Tile Fix Direct Blog

January 2015

How To Seal Natural Stone Tiles

How to seal natural stone tiles

Natural stone tiles are often chosen for their rugged appearance and hardwearing nature, however these tiles are often unsealed and naturally extremely porous. This means they absorb moisture more easily than ceramic or porcelain tile, which will affect the quality of the tiles. Any liquid absorbed by the stone will also cause stains, which can be hard or even impossible to remove. Sealing natural stone tiles such as travertine, limestone, sandstone, slate and marble is therefore extremely important in preserving the life and look of your floors and surfaces.

Checking Tile Porosity

The level of porosity of your stone will affect the type and amount of sealer that is required. Place a teaspoon of water on clean and dry tile and time how long it takes for all of the water to be absorbed.

  • High Porosity – Water is absorbed within 5 minutes: 4 coats of sealer required in normal conditions.
  • Medium Porosity – Water is absorbed within 15 minutes: 3 coats of sealer required in normal conditions.
  • Low Porosity – Water is absorbed within 1 hour or longer: 2 coats of sealer required in normal conditions.

Sealing Terracotta Tiles

1. Fix the terracotta using suitable adhesive, if you get any adhesive on the top of the tile wipe off immediately with a clean cloth.

2. Apply 3-4 coats of LTP Boiled Linseed Oil using a paint brush, remove any unabsorbed oil with a cloth soaked in white spirit. Leave the oiled tiled to stand for 24 hours without adding any additional oil. Grout as normal.

3. Apply 3-6 thin coats of a synthetic sealant (LTP Ironwax Satin or Lithofin Multiseal) until you achieve an even sheen. Allow 30 minutes between each coat. Once all coats are applied, leave for 24 hours to become waterproof.

4. Clean and maintain your tiles with a cleaner that will not strip away the protective sealants, such as LTP Floorshine or Lithofin Easy Care.

Sealing Slate Tiles

1. Fix the slate using suitable adhesive, starting with the thicker ones if they are not calibrated.

2. Apply one coat of Lithofin MN Stain-Stop or LTP Colour Intensifier to the fixed tiles, then grout as normal.

3. Apply two additional coats of Lithofin MN Stain-Stop to fully seal the tiles and leave them with a matte finish.

4. To achieve a soft sheen to your slate surface apply a couple of coats of LTP Ironwax Satin or Lithofin Multiseal, this will need to be repeated every 9-12 months to maintain the soft sheen effect.

5. Clean and maintain your tiles with a cleaner that will not strip away the protective sealants, such as LTP Floorshine or Lithofin Easy Care.

Sealing Limestone and Sandstone Tiles

1. Fix the tiles using a white adhesive to avoid any discolouration of the stone. Use a colour enhancer at this point if you would like to enhance or deepen the colour of the tile.

2. Apply one coat of Lithofin MN Stain-Stop or LTP Mattstone with a sponge roller and grout the tiles as normal.

3.Apply an additional coat of Lithofin MN Stain-Stop. A third coat may be needed depending on the porosity of the tile.

4. For a soft sheen effect apply 2-4 coats of either LTP Ironwax Satin or Lithofin Multiseal.

5. Clean and maintain your tiles with a cleaner that will not strip away the protective sealants, such as Lithofin Easy Care or LTP Wax Wash.

Product Focus: Norcros Permalayer Anti-Fracture Underlay

When tiling to surfaces with cracks or limited movement there is always the risk that these problems will affect the tiles above. One way to combat this problem is to use a decoupling membrane like Norcros Permalayer. This anti-fracture matting can be used on both concrete and wooden subfloors to bridge gaps in cracks measuring up to 3mm.

Research conducted by materials testing consultancy Lucideon (formally Ceram) found that “the tile finish and grout joints were protected from the drying shrinkage normally experienced by green concretes and screeds, permitting tile fixing to commence a minimum of 48 hours after construction of the floor, with no damage experienced by either the tiles or grout joints.” This makes Norcros Permalayer the perfect choice for protecting tiled floors from cracks and lateral movement.

Norcros Permalayer is also recommended for use with the Orbry Wet Room Waterproofing System.

Benefits of Norcros Permalayer

  • Can be used on green screeds and concretes, as well as timber floors
  • Facture resistant up to 3mm
  • Compatible with underfloor heating
  • Thin lay – only 1.8mm thick
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Quick and easy to install – can be cut with a knife
  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee
  • Removes the need for costly floor build-ups such as plywood overlays

Installation of Norcros Permalayer

Concrete and cement screeds must be left for 48 hours and then primed before adhesive and Permalayer is added. Follow the below steps to install Norcros Permalayer.

Norcros Permalayer

Order Norcros Permalayer from Tile Fix Direct today and save 15% with discount code PERM15191, valid until Sunday 25th January.

Dry Lining With Marmox Multiboard

Dry Lining With Marmox Multiboard

In the UK most modern homes are built with cavity walls which can be insulated, but 1 in 4 houses have solid walls. Over a third of heat lost in the home is through the walls, and solid walls lose twice as much as cavity walls – even without insulation! One way to combat this heat loss is to insulate walls with a tile backer board such as Marmox Multiboard, which will reduce wasted energy and money by keeping the heat inside. Marmox Multiboard is recommended by the Energy Saving Trust, who estimate that insulating all external solid walls of a gas heated, semi-detached, 3 bedroom house would save approximately 1.8 tonnes of CO2 per year, and reduce heating bills by up to £365.

Marmox Multiboard dry-lining insulation is made from polystyrene foam with a coating of glass fibre mesh embedded in a polymer-cement mortar. The boards can be easily fixed to walls using tile adhesive, or with Marmox washers or dowels. Thicker boards give better insulation, however Marmox recommend their 20mm or 30mm thick tile backer boards for dry lining as anything thicker would take up too much space.

Advantages of using Marmox Multiboard

  • Free of CFCs, HFCs and asbestos
  • Waterproof
  • Insulating
  • Strong load bearing capabilities
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to cut to size
  • Unaffected by freezing and thaw cycles
  • Quick and easy installation

Installation of Marmox Dry Lining

There are 3 methods for installation of Marmox Multiboard for dry lining; continuous bed, dot and dab or stud wall. Below are the installation instructions from the manufacturer.


If fitting to a flat and exposed brick, block, concrete or plastered wall, any size board can be fixed using a continuous bed of tile adhesive. Not having any air gap between the board and the wall is marginally preferable since it eliminates the slight risk of interstitial condensation.


If a wall is uneven, has a crumbly surface or is of a material that is not suitable for to bond with tile adhesive, Marmox Multiboards are fixed using either Marmox dowel fixings / screws and Marmox washers supported with dabs of tile adhesive. Board thickness should be at least 12.5mm if using this method. It is recommended that for dotting and dabbing, at least 15 fixing points per long board and 9 fixing points per short board should be used. All the edges must be secure and exhibit no movement.


Boards can be fitted directly to timber or metal studwork in accordance with the main fitting instructions which state that screws and washers need to be used every 30cm along each member. If using 20mm or thicker the centres can be at 600mm whereas if 12.5mm is being used centres should be at 450mm.

In methods 2 and 3, consideration should be given to whether there is any dampness in the solid wall. If there is, leaving a gap is not recommended as it could accentuate the condensation problem already existing. When the wall is not absolutey dry, the board should be fitted using the continuous bed of adhesive method.

Order your Marmox Dry Lining from Tile Fix Direct online.

Product Focus: BAL WP1 Waterproofing Kit

BAL waterproofing kit

The BAL WP1 Waterproofing Kit contains everything you need to waterproof, or tank, an area up to 4.5m2. The kit is suitable for use indoors, in both wet and dry areas including showers, bathrooms, kitchens, laundry and utility rooms, upstands, pipes, and floor wastes. The BAL WP1 Waterproofing Kit is suitable for areas where movement may occur, for example around drainage channels, junctions between walls and floors, and for preventing water penetration through suspended floors. It is not suitable for exterior use or in areas of total immersion.

BAL WP1 Waterproofing can be used on many different bases including concrete, brickwork, partition walls, timber floors, plaster, plasterboard, plywood, glazed tiles, cement (sand/anhydrite screeds & sand render), plywood overlays and tile backer boards. The acrylic-based primer and coating cover approximately 4.5m2 when used at a thickness of 1-2mm. Once applied the membrane has a setting time of 3 hours and a drying time of around 24 hours before tiling can begin.

In The Box

  • WP1 Tanking Coating
  • WP1 Polyester Tape
  • WP1 Polyester Matting>/li>
  • APD Acrylic Primer

Preparation And Application

  • Ensure surfaces are dry, sound, and free from grease, dust and any other contamination.
  • Fill voids or gaps with suitable filler or sealant, and allow to cure. Bridge gaps up to 1.5mm with BAL polyester matting or tape.
  • Apply a skim coat of cement-based flexible adhesive to glazed tiles, backer boards and vinyl prior to tanking.
  • Ensure that base is fully dry before applying BAL WP1 Tanking.
  • Prime all surfaces with BAL Prime APD and allow to dry for 15-30 minutes.
  • Using a brush or steel float, apply the waterproofing coating to internal and external corners, wall junctions with bases/upstands/columns, pipe penetration points, drainage channels, outlets, junctions of different base materials, and any cracks in the base.
  • Reinforce these areas with the polyester tape.
  • Apply a second coat of the waterproof coating over the tape.
  • Using a brush or steel float, apply the coating to primed floors, and to primed walls at a max. 2mm thickness.
  • Cut matting to the correct size and reinforce the floor, for heavy duty areas and/or where movement may occur bed matting into coating and apply a second layer of waterproof coating over the top.
  • Allow membrane to dry for a minimum of 24 hours before tiling.

For more information see the BAL WP1 technical guide. When applied correctly the waterproofing system comes with the BAL 25 year guarantee.

Upgrade Your Home With Tile Fix Direct

Upgrade your home

Start the new year off with an upgrade to your home with Tile Fix Direct. From a luxury wet room to added comfort from underfloor heating,we can help you to make your house a home.

Wet Room

Wet rooms are becoming increasingly popular here in the UK, and studies show that adding one to your home can help increase its value. Tile Fix Direct stocks everything you need to tank and tile your wet room, including sleek shower screens, custom shower trays and non-slip mosaic tiles.

Underfloor Heating

Tiled floors can feel cold under foot, especially in the winter, but adding electric underfloor heating can solve this problem. With easy to lay underfloor heating mats and fully adjustable thermostats you can add the ultimate in comfort to your home.

New Tiles

If you’re looking to quickly and easily update your kitchen or bathroom, considering replacing the tiles. We stock everything you need to get the job done, including tile backer boards, adhesives and silicone sealants, trowels, tile trim and grout in a range of colours.

Remember to check back each Monday for our brand new Deal of the Week, and sign up to our newsletter for extra special offers.

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