in the process of this restart, the supply chain was fractured. 

 

A shortage of shipping containers emerged, shipping rates skyrocketed, congestion developed, all exasperating the trucking shortage.

Driver Shortages

Once the cargo is unloaded it is transported by truck to its end location. But there is a massive driver shortage. According to driver recruiting firms, there is one qualified driver for every 9 jobs. This lack of drivers is caused by employment prospects, safety concerns, expanding unemployment benefits and simply ‘having kids at home.’ Even though the salary drivers are being offered is healthy, it will take time for them to return to industry, as they have moved onto jobs with better lifestyles.

Container prices are soaring currently

Currently there are many shipping containers in Africa and South America, empty and uncollected. This is because shipping carriers have concentrated their vessels on the more profitable Asia, North America and Europe. Simply this means there are fewer containers in circulation. 

 

More ships are needed, but additional supply is many years away. Furthermore, the trend for larger and larger ships creates massive infrastructure challenges at ports. These bigger ships require more trucks, warehouse capacity and trains, to unload and load them in the ports. Therefore, when delays occur, more containers are affected.

The Future and Us

This disruption seems to be stagnating as people in the industry wait for policy makers to interject. Only time will tell if we can withstand the coming holiday seasons, any future COVID outbreaks and extreme weather battering individual links in the supply chain.

 

As a small business which imports materials from India, at Tiles For Ever and Wide Wings Tiles, we have been dealing with all these pressures for months now. We have been lucky so far to get hold of containers when we need them, and to be well stocked coming into the end of the year. But we are currently trying to prepare for anything the future may hold for us.

For more information on how we are dealing with the freight crisis, feel free to call us (0113 390 8800), email at info@tilesforever.co.uk or come into our showroom.  

 

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Which Tiles are Best for Floors?

Porcelain as a material is very durable and dense. This makes it a long lasting material for any usage.  But for specifically the floor, porcelain is a very good choice. When choosing porcelain there is a wide range to choose from. Thanks to technology advances, there are many different types of patterns, finishes and sizes; meaning your options are near endless.

This is advantageous because it allows any customer to make a highly specialised choice about their floor. It can be exactly to their preferences.

As mentioned before in a previous blog post, porcelain as a material is very versatile. Therefore, it can be applied to a floor and last up to 50 years, be easy to clean and when installed correctly it won’t break.

When it comes to outdoor tiles, we recommend you go for precise tiles that are made for outdoor use. These tiles are usually double in thickness and have a lot of texture. This allows traction under foot, it even makes the tile have a natural stone effect, which a lot of people really like.

The finish is an important thing to consider. We always ask customers what kind of household they have, in order for us to advise on the finish of your tile correctly. For example, if you have pets, and eledrly relatives in the house often, a gloss finish will not suit the space. So we would always say to get a matt finish porcelain tile.

Thanks to large advancements in technology in the tiling world, we now stock a tile which when wet grows in texture. This means that it is perfect for outdoor or swimming pool floor application. As the tile is rained on, or splashed on, it becomes more gritty, resulting in a tile that is hard to slip on.

These 6 points are variables to always consider when choosing the perfect floor tile for you: 

 

  1. Tile size.
  2. Room size.
  3. Colour. 
  4. Grout. 
  5. Texture and pattern.
  6. Natural light. 

For more information on Porcelain Floor Tiles, feel free to call us (0113 390 8800), email at info@tilesforever.co.uk or come into our showroom. 

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What is a Lappato Tile?

What Makes a Tile Lappato?

In Italian, Lappato means semi-polished, and it is a finish that is put on tiles, near the end of the production process. This technique, applied to porcelain tiles, results in a very unique design and texture. Usually, the Lappato Tile has two layers, one is matt, and another is glossy. Because of this the Lappato Tiles aren’t as slippy as a gloss tile would be, but it will still reflect light around the room.

A lot of consumers look for the high gloss finish you get with a lot of tiles. It is a great finish, as it brings light and colour to the space. But they are put off by the practicality of having a high gloss tile on the floor. So Lappato is the perfect option. It gives the consumer that gloss look they are looking for, but also brings practicality, as the matt textured finish supplies grip. Further, they require no sealing, which means the tile needs very little maintenance.

Lappato from us:

The tiles we stock that have a Lappato finish are: our milan range. We have them in 600×600 and they are either white, grey or black. For us these tiles are great people pleasers. They are very versatile and have great applications. For us the lappato is perfect for a bathroom floor, or as a wall feature. It’s unique finish allows it to be a lot less slippery as a gloss finish porcelain tile would be. Furthermore, it’s texture and slight shine makes it an eye-catching wall feature, which will add to any industrial, natural theme.

For More Infomation:

For more information on Lappato Tiles feel free to call us (0113 390 8800), email at info@tilesforever.co.uk or come into our showroom and see the tiles for yourself.

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Bathroom Trends of 2021/2022

Bathrooms

Bathrooms have changed their function throughout their history, but recently they have shifted once more into spaces for pure relaxation and serenity.  Bathrooms are less about the function and more about the ambiance. This is translated in the interior of the space.

Nature

The biggest trends we are seeing is a move to nature. As mentioned before, bathrooms are meant for relaxation and what better way to do this than being back to nature. this is released not just by putting plant in your bathroom, but by really bringing the outside, inside. This is achieved by colours, texture and materials. Materials like, wood and stone paired with neutral tones can  transform a space into a place of mindfulness. When al these tools are applied it can turn a space into a true place of serenity and calm; a spa.

Bold Features

What better way to show your personality than strong statements in the home. Tiles are following this trend closely and we are seeing more mosaics and linear tiles with quirky textures and colours coming onto the market. When it comes to bathroom accessories; if you have gone bold and out there with the tile option, we are seeing a lot more matt black and stainless steel of glass simple faucet designs. It seems, if you want to show your personality in your bathroom, then the tile option is the route. And porcelain tiles especially have such a wide variety of choice waiting for you.

Terracotta

Terracotta is coming back in a big way! with that comes Mediterranean colour palettes as well. Ranging from the light shades of apricot and clay all the way to the deep burnt oranges, we are seeing  massive rise in these tones being used in bathrooms. If you don’t want to dive head first into this trend, it’s easy to bring it slowly into the space, by adding accents of terracotta. Start with a bathmat or towels, or even change the colour of your grout.

For any more information on porcelain feel free to call us (0113 390 8800), email at info@tilesforever.co.uk or come into our showroom and see for yourself.

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What Grout Should I Use?

What is Grout?

Grout is generally a mixture of cement, sand and water. Water is added to the powder to create a dense fluid which is used to bond and seal joints between tiles. It is used to attach the tile to the surface, and then to seal the spaces in between the tiles. 

 

When it comes to grout choice, there are two grout types you need to consider for any porcelain tile project. To our customers we will always recommend flexible grout. This is because it is easy to apply and mix. Is available in a wide range of colours. It is also cost effective. 

 

Epoxy grout has its place in the market. It is strong and durable. But it is hard to apply and requires a specialist. This makes it good for high-traffic areas, like receptions and restaurants. But this means it isn’t suitable for residential projects.

Choosing the Right Grout Colour

It’s easy to get carried away with which tile to use for your project but what can easily be overlooked is grout colour. The colour of your grout can really make or break the look of your tile. There is no right or wrong when it comes to grout colour choice, it is personal preference and depends on what you want from your grout.

Classic Colour Combinations

  • White grout and white tile. This creates flow and a seamless looking surface. But can show up any stain or discolour, so can require upkeep. 
  • Grey grout and white tile: This helps to show the shape of your tile and add contrast. It can help the tile sing louder in the space. 
  • Black grout and white tile: the grout is the attention and the pattern that the grout makes weaving through the tiles is the focal point.
  • Colourful grout: if you are going for a colour scheme throughout the space, then pick that hue up with the grout as well. Adds personality and a unique look. 
  • Grey grout and colourful tile: allows the grout to fade into the background. 
  • Colourful grout and colourful tile: picking matching colours for both can create a vibrant look! Bringing a bit of an international hotel appeal. 

Why Does Grout Get Dirty?

Grout is a lot more porous than the tiles themselves, and so does absorb water over time. Dirt in the water and air can be absorbed into the grout and will ruin the appearance over time. Furthermore, the actual cleaning equipment you use can damage the grout. These same holes can expand and rupture when strong acid or alkaline is applied to them. This leads to the large holes growing mold and mildew. We recommend high water content cleaners from companies like LTP,  who do an amazing grout cleaner that needs to be applied once every 6 months to protect the grout from any cleaning product you put on the tile.  We don’t recommend home remedy grout cleaners as it is hard to control the ratios of acid and alkaline, which could result in damage to the grout.

For any more information on porcelain feel free to call us (0113 390 8800), email at info@tilesforever.co.uk or come into our showroom and see for yourself.

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Why Choose Porcelain Tiles?

History

The first porcelain tiles were produced in China in the 15th century and then brought over to Europe later on. Porcelain tiles have been used widely in humid areas of the world for many many years e.g. India, South East Asia and the Middle East. Ceramic tiles absorb too much of the water and humidity in the climate, and so these countries needed a tile that was stronger and highly water resistant.

 

At first porcelain tiles were used on walls. But as technology and manufacturing has advanced, porcelain tiles are used in a wide range of situations. Thanks to interior designers the true potential for porcelain tiles has been released. They are used for kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, hallways, outside and with underfloor heating.

Science

Porcelain tiles are made using a very specific clay, mixed with finely ground sand and feldspar. The tiles are fired to a higher temperature multiple times. Which is what makes the porcelain tile stronger and denser. 

 

A mixture of water and the raw materials is stirred and dried until the perfect consistency is reached, where it is then pressed to form the tile shape. The tiles are then dried and fired to increase the strength of the material. The black tile can then be printed onto with an almost infinite array of patterns. 

 

All of these processes the tile goes through, all add to make the tile itself highly water resistant, strong, frost resistant and easy to maintain. These advantages all help porcelain to be a very good tile for residential and commercial use.

Environmental Benefits

Many porcelain tiles are made with recycled contents such as water bottles and TV screens. 

 

They contain very low, or zero levels of VOC’s – volatile organic compounds, which are all harmful to health. 

 

Thanks to porcelain tile printing being so versatile, they are used in place of many woods and stones. Meaning endangered natural materials can be saved and biodiversity for the planet can be reserved.

What is a PEI Rating?

PEI is the Porcelain Enamal rating and it tells you how suitable a tile is in your home depending on the amount of traffic going through the space regularly. 

 

  • PEI 0 –  no foot traffic (wall tiles)
  • PEI 1 –  very light traffic (bathroom) 
  • PEI 2 –  light traffic (bathroom and bedroom) 
  • PEI 3 – light to moderate traffic (suitable for most domestic floors) 
  • PEI 4 – moderate to heavy traffic (suitable for domestic floors and some commercial uses) 
  • PEI 5 – heavy traffic (suitable for all domestic and commercial uses with heavy footfall) 

 

Most porcelain tiles tend to have a rating between 3 and 5. In tile shops you will find the tile’s PEI rating which will help you know that the tile is suitable for the place it will go.

Trends

The future for Porcelain tile application is virtually limitless. Moving to the end of 2021, trends seem to be moving towards mediterreanean colours and styles. A lot more blue, greens, light pink and yellow. This trend also lends itself to handmade and worn looks on tiles. All of this is possible if you choose porcelain, as the printing  possibilities are infinite. It also seems that we are going to move more towards large-format porcelain tiles. With large light grey porcelain tiles being applied to kitchen and bathroom spaces. Also, because porcelain has a very low water absorption rate, seamless floors between inside and outside can be achieved if you use porcelain tiling.

For any more information on porcelain feel free to call us (0113 390 8800), email at info@tilesforever.co.uk or come into our showroom and see for yourself.