Tile Fix Direct Blog

July 2014

What Is A Decoupling System?

Decoupling might sound like the latest PR spin on a celebrity break up, but it’s actually a very clever system that can save you time and money when tiling on to a problematic floor. Decoupling systems, sometimes also referred to as uncoupling systems, work by neutralizing the tension between the substrate and the tiles, protecting the floor from any damage that could be caused by issues you can’t see.

It may be possible to get the tiles to stay in place for a short period of time on an uneven surface, but once the adhesive and grout fully dry and the floor begins to get more foot traffic, it is highly likely that the grout or tiles themselves will crack. A decoupling system is placed beneath the tiles to create a smooth and even surface to tile on to, and protect from possible problems like this.

These systems have two or three layers which allow them cope with ongoing problems such as uneven surfaces, cracks and even movement of the substrate. Despite this complex layered system, the matting is often very light and extremely easy to use. The matting can be rolled out on to a number of flooring types, including timber, new screeds and concrete – check the manufacturers instructions to see which substrates each individual decoupling system is suitable for.

Decoupling systems can also be used in the process of waterproofing, or tanking, a wet room. Used with the correct adhesives and sealants, decoupling mats can provide a waterproof layer underneath the tiled floor. Uncoupling mats are also perfect for use with electric underfloor heating systems.

Tile Fix Direct stock a great range of decoupling systems including:

Brand Focus: BAL Adhesives

A leading name in the tile adhesive and grout industry, BAL has over 40 years of experience, which helps a lot in their development of new products. The company began its life as a development centre for the British ceramic tile industry and is now a subsidiary of German-based Ardex.

BAL In Focus

  • Founded in 1962
  • Based in Stoke on Trent
  • Supply a range of tile adhesives, grouts and preparation products made from recycled tyres and glass
  • In partnership with environmental charity Cool Earth
  • Offer a range of online and practical courses for apprentices and experienced tilers

BAL Products on Tile Fix Direct

Tile Fix Direct stocks a wide range of BAL products, from grout and tile adhesive to full waterproofing kits.

Waterproofing Kit

The BAL WP1 waterproofing kit contains everything you need to tank a room – including showers, bathrooms, wet rooms, kitchens and utility rooms. It contains acrylic based flexible WP1 Tanking Coating, WP1 Polyester Tape, WP1 Polyester Matting, and APD Acrylic Primer. The kit will cover 4.5m2 when used on concrete, brick, timber floors, plasterboard, plywood, cement and suspended floors. It can also be used on areas where movement may occur such as drainage channels and junctions between walls and floors.

White Star Plus

BAL White Star Plus is a non-slip, water-resistant, ready-mixed tile adhesive for walls. It is suitable for fixing ceramic tiles, mosaics, porcelain tiles and some natural stone tiles in both commercial and domestic interiors due to BAL’s Fibre Strength Technology.


BAL Rapid-Mat is a new uncoupling system for use with problematic surfaces. It can be used on substrates like timber, new screeds and underfloor heating systems, creating a layer between the flooring and the tiles. This protects the tiles from damage from any cracks or movement of the substrate, and it comes with a 25 year guarantee!

See the Tile Fix Direct website for the full range of BAL Adhesives products available.

Why You Should Install Electric Underfloor Heating


For the majority of people the type of heating used in the home is never a consideration. Radiators are installed in most properties and unless a large-scale renovation is taking place, most of us are unlikely to change the heating system. Many people are not aware of the benefits of electric underfloor heating, or else they feel it will be expensive and inconvenient to install.

Electric underfloor heating is actually very cost effective; the savings you will make by efficiently heating your house will outweigh the initial set up cost. Much less energy is needed to heat a large area and less heat is lost, which means reduced heating costs. There are also less costly risks involved as electric underfloor heating does not need yearly checks or maintenance, and will not flood or leak.

You can easily control the temperature using a thermostat, and there are many options for how and where this is installed. Each room will have its own floor sensor and thermostat, however these can all be controlled from one central point, for example the kitchen. The sleek and modern touchscreen design of electric underfloor heating thermostats mean you won’t want to hide them away. Alternatively each room can have a separate control fixed on to the wall, or you can have a portable wireless device for use from anywhere. These options allow you to be in full control of the temperature of your home, keeping the heat to your desired level, whether that’s throughout the whole house or only in the room you are using.

Installing electric underfloor heating will allow you to completely change the layout of your rooms. Whilst normally we would position items depending on the location of radiators, underfloor heating completely removes the need to do this as its hidden beneath your feet. And as the system is spread consistently throughout the room there are no cold spots to worry about!

Further benefits of electric underfloor heating include:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Remove ‘dust traps’ caused by radiators
  • Dry wet room floors quickly, reducing the risk of slips
  • Added luxury and comfort, you can walk barefoot all year round!

Tile Fix Direct has a great range of electric underfloor heating options available, in both easy to install mat and loose cable form. For further information see our electric underfloor heating advice, and choose from Orbry underfloor heating, DEVImat and DEVIflex and Schluter DITRA HEAT-E kits.

Advantages Of Including A Shower Screen In Your Wet Room

shower screens

The purpose of a wetroom is often to maximize space in a small bathroom, which usually involves removing the bath, leaving an open plan area to design your wetroom within. Whilst not necessary, shower screens can offer many benefits in a wet room. We’ve put together some of the advantages of including one in your design.

Benefits of a Shower Screen

  • Prevent water splashing throughout the wetroom. Installing a shower screen will create a barrier between the shower area and the rest of the room, helping unwanted water to stay in the shower area and not soak towels or toilet paper.
  • Easy to clean. Wet room shower screens are generally very simple in design, leaving no hard to reach nooks and crannies. This makes them very easy to clean and maintain, always leaving your wet room looking smart.
  • Divide space in your wetroom with a shower screen. The open plan nature of a wetroom creates space, but if you are looking to separate the shower area a glass screen will do this without interrupting the minimalist look of the room.
  • Helps contain water in a level access shower area making drainage quicker and easier, which will help avoid slipping on a wet floor.
  • Added storage space. A number of products are available that allow you to hang a towel or hold showering products by clipping them on to the shower screen.

At Tile Fix Direct we offer a range of Orbry shower screens to suit your needs, as well as everything else you need to fit your dream wetroom. Refer to the wet room shower screens page for further advice and inspiration.

Brand Focus – Norcros Adhesives

Norcros Adhesives

Having been acquired by Ardex in 2001, Norcros Adhesives re-emerged as part of Norcros plc around 4 years later. A well established manufacturer of tile adhesives, surface preparations and aftercare products for a range of materials, the company is also rapidly growing within the market. In this post we learn more about the company as well as the products available through Tile Fix Direct.

Norcros Adhesives In Focus

  • Part of the Norcros plc group of companies, including Triton Showers, Vado and Johnson Tiles.
  • Norcros Adhesives serve the UK market as well as exporting to Ireland, USA and the Middle East.
  • Their products conform to demanding EN European and ANSI US/Middle East testing standards.
  • Experience in the industry enables them to research and develop products quickly to respond to new tiling trends.
  • Highly conscious of their carbon footprint and work hard to minimise the mark they leave on planet Earth.
  • Their ‘Job Done’ ethos means they offer high quality and great guarantees on their products.

Norcros Job Done guarantee

Norcros Adhesives Products on Tile Fix Direct

Tile Fix Direct stocks a range of Norcros Adhesives products including Permalayer, adhesives, levelling compounds and grout in a variety of colours.

Permalayer Anti Crack Underlay

Norcros Permalayer anti-crack underlay has been designed to bridge cracks up to 3mm wide without affecting the finished look of the tiling. It’s quick and easy to install on wood, screed and green and cured concrete slabs. At only 1.8mm thick it’s easy to cut and creates a flat, solid bed to tile on.

Wet Seal Tanking Kit

The Norcros Tanking Kit contains everything you need to waterproof a shower, sauna or wet room – 5kg liquid membrane, 500ml Norcros Prime Bond primer and 10m of 100mm wide waterproof polyester tape. Suitable for use on all substrates beneath ceramic, porcelain, natural stone and mosaic tiles, Wet Seal is a brush applied, flexible waterproof tanking membrane.

Rapid Porcelain and Stone Adhesive

Norcros Adhesives Manufacture
Available in grey or white, the Norcros rapid adhesive takes just 3 hours to set and is suitable for use with underfloor heating applications. This cement based, thin bed tile adhesive contains unique Rock-TiteTM polymeric binders to enhance flexibility. This adhesive can be used on walls and floors and is water and weather resistant.

For the full range of Norcros Adhesive products available check out Tile Fix Direct.

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